9:01 am Oct. 2, 2012
A new Quinnipiac poll has President Obama with a four-point lead among likely voters nationwide, the latest in a series of surveys that have begun trending toward the president in recent weeks.
One of the ways Mitt Romney is hoping to blunt the president's momentum is to focus on foreign policy more over the coming weeks. He has a big foreign policy speech planned for next week, and there's talk of an aggressive "Jimmy Carter Strategy" to paint Obama as a weak leader. Outside groups have already begun running ads about Obama's handling of the situation in Libya.
But this morning's poll shows Romney is starting with a significant disadvantage on the issue.
Asked who would do a better job handling an international crisis, 52 percent favored Obama, compared to 43 percent for Romney. That's a big shift from four years ago, when prospective voters gave John McCain an edge, by the same margin, on that question.
Among Republicans in this morning's survey, 11 percent said Obama would do a better job of handling such a crisis--a higher number than favored him on the economy, health care, or the deficit.
On national security more broadly, 50 percent of likely voters thought Obama would do a better job, compared to 44 percent for Romney. Independents favored Obama on the issue by 48 percent to 46 percent.
Quinnipiac also asked: "If you or a family member were at risk of violence in a foreign country, who would you want in the White House, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?"
Obama led 50 percent to 45 percent, but independents were evenly split at 46 percent.
The Romney campaign is reportedly split on how much to stray from its core economic message to make a broader case against the president, and the numbers might not help the advisers arguing for a full-throated attack on the president's foreign policy.
Only 7 percent of respondents said national security was their biggest concern this election cycle, compared to 50 percent who cited the economy.