Voters approve more highly of President Barack Obama’s handling of foreign policy than of the economy, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which also shows a nearly even split between Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney overall.
Of those polled, 51 percent approve of President Obama’s foreign policy, while 42 percent disapprove. Fifty-four percent said he had improved the situation in Iraq and 48 percent said the president had done the same in Afghanistan. But on Obama’s handling of the economy, voters are reversed–52 percent disapprove, while 43 percent approve.
Voters were nearly evenly split when asked who they would vote for if the election was held that day–47 percent for Obama and 43 percent for Romney.
Moving from the economic message that has defined his campaign
, Romney switched his focus to education Tuesday, advocating for education reform and lambasting teachers’ unions (AP) in a speech to donors in New York City.
“If I’m president of the United States, instead of just giving lip service to improving our schools, I will actually put the kids first and the union behind in giving our kids better teachers, better options and better choices for a better future,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Romney campaign announced a team of education policy advisers that includes former education secretary Rod Paige, who served under former president George W. Bush.
Romney will make an appeal to Latino voters (ABC) Wednesday with a speech at the Latino Coalition’s annual economic summit in Washington, DC. The speech is part of the campaign’s attempt to connect with the community amid concerns that
Romney alienated Latinos over the course of the GOP primary with a hardline stance on immigration. While immigration is a key topic for the Latino community, the most important issue for Latinos is the economy, ABC News notes.
Stuart Stevens, Romney’s top campaign strategist, has said that the economic crisis hit Latinos particularly hard, and the Romney campaign plans to address that.
Voters’ economic confidence hit a four-year high on its “long, steady climb out of the doldrums,” says Gallup. Though still on the negative side, the pollster’s index stands at -16 for the week ending May 20, up from -18 earlier in May and -21 in late April. Forty-three percent of those polled said the economy is getting better and 52 percent said it is getting worse, for a -9 net economic outlook score, up from -13 the previous week.
While public sentiment is improving, Gallup warns that “the pace of improvement has slowed in recent months, meaning it could be months before the index is in fact positive.”
— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor