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Obama's Achilles Heel: Independents

But they've turned on GOP in Congress even more
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2012 5:45 AM CST
President Obama Faces Struggle for Independents in Election 2012
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on government reform, Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

(Newser) – Independent voters were key to President Obama's victory in 2008, but this year he may have a tougher time winning them over. Only 31% of independents say they view Obama favorably, while two-thirds say he's done little to improve the economy, a New York Times/CBS poll finds. Some six in 10 independents don't feel their priorities match Obama's. "I trusted Obama would bring fresh ideas to the country and improve the economy, even though he was not experienced. It didn’t happen," says one.

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Still, Americans blame Republicans in Congress much more than the president for Washington gridlock, and 28% believe the economy is improving—the highest figure since early 2011. And the eventual GOP frontrunner has his work cut out for him. Almost half of independents don't yet have a clear opinion of Mitt Romney—a boon for Dems—while some seven in 10 Republican voters now wish they had more choices. A Romney-Obama election would break evenly between the candidates, while Obama would beat the other Republican candidates, the poll suggests. Click through for more poll results. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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