Obama vs. Romney: What Readers Think

By on October 28, 2012 in Current Events with 237 Comments

The last of three presidential debates concluded last week. After the conclusion of the last debate, we asked FedSmith readers (primarily federal employees and federal government retirees) for their opinion on the upcoming presidential election.

We have done similar surveys for presidential elections in 2004 and 2008. In both cases, while this is not a scientific survey, FedSmith readers preferred the candidate who eventually won the election. (See Obama Leads Among Readers for First Time and Readers Go for Bush Over Kerry).

Those who responded to this survey have a high interest in the election. 79% of those responding to the latest survey indicated they had watched the most recent debate. 98.2% said they intend to vote in the presidential election this year.

We also asked about the most recent debate and whether it had an effect on who would receive their vote. As you can see, 90% said it did not alter their opinion while 5.1% said they decided to vote for Mitt Romney as a result of the debate and 2.9% said they would now vote for Barack Obama as a result of the debate. Here are the results:

Did the most recent debate alter your opinion on which candidate will receive your vote for president in November?
No, it did not alter my opinion on which candidate will receive my vote 90.1%
Yes, I will vote for Mitt Romney instead of Barack Obama 5.1%
Yes, I will vote for Barack Obama instead of Mitt Romney 2.9%
I have not decided which candidate will receive my vote 1.9%


As in our previous surveys, most of those responding indicated they consider themselves to be independent voters with results breaking down as follows:

How would you normally describe your political party affiliation?
Democrat 25.1%
Republican 33.6%
Independent 38.3%

For those who identified themselves as independent voters, 56.4% said they were going to vote for Romney/Ryan and 38.8% said they would vote for Obama/Biden. 4.8% selected “other” as their candidate.

Unlike the past two presidential elections when the stated preference among readers switched as the campaign wore on, this year the same candidate has been in the lead among FedSmith readers in our surveys throughout the year. The number of those who indicate they will vote for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama has been increasing as we get closer to the actual election. In this survey, 56.2% indicated that the Romney/Ryan ticket would receive their vote. When we did the initial survey in May, Mitt Romney had a lead over Barack Obama of under 4%. In the survey in September, Mitt Romney had a lead of under 8% among those responding to the survey. Here is how readers responded to the question of how they will vote in November:

If the election were held today, who would receive your vote for President?
Barack Obama/Joe Biden 40.2%
Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan 56.2%
Other 3.6%


The most important issue facing the country today is the economy according to a majority of those responding to this survey:

 In your view, what is the most important issue facing America?
Economy 68.5%
Foreign Policy 1.5%
Health care 4.2%
Government spending 13.8%
National security 1.9%
Taxes 2.2%
Federal Employee Benefits 1.9%
Other (please specify) 6.2%

As with our other surveys, a few hundred readers offered their views on why they support one candidate or the other. Here is a sample of the most common arguments offered by those sending in their views:

  • BO ideas/plans are not working it’s time for a change.
  • The economy first and then national security are the two most pressing issues.
  • And I hope congress gets another flip like 4 years ago. They need to wake up as well. Tired of Obama taking vacations all the time wasting dollars.
  • Government spending is TOTALLY out of control; the Fed has not business running everyday lives of individuals, nor local issues.
  • Congress needs to discard their special interests and work toghether for the benefit of the country as a whole; we must move away from special interest politics. The issues are complex and multifaceted, Tea party screaming about too much government and Democratic concentrating on beating up the wealthy, whoever that might be, has got to stop.
  • Simply put, the last four years have been a failure.
  • Obama is a failed President. His policies are pushing the US into a dangerous situation. He has not been honest or I should say he cannot tell the truth…he lies even when he knows the public knows the difference. His deliberate lies about the Libya incident is unbelievable. Four Americans lost their lives while “someone” watched the incident as it played out in real time, yet, there was no help called for our Ambassador and three other Americans. Now the Administration is stalling until after the election…will they tell the truth even then??
  • I Hate Racism in America and any other Country as I Served for 32 Years in America’s Elite Military Service, the United States Marine Corps and I am apalled how our President is treated because he is Black. I TRUST in our Lord, our Country, and our Family Structor to right this Injustice and carry us Forward to once again become the Nation that everyone looks up to.
  • Until we stop asking what our country can do for us instead of what we can do for our country we will continue to falter.
  • We need more moderates. These extremists are strangling the common person. So much rhetoric. Romney changes position more than he changes his underwear. I am surprised he does not have whiplash from so many consecutive about faces!
  • I can’t believe we voted Obama in for our president to lead us. He has gotten America in trouble and will continue. I personally fear him and always have. There is too many lies, and he wants to control America.
  • Obama has not lived up to the goals he stated during his first presidential campaign and does not deserve another try.
  • The Federal Workforce cannot continue to do more with less, for less money, pay more for benefits and watch the rest of the world line-up for handouts. We need to stop trying to make everybody like America and get America back to her glory days.
  • Romney provides no specific information about how he will address the deficit. Yet he is comfortable with taking away the health care my kids now have, the fact my health care won’t be taken away, and that millions will go without health care in the future. Most people going bankrupt are doing so because of medical expenses and most of those people had medical insurance. Securing medical care for everyone is the nations biggest economic issue.
  • Obama seems really out of touch with reality. He thinks he is above the law and he can enforce the ones he feels like and ignore the ones he does not like. Instead of a leader of the US entrusted to enforce the Constitution and our laws he acks like he is the king and he can make his own laws and rules as he goes along. Morale is low in the military and in the country in general and it is because of his lack of professional leadership. The economy is terrible due to his failed policies and he keeps on making more bad decisions.
  • The 16 trillion (and increasing) debt is choking us. Unless we can bring that down (and quit borrowing from the Chinese) and greatly decrease the unemployed ranks, we will shortly be in a hole we may not be able to get out of.
  • Governor Romney once gain morphs into a more moderate mode. The man is a chameleon with his political persona changing hourly. How are we to trust such a person?
  • Obama has not addressed ANY of the issues he promised. He’s the worst President EVER!

We will find out in a few days if FedSmith readers have again picked the winning candidate for president.

Our thanks to the thousands of readers who took the time to vote in this survey and a special thanks to the hundreds of readers who took the time and effort to submit their written comments as well as voting in the survey.

© 2016 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.


About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources.

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  1. persi flage says:

    Unimaginable destruction if Romney followed Bush – who could possibly be stupid enough to think this would have been a good idea? It’s hard to imagine that the ordinary work force actually thinks republicans would do them some good, when they haven’t proposed a reasonable idea in 7 years.

    This is pretty peculiar if this is a poll of federal employees. The GOP is no friend to federal workers and that has been made perfectly clear.

  2. Firedude59 says:

    The people who actually WORK for a living (had there been more of us!) would have easily voted Romney/Ryan into the White House. 
    Since the Obama administration has created a new majority of non workers, welfare, food stamps and entitlement recipients we didn’t have a chance…………. 

  3. Sulphide says:

    Romney is a business man. He has a plan based on the business model that has been successful for him in the past: break us up and sell us to China. Then, put all the money in an off-shore account. If war breaks out, apply for a deferment, or move to Mexico and visit the relatives.

  4. Sulphide says:

    Has any Romney ever served in any military?

  5. Lclon says:

    President Obama has my vote. Romney is a liar and untrustworthy. Obama has done a lot to keep this country from going into a depression. He has stopped wars, took out many terrorists, provided healthcare to all people, cut middle class taxes. provided jobs growth every month which is continuing to be upward. When he took office jobs were being lost every month. Romney has lied and flop flopped so much until he don’t know what truth is.  I want a President like Obama who is moving this country forward and not going  backward. Romney will pick up a lot of bush people to work with him including the budget person. In doing so all the bush government polices will be back in effect.  President Obama all the way for me. He is moving forward and not backward.

  6. Tblee10 says:

    I’ve been in federal service for 10 years, and it’s shocking to me the higher percentage for Romney/Ryan. Romney has gone on RECORD as saying that he already thinks the size of the Federal Government is too big and wants to downsize further. When in reality, the government lost 13, 000.00 jobs this year. The Obama administrations rate of hiring is among the lowest of all former sitting Presidents in the last 12 years! Additionally, we would’ve faced furloughs and/or lay offs had the President not agreed to extend our pay freeze into a 3rd year, since it was CONGRESS that wanted us to face lay offs.   President Obama opted for the extension of the pay freeze instead. These folks who want Romney/Ryan, if they get into office, the will “woe the day” believe me!

  7. seakayak757 says:

    I can’t imagine why any Federal Employee would vote Republican they want to eliminate your jobs! Dang wake up and smell the coffee. 

  8. Richnbeth says:

    The only morphing that is directed toward Mitt Romney is coming from the extremely liberal news media.  They create the entire scene for you.   Gov. Mitt Romney is a very good, honest and caring man, a type of individual you man have never had the honor of knowing.   The media, TV, Radio and Newspapers are mostly liberal and have been bought up by people with an sinister plan for America.    If you look at the Mormon philosophy/history you will find that in Utah was the first state in the country to allow women to vote.   If You thought that Ronald Regan was a good president you will definitely like Mitt Romney as president.    Pres. Obama said he does not understand math beyond the 7th grade, he also said he doesn’t know anything about the National debt.

    • persi flage says:

      sounds like tea party stupidity to me – the president graduated with high honors from Harvard Law School and was president of the Law Review. People beholden to any religious faith over the secular law of the land do not belong in high government office. This is a secular nation with secular laws.

  9. Eneri says:

    I am retired from working for the federal government for 30 years.  Based on my experience, things were a lot better for federal employees and retirees under democratic presidents and a lot worse for us under republican presidents.   I urge you to think long and hard about what harm the republicans can potentially do to our pay and benefits, considering their utter disdain for federal employees and retirees.  That would be you and I.

  10. lizzieb says:

    If Romney wins I hope those Federal employees and retirees enjoy the lack of respect and understanding as well as the radical changes in their benefits which they rely on, that the Republicans will deal them.

  11. Disgusted says:

    From all of the negative comments regarding the President of the United States OBAMA, they are either ignorant or racist. Anyone that votes for him, it’s not really about him being a better president, it’s about him being a white man. The Tea Party has divided America, taking us back to way back when, working overtime to suppress the vote, committing voter fraud, throwing everything but the kitchen sink in the election to get a lying, fradulent, chameleon romney to become president.  This man has been all over the map.  This is what you ROMNEYNITES want as a president? It speaks volumes about you, your character and your morales.

    • Palp51 says:

      Wow, another pot calling the kettle black.  Racism is not a one way street and right now, you and people like you are the only one’s on the road.  The fact that Obama is an incompetent president has nothing to do with the color of his skin, it has everything to do with his radical socialist policies.  The Team Party has not divided America it is trying to save it.  Here in MN, after the 2008 presidential election, there were 114 voter fraud convictions (another 220 cases never went to trial) and none of them voted for McCain, what does that tell you about who is guilty of committing voter fraud?  Just because you disagree with something does not make it propaganda.

      The truth will set you free but it is guaranteed to make you miserable first.

  12. Murrayma41 says:

    It has occurred to me that no matter what our POTUS does… It will NEVER be good enough for some of our white countrymen!! He’s Black and they are seeking to overturn the presidency with a sqham of a candidate… No matter how flawed, dangerous or hostile to the middle class and our country this republican raider has shown himself to be… We will get EXACTLY what we deserve if Mitt Romney wins the Presidency!

    • Palp51 says:

      Please . . . none of this has anything to do with the color of POTUS’s skin!  It has everything to do with the rejection of his socialist policies!

  13. Williamewhite says:

     Hello Ed Jime,  Romney is my man.  NObama is no choice at all.  Talk about lies…Benghazi turned me around.  He and his administration from Hillary Clinton to Petraeus and Panetta.  Their noses can’t get any longer and I think they are culpable and guilty of malfeasance in not providing security prior to 9/11; and not sending help the night of the attack after it was requested 3 times.  As far as women are concerned, look into the NObama administration White House and see how the women are not being paid the same as male counterparts.  Not one women in this country is a 2nd class citizen since more women vote than men.  Put that in the pipe you apparently smoke instead of the other stuff.

  14. candygirl7 says:

    You Obama supporters, I have a question for ya—are you  ashamed of America too?  (ask Michelle about that one).

  15. Ward_n says:

    This poll is evidently representative of FedSmith readers and demonstrates how conservative the readership is.  This election is in the margine of error and may be as close as 2000.  This electronic magazine has swerved to the right in contact in recent years, and risks losing its moderate and more liberal readership.