Obama vs. Romney: What Readers Think

Now that the presidential debates are finished and the campaigns are in the final days before the election is held on November 6th, which presidential candidate is the one most preferred by our readers? Here are the results.

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.

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. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47