Obama Understands People Better than Romney and Gingrich, Poll Finds

Most Americans say President Barack Obama understands the problems of average Americans better than either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich do, according to a new poll Monday.

President Barack Obama participates in an interview with YouTube and Google+ to discuss his State of the Union Address, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 30, 2012. The interview is held through a Google+ Hangout, making it the first completely virtual interview from the White House. Photo: Pete Souza/The White House

More than half of voters, or 55 percent, say Obama connects with the needs of average Americans very or fairly well, a Pew Research Center/Washington Post poll found, Politico reports.

Slightly more than half of independent voters, or 53 percent, say Obama is empathetic, while only 38 percent and 37 percent, respectively, had the same positive rating for Romney and Gingrich.

Still, 41 percent told pollsters the president doesn’t understand people’s problems too well or not at all well.

The two Republican candidates, however, fare much worse: only 39 percent say Romney understands the problems of average Americans very or fairly well, and just 36 percent say the same for Gingrich.

The poll surveyed 1,006 adults Jan. 26-29. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Meanwhile, republicans remain unimpressed with their party’s presidential field.

In fact, more Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say the GOP field is only fair or poor (52%) than did so in early January (44%), according to Pew Recearch Center.

Just 46% of Republican voters have positive opinions of the GOP field, according to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 26-29 among 1,006 adults, including 341 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters.

That survey showed that GOP voters’ ratings of the field are far less positive than were opinions of the Republican field in 2008.

At about this point four years ago, 68% of Republican and GOP-leaning voters rated the field as excellent or good.

In early January, shortly before the New Hampshire primary, 51% gave the field excellent or good ratings while 44% rated the candidates collectively as only fair or poor.

51 percent say Gingrich does not connect with the needs of typical Americans well, while just under half — 48 percent — told pollsters Romney understands people’s problems not too well or not at all well.

Meanwhile, yesterday President Obama sat down for a discussion with a group of Americans from across the country in a Google+ Hangout. It was the first online conversation to happen at the White House in real time – ever.

Even before the event, more than 227,000 people had taken time to participate – submitting questions for the President to answer or voting for their favorite. If you missed any of the action, check over the full video here.

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