WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama and likely Republican rival Mitt Romney are in a dead heat among voters about who could fix the economy, a poll indicates.
Overall, 49 percent of voters would favor Obama and 46 percent, Romney, if the election were held now, results of the Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday indicated.
Obama and Romney are tied at 47 percent on handling the economy, results indicated.
More than half of all Americans cite the economy as the key issue that will decide how they will vote in the fall. Other issues, such as healthcare, taxes and the federal budget deficit, were well behind in single digits.
More than eight in 10 Americans rate the national economy negatively, but 54 percent of Americans say they are more hopeful than anxious about the nation's economic health in the next few years. Fifty-eight percent said they were upbeat about their financial prospects, the Post said.
When asked if they were better now than when Obama took office in January 2009, 30 percent say they are worse off and 16 percent say they are better off.
Voters are split between Obama and Romney on who voters say they think could kick-start the economy and job creation, with 46 percent indicating the president and 45 percent favoring Romney.
Results are based on a nationwide telephone survey of 1,004 adults conducted Thursday through Sunday. The margin of error for the overall poll is 3.5 percentage points and 4 percentage points for the sample of 874 registered voters.