Obama holds a 47 percent to 43 percent edge over Romney on the question of who would do a better job on foreign policy, a loss of 15 percentage points in September, results of a Pew survey released Thursday indicated.
The poll was conducted two weeks ago, after the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked and Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S officials were killed.
A majority of Americans, 54 percent, said it was more important to have stable governments in the Middle East, even if there is less democracy in the region, results indicated. Thirty-percent said democratic governments are more important, even if that means less stability.
Romney holds a 9 percentage point lead over Obama on dealing with China's trade policies, 49 percent to 40 percent.
On other issues, such as Iran's nuclear program and political instability in countries such as Egypt and Libya, neither candidate had a clear advantage, Pew Research Center said.
Results are based on a nationwide telephone survey of 1,511 adults conducted Oct. 4-7. The margin of error is 2.9 percentage points.
Pew said a separate survey indicated the public is divided over the Obama administration's handling of last month's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Thirty-eight percent said they disapprove of the Obama administration's handling while 35 percent said they approve. Another 27 percent expressed no opinion.