Two Polls Show A Very Different Race Between Obama and Romney

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How is Mitt Romney doing against President Obama now that he's essentially done fighting the Republican primary? We're not sure. Two general election polls were released Monday showing very different results. Meanwhile, voters don't feel overtaxed. Here'sour guide to today's polls and which ones matter.

Findings: Either President Obama has a solid lead over Mitt Romney -- 52 percent to 43 percent -- or Obama has fallen behind Romney, with 45 percent to his 47 percent.
Pollster: CNN/ ORC International; Gallup
Methodology: Both are national polls of registered voters. The CNN poll, which shows Obama ahead, was taken April 13 to April 15 and surveyed 1,015 adults, including 910 registered voters. Gallup's first tracking poll of the general election, which shows Romney ahead, was taken from April 11 to April 15 and surveyed 2,265 registered voters. Both polls have a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Why it matters: We'd like to know who's winning the election! As Washington Examiner's Conn Carroll points out, Obama is performing poorly by Gallup's historical standards. Since 1976, the only presidents who were behind their challengers in April of an election year went on to lose. That's pretty grim news for the White House. On the other hand, CNN's poll is pretty great news for the White House: Paul Steinhauser points out that CNN's survey was taken two days after Hilary Rosen kicked the stay-at-home-moms hornets nest, and Obama still beats Romney among women by 16 points, almost as good as last month's 18 points. Even if CNN's poll is an outlier, Romney's campaign should be concerned that it found only 35 percent consider their vote a vote for Romney, instead of a vote against Obama.
Caveat: Polls taken over the weekend, as CNN's was, are sometimes less accurate because people aren't home to answer pollsters' phone calls. On the other hand, Obama is averaging a small lead over Romney.

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Findings: 72 percent of registered voters support the Buffett rule, the Democratic proposal that would ensure mad rich guys like Warren Buffett don't pay a lower tax rate than their middle-income secretaries. People making $1 million a year would pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent. 
Pollster: CNN/ ORC International
Methodology: Survey of 509 adults, from April 13 to April 15.
Why it matters: The Senate is voting on the measure Monday; it appears doomed in the House. Obama is sure using the issue to attack Romney, who paid a 13 percent tax rate last year. Less than half of Americans think their taxes are too high -- 46 percent -- while 47 percent think they're "about right," Gallup finds in a separate poll Monday.
Caveat: Making rich people pay more taxes has historically been a popular proposal. However, Americans think they're usually paying too high taxes -- in 2000, 63 percent thought they paid too much, and through the mid-2000s, a majority felt that way.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.