Poll: Voters narrowly focused on economy, jobs

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Voters' agenda. - IMAGE: Pew Research Center

Barack Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney narrowed from 12 points to an advantage of 49 percent to 45 percent, with voters rating the economy and jobs as the issues that are “very important” to their vote.

Some hot-button social issues, such as gay marriage and birth control, rank at the bottom of the list of voter concerns.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 4-15, finds that those who say the economy and jobs will be very important to their vote divide their support almost evenly between Obama and Romney.

But the candidates each have advantages on other top-tier issues.

Health care and education voters favor Obama by double-digits.

Those who rank the federal budget deficit as a top priority favor Romney by a 19-point margin.

Romney is also the preferred candidate among those who rank Iran as very important, while Obama leads among those who cite the environment.

Among those who rank abortion “very important,” 45 percent back Romney and 47 percent back Obama – but abortion is low on the “very important” list.

So is gay marriage. Among those who consider gay marriage a “very important” issue, 43 percent support Romney and 50 percent support Obama.

The president continues to owe his lead to support from women, college graduates, blacks, Latinos and lower income voters – all of whom support him over Romney by double-digits.

The gender gap remains comparable to those in previous election 2012 surveys, as well as past election cycles:

• Women favor Obama 53 percent to 40 percent.

• Men favor Romney 50 percent to 44 percent.

Obama has lost ground among both men and women at about the same rate over the past month.

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