WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama’s slim lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney in the White House race is fueled by a broad marriage gap, with Obama enjoying a big advantage among single voters - particularly women, a Quinnipiac University poll found on Wednesday.
Obama leads among single voters by 54 percent to 34 percent, while married voters back Romney 51 percent to 38 percent, the poll found.
Obama has a huge advantage with single women, 60 percent to 31 percent, while Romney leads among married women 49 percent to 42 percent. Romney leads by 19 percentage points among married men, and Obama leads by 9 points among single men.
The poll showed Obama with an overall 3-point national edge on Romney, 46 percent to 43 percent, four months before the November 6 election.
“Although much has been made about the gender gap and how President Barack Obama’s lead among women fuels his campaign, the marriage gap is actually larger and more telling,” said Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown.
“The marriage gap may be related to the different priorities and economic situations of married and single people,” he said.
“Married people are more likely to be older, more financially secure and more socially conservative than unmarried voters,” he said. “Married voters are more likely to focus on the economy and healthcare, while single voters are more focused on issues such as gay rights and reproductive issues.”
Most national polls have shown a tight presidential race. A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Tuesday found Obama with a 6-point edge on Romney.
The Quinnipiac poll found voters were almost evenly split on which candidate would do a better job on the economy. But 55 percent disapproved of the way Obama was handling the economy, 52 percent gave him a negative mark on healthcare and 52 percent gave him a negative grade on illegal immigration.
By a narrow margin of 47 percent to 44 percent, voters approved of Obama’s performance on foreign policy.
Writing by John Whitesides; editing by Christopher Wilson