Washington: As many as 56 per cent of Americans think incumbent Barack Obama will win the 2012 presidential election, compared with 36 per cent who think Mitt Romney will win, a poll said on Tuesday.
"By a 56 per cent to 36 per cent margin, Americans think Barack Obama rather than Mitt Romney will win the 2012 presidential election," Gallup said releasing its poll results.
"This is the case even though voters' preferences are evenly divided between the two candidates," it added.
"It is unclear why Americans are more inclined to predict an Obama than a Romney victory when the two are essentially tied in latest election polling," Gallup noted.
It may be that Americans recognize the advantages Obama has as the incumbent and that historically, presidents seeking re-election usually win, it explained.
For example, in March 2004, when President George W Bush and John Kerry were about tied in voter preferences, more said Bush (52 per cent) than Kerry (42 per cent) would win.
Americans may expect in the months between now and the election that conditions in the US will improve, which would make the incumbent's re-election more certain, it said.
Observing that Americans currently see Obama as a solid favorite to win re-election, the Gallup said this is perhaps a slightly more optimistic assessment than is currently warranted, given that registered voters' candidate preferences are evenly split between Obama and Romney.
However, Americans have typically given an edge to the incumbent in years in which a president was seeking re-election.
First Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 08:57