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Sep 112012

Joe Raedle/Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The American public may be divided on “Obamacare,” but when faced with choosing a candidate to care for them if illness struck, President Obama is their man.  By a 13 point margin — 49-36 percent — registered voters polled by ABC News chose the president over Mitt Romney to nurse them back to health.

When asked who they thought “would make a more loyal friend,” the results were about the same.  By a 50-36 percent count, respondents said Obama was more likely to stick with them through trying times.

As for suppertime, still more ugly numbers for Romney.  Fifty-two percent of registered voters polled by ABC News said they’d rather have Obama visit their homes for dinner.  Just 33 percent said they’d prefer Romney at the table.

But it’s not a total wipeout for the Republican.  On what ABC News poll chief Gary Langer calls the most instructive question — which candidate they’d rather have “as the captain of a ship in a storm” — Romney loses to Obama, but by just three points, 46-43 percent.

“Obama’s advantages, in turn, include a persistent lead over Romney in empathy; registered voters by 50-40 percent think Obama better understands the economic problems people are having, and continue to rate him as more personally likeable, by a broad and steady 61-27 percent,” Langer reports.  “When the two views are tested against each other, empathy independently predicts vote preferences to a far greater degree than does likability.”

These latest numbers will only build confidence among Obama and his supporters, as the Democrats appear to be enjoying a significant post-convention bump in the polls.  The most recent figures have the president with a growing lead nationally, 50-44 percent, according to an ABC News/Washington Post survey.  Romney had been up a single point, 47-46 percent, in a poll taken just two weeks ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio