Mitt Romney is now attracting support from 50 percent of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47 percent — an indication that the GOP candidate is holding his lead and momentum after the final debate earlier this week.
More importantly, a new Rasmussen poll shows the Republican leading Obama in the crucial swing states that will determine the election, according to new data released Thursday.
The swing states collectively hold 146 Electoral College votes and include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
In the 11 swing states, Mitt Romney earns 50 percent of the vote to Obama’s 46 percent. Two percent like another candidate in the race, and another two percent are undecided.
This is now the third day in a row - and the fifth time in the past six days - that Romney has hit the 50 percent mark in the combined swing states in a Rassmussen poll.
The survey is conducted on a rolling seven-day basis, and most of the interviews for today’s update were completed before the end of Monday night’s presidential debate. Romney has now held a modest lead for 14 of the last 17 days; Obama was ahead twice, and the candidates ran even once.
The news comes as several new polls indicate Romney is losing ground in the key battleground state of Ohio while holding steady in electoral vote-rich Florida.
Even more surprisingly, an Associated Press-GfK poll released Thursday showed both candidates closing their formidable gender gaps. Romney has erased Obama's 16-point advantage among women, the poll showed. And the president, in turn, has largely eliminated Romney's edge among men.
Those churning gender dynamics leave the presidential race still a virtual dead heat, with Romney favored by 47 percent of likely voters and Obama by 45 percent, a result within the AP poll's margin of sampling error.
Heading into the first presidential debate, Obama was up two in the Rassmussen poll. Heading into the final debate, Romney had a two-point advantage.
“In the swing state of New Hampshire, Romney is up two, while the president has the edge in Nevada. In Ohio, the race is now tied at 48 percent," according to Rasmussen. But a much-discussed Time Magazine poll released Wednesday showed Romney down in Ohio by five points.
Rasmussen Reports Electoral College projections showed the president with 237 Electoral Votes and Romney 235 on Thursday. The magic number needed to win the White House is 270. Seven states with 66 Electoral College votes remain Toss-ups: Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
A president’s job approval rating is one of the best indicators for assessing his chances of reelection, according to Rasmussen. Typically, the president’s job approval rating on Election Day will be close to the share of the vote he receives. Currently, 49 percent of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's job performance. Fifty percent at least somewhat disapprove.
Obama could benefit from the economy's improving picture. The housing market is looking a little stronger. Fifty-five percent of homeowners now believe their home is worth more than the mortgage.
Rasmussen Reports polling tends to show less volatility than other polls for a variety of reasons. In 2008, it showed virtually no change during the final 40 days of the campaign.
Then-candidate Obama was between 50 percent and 52 percent in our polling every single day. He generally held a five- or six-point lead, occasionally bouncing up to an eight-point advantage and only once falling below a four point-lead. This stable assessment of the race is consistent with the reality of what we know about voter behavior. Obama won the election by a 53 percent to 46 percent margin.
Intensity of support or opposition can have an impact on campaigns. Currently, 29 percent of the nation's voters strongly approve of the way Obama is performing as president, according to Rasmussen Forty-one percent strongly disapprove, giving him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -12 .
During midterm elections, intensity of support can have a tremendous impact on turnout. That was demonstrated in 2010 when Republicans and unaffiliated voters turned out in large numbers to express opposition to the Obama administration’s policies.
However, in presidential election years, there is a smaller impact on turnout. Still, all indications so far for Election 2012 suggest that Republicans are more engaged and more likely to turn out.
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