President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are tied among likely voters in a national poll released eight days before Election Day.
The Oct. 24-28 survey by the Pew Research Center found Obama and the former governor of Massachusetts each supported by 47 percent, a slight gain for the president from an Oct. 4-7 Pew poll that showed Romney ahead, 49 percent to 45 percent. The poll of 1,495 likely voters released yesterday has an error margin of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
An ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll also had the race a dead heat, at 49 percent for each candidate. In the survey, 66 percent said Obama’s policies would favor the middle class while 53 percent said Romney’s policies would favor the wealthy. The Oct. 25-28 survey of 1,259 likely voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
An NPR News survey Oct. 23-25 also found a virtual tie nationwide, with Romney inching ahead by one percentage point.
In a smaller poll of 12 swing states — Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida — Obama led by four points. Both findings were within the survey’s margin of error of three points nationally and 4.5 points for the swing states.
Gallup’s daily tracking poll of about 2,700 likely voters showed Romney ahead, 51 percent to 46 percent. The survey, taken Oct. 22-28, had a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.
In the Pew poll, Obama led, 50 percent to 44 percent, among likely women voters, while Romney led, 51 percent to 44 percent, among men. The earlier poll found Obama and Romney tied among women while Romney led by eight points among men.
The president had a 13-point edge among women and a one- point advantage among men in the 2008 election exit polls.
“This thing is too close to call,” said Michael Dimock, associate director of the Washington-based Pew Research Center. “Romney got a big bump out of the first debate and while the public assessments of the next two debates were more favorable to Obama, it didn’t undo the gains Romney made.”
Obama and Romney initially faced off in an Oct. 3 debate, followed by encounters on Oct. 16 and Oct. 22. Thirty-six percent of 1,678 registered voters surveyed as part of the Pew poll said this year’s debates led them to have a better opinion of Romney compared with 18 percent for Obama.
In the closely contested state of Florida, Romney had a one-point lead over Obama among likely voters, 50 percent to 49 percent, in a CNN/ORC International poll taken Oct. 25-28. The poll of 770 likely voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Romney also had a one-point lead in a CNN survey taken Oct 17-18.
The latest Pew survey found voters, by 48 percent to 39 percent, supporting Obama over Romney on abortion rights. Romney has pledged to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides health services to women as part of its work. Three percent of its patient visits in 2010 were abortion-related, and health-related issues accounted for 63 percent, according to the group.
Obama led among black voters, 93 percent to 2 percent, while Romney was ahead among whites, 57 percent to 37 percent, in the survey by the nonpartisan Washington-based Pew Center. Obama’s advantage among black voters was the same as in the 2008 exit polls, while he lost among whites by 12 points. He won the overall popular vote in that race against Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, 53 percent to 46 percent.
Romney fares better in the Pew poll than Obama on which candidate would better improve the jobs situation, 50 percent to 42 percent, and reduce the budget deficit, 51 percent to 37 percent. Obama holds an advantage on foreign policy, 50 percent to 42 percent, and handling Medicare, 48 percent to 43 percent.
Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has sponsored House-passed legislation that would replace traditional Medicare for future recipients 10 years from now with vouchers to buy private insurance or a government plan with a cap on expenditures.
“This new poll seems to suggest things are not continuing to move in Romney’s direction but this is about as close as it could get,” Dimock said.
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