The slight lead President Barack Obama maintained over Mitt Romney is gone — and both candidates are now in a heart-stopping dead heat, a new NewsmaxZogby poll released today shows.
“It’s tied, and not a virtual tie, it’s actually tied,’’ veteran pollster John Zogby told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.
“And it’s moved. Romney’s gone up a couple of points; Obama’s gone down a point.’’
Watch the exclusive interview here.
Another plus for Romney is his rising support among independents — more than half of those surveyed say they disapprove of the job the president is doing.
That bodes well for Romney “at least at the moment. These things are all about momentum and momentum becomes more and more important the closer you get to the actual Election Day,’’ Zogby said.
“So this kind of momentum can thrust him into a lead precisely when he needs to be in the lead which is November 6th. So, for example, when we started our polling and Obama was leading by three points overall, it was by virtue of Obama leading among independents. That’s how volatile independents can be.
“Just over a three-day period, [there was] a complete turnover in our sample. Obama loses that lead among independents. Romney has it now. What we have to do is watch. Does he continue to build on his lead among independents, or will they be volatile and go up and down until the Election Day?’’
Independents are no doubt keeping an eye on the eleventh-hour progress of both candidates’ campaigns, Zogby agreed.
“Probably not every single day but at least watching main highlights over a few-day period,’’ he said.
“So there is volatility that’s going to happen here. But, no, they’re not tuning in or reading the blogs and the Internet and watching cable television but these are impressions and water cooler responses.’’
Zogby also said it is possible that Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson may having some negative effect on Romney’s numbers.
“If you look at the polling that we have without Johnson, it’s 48-48 tie,’’ Zogby said.
“With Johnson in, it’s Obama 48, Romney 46, Johnson two, and it’s clear, then, that Johnson’s votes are coming off of Romney’s hide. Now, look, that could be 48-48 and if Johnson gets .02 and takes it away from Romney, that could be enough to deprive Romney of the state.
“So I would say that Gary Johnson doesn’t have to be a large factor to become a huge factor.’’
In another tight race, incumbent Democrat Tim Kaine has seen his slight lead over Republican George Allen in the Virginia senate race.
“There’s so much talk about Ohio and Ohio and Florida are very important. But I’ve always maintained the importance of Virginia because Virginia not only can help, but also the future of the Senate,’’ Zogby said.
“This race is tied and, in many respects, it alone holds the balance of the U.S. Senate.’’
Asked about whom he believes has the momentum taking into account the last three days of tracking polls, Zogby isn’t a betting man just yet.
“You’ve got to ask me that next week. This is very much like 2000. We’ve seen switching momentum in this race just as we saw with Gore and Bush in 2000,’’ he said. “For the moment, Romney has momentum. Is it sustained over the next two days? I really don’t know.’’
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