The survey of 1,000 likely voters from April 29 through May 3, which gives the presumptive Republican nominee 48 percent of the vote over the president’s 47 percent, was a significant change from a similar poll in February, where Obama led Romney by 9 points.
Despite what amounts to a statistical dead heat, there were several good signs for Romney in the poll, including a 10-point lead over the president of 48 percent to 38 percent among those who identified themselves as independents.
According to Politico, the former Massachusetts governor also scored a 6-point lead over Obama among those who said they were “extremely likely” to vote in November.
But when it came to what the poll described as “sharing your values” issues, Obama came out ahead of Romney by 10 points, 50 percent to 40 percent.
The president also did well on the question about which candidate would stand up more for the middle class, beating Romney by 58 percent to 35 percent.
However, the president’s job approval rating has dropped five points since February to 48 percent.
Survey participants also weighed in on Congress, giving it only a 13 percent approval rating. But there were no signs in the survey of a willingness among voters to wipe the slate clean by turning out incumbents on both sides.
If the election were held today, the survey found that Republicans would be elected to Congress by a narrow margin of 45 percent over the Democrats’ 43 percent.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who helped Republican pollster Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group conduct the poll, told Politico
the latest survey indicated “a predictable tightening of the race.”
“You have both sides very consolidated,” she said. “There are no signs of fissures on either side, but you have the Democrats less enthusiastic than the Republicans.”
On the economy, the poll found that Americans appear to be split fairly evenly on how the president has handled the nation's financial situation. Forty percent said they believe he has made it better, while 39 percent said his policies have made it worse.
But Goeas noted that the 19 percent who said they don’t believe Obama’s policies have had any impact would likely decide the outcome of the race.
“Do they break to believing the economy is better? Do they break to believing the economy is not better?” he told Politico. “Watch that. It’s key.”
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