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 the president and former governor of Massachusetts each supported by 47 percent, a slight gain for Obama following an Oct. 4-7 Pew poll that showed Romney ahead, 49 percent to 45 percent.
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 8 points among men.
The president had a 13-point edge among women and a 1-point advantage among men in the 2008 election exit polls.
“This thing is too close to call,” said Michael Dimock, associate director of the 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.”
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. Three percent of its patient visits in 2010 were abortion-related, and health-related issues accounted for 63 percent.
His running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has voted to cut off federal contraceptive funding for low- income women and co-sponsored legislation to limit federal funds for abortions to victims of “forcible rape.”
Obama led among black voters, 93 percent to 2 percent, while Romney was ahead among whites, 57 percent to 37 percent in the survey conducted by the nonpartisan Washington-based Pew Center. Obama’s edge among black voters was the same as in the 2008 exit polls, while he lost among whites by 12 points.
Romney fared better 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.
Ryan has sponsored House Republican-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.
Romney also has called for repealing Obama’s 2010 health- care law that provides financial help for prescription drugs for current Medicare recipients and extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by reducing payments to hospitals as well as private insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans.
“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.
The survey of 1,495 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
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