Obama 50%-Romney 45% in new poll
September 18th, 2012
10:21 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama 50%-Romney 45% in new poll

(CNN) - A new national poll released Tuesday indicates President Barack Obama with a slight edge over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, with the candidates' numbers virtually unchanged compared to their positions before the two parties' conventions.

The NBC News/ Wall Street Journal survey found Obama at 50% and Romney at 45% among likely voters. The president's five point edge is up slightly from a four point 48%-44% margin over Romney in an NBC/WSJ survey conducted in mid August, just before the Republican and Democratic conventions. Obama's five point advantage in the new poll is within the survey's sampling error, meaning the race can be seen as a tie.

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The new poll was conducted entirely before Monday afternoon's release of secret recordings of remarks that Romney made at a private fund-raiser in May, where he described supporters of President Barack Obama as dependent on government. Fallout from the controversial clips has dominated coverage of the race for the White House for the past 24 hours.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is the eighth national non-partisan live operator survey to be conducted entirely after the end of both political conventions earlier this month. A CNN Poll of Polls which averages all eight surveys indicates the president at 49% and Romney at 46% among likely voters. The CNN Poll of Polls was compiled Tuesday evening, after the release of the NBC/WSJ survey. Obama's three-point advantage over Romney in the CNN Poll of Polls is approximately where the two candidates stood a month ago, before the party conventions.

Among a wider sample of registered voters, the NBC/WSJ poll indicates the president holding a 50%-44% advantage. This stands in contrast to Gallup's latest daily tracking poll of registered voters, which was also released Tuesday. According to the Gallup numbers, the president is at 47% and Romney at 46%, basically all knotted up. Obama held a seven point lead over Romney one week ago in Gallup's daily tracking poll.

According to the NBC/WSJ poll, Obama saw his high foreign policy approval ratings drop dramatically in the month since the survey was last taken. In mid-August, 54% of registered voters surveyed approved of his handling of foreign policy, while 40% disapproved. But the Tuesday ratings indicated an approval rating only 3% higher than his disapproval rating on the matter, 49% to 46%. Since the August survey was conducted, three Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, were killed in an attack on the consulate in that country, while elsewhere in the Middle East protesters have clashed with police around U.S. diplomatic posts. Romney was quick to criticize the president's handling of the situation in the Middle East.

Overall, however, Obama saw his approval rating reach 50% among registered voters for the first time since March of this year.

And registered voters also rate Obama's handling of the economy slightly better than they did last month. It now stands at 47%, up three percentage points since the August survey. .

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey included 900 interviews, 736 of whom were considered to be likely voters. The overall sampling error was 3.27%, and the poll was conducted by telephone between September 12 and 16.

Also see:

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- Obama camp wastes no time highlighting Romney tapes

- Hatch might 'die before his term' ends, opponent charges

- Biden on Romney tape: 'words speak for themselves'


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Tom

    Romney must not be elected president of the USA, he simply isn't presidential timber. If people vote for him just because they don't like President Obama, they will be voting for a man who will be an embarrassment on the world stage.

    September 18, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  2. marctheduck

    You can fool some of the people all of the time... 47% in fact... Yes We Can! LOL!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 18, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. Mike Hall

    Newsflash liberal media. We know you skew the polls 10% Democratic to reflect an Obama victory. We're not buying it anymore!

    September 18, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  4. Joe Crazel

    What will the polls say when gas goes over $5 per gallon. Obama blunders in the Middle East are permanent and will serve to hamper any chance of recovery

    September 18, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  5. Wanderer

    Like the election year in 2008, by now, the poll does not mean anything. It is done, the majority of Americans already made up their mind, I think. About Romney’s remarks made in the controversial, secretly recorded video, I think we should forgive him, since the moment he got out of his mother’s womb, he has never lived a life of the 99% so there is no way he understands how the 47% is living.

    September 18, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  6. Left-of-Center Independent

    These polls are interesting, but they completely ignore the electoral college system. This is unfortunate because the electoral college is actually how President's get elected in America. So maybe Obama has a 5 point lead over Romney. Ok. So what. What matters is how the votes will swing in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, etc.

    I guess these polls give an interesting snap shot of the country, but come election day, they will mean little if anything at all.

    September 18, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  7. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

    As someone who is watching from the North and cannot have a say in the upcoming American election, I have one question: How is it possible that Mitt Romney can with?

    September 18, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  8. Brian monosso

    Romney to win or we are in serious trouble.

    September 18, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    Rasmussen has Romney up over the uhbama, 47-45.

    September 18, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  10. doregroj

    those numbers would not make anybody on either camp very comfortable.

    September 18, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  11. jimzcarz

    Mitt's gonna campaign himself right out of the election at this rate..Get the Popcorn.

    September 19, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  12. native

    A liberal pole from ted turners corporate liberal media, NOT REALITY. There are more that 2 parties, to both do not own all of the votes. Biased media, welcome to America!

    September 19, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  13. pinko

    Just goes to show 45% of America is brain dead.

    September 19, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  14. Joanne

    Who was recording this? How is Romney wrong in what he said? I think it makes him stronger because he is not scripted. He only says what people are thinking behind closed doors. Hats off to Gov. Romney for speaking the truth. It's refreshing. The only ones who are taking insult to it are the ones living off the government.

    September 19, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  15. Jeff

    ‎"The American system of limited government and free enterprise has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed. We don't want to replace that. We want to renew and revitalize that." – Paul Ryan

    September 19, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  16. David Kuklinski

    This is either a liberal or conservative lie. You choose.

    September 19, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  17. tom wittmann

    There is no statistical tie, as the spread is 3.6$, meaning that Obama is minimum 1.4%, mac 8.6$ ahead!!!

    And obviously, this not include the "secret Video" onsequences

    September 19, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  18. tom wittmann

    Obviously, this notinclude the fall out of the "secret Video"!!

    September 19, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  19. betterdays

    At least Romney told the truth and then stood behind it. That's good enough for me.

    By the way, I'm voting straight Republican for the first time in my life. I'm voting for one local levy out of eight: our public library. Perhaps one person might accidentally learn something there some day, in between posting gang photos on Facebook and checking out twelve bad "comedy" DVDs at a time.

    September 19, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  20. James Smith

    I have come to believe this Presidential Election will turn decisive based on the debates and the next GDP/Jobs Report. It is beginning to feel a lot like 1980 election. The undecided voters will break in the final two weeks. There are many similariities to 1980; economic conditions, unrest in the Middle East, and a sitting weak President.

    September 19, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  21. AlphaPoe

    Obama will win by a big margin. There are just too many negatives about Romney and every time he opens his mouth, he makes it worse for himself. There are many closet democrats out there who are worrying about themselves and their families and know the republicans will not help the working poor. Romney doesn't even tried to hide it when he says middle class means $250,000 a year when $40,000 is middle class.

    September 19, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  22. Saperstein

    Might be informative for you to give the Dem/Rep/Ind sampling breakdown. Wasn't it a bit skewed??

    September 19, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  23. Socrates

    Obama leading Romney by 5 points and the gap is going to get bigger. The secret tapes and Romney hidden shore accounts are going to buried Romney. Mitt is gone for good.

    September 19, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  24. 3 quarters

    The only poll that counts in on Nov 3. Whoever you support vote! Until then support them with money

    September 19, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  25. Mike

    If the popular vote in the election (not electoral vote) turns out to be ~5% difference somehow it is considered a landslide victory and the "will of the people." I am very concerned when our elections are this close, as it simply shows the lack of unification in our country.

    September 19, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
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