All knotted up ahead of second Obama-Romney showdown
October 15th, 2012
01:45 PM ET
2 years ago

All knotted up ahead of second Obama-Romney showdown

Hempstead, New York (CNN) – On the eve of the second presidential debate here at Hofstra University on Long Island, a new survey suggests that the race for the White House is a dead heat.

A CNN Poll of Polls that averages seven non-partisan, live operator, national surveys conducted entirely after the first presidential debate on October 3rd indicates President Barack Obama at 47% and Republican nominee Mitt Romney at 48% among likely voters.

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The seven surveys averaged in the CNN Poll of Polls are: American Research Group (Oct. 11-14); Gallup Daily Tracking Poll (Oct. 7-13); ABC News/Washington Post (Oct.10-13); Politico/George Washington University (Oct. 7-10); Monmouth University (Oct. 8-10); Fox News (Oct.7-9); and Pew Research Center (Oct. 4-7). Since it's an average of multiple surveys, the Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error.

The closeness of the numbers accentuates just how much is on the line when Obama and Romney faceoff Tuesday night at a town hall style debate.

"The new polls show the race has snapped back to the fundamentals. The margin of comfort Obama enjoyed in September is gone; it was based on voters who were dissatisfied with his performance but didn't see Romney as a viable alternative," says CNN Senior Political Analyst and National Journal Editorial Director Ron Brownstein. "Clearly at the first debate, Romney crossed that threshold for many of those voters. Which means we are back in a race that is structurally close, and linked tightly toward Obama's performance."

But the presidential election is not a national popular vote contest. Instead it's a race for the states and their electoral votes. And a new CNN Poll of Polls in the crucial swing state of Virginia, where 13 electoral votes are up for grabs, indicates it's all knotted up, with Obama at 48% and Romney at 47% among likely voters. The three surveys used to make the average are NBC/WSJ/Marist (Oct. 7-9); Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times (Oct. 4-9); and American Research Group (Oct. 12-14).

And CNN Poll of Polls compiled and released over the weekend in two of the biggest battlegrounds, Ohio (where 18 electoral votes are up for grabs) and Florida (where 29 are at stake) also indicate close contests.

Going beyond the top-line numbers, the new ABC News/Washington Post and Politico/George Washington University national surveys indicate a rise in the former Massachusetts governor's favorable ratings, most likely as a result of perceptions of what was generally regarded as Romney's strong performance in the debate in Denver on October 3. The Politico/George Washington poll indicates the president's once large advantage on favorability has disappeared.

The numbers suggest the president has a large to-do list Tuesday night when he shares the stage again with Romney.

"As you see in these polls, the president's job approval rating remains right around 50 percent-which means we are likely heading for a very close finish. It also means that among the many challenges facing Obama in the next debate, the first among equals is convincing wavering voters that he has a plan to make the next four years better than the last four –something he almost utterly failed to convey at the first debate, and which has allowed Romney to be heard "as the voice of change," as Stan Greenberg and James Carville put it in a Democracy Corps memo released this morning," adds Brownstein.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Debate • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Critical Thinking

    I think this will be a problem for the President tomorrow night.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters that her agency was not the source of misinformation concerning the attacks, charging instead that the White House was the source of the false mantra that the murders were spurred by an anti-Muslim film made in the United States.
    Clinton told reporters that when Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her rounds on every Sunday morning news show to claim the film motivated the attacks, the information had been fed to her by the White House and not the intelligence community in the State Department or the CIA.
    Not only does Clinton’s statement contradict early White House accounts but directly contradicts statements made by Vice President Biden during the debate.

    Start packing Mr. President.

    October 15, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. BrianCK

    "All tied up ahead of second Obama-Romney showdown"...The folks at CNN hoped.

    October 15, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Crooked Bridge

    @ Critical Thinking...So this is a defining foreign policy incident? Odd, considering there were domestic and foreign incidents that occurred under the first 4 years of the Bush/Rice administration, yet had no effect on Bush's re-election Consistency is a virtue.

    October 15, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  4. chris

    i can not wait to see which Liberal win the white horse

    October 15, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. cf

    CNN is no longer a reliable source of information after their "poll" showing that Ryan won the VP debate. As much as CNN wants to believe Romney has a chance of beating Obama, it isn't the truth.

    October 15, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Gina

    If we are talking foreign policy – Romney loses. I have talked to many of my republican and democratic friends – we are all tired of war and "saber rattling" is not conducive to a vote. He talks about increased spending for defense – which lets be clear is not to help the soldiers or the Veterans but the defense contractors. Bob Gates, a great republican, even stated that the military can trim down. Romney is focused on Russia – WHAT YEAR IS IT MITT? Why can we not focus on building up this country?

    October 15, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Paul

    I think the problem for President Obama is they only give him 90 minutes to list every Al Quida person he has killed in 4 years. I am not sure how he is going to accomplish such a feat.

    Republicans are trying to equate 2012 Lybia to 1979 Iran and paint Barack Obama as Jimmy Carter. The difference is Romney is not Reagan and we not longer have a bi partisan House or Senate.

    MARK words I will VOTE against ANY Democrat who works with Romney and vote in anyone who promises gridlock to stop his Ayn Rand philosophy from destroying this country!

    October 15, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Hmofdabrv

    I hope Obama answers the questions presented to him by the people & the moderator doesnt try to steal the show and turn it into a 2-1 against Romney. I also hope to see some honesty regarding Benghazigate.

    October 15, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Critical Thinking

    @Crooked Bridge

    If you don't think that an attack on soveriegn U.S. territory and the killing of an ambassador and 3 other americans, who's commander-in-chief lied about what had happened and then tried to throw the Sec. of State under the bus in order to hold on desperately to a job that he can't handle is ok, then there really is not hope for you.

    October 15, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. Steven

    Debates are worthless. We cannot decide the faith of the country in 90 min debate sessions. I Being from OH, my mind has been made up who of the two candidates will obtain my vote. Needless to watch the debate.

    October 15, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Neutral Observer

    I think the message President BO will get from Bidens debate is to put his head down and charge ahead with loud beligerent quacking. He and his supporters have confused sheer volume with thoughtul reason and he will do his best to completely ignore his mideast debacle. Expect him to display new lows in civilized debate. I hope average viewer sees through it.

    October 15, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Mete Krop

    I think the winner in this race is Obama. Early voting all went to in favour of Obama and this 47% tie all reamining after the early voting considered. So, the early voting plus Obama's share of the 47% percent will definitly make him a winer. Also, don't foreget the 49% Romney comment will make the damage on his ability to win this race.

    October 15, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Concerned About You All...

    Who are you people really? Why do you think that any sitting adminstration would want an ambassor to be killed? What is wrong with you people?

    October 15, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. MrBeenThere

    Remember it's OK when done under a Republican rule and your un-American if you even mention it, but it's a impeachable offense if a mistake happens when Dem's are at the helm

    October 15, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Concerned About You All...

    Why don't you stop this horrible hate and blame who is at fault- TERRORIST did this unspeakable thing. What is wrong with you people?

    October 15, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    I sure will like to see Candy Crowley press Willard The Tax Evader on the AMNESTY he & 4000+ Americans were granted by the U.S. government in 2009 for having their money in Union Bank of Switzerland(UBS). But I doubt that will happen since it's becoming more and more evident that CNN is in Willard's back pocket.

    October 15, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Treadstone

    If Romney was actually a competent politician, I'd feel compelled to vote for him out of disappointment in Obama's disastrous showing at the first debate. A massive lead completely vaporized by a sleepy, submissive reaction to Romney's lies and rudeness.

    October 15, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Chuck Hendrix

    Perhaps if more Americans had the facts, they would vote accordingly. For instance the claim by Republicans and conservatives that the 47% people that have no tax liability are lazy, leeches or welchers or not carrying there "fair load" I wonder why no Republican or conservative has asked the question "Who are these people". Could it be because you do not want to know? Let me help you with some information that NO Republican or Conservative will ever repeat.

    Enlisted Military Personnel serving in Combat areas have no income tax liability. They are exempt.
    Senior citizens working part time to supplement meager Social Security pensions. A pension that they receive because they paid into all their working lives. They still have to work but do not earn enough working part-time to have a tax liability in most cases.
    Students going to college and working part time to try to pay for college. They do not earn enough to have a tax liability.
    Disabled people who can not work.
    The unemployed. Not much most people can do when there are no jobs to be had.
    The underpaid. They do not earn enough to have a tax liability. It does not mean they are lazy.

    Meanwhile, Republicans and conservatives have no problem with "tax subsidies" and tax holidays for "business" like the petroleum industry.

    October 15, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. Ben

    @Paul youre much happier with karl marx's philosophy right? give me a break. economic growth is exactly what this country needs and theres only one candidate who actually understands that

    October 15, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. Mike

    Fox News is non-partisan?

    October 15, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. You Don't Say?

    The only poll that's going to matter is the one taken the day of the election.

    October 15, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. troy

    If they're tied up, this means Romney bounce is fading. He was ahead by 3 points just a few days ago. Looks like people are coming back to their sense. Look for Obama to be ahead by this Friday.

    October 15, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Neutral Observer

    Concerned About You All...:
    The fact is President Obama intentionally lied to American People. I'm sure he did not want those people to die. But they did. After multiple requests for protection, BO ignored them and now he has to explain why. The reason for the lie is that he and his whole Admin (Sec of State included) were so happy about the arab spring. And now it turns out that the new rulers are just as barbaric and religious fanatics as well. And he cant blame any of this on Bush

    October 15, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. IDontBelieveIt

    Polls? Who needs POLLS?

    Obama announced to the Russian Medvedev last MAY that he WOULD be re-elected. That was 8 MONTHS before any American citizen exercised their right to vote for their President!

    How come NOBODY in America thought this was:-
    [1] Unprecedented for a sitting President
    [2] Totally disrespectful of the people
    [3] Strange that Obama was convinced of the outcome so far ahead of the election?

    Tell me – somebody – are all Americans so un concern ed about that statement made by Obama? Or am I being picky?

    October 15, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    President Obama should put Romney in his place if he tries to politicize the Benghazi attacks once more. During the 1984 Presidential debates, challenger Walter Mondale never once mentioned the Beirut attack that killed 283 of our marines as a means of scoring political points and in the 2004 Presidential debates, challenger Al Gore never politicized the 9/11 attacks on our homeland or the Iraqi and Afghan wars. And by the way, the Libyan war lasted 8 months while 11 years later, we are still suffering casualties in Afghanistan simply because the GOP deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged the Afghan war to invade Iraq.

    October 15, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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