All knotted up ahead of second Obama-Romney showdown
October 15th, 2012
01:45 PM ET
6 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)

    If a Republican were president, the Lybian terror attach would have been handled much differently by our progressively bias media.
    We'd see reporters camped outside of Hillary's house, outside Rice's house, and outside the WH, all demanding a full-blown press conference on what happened during these attacks and when the administration was notified. Not to mention the terror warnings that pointedly stated, "we're coming after you on September 10th",
    Yet Biden and Obama say they didn't have any actionable intelligence? Which is just ridiculous. And yet look and see, all those progressive reporters still sitting in Obama's lap, like poodles, incompetent and culpable due to dereliction of duty.

    October 15, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Dave

    The entire election process is amusing as it is every four years. Congressman Ryan hasn't been able to get the Democratic Senate to approve his budget plan for two years, so why does everyone think they would approve it if Romney won. As long as we have a split House/Senate along party lines, promises are just promises. Plus, Bush tax credits will expire on Obama's watch even if he loses. Fortunately, there is a lot more interesting things to watch on television then this mess.

    October 15, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. SMJ

    Jobless claims today, lowest in 4.5 years. Stock market up 60% from 2008. Unemployment at 7.8% with 32 months of private sector job growth. Housing prices up. GM saved; bin Laden dead. Equal pay for women. Troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Roe v Wade is still law. We have turned a corner and MUST continue heading FORWARD.

    October 15, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Hillcrester

    Both candidates OBVIOUSLY "understand" the need for economic growth–and it is foolish to claim otherwise–they just have different ideas about what is the best way to pursue it.

    October 15, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Milton K. Wiah


    October 15, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. The REAL Truth...

    All tied up? These polls are ridiculous CNN. The last months worth of political editorial is all about keeping this mess at the forefront of the so-called news, keeping R&R in the hunt so the right wing can label you as "liberal MSM". Get a grip.. R&R have nothing to offer middle-class Amurika, except more of what already ails them. Period.

    October 15, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Patriot

    Odd, all the polls (listed on Politico) show Obama ahead... not by much but ahead. That's not a 'dead heat' folks.

    October 15, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Obama-Biden 2012

    GOP – new name – Party of the Grand Old Propaganda – I can't believe people in this country are that stupid to believe all their lies! Drink the kool-aid folks! Romney is so driven to win he will lie to win over conservatives, moderates and anyone in between. He can't decide what side of the fence to sit on (or fall off). The only thing they are good at is spinning... Look at what Biden said in the debate – Ryan was against the economic expansion and sent letters to the administration asking for money for his state... Are your for it or just went its convenient??!

    October 15, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. World Peace

    Romney doesn’t care about everyone
    One should be wary of his plan
    Thinks only about the rich
    He might leave the poor in the ditch
    We don’t buy what he pitch
    Politically Mitt doesn’t fit

    October 15, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. See Novak

    Well, the Congress hasn't even passed a budget of ANY kind in 3 years, so don't criticize Ryan. BTW, the fact that the Benghazi cover-up scandal isn't even COVERED by CNN website is a striking testament to the quality/integrity of the media these days. WARS have ben fought over murdered ambassadors, and CNN's coverage is "like it never happened".

    October 15, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Guest

    We all know how accurate CNN Polls are....

    October 15, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. World Peace

    Obama, Mr Civility
    Romney, Mr Hostility

    Obama with great composure
    Romney with indecent exposure

    Obama’s comely winks
    Romney’s nervous blinks

    America wake up
    Keep Obama on top

    October 15, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Sniffit

    "Both candidates OBVIOUSLY "understand" the need for economic growth–and it is foolish to claim otherwise–they just have different ideas about what is the best way to pursue it."

    Both candidates OBVIOUSLY "understand" the need for economic growth–and it is foolish to claim otherwise–they just have different ideas about WHO SHOULD BENEFIT FROM IT.


    October 15, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. Andy Scott

    Worst economy since Jimmy Carter. Slowest recovery since the great depression. Time to get a real president not someone who just spends his time making speeches to select audiences and someone who wants to work.

    October 15, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Willie Floyd

    Debate should be very interesting considering Crowley is sooo pro-Robney!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    October 15, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. CNN just wants a close race

    CNN tries to push results that would indicate this is a close race, but make no mistake Obama is going to trounce Romney on election day!!

    October 15, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. SCOTO

    Dont believe its this close. Just building up the drama

    October 15, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. The REAL Truth...

    It's OK for a Republican administration to "out" an ACTIVE CIA operative and lie about WMD in Iraq without ANY recourse, yet the Benghazi incident causes a "chicken little" reaction from the right because we have a Dem as POTUS ???
    How much more asinine can these people get ?

    October 15, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. imputt

    No wonder noone watches mainstream media news any more. They are all going to Fox

    October 15, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Saboth

    I'm wondering if Romney somehow wins and we go through another financial meltdown in 4-8 years because Romney implemented the same failed policies (tax breaks for the rich, wars, deregulation of banks) that caused our most current financial collapse, if Republicans will attempt to blame it on Obama.

    October 15, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Sam

    Romney plan:
    1. Cut taxes
    2. Repeal Obamacare – who needs pre-existing condition coverage, when you can pay cash for all your medical needs?
    3. Repeal regulations, so banks can take super-profits, crash the system and get another bailout a la Bush'08
    4. Start war with Iran, so that everyone will have to pay for all of the above.

    October 15, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. ash

    Most recent polls show Romney ahead

    October 15, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Maihoa44

    Questioen to Milton K. Wiah: Why should you care? The issue here should be who can offer a strategy to get the economy out of stagnant mode as it is in. Assume Romney has a foreign bank account, who cared?

    October 15, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Reggiedw

    In response to Willie Floyd: If Crowley was a pro-Romney she would not be working at CNN. CNN only hires liberals/democrats to do their reporting that is why they are losing ground to Foxnews. The only thing that CNN has not done is to officially endorse Obama but all of their reporting is pro-Obama.

    October 15, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. Andy Scott

    I don't know anyone who is happy with Obama's first term. Some people tolerate it but no one is happy.

    October 15, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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