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. Borderless

    I can't wait to hear Obama's creative excuses for this fail. Last time it was:
    –Too polite
    –Romney was looking him in the eyes
    –Surprised by the mention of Big Bird
    –Didn't know how to react to Romney's "lies"
    –Altitude
    –He had other, important presidential things on his mind like golf, guest appearances on talk shows, his rich pampered friends in the entertainment industry

    What will it be this time, Mr. Obama? "The sun was in my eyes"? "I ate a bad burrito"? "My horoscope said I shouldn't debate that day"?

    October 15, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. shu

    SMJ, Well said. The choice is clear, Obama/Biden 2012.

    October 15, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. joebob

    Obvious the people who still believe the jobless rate is still at 7.8% have yet to been informed one state didnt file all its unemployment and jobless figures they left out a huge chunk two weeks in a row! The numbers will be out this week!

    October 15, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. DOG1

    Is it just me or is lt really coincidental that it's FORTY SEVEN percent? Seems that FORTY SEVEN percent is haunting the white horse prophesy candidate?

    October 15, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Sam

    To Andy Scott.
    Agree with you that recovery is the slowest since great depression. May be that is because the Bush'08 crisis was the worst since great depression?
    And, lookup the word "recovery" definition. It is an improvement. I agree, may be slower than desired. Yet it is stiil an improvement. Not like free fall of Bush's "business oriented economy". GOP is ashamed to even invite him to convention, or any other event. Romney will be the same.

    October 15, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. KC Yankee

    The media is neither left-leaning nor right-leaning. The media's interest is in keeping up the perception that this is a close race to maximize clicks on the website. (Follow the money . . . ) What's interesting and dangerous is that by telling people it's close the media will eventually produce a close race because many people are stupid enough to allow their vote to be dictated to them by polls and news stories.

    October 15, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Big_D

    The Koch brothers can spend 400 million on this election but they can't afford one more dime in taxes. The GOP and Romney make me sick.

    October 15, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. n

    This election is a sham and we the people are being played for suckers, while being sold to the highest bidder. Polls are of the most despicable kind. Are they polling the same folks or are they polling a different set of people each time? America this is very bad, we have somehow been transported to another place and time. A place where we are told how to think and what to think. We are told how we should react, what to hate and how to hate, who to blame. We are told who's trust worthy and who's a crook, even if our own eyes and mind tell us differently. Wake up America, you think the rich give a hoot about the 99% ? Only the ones who would walk in the real shoes of America can govern fairly with out favoring one class over the other. Look at where Jesus was born, in a barn and presented to the world in a manger. They laid fresh hay in the manger, a animal feeding trough and was presented to the world. Jesus grew up in the mist of sin and that is how he was able to deliver the lost sheep of Israel out of sin. So what make you think this Romney guy cares about your plight?

    October 15, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. MuckFohammad

    The Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error? LOL. Whatever you say Herr Goebels!

    October 15, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. annieL

    The Republican attack on Obama for the Libyan embassy terrorist attack is just a diversion. If Romney wants to pull out all our troops and close our all embassies in the Middle East, that would be a position worth our attention. Anything else he has to say about it is just political posturing that makes no difference to any American citizen except those whose loved ones died in the attack and want to know how it happened.

    October 15, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Da Truth

    Not sure why I even read these comments anymore. These little angry, boo hoo Obama drones who know little or nothing of real life, rec'v all of their info from the liberal, idiotic media or perhaps their under-achieving College professors that hate everything, esp this country. Can you feel it drones??? It's coming... Obama is way over his head and will soon get a one way ticket back to Chicago baby! Btw, is it me or does Axelrod resemble Meathead from "All in the Family" ?

    October 15, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. California Gary

    I think if you drill down on those improving poll numbers for Romney, you are likely to find that he is making gains in states that were already going to vote for him. And I expect he will take a hit after tomorrow night's debate. He has been running around patting himself on the back and bragging about his first performance.......but this format will likely expose him once again as someone who not only doesn't understand the average person, but doesn't give a hoot about them either.

    October 15, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. jen

    dead heat...hahah...tv needs ratings.....to be able to contribute millions to the campaigns....what a joke.....whats the electoral votes? what a shame, the election is already over......

    October 15, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Vince

    Enough with this "liberal media" BS. There is no such thing...give me a break! The VAST majority of media is conservative leaning...I can name maybe 2 left leaning radio talk shows...but give you 10 right leaning ones...and their ratings blow the other 2 out of the water...so enough with this media bias ridiculousness. Win on your ideas and stop crying because "the media" doesn't give you a "fair" shake...please!

    October 15, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    During the remaing debates, Romney is also going to try to score political points by arguing that the President didn't seek congressional approval for the Libyan war and that the Libyan was was illegitimate. However, for over a year on the campaign trail, Romney has used the word "leading from behind" freely when it comes to our limited role in helping to maintain a now fly zone in Libya. So if our involvement in Libya was illegitimate, then how is our involvement considered "leading from behind.?" That is deceitful hypocrisy. And during these debates, I just hope the President put Romney on the defense by asking what he means by leading from behind? Furthermore, I just hope the President would ask Romney why it is that prior to our involvement in Libya, the GOP and the right wing media accused him of "dragging his feet and doing nothing to help the people of Libya," only to flip-flop on their position and accuse the President of "rushing to war" while they ask sarcastically "what's the mission and the end game? And by the way., I wonder what was the mission and the end game in Iraq and Afghanistan? The Iraqi war lasted 7 years, with no WMDs to account for and has cost trillions of dollars and took thousands of American lives and that war finally came to an end thanks to President Obama. And 11 years later, we are still fighting and suffering casualties in Afghanistan. Yes, I hope the President comes out swinging.

    October 15, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Paul

    If Romney wins, the cavier (sp) and fine scotch will be flowing like water. The rich will party because they know that their taxes will be cut by hundreds of thousands–AND they also know that the middle class will pay for it.

    October 15, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. n

    This election is a sham and we the people are being played for suckers, while being sold to the highest bidder. Polls are of the most despicable kind. Are they polling the same folks or are they polling a different set of people each time? America this is very bad, we have somehow been transported to another place and time. A place where we are told how to think and what to think. We are told how we should react, what to hate, how to hate and who to blame. We are told who's trust worthy and who's a crook, even if our own eyes and mind tell us differently. Wake up America, you think the rich give a hoot about the the middle class? Only the ones who would walk in the real shoes of America can govern fairly with out favoring one class over the other. Look at where The Son of Man was born, in a barn and presented to the world in a manger. They laid fresh hay in the manger, a animal feeding trough and was presented to the world. The Son grew up in the mist of sin and that is how he was able to deliver the lost sheep of Israel out of sin. So what make you think this Romney guy cares about your plight?

    October 15, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. World Peace

    CNN’s polling
    A bit misleading
    Polarized statements by chief international correspondent
    Leaves the voters despondent
    Journalism needs fair criticism
    No uncalled pessimism

    October 15, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. SHARON CHAMBERS

    It is my understanding and I wish someone would fact check it, that the request for more security was not for Bengazi but for Tripoli. Republicans are so adept at leaving out the facts!

    October 15, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. robert

    dont forget. When roms and obama debated on first time. Obama had the UN that was right on top of same day, not much of Chance to get ready when there is a UN meeting going on. Though anyway! I wanna go to disneyland :(

    October 15, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. chupacabra

    I am 63 yrs old so I still remember, now I ask you...republican and democrat alike....does anyone out there besides me remember how good life was before george w bush? ?...think about it....

    October 15, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. king ugbert

    SMJ – check your numbers. The DJIA is at the same level today as it was in 2008. The 7.8% unemployment number is not accurate due to the "lost" claims (new rate to be published in a couple of weeks). Fewer people working now than when Obama took office (a slight increase in the number of jobs, more people working lower paying multiple part-time jobs – not an improvement) Three years of the largest deficits in our history, ~6 trillion dollars added to our debt in 3.5 years.

    October 15, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Howard

    OBAMA, BIDEN. and AXELROD, excuse their mishandling, lies, and cover-up of the Libya debacle, by blaming the intelligence community for failing to provide proper and timely information ... George Bush invaded Iraq, based on improper intelligence regarding WMD's in Iraq's arsenal ... however Obama, Biden, and Axelrod never accepted that excuse ... in fact, they crucified George Bush for FOUR YEARS, ad nauseum, in response to his using that explanation.

    October 15, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. XXX

    Romney campaign has made a very big mistake. From the beginning they didn't pick up one issue and sell it over, and over, and over again so that it sticks in peoples mind. Touching one issue, leave it in few weeks, jumps onto the other is not a smart strategy. Now they are holding on the Benghazi tragedy! Hmmm! I do wonder whether this one can work, keeping in mind it is not the first US embassy was attacked abroad. It was by good luck(thanks god) that ambassadors (in the case of attack in East Africa embassies) survived, but some of the workers lost their lives.

    October 15, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. works4me

    its amazing how that 47 percent just keeps popping up, huh mitt. I don't understand how anybody could let you slide on that statement.
    then again I don't understand how anybody could let you slide on your taxes. just what is your hiding in there mitt

    October 15, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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