Poll: Race for White House all tied up
October 21st, 2012
02:51 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Race for White House all tied up

(CNN) – With just over two weeks to go until Election Day, and Monday's presidential debate fast approaching, a new national poll taken after the second debate shows the race for the White House in a dead heat.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday shows both President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney with 47% support among likely voters. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 3.43 percentage points for that group.

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Among the larger pool of registered voters surveyed in the NBC/WSJ poll, Obama holds a five-point advantage, 49% to Romney's 44%. The margin of error for that larger group is 3.1 percentage points.

The last NBC/WSJ survey - taken before any of October's presidential debates - showed the president with a slight advantage over his Republican challenger by three points, 49% to Romney's 46%, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The difference in the surveys suggests Obama's advantage is slipping and that Romney's debate performances may have had an effect.

Romney was overwhelmingly considered the winner of the first presidential showdown, while Obama appeared to narrowly best the GOP nominee in the second debate. The candidates will square off for the final time Monday night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.

And with the debate to be squarely focused on foreign policy, the new survey shows Obama ahead of Romney by three points on the question of which candidate would be better as commander in chief. In last month's poll, Obama had an eight point margin over Romney for the same question.

The GOP nominee also fares better, 46% to 40%, in the poll when voters are asked which candidate would best handle the economy. Romney further polls ahead of Obama on jobs and unemployment, as well as the federal budget deficit.

Obama, however, has more support on likability and appeal to women and middle class voters. Sunday's survey found Obama leading among likely women voters by eight points, 51% to Romney's 43%, while Romney leads among likely male voters by ten points, 53% to Obama's 43%.

Asked which candidate would be better at dealing with issues of concern to women, 53% chose Obama, while 25% chose Romney. Asked a similar question about the middle class, Obama again falls ahead, 52% to 35%.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted from October 17-20 among 1,000 registered voters and 816 likely voters.

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. blake

    Only if you believe polls that oversample Democratic voters by 5-10%.

    October 21, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Steve Miller

    An IBD/TIPP national poll released just hours ago shows Obama with a 6 point lead against Romney.I did research on the past history of Gallup and IBD/TIPP...and IBD/TIPP was far more accurate than Gallup in the 2004 and 2008 elections.The experts were saying that any bounce Obama received in the polls would not fully show up in polling until about 5 days after the second debate that Obama won,it appears to be occurring now.Although republicans will hold onto the Gallup poll....which was in error by double digits in the last election.

    October 21, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. steve

    Romney made a joke at the dinner the other night about how the MSM will announce "Obama leading from behind"...Today CNN totally ignores the Gallup poll R 52% O 47% and proclaims in this article "It's all tied up"...

    October 21, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. muffin72

    I trust cnn polls about as much as I trust Obama to reduce food stamp usag

    October 21, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Jennifer

    How anyone who isn't filthy rich, or insanely obsessed with other people's sex lives, can vote for Romney is beyond me!! Unless, of course, it's out of racism, or utter stupidity!!! Or severe memory issues!!!!!

    God help this country if Barack Obama loses!!!!!!

    October 21, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. leukevent

    It became obvious to me quite some time ago as regards the Republicans plans for the economy after the recession hit and now with Romney / Ryan. You'd think that the presidents detractors in Congress would have at least given some of his legislative proposals a test run instead of ‘preventing most’ of them from even making it to the floor, via filibuster.

    Hey, why not effect some of these policies and let the results speak for themselves? If they work, good for the Country and, if they're as bad for the economy as 'some' have been saying, they can always be rescinded and the president would have hung himself!

    As it turns out, the bulk and most pertinent of the presidents policies were held up and he's getting blamed for the sorry state of the economy..............I think you get the picture. Yes, I do think it's time for a change, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Boehner, Mr. Rubio et al. MOVE OVER!!!

    October 21, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. some truth

    theres no real difference between either party or either candidate, both bend over for special interests and lobbyists.

    Both beat feet to keep Ron Paul silenced when he mentioned End the Fed

    October 21, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Sodapophead

    I'm relying on the women of this country to save our butts and vote for Obama, I can't believe so many men are that stupid.

    October 21, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    between the dumb and dumber.

    no, between the rotten and the rottener.

    October 21, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. 2020

    yes, never before gun is so accessible to all people. In a trade show a kid can get a gun. This is crazy only this country abuse the notion of freedom.

    As a result, many innocent lives, husband, wife, children, old and young, man and woman, human of all colors are indiscriminately killed.

    The second amendment? human history gone backward.

    October 21, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Izzieisback

    It truly amazes me that people are still buying into Obama and his hope and change babble. This man has accomplished nothing and had every opportunity to do better by the country. He is ill-equipped to handle the presidency and overwhelmed by the responsibilities. For those complaining about Romney's lack of military service, please remind me of Obama's credentials in that area. Oh right, he didn't serve his country either.

    October 21, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    It's all tied up? Of course it is. Polls in 2008 showed McCain catching up to Obama and by the time it was time to vote they were "tied" as well..... but we all know the outcome don't we?

    October 21, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Greg

    Amazingly enough, women will still vote for Romney, as will Hispanics, unemployed, and underemployed too! Even those who are/were employed by companies that have been bought up by and or downsized by Bain..... Will you never learn? Going forward at a slow pace is far better than stopping and trying to catch up again.....

    October 21, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. opinion8it

    Polls were tied in 2008 and look at how that turned out.

    October 21, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. michael

    Oh, yes its tied up, but if President Obama has 70% of the Hispanic, 45% of the White, and 98% of the Black vote, its going to be hard for mittens to get in. That of course is barring, change in voter Id laws, letting all those worker for Sproul steal or trash votes by the repuglican leadership. LOOKS LIKE WITH THE HELP OF CNN AND FOXNEWS IT WILL END UP A TIE WITH THS SUPREME COURT DECIDING OUR PRESIDENT AGAIN!

    October 21, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Hillcrester

    Debby–Gallup has (presently) 2700 poll respondents because they poll daily and report AGGREGATE data from the previous days as a single number. Their report has more stability because of that methodology, but is also slow to show recent changes.

    October 21, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. St. James Place

    Just think more jobs by giving the rich even more tax breaks. God I love America. Everything is for sale including the Office of President of the United States.

    Willard for President 2012

    October 21, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Purely Pragmatic

    Does any rational person believe this thing is tied up? Really? Look, we were fed this exact same line in "08. In the end, it was never close.

    October 21, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Ravi

    American voters are really not as smart as I expected. They look at the so called five point Romney plan and almost 90% of it is beyond his control. How could he promote exports if Europe and Asia continue to decline? Yet he is not presenting a plan B. American voters are no better that those in the third world.

    October 21, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. southernwonder

    it is amazing that a full billion has been spent in this presidential election with the sole purpose of confusing voters.

    October 21, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. Sarah

    I'm sorry but as a middle class woman who lost her job and has become a housewife during the current presidents term I do not understand how any woman, head of household, single mom or housewife (sorry domestic engineer) can vote for Obama. My husbands pay has not increased but my fuel bill has gone up, my grocery bill has gone up, my child's education has been kicked to the curb (she's now in private school), our health insurance is gone and we can't afford to purchase it on our own. Now here's the deal...I own a car that is 10 years old and paid for, a house that is paid for aka I didn't get a mortgage that I couldn't pay off, I scrub other people's toilets to send my child to private school, I have a degree and a real estate license but I can't get a job that would pay me enough to put my kid in after school care. Oh I also can't get a phone call for a stupid job. Now this ALL happened in the last 3 years....hmmmm and you think just because I'm a woman I'm going to vote for Obama?! I think not!

    October 21, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Mnmark

    "Obama wants to be our President"?? Didn't look very appealing to me as wanting it in his first debate. He never would have a second chance in a job interview. Of course than again unemployment is quite high and his resume isn't very impressive!

    October 21, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  23. jem

    Neither Obama nor Romney have anything to offer but US Bankruptcy and endless wars followed by third world poverty.

    It doesn't have to go like that.

    Please vote LIBERTARIAN with me; even if only this once

    October 21, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Not this time

    all about ratings, never seen a presidential race that wasn't close.. pollsters survive by being paid to take polls, and media makes money by having close races. If there were not a "close" race, then both would suffer. One week we have them poll more dems than repubs and the next week more repubs than dems... they always fail to tell you that part.

    October 21, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Pedro

    Independents have always broken towards the challenger at the end of the election cycle. How drastically they are breaking towards Romney is staggering. I think Democrats know that Obama is going to lose this election, and in quite a dramatic fashion. Do you think they'll take the loss with grace? I seriously doubt it.

    October 21, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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