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. johann

    No. They're not tied at all. Gallup, the best poll out there until the Democrats started losing, has Romney plus seven:

    Romney 52% to Obama's 45%.

    It's over folks. Wolf hates it. But it is over. Thank God.

    October 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Obama will win...Romney will lose. Both candidates already know this. The media already knows this. Most Americans already know this.

    October 21, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Brett

    All of these polls undersample younger, more modern voters who are overwhelmingly more liberal and Democrat, because polling companies are limited in their abilities to reach people who don't have landlines and only use cell phones. We saw this in the 2008 polls, where it was a virtual tie up until Election Day, and then Obama went on to win by as big of a margin that is capable in this age of polarity.

    October 21, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. NameBG

    Really? I know women who are going to vote in Florida, none are going to vote for obozo. They ALL voted for him last time

    October 21, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Name

    bush already proved that they will rig the elections likr we are a third world country.

    October 21, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. Loathstheright

    Which shows again that you cannot underestimate the stupidity of the American voters....just the fact that Mitt would even be close shows that they are not paying attention, the media is making it a horse race by not reporting on Mitt, and they don't have a clue or Mitt's recent job killing sending them to China he is still doing. American conservatives and those that vote that way are complete M0R0Ns.

    October 21, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Scott H

    What am I missing here? Obama is now up 49-44 over against last month when he was up 49-46. Arithmetic is important and I read this as Obama up 2 points more. Yet this article says this shows Obama's "advantage is slipping"??? You must be the same folks who do Romney's budget numbers.

    October 21, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. KBNJ

    Gallup: Romney 52%, Obama 45% (Likely Voters)
    This despite CNN's tainting (rigging?) of the last debate, selective reporting of polls, and general disrespect for Democracy in general.

    October 21, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. DJ

    Hey Danny K, everything you said about Coal can be said about unions. If coal is dying so are unions and low skill manufacturing. Kettle meet pot

    October 21, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. SurfNturf

    A tie for an incumbent is NEVER a good news!!! Looks like change if guards this time.

    October 21, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Purely Pragmatic

    Remember in the second debate when one of the audience members asked W. Witt Romney how he'd be different from G.W. Bush? Did anyone else find it odd that he totally failed to answer the question that was asked? Do you know why??? C'mon, people, connect the dots...they're not that far apart

    October 21, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. John

    I am voting for Obama, but I appreciate that Romney has at least tried to discuss eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Most economists agree that this deduction adds billions to the budget deficit, unfairly penalizes renters and keeps home prices artificially high.

    October 21, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. muffet

    I know a lot of committed voters. I have asked them if they had ever been polled or know of anyone ever polled. A resounding NO. The only poll that matters is the voting polls.

    October 21, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. t3chn0ph0b3

    Being tied up in the polls isn't the same thing as having an even probability of winning the election. If CNN were to go instead with a probabilistic view on the presidential election, they wouldn't have much to talk about. There's about a 2 in 3 chance that Obama will win. Romney is still a tremendous underdog.

    October 21, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. AceTygra

    So far I see Obama pulling off a 290 to 248 electoral victory and a VERY close popular vote. Maybe Obama with a plurality but not over 50% with 2-5% going to Gary Johnson and the other 3rd party candidates.

    October 21, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Patriot

    Doubt it. Polls don't get a sampling from minorities. The Latino and African American vote will make it a slam dunk for Obama.

    October 21, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Four and The Door

    I have to give credit to the campaign team Obama/ Biden 2012 for all of the success they have had so far relying pretty much exclusively on personal attacks and class warfare. Think about it. With a record as indisputably dismal as Obama's for the last 3 1/2 years and no plan forward, they have managed to spin their way along and actually make a race with a clearly more qualified Romney/ Ryan team who has defined a plan forward so compelling to Americans that the only thing Obama/ Biden can counter it with is by claiming it is all simply "lies". Of course, Mitt Romney will win, but when you see the fight Obama ( and about $500 million ) has put up, you have to appreciate his tenacity.

    October 21, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. Facts don't Lie

    it really doesn't matter folks because according to the right the polls are all skewed and fixed anyway. Of course they may only be that way if Obama is leading in them.

    October 21, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. muffet

    Get to the polls and vote Obama!!!

    October 21, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. DJESQ

    The nation will still be deeply divided in 2013 … BO & JOE can’t turn that around …

    BO is starting to remind me of James Buchanan … and you know what happened after that wasted suit …

    ... only half of you understand ... we don't have much time, folks ... either get it right this time, or we're going down … we’ll be bankrupt by 2024 …

    October 21, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    Mitt is a tax cheat. Bain-capital. Doesn't this nation know??? Pathetic. Yes., on Obama12.

    October 21, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. AceTygra

    The Gallup poll is very flawed. It was conducted before the 2nd Debate and Gallup even acknowledges this on their website and said that a new poll released on Tuesday could be VERY different

    October 21, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Patriot

    Plutocracy is governance by the wealthy. If Romney and the corporate interests that support him win the election, America will no longer be a democracy but a plutocracy that overwhelmingly favors powerful wealthy elites, much to the detriment of the rest of the populace. Just look to third rate ‘democracies’ in South America to see where this is headed.

    October 21, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. works4me

    Obama has his heart in America...
    Romney has his heart in his wallet.

    October 21, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  25. Marie

    Gov Romney would have to tell the true first and not think that people as stupid; secondo be able to help middle class, 47% comment will never be forgetting even he appolo... for that; tierd stop being arrogant before considering runing for this job.

    October 21, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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