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. Notadolt

    Michigan Republicans imposed high new taxes on pensioners on fixed incomes who had already retired, giving new tax breaks to the rich. They broke pre-election pledge to older Americans. Wake up Florida voters!!

    October 21, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. fp737

    We've gone from Obama being decisively in the lead, to a dead heat, now – – even in some of the battleground states. Obama got ZERO post-debate bounce on debate 2. Romney is going to win this with an electoral (though obviously not popular) landslide.

    October 21, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. dnokc

    Mr. Obama said it best in '08, "If I don't fulfill may campaign promises...I'm one and done."

    October 21, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Name Nancy

    I am a proud Canadian and happy to say that most of family are American my mother, my siblings and the rest of my family are also all Democrats and I am encourahging the rest of my American friends to re-elect President Obama

    October 21, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. Kee

    Am an immigrant romney will lead that country to war if he elect

    October 21, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Jon S.

    The "real" polls show the President ahead – Gallup not being one of them. 538.com shows the President with an almost 70% chance of being re-elected and that site correctly choose 49 out of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election.

    October 21, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. chris

    Who cares?...let's just vote already

    October 21, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. 15grains

    Gallop has Romney up by 7 points amongst likely voters

    October 21, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  9. jovin_aka_kevin

    The polls are nothing more than talking points for the media before an election day. It is Romney in a landslide. We on the right stay silent no more come Nov 6. ( That's election day, for all you on the left that don't that)

    October 21, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  10. DMC12GUY

    All of you Obama supporters must be retarded. Obama has no qualifications to be president. The only reason that he is in the office is because of his race and oh btw, McCain sucked too.

    If Obama was a white guy this race would not even be tied, Romeny would be ahead 80/20. Look at the black vote, 90% will vote for Obama... can we say RACIST!!!! If the white vote was polled at 90% towards Romney you better believe that Jesse Jackson and his group would be on CNN saying that whites are racist.

    Usually when you hire somebody for a job you look at their resume. Obama's resume includes 1/2 term as a senator, author and professor.

    Romney's resume includes governor (successful one too), successful businessman and great moral character.

    Their resumes don't even compare, Romney wins by a long shot.

    October 21, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Joane

    Twenty "20" years of runing for presidency? you got to be kidding me. It is not for you and you should take a look around you, there is no connection between you and the people, they dont trust you, even your own people republicans-democrats and viceversa.

    October 21, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. Pete

    It's funny how the polls nationwide say one thing but the states voting early are totally different..Iowa with 34% of votes in say Pres.Obama 69%,Romney 30% of the total votes in.In Wisconsin with just 10% of the early vote in its Pres.Obama 68%,Romney 31% and the gender gap in those states are just as side for Pres.Obama as well..That's why republicans are doing their best to supress the vote or voters fraud caught the other day in Virginia,they're scared they'll be slaughtered if people actually come out,the minority is the ones they're really afraid of ,just like in 2008 .It may just happen again,wouldn't that be nice!!

    October 21, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  13. ObaWendon

    All I can say is for Women to please make a educated vote. Our personal bodies are at stake as well as our abilities to be more than a doormat for men. Wake up!

    October 21, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. Mike

    Obama has a superior vision for the country, and there is no way that any US president could have cleane up the mess left by the previous republican administration. However, President Obama has done a superior job. He saved the auto industry (where Romney would have let it collapse), stopped the economy from going into a Great Depression (where Romney would have done little to prevent it), and Obama has had exceptional foreign policy throughout his term (In a period of 24 hours Romney was dubbed 'Blunderer in Chief, WorseThanPalin. He managed to offend the one of the US's closest allies. He then mentioned sensitive classified information).

    I suspect that President Obama will win this election - probably mostly because of Romney's recent and significant missteps in regards to his policies with regards to women.

    October 21, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. Name

    Romney is the right hand man for George w. Bush. We want to move forward, not in Reverse!!!

    October 21, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  16. MediaHater

    CNN, MSNBC and all of the mainstream media want everyone to believe the the polls are all tied up. They can't stand the fact that Obama has been a complete failure.

    Who thinks we are better off than we were four years ago? Young people who don't know about socialism and never studied history.
    I've worked hard all my life and if this phony gets elected again, I'll join the rest of the do-nothing people who have decided to live off of the government. That doesn't last long.

    Witness what is happening in France (oh that's right....most people don't even know what is going on in Europe). This country is headed that way with our "fearless leader". 75% of a person's income goes to the French government. I THINK NOT. No wonder the wealthy are leaving the country. That will happen here as well.
    I'll quit working if Obama is elected again because there is no way I'm going to support all of the drug addicts and indigents scamming millions off of the governent.

    October 21, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. omar

    Here is an idea for the last depate...why not ask questions to the candidates...and the answer should be only YES, NO or NO COMMENT. This way we avoid lots of tricky talks and get to know more straight answers

    October 21, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  18. Logger

    Ok im an indepent voter have 2 say romney is a better choice here is y 1. Obama did have democratic control of both houses when he got elected 2. Has never put out a budget plan that even democrats agreed with 3. He is hiding his college transcripts birth certificate behind a seal y let him produce them 4. Who do u think he is goin to tax next after his tax hike on rich doesnt produce the results he wants 5. They have covered up gunsmugglin under presidential seal

    October 21, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  19. Name g. nagbe

    Romney please just tell me where u and your Republican party will get the money to fight another WAR in iran and serial with adding debt to my children future like u did in iraq. At that time you mr Romney didn't know about deficit!!!

    October 21, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Pat in IL

    Romney wants to win this race just to be President. Obama wants to win because he wants to serve Americans. No contest.

    October 21, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  21. RP

    The average voter is a moron. They don't know what they want, they want to be told what they want. That is why Romney can get away with being for it before being against it. Just want this to be over already.

    October 21, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. Name Bronaugh Bridges III

    Willard's campaign of nom-specificity is a cloud hiding terminal economic disparity and farwell to the remotest notion of a vibrant working class. The next generation, older americans, public servants,will fare badly under a Willard Administration.His wealth was made from sucking the life out of workforce time and investments. That is his legacy. Not the Winter Olympics, and certainly not an exemplary State of Massachusettes. Please wake up U.S.

    October 21, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  23. Clayton W Davis

    If Romney wins, it means the destruction of America. The Republicans will have been rewarded for doing everything in their power to destroy Obama, not caring that they did irreversible damage to our nation in the process. Along with the GOP's excessive use of the filibuster, our Government will soon collapse into anarchy.

    October 21, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  24. texassmasher

    I hope romney does win,just for the mere fact to watch the liberal meltdown at CNN and MSLSD.That will be must see tv.

    October 21, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Logger

    he and democrats tried 2 cover up our ambassador being killed by terrist because they ignored his request for additional security i guess since they out sourced the security to the locals there they saw no need 2 worry

    October 21, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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