Poll: Race for White House all tied up
October 21st, 2012
02:51 PM ET
2 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. Paul

    Why would anybody trust Romney? Even if you trust him to do what he says, why would you want medicare as voucher system? why would you want someone who supports the Blunt amendment? Why would support someone who won't show you his taxes? why would you support someone who won't say which deductions they would cut? I really don't understand why anybody would support Romney. As the economy improves under President Obama, even rich people do better, more than making up for a small 4% tax increase on money over 250,000. Think of the people we could put to work improving roads, bridges, schools, the electricity grid, the rail systems.

    Vote Obama, Biden

    October 21, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  2. Truth seeker

    I want to stop working hard and I have a big family. Who ever can pay for my living will get my vote. There are enough tax payers to support everyone else. Why should everyone work?

    October 21, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. Mark

    The two most accurate and reliable polls based upon the 2008 and 2012 elections are Rasmussen and Pew. Both have Romney ahead. Conservatives don't complain about polls, polls that are fair and accurate, but we have complained about those that are obviously biased. Now that the pendulum has swumg toward Romney, the libs are making light of the polls they once heralded.

    October 21, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. Harry

    For final debate,Rmoney should assure all that he will respect moderator,his opponent president Obama and must finish his answer within his given time.this way he can be judged by. Tv audience as a human being rather then a trashy CEO of Bain capital as a Job Killer of USA.if he can not do this he is a Looser right now in this race.

    October 21, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. Dale b

    Actually, it is ultimately the consumer who decides what jobs go overseas. They are overwhelming voting for the lower priced product fo similar quality. When a President drives up the cost of those products by placing additional cost burden on the business that make those products domestically, he drives the business and ultimately the jobs overseas. Obama wants to impose all sorts of additional costs on our businesses, Romney wants to reduce them. When you cut through all of the rhetoric spun to obscure reality, it is all very simple.
    So if jobs are your top priority its pretty obvious who you should want to vote for. If other issues are more important to you, then you have a tougher decison.

    October 21, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. Larry in Houston

    Polls don't mean a thing in Presidential elections -Period. The proof is : take a good hard look at 1980 – reagan vs. carter . POLLS had Carter UP – I mean all the way UP TO THE ELECTION DAY. Polls are great for congressmen / governors / city council / state gov't / V.F.W. club / your local eagles club / boy scouts / and the list goes ON.

    BUT NOT FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES – It ain't gonna happen –

    That idiotic Dick Morris must have lost all his marbles – he's saying that the "Polls" are "skewed" – - LOL – This guy has been saying this for weeks. I swear , if Obama WINS, People like Morris / Hannity / LimpBaugh / and others will end up with having heart attacks, or something.

    May the Best Man Win – 2012
    Hillary – 2016 (with a "surplus" in – 2018 )

    To be perfectly honest – it wouldn't hurt my feelings a bit if they did, and were admitted to the local hospital -

    October 21, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I often find these surveys as too small. It would nice if there were more people included. I know that it takes time and money, but it should be seen as a necessity. The question is where are these strong and weak points for either of the major party canidates. That makes a difference.

    October 21, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. Dreck

    Remember what did Wall St do to sell worthless mortage backed securities – they somehow managed to get AAA rating.
    Romney knows the game well. His super packs have so much money that it's immpossible to spend all in swing states..
    They can buy voting machines and opinion polls - show the world of a legitimate victory..

    October 21, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  9. Angel

    Someone said we shouldn't vote for someone who lies?? Holy cow have you ever met a politician that didn't?? They are both full of it..but Romney would be a big problem. Lucky Obama will get re-elected. I'm not a fan of either!

    October 21, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  10. Harold

    To all the people that will vote for Romney, let's hope that the mortgage deduction is not part of the deductions and loopholes he will eliminate. The only problem is that he will be in office before he tells us. Smh

    October 21, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  11. achepotle

    Polls are for dogs.

    October 21, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  12. Mike

    The big spread between likely voters (47%-47%) and all registered voters (49%-44%) has one clear message: GO VOTE!! Your vote counts now more than ever. So, become a "likely voter" and GO VOTE!!

    October 21, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  13. Golfpro

    Wow....it makes me want to barf when I read how many people want a hand-out from the govt. Do you seriously not know that big govt is bad....it is time for a businessman to run this country

    October 21, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  14. Please vote:

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican."
    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)

    October 21, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. James

    Romney is his own worst enemy. If he had stayed right centre throughout the primaries, he would be a shoe-in but his many flip-flops and gaffes are allowing Obama to get another term and as the economy is going to improve no matter who is in the WH, obama will get all the credit .

    October 21, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  16. KingArthur

    This country has undergone a transformation for the worse. We have gone from a COUNTRY UNDER GOD to a COUNTR UNDER GREED! Big money buys everything: Politicians, Government officials, law officers, polls, and even ELECTIONS. Our country is for sale, America. May GOD lead every voter to cast the vote for what's best for our country regardless of whether is good or bad for you at the personal level.

    October 21, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  17. Hugh Mongous

    These polls are hilariously misrepresentative of reality. Entertainment is their only value, and a marginal value, at best.

    October 21, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  18. Greg

    It is a shame that Romney is even close or could possibly win the election. I just don't understand how this man can flip flop every day on just about every issue and people support him. The republicans made a bet when Obama took office that the American public would forget three years of their obstructionism and then try to blame Obama for not accomplishing anything., and the sad part is they may win that bet. I'm saddened by the general gullibility of this country. I spent my entire life calling myself a republican and I still have conservative values, but the republican party no longer represents my views and beliefs.

    October 21, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  19. Greg

    The republicans made a bet when Obama took office that the American public would forget three years of obstructionism and then blame everything on Obama come election time, and the sad thing is they may win that bet. Romney is a liar and will say anything to get elected. The republican party no longer represents my conservative views.

    October 21, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  20. Greg

    The gullibility of the country's citizenship is saddening.

    October 21, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. Jon

    Funny, every other poll has Romney with a 3-7 point lead yet the NBC WSJ has Obama leading every time they take it. How? Would love to see the breakdown of who they are surveying

    October 21, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. Zev

    Ladies and Gents,

    The time is now. What disturbs me the most is how this election has taken place. Obama thought he had this election. Romney caught up which is resulting in a close election. Bottom line is let's all get out and vote and do our civic duty. USA! USA!

    October 21, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  23. NameLeeAT

    The polls don't matter at all in deciding an election neither do the people who vote. This election is set up to be decided by the electoral college, so you are wasting your time your time putting down Democrats or Republicans

    October 21, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  24. Let's go

    Lets take from the rich and give to the poor!

    October 21, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  25. check it out

    @Woman In California
    you shouldn't lie and make facts up just to get some commentor to agree be credible Romney didn't say he didn't care about 47% stop clinging on to everything you hear on msnbc and think for yourself he said 47% are on benifits.

    October 21, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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