Poll: Race for White House all tied up
October 21st, 2012
02:51 PM ET
1 year 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. daniel

    What a shame it will be to our nation to elect Romany to leade us to miseary...I am talking about the 47% and more people who will see hell under his adminstration. He is a person who worships money...ELECT OBAMA!!!

    October 22, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  2. swapple

    I cannot believe that a person who lies so much and will do anything to get what he wants would be so well supported. Is this a true reflection of Americans ? To lie even when you know the truth just to become president. A person who believes in God should obey the bible it is a sin to lie just speak the truth God will help you if you believe in him

    October 22, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  3. shadow

    the fix is in, the election is rigged

    October 22, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  4. Bald_Eagle1776

    Romney will say anything to get elected. Here are examples why he is not a serious candidate.
    1. His budgeting math simply does not add up. Cut taxes for everybody (especially the middle class–if we are to believe him), give the Pentagon $ 2 trillion that they didn't really ask for and at the same time drive down the deficit. And we are supposed to be take him at his word.
    2. He is for the NRA and AK47s, but suddenly he is not really sure about the AK-47s,
    3. He is for women's right to health care but not mammograms and cancer screenings; Romney's primary legal advisor is Robert Bork, who has proclaimed far and wide that he doesn't believe the Equal Protection Clause includes women.
    4. He is for immigration reform but also for "self-deportation"; he was proud that he was the most fierce anti-immigration candidate during the Republican primary elections.
    5. He is for getting tough on China while he also is the poster boy for outsourcing.
    6. He is for middle class tax cuts but it is fine if they pay a higher tax rate than he does.
    7. He was pro-choice, but is now definitely pro-life. However, in his latest ads today, he has "moderated" his position. What does that mean? Did he forget that he vetoed a bill as Massachusetts governor in 2005 that would have given women who were raped access to emergency contraception, or that he supported an amendment this year that would have allowed any business to opt out of the contraceptive mandate, or that he has said he would support a state constitutional amendment that would declare that life begins at conception — potentially making some kinds of contraceptives illegal?
    8. He is for creating jobs, but while at Bain behaved as a self-serving corporate raider, more intent on making a profit than on preserving American manufacturing.
    9. He has tried during the second debate to distance himself from GW Bush's doctrine, but his foreign policy team is composed mostly of former members of the Bush administration, including the controversial John R. Bolton.
    10. He wants to close loopholes, but will not disclose all of his tax returns so that his own ethics can be gauged.

    Will the real Willard Mitt Romney stand up please?

    October 22, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  5. Bobby

    I've seen alot of hope and change during the past four years, really looking forward to the next four!

    October 22, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  6. dcpintx

    Obama never served in the military (that's probabaly a good thing – he would have surrendered in Iraq), he hasn't done much of anything since he entered office (and even less before) – so tell me why you want to reelect this guy unless you are drawing some kind of income from the government (which is actually coming from the taxpayers – the government doesn't earn anything, make anything or create anything) Except debt and government jobs.

    October 22, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  7. Name

    Romney is an ambitious liar who does not have the core character to support us, the middle class. Do not let those with money buy the election and continue to feather their nest even after they stole our home equity, gave away our jobs to overseas countries, and convinced the Republican-leaning Supreme Court that large corporations are individual voters. Vote for a real human being! VOTE OBAMA!

    October 22, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  8. Mass Resident who DOES NOT want Romney

    This Mass resident DOES NOT want antoher Romney fiasco, this time on a national scale. We'll fall into Depression. Romney is losing WORSE in mass than any other state in the nation. No, it's not that we're democratic, no, it's not that we have a democratic congress. We had before him, during him, and have after him. the ONLY factor that accounted for middle class taxes raised over 50 times, cuts in education that were shocking and so egregious we had to vote, town by town, to raise our own taxes so we didn't have 40 kids per class, and he screwed up the Big Dig to national disgrace level, he hardly showed up to work – absent over 400 days. More than one year, out of four, out of work. Would you have a job if you were absent more than 1 in 4 days???? We can't have him. We will fall into a Depression we wont come out of our entire lives. WE KNOW HIM!!! LISTEN TO US!!!! WE CAN NOT have Romney as president. You should have checked his record. Mass exdous of mass residents during his term. he was AWFUL!

    October 22, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  9. Steve

    I don't trust anything coming out of NBC period! The more credible major polls such as Gallup, Rasmussen and the Colorado electoral tracker have Romney in front anywhere from 2% to 6%! ...Romney is going to win with the huge rural support that he is racking up in the swing states and clearly these polls are not designed for this type info or statistics! ..the only poll that really counts is on election day!

    October 22, 2012 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  10. Mass Resident who DOES NOT want Romney

    Over a hundred coal plants are scheduled to close --power plants dont want to use coal. It's too heavy to transport, it's hard to work with, it leaves the machines covered in filth, expensive to maintain. gas is cheaper, cleaner, less equipment cleaning and breakage. It's just technological change of the free market. All the more we need Obama. We need to retrain people to be able to qualify for the jobs that are available. ROmney isn't going to do that. ROmney will do nothing for anyone, put medicare on vouchers, get rid of social security and end unemployment. Obama will fund job retraining programs because millionaires will pay 3% more in taxes which will still have them paying a lower percentage of their income to taxes than us. Obama's ideas are just better. Obama will help the middle class. Romney is goingto cut middle class deductions, in other words, Romney is raising middle class taxes while NOT raising taxes on the rich. only us JUST like when he was governor!!

    October 22, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  11. Rick

    You people kill me . The bigger story , and you know it , is the Gallup poll . It is of likley voters , which is more accurate . It is also a 7 day rolling average . Unlike the poll in this story that is a one day poll . Registered voters as opposed to likely voters are not a good indicator .
    In the Gallup poll Romney is ahead 52% to Obama's 45% .
    Why don't you guys just go ahead say you are going to do all you can to re elect Obama . After what Candy did do you think there is anybody left that does not know .

    October 22, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  12. Jose G.

    If it's tied at 47%, who's the other 6% voting for? the one the media is ignoring, Gary Johnson 2012! Gary Johnson at 5% sends a clear message to the Republicans and Democrats, and sets the ground for a strong 3rd party in 2016.

    October 22, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  13. NameTim

    Romney doesn't care about the middle class. How are you gonna switch sides two weeks before the election and expect us to believe you. All you talk about is that pipe line from China

    October 22, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  14. Thor Odynson

    This is a forgone conclusion, this race is anything but close, just go to the Huffington post, they update their electoral college spread every time they get a poll which is like every three to ten hours or so now. It has it with Obama at 277 and Romney at 207, it would take a criminal action to make Obama lose at this point. Even Mitt's home state and state of governorship are solidly voting Obama. The Salt Lake Tribune isn't even sponsoring him. This guy is doomed

    October 22, 2012 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  15. fg54

    I would take somewhat imperfect candidate Romney instead of the obvious 'perfect' failure any day...We need a leader, for the country, not inexperienced community organizer. America is too big of a 'community' for Obama to organize. (No) hope and (no) change for the better with the current President.

    October 22, 2012 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  16. steve

    Romney will win it easily. Oblamerbots everywhere know this.
    They're all mad their free ride is almost over LOL

    October 22, 2012 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  17. Marvin Wayne Palmer, Jr

    Destroy Obama! All talk no action Romney paid his taxes

    October 22, 2012 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  18. Namejeff

    Electoral college will save this great president of ours. Obama deserves 4 more years. Ohio Wisconsin Nevada Iowa will make it happen. Can't wait till election night. 4 more for 44. Who needs fla nc or va anyway

    October 22, 2012 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  19. Cliff

    What this poll really shows is both men will need to work with the other party to find as much common ground as possible.

    October 22, 2012 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  20. Thomas

    @Brian
    Sooooo, in spite of CNN's best efforts (and those of their fellow Leftist lapdogs in the media), Romney has not yet been destroyed by your collective lies and distortions? It's a miracle; one that this country BADLY NEEDS.

    Romney is the same as GW Bush .

    October 22, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  21. Steve

    Looks like the liberals are getting frantic from their posts. We currently have a president who is a failure at economic and now political affairs. You have to have blinders on not to see Obama lying about Libya the news stories breaking on the incident clearly shows the incompetence of this administration.
    Time to put Romney in power a person who understands our economy and what is needed to get people back to work

    There are many lies the liberals have thrown out in these posts hoping to get your vote. Don't let them fool you a second time

    October 22, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  22. nc1965

    Tied Up! There is no such thing as tied up.

    CNN and other media outlets just wants you to keep tuned in to the debates for ratings. Their propaganda machines are hard at work.

    I hope that once Obama is elected, all main stream media outlet's ratings drop to 0. Because they have lost almost all credibility and can no longer be counting on honest news.

    October 22, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  23. NameDoug

    Keep America alive vote for our PRESIDENT

    October 22, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  24. Stephen N

    No matter who was/is President the Economy problem is worldwide...we the people have made the problem by our choices in how we live economically within our own spheres..homes/family spending as we have what we don't have...the Congress has been a hornet's nest of greed, corruption, and dishonesty and unable to OWN their errors to the People..the example to America's children and young adults by the actions of the individual and groups within Congress have been a disgrace and certainly no example to live up to..who would want to be a Congressman/woman or a Senator?This is a perilous time nationally and worldly..somehow we must overcome the meanspiritedness which has seeped into our society/nation and come together decently and fairly to discuss/debate our differences but with decency and respect one for the other..these debates have shown a nasty side and unfortunately the real person has come through to be excitable, ill mannered and disrespectful and not Presidential material..I am old enough to remember Krushev (sp?) banging his shoe on the desk at the UN shouting we would be buried by him (USSR)..somehow the same effect has come across at various moments of the two debates...now it's up to you to choose the shoe banger between the two...I shall not bother to listen tonight ...I've decided...hint... I'm not about to be threatened with being buried by the Nevada Kid! Best O'Luck all!

    October 22, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  25. El Kabong

    Keep in mind these poll are done using land lines only. Obamas best demographic are 18 to 30 year old voters that mostly use cell phones.

    October 22, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
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