November 4th, 2012
08:00 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN National Poll: Dead heat between Obama and Romney

Washington (CNN) – It's all tied up, according to a new national poll released two days before the presidential election.

And the CNN/ORC International survey not only indicates a dead heat in the race for the White House, but also on almost every major indicator of President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney that was tested in the poll.

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Forty-nine percent of likely voters questioned say they support the president, with an equal amount saying they back the former Massachusetts governor.

The poll is the fourth national non-partisan, live operator survey released Sunday to indicate the battle for the presidency either a dead heat or virtually tied. A Politico/George Washington University survey has it tied at 48%; an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll indicates Obama at 48% and Romney at 47%; and the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll puts Obama at 49% and Romney at 48%.

A Pew Research Center survey also released Sunday indicates the president at 50% and the GOP challenger at 47%, which is within the survey's sampling error.

CNN's final poll before Election Day indicates a gender gap.

"Fifty-three percent of women saying they plan to vote for President Obama compared to only 44% of men. That works out to a nine-point gender gap, which would be the largest since 1996," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "On age, Obama is getting less support among younger voters than he did four years ago. But he manages a tie with Governor Romney among senior citizens - a group he lost to Senator McCain by eight points."

According to the survey, Romney leads Obama 57%-40% among white voters. Obama tops Romney 56%-40% among voters making less than $50,000 per year, with Romney holding a 52%-47% edge among those making more than $50,000 per year.

The poll also indicates geographical divides, with the president leading in the Northeast, Midwest, and urban areas, and Romney ahead in the South, West, and suburban and rural areas.

It's not just the horserace number that's dividing American voters.

The president's favorable rating stands at 52% in the poll, with Romney at 51%. Fifty-one percent say they agree with Obama on important issues and 50% say the same thing about Romney. Fifty-six percent say that Obama has the personal qualities a president should have, with 55% feeling the same about the Republican nominee.

Does either party have an edge on enthusiasm?

According to the poll, the answer is no. Seventy-percent of registered voters who describe themselves as Democrats say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting, with an equal amount of self-described Republicans saying the same thing. Forty-nine percent say they will vote for the GOP candidate for Congress in their district; 48% say they will choose the Democrat.

But there are a few advantages for each candidate. On the one hand, the number of Americans who think things are going well in the country has risen 10 points since August, to 46% - the highest number since April, 2007.

But that doesn't mean Americans are feeling better about the economy - seven in ten say it is in poor shape, unchanged since September. And more people say that the economy will improve if Romney is elected than feel that way about an Obama victory. And the economy remains the number-one issue on the minds of American voters, with 61% saying it's extremely important to their vote. The deficit is second in importance at 55%, followed by health care at 51%, foreign policy at 47% and Medicare at 46%.

Obama's approval rating is also over the magic 50% mark, but just barely: 51% of all Americans approve of how he is handling his job as president, which doesn't give him a lot of breathing room.

While the president and Romney's favorable ratings are nearly identical, the Democratic Party is viewed more favorably than the GOP.

"That's something which might help Obama in an extremely close race," says Holland. "Obama also has inevitability on his side: 57% say he will win another term, compared to only 36% who think Romney will win. And with only 4% saying that they might change their minds before Election Day, time is running out to make that closing argument."

Other findings from the poll: Only 12% of Obama supporters say they're casting their ballot as a vote against Romney. By comparison, 37% of Romney supporters say they're casting their ballot as a vote against the president.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33 Senate seats are up for grabs on Tuesday. According to the poll, only 17% say they approve of how Congress is handling its job. Twenty-eight percent say they approve of how GOP leaders in Congress are handling their jobs, with 37% saying the same thing about Democratic congressional leaders.

The CNN poll was conducted November 2-4 by ORC International, with 1,010 adult Americans, including 918 registered voters and 693 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for likely and registered voters is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Mitt Romney • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (624 Responses)
  1. steve

    And the majority of 47 percent who don't have pcs or smart phones were not included in the poll.. wait til they come to the booths.

    November 5, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  2. Clarke

    All these polls take away the fun of an election. Back in the day, elections were fun,, the element of surprise is gone.

    November 5, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  3. Bahska

    Of course there close, this is America.........

    November 5, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  4. Name Riri

    God will prevail its in God's hands now Mr President God is on your side

    November 5, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  5. macbil

    Obama is going to win.

    November 5, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  6. ChickenDinner

    Nice Poll CNN...Ummm, I don't think there's any chance that the sample you took is very accurate. Dem 41% Ind 29% Rep 30%...really you think 11% more Dems are gonna show up this year? That didn't even happen in 2008...you guys are frauds and it's still tied in this Poll!

    November 5, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  7. Johnny DC

    I have gay friends that would rather live in an economically prosperous country than one in financial ruin where they happen to enjoy the rights of marriage.

    I have poor friends who would rather live in a country safe from nuclear armed terrorists than one in which the federal government showers them with subsidy after subsidy and free program after free program.

    I have female friends who would rather live in a country where their children won't likely be taxed at 90% to make up for crushing fiscal problems and unbearable inflation than one in which they receive all the birth control and free abortions they could possibly ever need.

    These are the true patriots. The ones who look out for us all rather than give in to the crippling demands of a failing utopian dream.

    November 5, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  8. EndTheFed

    We all lose if Obama or Romney win. They don't care about liberty or the working-man's economy.

    November 5, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  9. ray

    OBAMA 2012!!

    November 5, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  10. Eddie gustavo

    I want Romney to win 4 so many reasons to mention......Obama is d devil advocate by introducing d chip inserting tin...deep down it is d mark of d beast 666.

    November 5, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  11. Llosano

    The rest isn't tied as the media wants us to believe, President Obama is leading in all the swing states for people realized that Romney is a liar, they have an hidden agenda that they've promised to divulge it after the election. Why not before the election? Because they don't care about the 47% of American. A vote for Romney is a vote against your own interests.

    November 5, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  12. Bob

    On page 29 of the poll it states: "Among those likely voters, 41% described themselves as Democrats, 29% described themselves as Independents, and 30% described themselves as Republicans"

    This is a +12 Democrat sample - and they only got a tie! Looks like a big Romney win tomorrow.

    November 5, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  13. FOR ROMNEY

    Obama is an unlucky president. Since he became president, we had seen huge blizzards, earth quakes that even felt Washington DC, drought, heat waves, joblessness, recession sitting same, hurricanes on the North East one after the other. Now another storm. What do all these say:

    Obama is an unlucky president.

    November 5, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  14. Matt

    +11 dem sampling? Really?

    November 5, 2012 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  15. Bill

    One shopping day left until the socialist Obama receives his eviction notice.

    November 5, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  16. Henry Sneath

    Do you mention anywhere the raw numbers or can you only report it by skewing it with +11% Democrat respondent base? You never mention the breakdown of R's and D's in the poll? Curious? No – Bias! Your network has been in the tank for Obama since day one. Maybe that's why no one watches your network? This poll is dishonest as is most of your reporting on politics.

    November 5, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  17. Dane17

    In what bizarre universe do you get a D+11 sample? If this poll is remotely accurate using such skewed d/r/I samples then Obama is in for a 5-6% loss on Election Day.

    November 5, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  18. D

    ..there is no dead heat..this is pure media hype...what theyre doing is using the media to muddy the waters and steal the election again...we see you 1%

    November 5, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  19. Diogenes

    Yeah, sure – all tied up with a D+11 sample. Shame on you – another factoid that simply proves CNN remains firmly in the tank for President Pantywaist. What fact on earth convinced you hacks that the Democratic national or state votes are going to be greater than the Democratic vote in 2008- the year the oceans would start to recede and the planet begin to heal. You folks genuinely are a bunch of clowns.

    November 5, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  20. peter brennan

    Why didn't you report on the huge advantage Romney has in your poll regarding independents? If I remember correctly, it was something like a 20 % lead for Romney. Cnn is a joke, especially Soledad. She should get her own show on MSNBC.

    November 5, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  21. Scott in Michigan

    Dead heat CNN? Really? In a poll that is D+11? You might be able to fool some of the public, but not all of us. By stating it is a dead heat, you cannot be wrong no matter WHO wins tomorrow, right? Pathetic.

    November 5, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  22. Min

    I am poor and I am going to vote for Obama, because he understands me. Romney is a rich guy who doesn't care about poor people and he ships our jobs over seas

    November 5, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  23. Tom

    If we keep voting for both these two party’s nothing will change. They are the problem with OUR government. They are the ones that call it “THE” government. They are the representation of the 5% trying to control 100% of OUR government. If you are not one of the 5%, then voting for these two guys is voting against yourself.

    November 5, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  24. Gabbo

    ....and imagine what it might have been if CNN and the rest of the MSM carried any news of the Benghazi debacle !!

    November 5, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  25. angryersmell

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that after election day, the story line will be: "How did we get it so wrong?" ...just like always.

    November 5, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
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