Poll: Ahead of GOP convention, presidential race in dead heat
August 21st, 2012
08:06 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Ahead of GOP convention, presidential race in dead heat

(CNN) - The latest developments in the presidential campaign - such as Mitt Romney's selection of a running mate - has little moved the presidential race, a new poll released Tuesday.

This NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey - conducted entirely after Romney's announcement that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would join his ticket - shows President Barack Obama at 48% and his Republican challenger at 44%. That margin is within the poll's sampling error of plus or minus three points.

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The results are in line with the other two polls included in the latest CNN Poll of Polls, which averaged the three most recent surveys to find Obama at 47% and Romney at 43%.

And the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 62% of voters were "very interested" in the presidential race as the two parties prepare for their back-to back conventions, which begin with the Republican National Convention next week. On a 10-point scale, another 18% rated their interest level at an 8 or 9. Public interest grew between April and May, the survey showed, as the presidential race entered the general election phase.

Six in 10 registered voters included in the poll said the country was off track, while 32% said it was "headed in the right direction." Those numbers nearly mirror the poll's monthly results since January (with the exception of February, when this survey was not taken).

The president's approval ratings have also remained largely unchanged. This month, 48% approved while 49% disapproved of "the job Barack Obama is doing as president," the poll found. On foreign policy, he had a positive approval rating, but on the economy, a negative rating.

Views of Romney were split, the poll found: 38% gave him a positive assessment and 44% gave him a negative assessment. The six point difference is equal to the poll's sampling error.

The results of this poll have been largely unchanged since June of 2011. In each of the months since, the margin between Romney and Obama has been no larger than six points.

CNN's Poll of Polls, which includes the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, as well as Gallup's daily tracking numbers and a survey released conducted August 15-19 by Monmouth University shows the race in a dead heat since the announcement of Ryan on the GOP ticket. Obama stood at 47% and Romney at 43%.

The poll included 1,000 registered voters contacted between August 16 and 20.

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Filed under: 2012 • CNN Poll of polls • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Alex R.

    Last I checked, 48 is larger than 44. Remind me again: How is this a dead heat?

    August 21, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |

    I'll bet you 100,000 of mittens money ,its a Dem and republican landslide for Obama ,Gop hot dog bus wreck in Nov!!!!

    August 21, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  3. SafeJourney

    Not for long, especially after the convention starts and Americans see how Out of Touch the GOP is with the Americans People

    August 21, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  4. American People

    The GOP plan for the American People: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Female, Non-white, Non-christian, Unemployed, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, Male, White, Christian, Employed, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military.

    August 21, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. Ms. B

    It is very sad that women, black and hispanic all share the same common interest with GOP's ,that is THEY SIMPLY DO NOT CARE AT ALL. The entire GOP organization are all very unconcern about the middle population. PLEASE VOTE TO KEEP PRESIDENT OBAMA IN OFFICE. If Romney/Ryan get in office we have not yet seem depression. They are rich you really think they care. VOTE DEMS AND OBAMA 2012.

    August 21, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  6. cisco4

    Hows Romney gonna gt you a job.?. Hes for getting rid of Government jobs.. and outsourcin...to cayman islands I guess..

    August 21, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  7. John

    All polls show Obama is ahead by about 4 points.That is not a dead heat. i guess you like to see a horse race and twist the facts......

    August 21, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    I thought that a "dead heat" would mean they both polled the same. The only poll that matters is really in Nov., but...

    August 21, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  9. packerfans

    Come on Vote for Mitt/Paul!!! Obama wanted King America and Babylon America !! I dont Vote King!! Nor Same Marraige!! Come on Save America !!!

    August 21, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. Wanderer

    It is done. I think, the majority of Americans have now already made up their mind. There will be slight change in the number on the general election day. It may be too late for the Romney-Ryan to make up the number and I don’t think they will because so far there is nothing new in what they have been doing or talking i.e. they have not done anything for the majority of Americans. Per my own opinions, R –R (Romney – Ryan) have not come up with any new idea of how they will do a better job as a POTUS than Obama. What they are doing now is flip-flopping their outdated ideas and attacking Obama.

    August 21, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. Martha in CF

    I don't believe Obama and Romney are in a dead heat.....If the American people are that stupid to think that Romney would be a better president than Obama, the MIDDLE CLASS AND THE POOR ARE DOOMED!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |

    Dem landslide coming and Gop hot dog clown bus wreck in Nov ,with BACHMANN ,atkins ,Ryan ,cantor and romney the tax cheat on,board ,even a good republican can't vote for the extremest bafoons!!!!!

    August 21, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |

    You better take another poll ,even the stupid and brain dead can see a Dem . Landslide in Nov.

    August 21, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    Who answers the phone anymore? I bet it is a larger percentage of unemployed people than in the general population who are even home to pick up that call. My point? Working people should prefer Mitt Romney. He is clearly a better guy to manage those hard earned tax dollars than the guy who has been failing at it consistently for the last 3 1/2 years. Advantage? Romney/ Ryan 2012.

    August 21, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. Pete

    It's really funny how its a supposid dead heat when less than a week ago the president had six of seven swing states and the seventh Colorado was a dead heat.Now with all this anti-abortion issues flying around and ya don't think Romney and crew won't lose ground,that's hilarious or maybe it wasn't meant to be because by all means you know Romney should be behind at least 20 points on the president,no taxes,nothing credible on Medicare,SocialSecurity ,nothing on foriegn policy or domestic security.Just the president being hammered on jobs,jobs,jobs,something the obstructionistic party of "NO " have railed against since day one and you hypocrites can't deny it!!Republicans only concern have been the 1% and their taxes,contraceptives ,voter supression nationwide,what other issues can Romney,Ryan lie about because they sure haven't made any sense at least to your average voter,at least the intelligent democratic ones.Republicans are grasping at straws,they have no platform,republicans have done nothing since 2010 and they're hell bent on destroying everything we have left that your last moronic republican president didn't destroy or steal.It's fact and you know I'm right and you call yourselves patriots,what a crock!!!

    August 21, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  16. Eniti

    The 48-44% lead for Pres. Obama is NOT within poll error of +/-3. The lead is 4%

    August 21, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  17. Melo-D

    Willard can't move the needle no matter how many lies he tells. I guess those false medicare ads were a "wise" thing to waste money on.

    August 21, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  18. gord

    going back to the bush days will destroy america

    August 21, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  19. mojo


    August 21, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  20. Wally

    How is a 4% lead within the sampling error of 3%? I mean, does 3=4 in some CNN language that I don't understand?

    And how is 3 MONTHS of a continuous lead of 3-5% considered a "dead heat?" I mean what is the point of polling if you can't take 30 polls and extrapolate that their average is accurate?

    Now, CNN makes money off close political races. But do they have to twist common english and some pretty plain consistent numbers to turn what is a close race into a tie? I mean are people that dumb? Well, probably.

    August 21, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  21. Alex

    Romney is toast.

    August 21, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. drake mallard

    to the GOP candidates at the convention

    You Both Suck" and "Change the Channel

    'Change the Channel'
    'Change the Channel'

    both Romney and Ryan backed proposals to outlaw abortion ... even in cases of rape and incestAmerican Taliban: The GOP risks becoming Sharia Party

    the GOP new "Moral America" laws banning tobacco, alcoholic beverages, red meat, firearms, profanity, non-Christian religions, no women – unless you're married – no foul language,

    August 21, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    How long will the bump from the convention last? I don't think it will last because the Democratic convention will be the next week.

    August 21, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  24. charlie

    "This NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey ... shows President Barack Obama at 48% and his Republican challenger at 44%. That margin is within the poll's sampling error of plus or minus three points." Okay: 48 – 44 = 4. 4 +/- 3 is 1 to 7. So, at the time of the poll, Barack Obama had a lead of between 1 and 7 points. As any student of statistics will tell you, that is what the margin of error means when dealing with the difference of two proportions. Look it up in any stats text.
    Unless there's something you're not telling us, the difference is *not* within the margin of error. Why are your editors not catching these things?!

    August 21, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  25. tank2

    Dead heat?!?! LOLOLOLOLOL.....in the real world, Romney is wiping the floor with Obama. How heavily skewed is this poll to the dems advantage? 20 points? more? You libs are in for a real shocker. The electorate have had enough. Obama has got to go.

    August 21, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
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