November 4th, 2012
08:00 PM ET
10 years 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. Dino

    who won?

    November 5, 2012 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  2. larry

    Americans aren't that smart after all

    November 5, 2012 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  3. young widow from ohio


    November 5, 2012 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  4. Realist

    Baloney. OBAMA is winning and CNN knows it. Liars.

    November 5, 2012 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  5. GABC

    Unemployed, senior citizen, woman, voting for Romney. change is the magic word.

    November 5, 2012 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  6. S Arand

    Has the president haf a crowd of 35,000 anywhere? See West chester,ohio rally thr enthusiasm is on the republican side they can nt wait to get the pres out of the white house.

    November 5, 2012 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  7. Adam

    Anyone who votes for mitt robme is either a racist, a redneck, a religious wacko or just plain stupid .... And as Ron White famously says: you cant fix stupid. Here in Canada we are watching and laughing at the notion that anyone could vote for such a lying sack of s**t! His kind are the reason so many americans are out of work!!!! Wake up america, just because obama is black is no reason to hate him! He is your saviour in the eyes of the rest of the world!

    November 5, 2012 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  8. John

    So 50% of Americans are prepared to vote for Mitt the monstrosity Romney. How can the most powerful country in the world have so many of the most stupid people in the world

    November 5, 2012 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  9. NameGoose

    Obama/Biden are NOT leadership material. They both have let us veterans down. They have done nothing to help us veterans. Obama/Biden have totally ignored us veterans and the issues we face. As a veteran, that's why I am voting for Romney/Ryan this coming election day.

    November 5, 2012 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  10. Shills

    I've never been 'polled' in my life for anything. I've never been given a 'vote' for anything the media gives accolades for. So I always keep that in mind.

    November 5, 2012 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  11. ultimately

    Another skewed poll by the main stream media...........hoping to keep their "boy" in the white house.

    November 5, 2012 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  12. Adam

    George Washington must be rolling in his grave at the thought of mitt robme becoming president..... Im sure if he were alive he would hang robme supporters for being anti-american! The south should be banned from voting until they educate themselves!

    November 5, 2012 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  13. hesalive

    Jesus said his kingdom is not of this world.

    November 5, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  14. Habesha


    November 5, 2012 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  15. Poll check inc.

    The poll is not tied. Wednesday we need to determine who was right with their predicting and call out the wrong polls for all future reliability.

    November 5, 2012 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  16. Name Jorge Disuanco

    If President Obama wins, another 4 years of hardships. He might be good in delivering speeches, He is very poor in delivering it in reality. He said 4 years ago he is the only one can solve the economic problems now he is saying He just inherit it! 4 years is a wasteful time.

    November 5, 2012 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  17. Geny

    I would like to see a Native American as president after Obama completes his 2nd term. I'm proud to say I got to witness the first black president in my lifetime. God bless you and your family Obama! You have become the hope for future generations to come. True spoken words of MLK "Judge a man not by his skin color, but by the content of his character."

    November 5, 2012 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  18. mORMON

    my wife no longer wears her underwear since baptism.

    November 5, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  19. Grant Huston

    This poll was heavily biased towards Obama, with 11 percent more Democrats in this sample. It should be required to disclose that information. The odds of an 11 percent greater turnout are virtually nill. Not even in '08 when Obama was at his height did he get that big of a margin. When will CNN stop being a left wing mouthpiece?

    November 5, 2012 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  20. John

    The election for President has been over and done with for months. Obama has had it bought and paid for. With most of the news media on his side singing his praises with the exception of GOP TV aka Fox News. Along with UN observers and Obama's "Justice Department" making sure the election goes their way. I don't think I'll eve bother voting for President just everything else.It's kind of sad knowing this is what this country has turned into, I know they believe it is for "the Greater Good."

    November 5, 2012 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  21. jeremyhornephd

    Interesting we don't see a mention of the missing 2% favoring either corporatist. In a country where the people were politically educated we'd see some real alternatives, like the Greens. But, no, just like the USSR, the elections essentially are a fraud, with no real alternatives being offered.

    November 5, 2012 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  22. anon

    America should totally vote for the individual that has killed more women and children in four years than Bush did in eight with the US Military. Gotta love Obama's drone strike policy and kill list.

    November 5, 2012 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  23. NameGoose

    Obama/Biden promise in 2008 that military medical retired veterans under 20 years of service would beable to keep their military retired pay as well as their VA Compensation pay (Concurrent Receipt). As us veterans now know, Obama/Biden have lied to us veterans. Obama/Biden have done nothing for us veterans in regards to this important matter.They have totally forgot about the promise they have made to us veterans in 2008 in regards to "Concurrent Receipt." As a retired veteran, here is my promise to Obama/Biden in 2012. No way in hell will I vote for the Obama/Biden ticket this coming Election Day. I am voting for Romney/Ryan ticket all the way!

    November 5, 2012 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  24. Amber

    Who in their right mind would ever trust a biased CNN poll?

    November 5, 2012 04:57 am at 4:57 am |
  25. Amber

    You know, you get on a list somewhere and they just won't post your comments. Thanks, CNN!

    November 5, 2012 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
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