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. Doug

    This is all bull.. Obama has this one in the bag.. Unless Romney cheats.. And he would with the help of his cult !

    November 5, 2012 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
  2. Rick

    I'm screwed if Obama wins, but if Romney wins – then I'm REALLY screwed!

    November 5, 2012 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
  3. sir

    if it is a tie i think they should duke it out. obama looks pretty whimpy though.

    November 5, 2012 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  4. Namedavid williams

    Can you say," old America is resisting the changing face of America"?
    I am 65, but I see and welcome that change, while they resist, and can't stand the fact that their president is Black.

    November 5, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  5. Joseph

    B.S.Obama is at 51% in Ohio.Republicans are doing everything they can to stop voting in Florida.Husted tried it in Ohio.Republicans are walking a fine line of soon finding many of themselves posted on stakes around the Capital.

    November 5, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  6. commenter2222

    How can a poll of only 1,010 people representing the entire USA be accurate???

    November 5, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  7. hey

    ROMNEY/RYAN 2012 im not a republican either so stop bashing already Obamas policies dont work taking from the working americans to give to the foodstamp recipients isnt a recovery 47 million on foodstamps isn't a recovery it's brining people to be dependant on government a government that can give you everything is a government that can take it all away remember that at the polls

    November 5, 2012 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  8. Luka

    How are any of these polls accurate when only 693 people were polled..? Stupid.

    November 5, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  9. Gurgyl

    Shut down on FEMA–mitt the twit, idiot.

    November 5, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  10. Name Godsent Chukwuma

    Obama is a Good man he know how to talk I want Amaricas to give him another chance

    November 5, 2012 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  11. roadkilled

    Quite the prediction... a TIE!..... And we're off to see the SCOTUS!

    November 5, 2012 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  12. T

    In a nation of millions, a poll of 700 people means less than nothing. I could probably find 700 Americans that will write in Spongebob for POTUS. Polling is a business, pure and simple. Guess how well that business does when the race appears close? SMH.

    November 5, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  13. danmacgoo

    It is more likely that Obama has the lead. CNN is lying.

    November 5, 2012 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  14. fernace

    People who make $50,000 or more are still making less than what the Romneys take in tax deductions for their horse! Think about that! It's not possible for a person in such an income bracket to understand American working families or our needs & fears! Romney's economical proposals are based on un-sound math! Economists & 80 CEO have said as much & yet people vote against their own interests! 2 days left! Those of us who can see how the RR's & GOT-Party is trying to sell us a bill of goods, must get out & do our bit to save the nation from extremism & plutocracy! Obama Tuesday 6!!

    November 5, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  15. Per Woodrow Nielsen

    What happened to "one man, one vote"? Your electoral system is subject to degradation: how can you possibly defend that despite 100000 vote for candidate A, and candidate B gets 150000 votes, candidate B gets all the delegates, but the oppinions of 100000 voters are superseded. That is commonly known as democratic dictatorship and promotes unrest and polarization as seen in more and more places in the US.
    Shape up and modernize your electoral laws to meet modern standards, and don't just be a poor reflection of the ancient british model!

    November 5, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  16. Maria

    Watch OBAMA 2016-SCARY!

    November 5, 2012 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  17. yem

    Hope Obama wins. What is going to happen to the country with an exclusive leader. Mitt has changed his position on issues many, many times.He speaks without thinking and cares less of what ever he has said before. America is having a hard time. Is Mitt the only one they have for the GOP ticket? If he wins we are doomed.

    November 5, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  18. Theo

    In a crisis you find out the true character of a man.
    Either you reward the republican party who inherited a great economy and through 8 years of their bad policies managed to crash it into almost a depression . And at a time when the country needed it most did absolutely nothing to help out but instead tried to block everything they could.
    Or you reward president Obama, who against all ods rescued not only the economy , but also the car industry from disaster and millions of jobs in the proces.
    Sure the costs are high and this economy is still fragile and needs more attention, but it's in recovery and getting stronger each year.
    So if you use your Common Sense, your choice should be very clear !!
    Theo from Holland

    November 5, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  19. Anonymous

    d+11 lol

    November 5, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  20. Maria

    Political Gridlock/Deadlock must end keep this in mind when voting!

    November 5, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  21. Craig in Pa.

    Flush the toilet on Republican Congress...biggest waste of money over the past 4 years!

    November 5, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  22. billNY

    Goodbye and Goodnight Mr. President, Your pal Jimmy Carter is waiting for you in retirement.

    November 5, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  23. MarieMD

    For you Independents and those "undecided" just rememeber 2008 and why did mcnasty pick the mutant bimbo from AK instead of the twit.
    That tells the whole story plus whatever this bully bishop has flip flipped on since he started campaigning over a decade ago.

    November 5, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  24. Camille Mary

    Obama will win

    November 5, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  25. Mike7

    It's just like I said the other day, the less educated people (according to today's CNN poll) are the people voting for Obama. I don't think it's because these people are stupid, its just that they don't know any better.

    Obama voters would vote for obama if he was a pink, tutu dancing dog. It makes ZERO difference what Obama says or does that proves he is inadequate for the job. This proves that America is mentally ill..

    You present voters with a financial, big business expert that is trained to work on these type problems and then you have a community organizer with his only qualification being his skin color.
    The liberal democrats always seems to vote for the less qualified candidate. This defies logic.

    Obama has failed his first 4 year term and has not delivered what he promised. It's time to put an expert hsi place that can repair the damage Obama ha done.

    If you desire this country to move boldly into the 21st century, your only choice is Romney. I believe that Obama's policies will morally and economicallly bankrupt the entire country.

    The liberal democrats are hurtign themselves, their children and the entire nation by voting for this touchy feely guy Obama.

    November 5, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
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