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. dc3219

    This is good. If the CNN poll has it tied, reality must be leaning Right, possibly a blow-out.

    November 4, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. Bubba

    Per the Redskins, Obama lost.

    November 4, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  3. dc3219

    This is good. If the this networks poll has it tied, reality must be leaning Right, possibly a blow-out.

    November 4, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  4. tracy

    All tied up ? lol. this race is not even close in the electoral college . obama leads in just about all the swing states but for some reason cnn wants this to seem as though its a close race. ok

    November 4, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  5. Joe Mahma

    Translation: "We're manipulating the polls so voters don't write-in a worthy candidate."

    November 4, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  6. Jeremy

    If the polls have it this close, it means Obama is going to loose. Factoring the hidden racism vote which always does not reflect in the polls, Obama need to be leading Romney by five votes in the polls to make up the hidden racism vote. I mean those who say they are going to vote for Obama to Pollsters and go into the booth and do something different.

    November 4, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. JANE

    bite me

    November 4, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  8. don

    obama is going to win.

    November 4, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. Devin Bent

    Romney has won a poll and in week didn't win one in you list. Obama has won more that a few.. This is a dead heat? No, your is a dead brain.

    November 4, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  10. summero

    The statistic with more people voting against Obama than Romney tells me to expect more "straight ticket" votes and more senators and congressmen swept to the republican side" than democrats. This voting against someone versus voting for someone will be an intersting dynamic.

    November 4, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  11. Paul

    CNN. Thanks for trying to be blaced and fair; you have made it a habit to be no-partisan and unbiased. But with all due respect. You have stated time and time again that you oversample Republicans by 4%. You are a little bit above Rassmusen and Gallup. At any rate. Your Blooga are heavy handed wuth Republicans and Independent leaning Tea-Party people. I will wait for that tally on Tuesday night along with the rest of the country. I believe Nationally..Obama-%51 to Romney-%47.

    November 4, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  12. DAB

    As I understand the internals of this poll....Romney has a double digit lead w/Indies in this poll and the party breakdown is D+11? How deceitful can you be to show us such a poll w/these kind of actuality, this means that it is Romney at least plus 5. Stop doing this.

    November 4, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. Mr

    How pathetic that Obama is tied with Romney. Very depressing for him. Yikes

    November 4, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  14. ted

    who give a rat's a#$

    November 4, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. herbsthewerd

    Why doesn't this have the CNN poll that has Romney up with independents by 20%?

    November 4, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. Devin Bent

    You don't mention Nate Silver. You don't mention Intrade. Is it not your obligation to weigh all sources? Perhaps you do NOT understand them.

    This is what CNN gets for hiring good-looking airheads of both genders.

    November 4, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. JT

    And this is a CNN poll, so you know Romney is leading by about three points.

    November 4, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  18. Erusidhion

    693 likely voters? That's enough statistical data to say the race is tied? I love you CNN but this is garbage.

    November 4, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  19. tyson

    Obama mama 2012 for usa. mitt romney 2012 china

    November 4, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  20. Mike

    Mr. Romney has flip flopped on every major issue to date. First he's for something, then he's against it, then he's for it again. He pandered way too far to the right to try and earn the vote from the tea party during the primary's, and was effectively the leader of a three-ringed circus. Then, he went overseas to try and bolster his foreign policy, where in a period of 24 hours he offended the US's closest ally, and was called "MittTheTwit, BlundererInChief, and WorseThanPalin". The primaries did significant damage to the GOP brand, due to the extreme rhetoric, and the Romney campaign did exactly what they said they were going to do - Etch a Sketch the whole thing. The only problem is that Romney doesn't just change position once, he changes it every few minutes.

    President Obama has shown steady leadership, and all economic indicators are presenting that the economy is ready for a real take-off. Housing starts are up, jobless rates are down, and more new jobs are created each month. President Obama got Osama, rescued the auto industry, and prevented a great depression. He is an incredibly leader and more than deserves a second term. Romney is in the little leagues in comparison to President Obama, as was evident in their last debate where President Obama absolutely crushed Mr. Romney.

    Get out and vote - and don't ever forget Romney clearly said "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt".

    Obama 2012

    November 4, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    DEAD HEAT – A TIED Race means the Maximum Desperation on BOTH SIDES for the Media to SQUEEZE every last Dollar Possible for Campaign Ads. In 2008 the Race was Tied Right Up until the Day of Obama's Landslide.

    November 4, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  22. EdD

    CNN. Where is your report on the latest bombshell on the Libya lies from Obama? I know, you'll get to it after the elections.

    November 4, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. Statistician

    CNN was saying a 8 point difference between those who said Obama had won the third debate and those who said Romney had won was not significant... For a sample of 500...

    Unbelievable. Have you ever thought of hiring a professional statistician, rather than letting your pundits make blatant statistical misstatements?

    November 4, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. jefflz

    If this story is true, then why is that seven out of seven poll analysts who consolidate polls from across the country, looking at both state and national polls give Obama an overwhelming lead in the Electoral College vote. The average for these seven sites is 299 electoral votes for Obama. The media prefers to entertain rather than inform the public. It is good for business.

    November 4, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. Dan

    National poll means absolutely nothing. Its not breaking news, or news at all.

    November 4, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
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