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. God and Country

    Romans 13:1 says that whoever gets into office has been appointed by God. That's all I care about.

    November 5, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  2. BetterDaysAhead

    Vote for ROMNEY/RYAN and a straight republican ticket! With the Presidency, house and senate our nation will once again prosper. We will go to work instead of going to the soup kitchen and the welfare office! Do your part Amercians – division, separation and revenge is not the way forward!

    November 5, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  3. Ben

    Tomorrow will be the end of the make-believe world Republicans are living in. Yes, its a "grand media conspiracy" to skew the polls, all of them. Get ready for your party civil war when you lose and your alternate universe shatters. You are America's problem children.

    November 5, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  4. goodgrieftx

    Kicking off your legislative career by eliminating your opponents on a technicality is not leadership. Regularly stating "present" during your legislative career rather than vote and be held accountable for your views is not leadership. Running on a 3 word slogan and now a 1-word slogan while whining about the lack of details from others is not leadership. Having full control of the house and senate from 2007-2011 and whining that continuing to blame the other side is not leadership. Spending your first two years in office with lectures and procedures to eliminate involvement from the other side...and then whining like a smarmy little school girl that the other side won't work with not leadership. Spending two week blaming a half baked video made by some whack job for an attack on an embassy, and using that as an opportunity to begin chipping away at our first amendment rights...particularly at a UN speech, is not leadership. Pushing policies of government Uber Alles that failed us in the past and lead to the misery of the 70's is not leadership. I'm not a Romney fan, but I'll go with the guy who turned a horribly failing Olympics around, built businesses that saved others that could be saved and who has at least some executive experience.

    November 5, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  5. Embarrased by Cheap Romney Tactics

    Until Romney explains how he's going cut $5 trillion from the deficit, President Obama gets my vote. "Magic" isn't good enough.

    November 5, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  6. UDidntBuildThat

    GI Joe-How can anyone believe the cult leader and biggest liar we've ever seen in politics? Mit romney must never get in the white house.
    So the President comes out and LIES to American people about stimulus, obamacare, solyndra, Libya, Gitmo, Romney record on GM, number of jobs created, and it is Romney that is the liar?
    Obama use stimulus money to fund corp. that ship jobs overseas and lthen lies that it is Romney who ships jobs overseas? Really?
    What about Libya, U claim to be a military person, how do ufeel know your fellow sodiers + our beloved Ambassor was not protected infact left to the mercy of know Al Qaeda terror groups in the area despite many pleas for more security? While the President lies that the seals were security for the Amb. They were not! How does it feel to know u were lied to about Al Qaeda being gone when all the while they were strengthening under this Admin?
    Oh yeah the economy is doing really great now right? Unemployment is not at 5.6% as Obama said it would be by this time if we passed the stimulus. How about the shovel ready jobs? Sandy created more shovel ready jobs that this President could ever dream!

    November 5, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  7. David from Ohio

    Obama reminds us that America is producing more domestic oil. The truth is this oil production occurs on private land in North Dakota. Obama and Dept of Interior Secretary Salazar have done whatever they can to stop oil and gas drilling on federal land. Companies using new technology to produce oil from tight reservoirs is due to American ingenuity not Obama's policies.

    November 5, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  8. Gina

    Women voting for Romney – DUMB! I am sure they are thinking they need a job but here is a news flash – you are not going to get paid the same wage as a man..WAKE UP

    November 5, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  9. David from Ohio

    Previous economic studies of banking crises the past forty years have shown the average increase in debt three years into a crisis was just under two times with the maximum being almost three times the starting debt level. The US debt in 2007 when the crisis started was $9 trillion. It is now $16 trillion with some predicting $25 to $30 trillion before this crisis ends. The Government has lost all control on spending. America deserves better leadership.

    November 5, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  10. Jrd

    D+11 over sampled and the race is a dead heat? Okay, I buy that.

    November 5, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  11. Home Owners In Trouble with Mitt

    Are you a home owner? If you vote for MITTWIT, then you will be losing your biggest tax deduction...your home loan interest tax credit. That can be THOUSANDS per year. MITT has not specified what loopholes will be closed, but this one stands out to be the most likely to impact you.

    November 5, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  12. Kate

    I can not believe that half this country is so stupid they'd vote for Romney!

    November 5, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  13. GeorgiaPeachie

    SHAME on you cnn!! Your coverage of this election has been very dishonest and slanted. Then you have the nerve to peddle a poll that you ***KNOW*** is nothing more than a boldfaced lie. Rigging your poll with D+11...a margin FAR beyond even 2008 turnouts, that were record breaking!

    Do you really think the American People are that stupid???

    November 5, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  14. Claire

    Dead heat... please stop with the crap. The EV is all that matters.

    November 5, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  15. Dnick47

    America.. Romney will be a continuation of GWB. Your taxes will go up and the uper 5-10% will go down, one company after another will fail with the machinery and jobs going to the 3rd. World, your sons and daughters will have one job aspec – the military whic will be engaged in fighting wars all over the place for the sake of multi-national corporations and who will be forgotten by the Republican when they need VA care... Thought it waqs bad under Bush II elect Romney and see how muh worse worse can get. The Great Depression will seem like a stroll in the park by comparison.

    November 5, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  16. abilitytorant

    Landline surveys will be a thing of the past after this election.

    November 5, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  17. trex

    ............And every Cletus and Billy Bob in Georgia, and Alabama will be voting Romney. BUT, the true measure is the ELCTORIAL VOTE COUNT,.......and there, Obama will win. Sounds like the last W Bush win, doesnt it...?

    November 5, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  18. Brian Hartman

    Everyone keeps quoting Nate Silver's prediction that Obama will win this with 306 votes in the Electoral College. If what these polls say is true, that prediction looks shaky now.

    November 5, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  19. Michael from NJ

    Obama 2012!!! The groups that NO One calls in reference to these so called polls are going to power the President to victory. Mitt has to carry to Phila area to at least have a shot at winning PA.....and that's not going to happen. Funny how they stopped pounding their chest about O-H-I-O now that it shows Mitt is down by as many as 6 points. Everyone exercise your right to vote!!!

    November 5, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  20. scott

    +Hey CNN..........He's a snorkel for you since your so in the tank for Obama. +11 in your sampling is more than the +8 usually used by liberal pollsters. Ha!

    November 5, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  21. keith

    National polls do not matter. It is all about the electoral college and how swing states vote. Obama has this one locked up.

    November 5, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  22. david

    A dead heat probably means Romney will win by 5%. The liberal media had Jimmy Carter up by 6 points and was wiped out by Reagan.

    November 5, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  23. ru serious

    Can't believe this race is even close...we have had four years of inept leadership. Do people actually believe the next for years are going to be better with Obama still in charge??? So strange, the people who are voting for him are exactly the people who have suffered the most under his regime...really realy concerning, we have gone completely over to cult of personality electorate. What kind of country are we leaving our chidren/grandchildren, so short-sighted, so stupid, so selfish.

    November 5, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  24. ME from the Jersey Shore

    If the polls are weighted 11% toward the Democrats then the President should be way head, not tied. Makes you wonder what we'll see Wednesday morning when this is over.

    November 5, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  25. Simon

    Oh great, if they tie do we have co-president's. Or do we eliminate one of them?

    November 5, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
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