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. don

    Those numbers make great (continued) journalism. LOL.

    November 4, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  2. Joe Underwater, FL

    The Pew sample was geographically balanced while all others were not. While the later tend to produce overestimates, the later does the opposite. Besides, the rural and suburban people are more motivated than the urban packs who too lazy to even go to pick up their food stamps. Go Romney!

    November 4, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  3. OrganizedConfusion

    Tied for ratings... Stay tuned...

    November 4, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. Michael Overmars

    Why is CNN and all of it's programs (except Don Lemon) not reporting or talking about Voter Suppression?

    If and when a presidential candidate say something wrong or something that appear to cause concern or bring negative attention, CNN and other media outlets are quick to report and loop it. What about voter suppression?

    It is a disgrace that the focus of CNN is to balance news rather than report the news.

    I cannot believe this is happening in my life time.

    If CNN cares about the world and need to make the impact, you have to be on the side of the people.

    Thanks for reading.


    November 4, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  5. Shandha L.

    These polls are bs! I don't know a single person who has been polled? Who is CNN Polling? Dead heat all of a sudden? Oh please! Is CNN getting a side check to promote this propaganda ?

    November 4, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. Tim Rigney

    For the love of God I wish cnn would stop publishing these meaningless Popular Vote polls. I worry that people will see them and think they actually mean something and make decisions based on them – for example, to not vote.

    November 4, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  7. VA Tiger

    Me and my wife are going to vote for Obama here in VA.

    November 4, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. Tim Rigney

    I wish cnn would stop publishing these meaningless Popular Vote polls. I worry that people will see them and think they actually mean something and make decisions based on them – for example, to not vote.

    November 4, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. Ihadadream

    I had the scariest dream last night, actually it was a nightmare that Mitt Romney won the election and that we went to war with Iran–I hope that nightmare doesn't come true

    November 4, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. Michael Enfield

    "Obama, Romney Tied", CNN hasn't polled a soul in my neighborhood; sounds like more, pre-paid, Romney Spin!

    November 4, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. blake

    If CNN and the rest of the far left media says it is a dead heat. I feel very confident Romney will win by at least 6%. The assumptions behind the polling at completely out of touch with reality.

    November 4, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. Jay Tee

    So here we have CNN with a DEM +11 Poll showing it tied... THIS EQUALS ROMNEY LANDSLIDE! Are these journalists
    serious +11? Not even HOPE & CHANGEY 2008 was that high! I predict R+2 to D+2 so minus 9-12 ponts.... 49-49 goes ROMNEY 58 Obama 40 !!!!!

    November 4, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. knitz

    ..."questioned by telephone." well that answers that question!

    November 4, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  14. Sam

    CNN is so hoping Romney wins, they have went the way of Fox News. The reportings and newscasters are fully supporting Romney.

    November 4, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. scat398

    the independents are swinging to Romney and that means Obama is at the end of his presidency. I'm glad so many finally woke up and realized that another 4 years with Obama would lead to another 6 trillion in debt and a huge depression.

    November 4, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  16. ronvan

    Ties do not count! Tuesday will tell the story, or maybe Wed., Thurs., or later! It will be very interesting IF M. R. gets elected? ALL of you that voted for him will be happy, BUT, we will see what he will ACTUALLY do! Like # 1 – health care, Obamacare, will be eliminated, and I have NO clue as to what will result! DO YOU? #2 – The rich will stop worriing about loosing some of their money, while the middle class picks up what is lost! #3 – ALL of those things HE promised, and said he will do, is NOT going to change anything for years! M. R. does NOT have a "magical potion", or the ability to "snap his fingers" and all our problems will be fixed! #4 – While the republicans have become the party of NO, do you think that, if the power in both houses remains the same, that the democrats will become the party of NO!?
    Which would only result in nothing getting done, as usual! #5 – Most everything I have read & seen on TV, except FOX, says that we are getting better, not great, slow, BUT heading in the right direction, that will all STOP if M. R. is elected, while everyone scrambles to re orient & change directions and goals! #6 – Drill baby drill, get the pipeline built, and forget about our environment! YES, it is going to be very interesting if M. R. is elected and you see what he really is, but then it will be to late!!!! And what is even worse than all of the above is how many conflicts / wars are we going to get into, or how China will react, or how our Allies & "friends" react! Oh well, we will just have to wait and see!

    November 4, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  17. Edgar Davila

    This is some kinda boo sheet! You mean to tell me that CNN ran to the presses with this: "based on a sample of...918 likely voters."
    You gotta be kidding me! Let me see if i got this straight: You want to convince us that the mindfarts of some random 1000 knuckleheads who own landline phones (who owns landlines anymore?) is a direct correlation to the way the entire 300 million voting population sees things?
    Hahaha. Read the fine print people. The media is trying to sabotage the certain Obama landslide victory.
    Don't be fooled. Stay the course. It's the only sane way to go forward.

    November 4, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  18. Michael B

    An interesting poll. Dead even with 49% each. However to get that CNN samples 41% Dems and 30% Republicans. Seems skewed to me. Why did they have to skew that much. A turnout such as that is not going to happen. Could it be they needed the skewer to at least show a tie??? And a poll coming out of CNN with Romney having a 5-8% lead (with a more credible party split) was not going to be published. Thoughts?

    November 4, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  19. freilly

    I'm Sh****g bricks right now.

    November 4, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  20. Frank

    There were a whopping 693 voters in the poll. Wow, how scientific....

    November 4, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  21. Adam

    So what happens if Romney gets Ohio but there are still the lawsuits against his party for voter fraud in that state?

    November 4, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  22. MikeyZ

    I suspect we are far from a dead heat.

    The electoral college is more telling.

    November 4, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  23. Sam

    Currently CNN is running LIVE meetings for both Romney and Ryan. Live telecast on the network. Promoting the win of these frauds. 2 candidates who have LIED for the past year. CNN is now promoting a dishonest, distrustful Romney

    November 4, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  24. mzungu1

    How can CNN have a detailed report on the polls without even mentioning the electoral college, which is what decides the election?

    November 4, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  25. mzungu1

    How can CNN have a detailed report on the polls and the chances for each candidate without even mentioning the electoral college, which is what will decide who wins for president?

    November 4, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
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