Obama, Romney enter homestretch in dead heat

The 2 presidential candidates are tied at 47%. Any mistake could sway the outcome.

By MSNMoney partner Oct 22, 2012 11:59AM

Bloomberg logoBy John McCormick and Michael Riley

 

The presidential race heads into its final two weeks with polls showing a dead heat nationally and some tightening in the most closely competitive states, suggesting the outcome could turn on a mistake or which campaign better mobilizes its forces.

 

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are tied at 47 percent in a national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of likely voters released yesterday.

 

In Florida, where the two rivals will debate tonight, the candidates were virtually even in an Oct. 17-18 CNN/ORC International poll of likely voters, with 49 percent backing Romney and 48 percent supporting Obama.

 

A Quinnipiac University/CBS News poll of likely Ohio voters released today showed Obama leading Romney by five percentage points, 50 percent to 45 percent. That's half the margin Obama had when that same poll was done in late September.

 

"This is going to be a very close race and we've said that consistently," David Axelrod, Obama's senior political strategist, said yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

 

"The trend is in our direction," said Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio on "Meet the Press." Portman, encamped with Romney over the weekend in Delray Beach, Florida, for debate practice sessions, said the polling reflects what he has seen on the ground.

 

"The enthusiasm and energy is on our side this year," Portman said. "That's where you want to be at this point in the campaign."

 

Surveys over the past week have shown the former Massachusetts governor narrowing or eliminating Obama's lead in several swing states, those with a history of supporting either party's presidential candidate. Romney gained momentum from winning his first debate with Obama on Oct. 3 in Denver.

 

The tie in Oct. 17-20 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll represented the first time this year Obama hasn't led in the survey. The poll of 816 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

 

Romney erased a five-percentage-point lead Obama had in the same poll in mid-September, which had narrowed to a three-point advantage by late last month.

 

For Romney, the good news is that the latest polling suggests his momentum wasn't stemmed by his second debate with Obama, held Oct. 16 in Hempstead, New York. The pair's final faceoff starts at 9 p.m. tonight at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, and focuses on foreign policy.

 

The positive view for the Obama camp is that the recent polling shows he tends to do better among the broader samples of registered voters, rather than the smaller pool of those deemed likely to cast ballots in the Nov. 6 election.

 

Among 1,000 registered voters in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, Obama leads Romney 49 percent to 44 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. If Obama's political organization is as good as it claims to be, he should be able to get at least some of those additional registered voters to the polls.

 

The survey's likely voter sample shows Romney leading among men, 53 percent to 43 percent, and Obama ahead among women, 51 percent to 43 percent. Romney's support among men has grown in the past month while Obama's advantage among women has diminished slightly.

 

Axelrod, in his television appearance, said Obama's campaign is confident about its standing in part because of the number of Democrats who have already cast ballots through the early voting process.

 

"We feel we're even or ahead in these battleground states," he said. "If you look at the early voting that's going on around the country, it's very robust and it's very favorable to us. And we think that's a better indicator than these public polls, which are frankly all over the map."

 

Six of the nine top battleground states -- including Iowa, Ohio, Nevada and North Carolina -- have early, in-person voting under way as of today.

 

Polling last week in Iowa and Wisconsin, another of the states that strategists in both parties say will decide who wins the White House, showed Obama maintaining his lead in each. Obama led Romney 51 percent to 43 percent in Iowa, and 51 percent to 45 percent in Wisconsin, according to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College survey released Oct. 18.


Obama, who spent his weekend preparing for tonight's debate at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, is scheduled to campaign tomorrow in the same city where Romney held his debate rehearsals -- Delray Beach -- and also go to Ohio. The following day, he embarks on a 48-hour sprint through six states that includes additional stops in Florida and Ohio. Also as part of the trip, he will stop in Chicago and become the first incumbent president to cast an early, in-person vote.

 

Obama won Florida in 2008, and every incumbent president seeking re-election since 1984 has carried the state. The CNN poll that last week showed a virtual tie in the presidential race among Florida's likely voters had Obama ahead of Romney in the registered-voter sample, 50 percent to 43 percent.

 

The state is central to the strategies of both campaigns. If Obama can win Florida, he'll almost certainly renew his White House lease. If Romney fails to carry it, he would have to win almost every other battleground state to prevail.


Besides a trip to church, Romney took a break yesterday from his debate preparations to officiate a coin toss at the start of a flag football game on the beach between his staff and members of the media covering his campaign.

 

"Where's Chris Christie when we need him?" he joked as he expressed a desire for a more robust offensive and defensive line, making reference to the New Jersey governor's size.

 

In a pre-game huddle, Romney told his team to play tough. "Don't worry about injuries, guys," Romney joked. "Win."

 

He declined to answer questions from reporters. "I'm ready for football," he said, when asked whether he was prepared for today's debate.

 

He also declined to answer a question on whether he would support one-on-one talks with Iran on that country's nuclear development program.

 

U.S. policy toward Iran, especially efforts to keep it from obtaining nuclear weapons, is expected to come up at tonight's debate. The New York Times reported yesterday that the U.S. and Iran had agreed to direct negotiations on the nuclear issue for the first time, a story later denied by the White House.

 

Portman said on "Meet the Press" that "the last thing we would want to do is abandon our allies on this and to make it a one-on-one negotiation."


More from Bloomberg

55Comments
Oct 23, 2012 3:10PM
avatar

Obo’s Lies

“I ended the war in Iraq” WRONG – Blame Bush, he negotiated the pullout of troops before he left office. Obo was negotiating to keep them there longer, but Iraq said,” No.”

“I saved to auto industry” WRONG – The industry would have gone through an orderly bankruptcy but now instead the U.S. government owns more than 25% of GM, and they can’t afford to buy us out. You call that saving the industry?

“I’m a black man” WRONG – You are 50% white, 36.5% Arabic and 13.5% black African. Read your own book.

Oct 22, 2012 6:49PM
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Its time to wake up AMERICA! Lets show the world that we are not an ignorant nation. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.Vote ROMNEY!

Oct 23, 2012 12:55PM
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My take on last night's debate:

Obama was true to form. First he claims that everything Romney says is a lie, then he says everything he can think of to impugn and degrade Romney by making false or ridiculously absurd statements, and then he topped it all off by rudely interrupting Romney with a frequency that clearly violated the Debate Rules he had agreed to.

Yes, Obama's behavior was a model for the kind of man we need as our President,

Right????

Oct 22, 2012 12:44PM
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"The 2 presidential candidates are tied at 47%. Any mistake could sway the outcome."

They better put a gag order on Biden then!
Oct 23, 2012 3:12PM
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You are not entitled to Welfare; you are not entitled to Medicaid. You are not entitled to free legal care or an education. Anything you get is a gift to you from those who pay your way through life and you should get down on your knees and be thankful. No one is entitled to something they did not earn. Put you hand to better use. Welfare is to be a hand up, not a hand out. It is not meant to be forever, it is not meant to be a way of life. It is not a gift for or to your next generation.

Oct 24, 2012 6:41AM
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Romney’s Plan to let GM & Chrysler go through bankruptcy like 7-Eleven, Macy’s, and Continental Airlines was intended to allow Detroit to come out of Bankruptcy stronger.

Obama did take GM & Chrysler into Bankruptcy. As the shareholders of GM's common stock know quite well, with Obama's plan, they lost everything they had invested. You cannot tell them Obama did not take GM into Bankruptcy.

The truth is that, even though there were significant differences between Romney’s suggested/recommended bankruptcy plan and Obama’s executed Bankruptcy plan, both plans had the end goal for bringing Detroit (GM & Chrysler) out of bankruptcy with the American Auto Industry much stronger and better able to compete with foreign auto manufacturers.

The truth is that Romney’s sincere intent was to save Detroit, not destroy it. To claim anything else defies logic.

Obama’s assertion that Romney wanted to bury Detroit is an unethical attempt to gain political advantage by presenting a distorted/unrealistic  interpretation of Romney’s intent.

Oct 23, 2012 10:48PM
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Government should provide a safety net for the needy, not a hammock.
Oct 22, 2012 7:16PM
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If America re-elects this colossal  failure of a communist wannabe, then we deserve what we get. Vote Romney/Ryan  and freedom, as opposed to turning into a communist dictatorship. Is that clear enough for even those who aren't paying attention?
Oct 23, 2012 3:12PM
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The communist and socialist are brainwashing the feeble minded American public. You want what the rich have then work for it. Equality is not a hand out. It's getting off your ****, learning and working. The only equality government should guarantee is the opportunity to succeed. It's there, get off your **** and get it.

Oct 23, 2012 9:35PM
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We think your polls are off---In 08 here in Dell Web, S/Az, 55+, all signs were " Hope & Change O'Bama ", we only counted 2 for McCain !!!

This in a 428 home development. This year, we have only 2 signs as of last week for Democrats & they are for Senate & House seats,

no mention of O'Bama , All the signs are for Romney !!! 

 

                         It's going to be a sweep for Romney !!!!!,    The Possum 179

Oct 23, 2012 2:35AM
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Clowns to the left of me , jokers to the right ! LOL Thats the US Congress ...
Oct 23, 2012 3:12PM
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47% of Americans consider themselves victims. Yes, THE TRUTH HURTS. Try more like 50%, and it comes from the jackass on top, who is still blaming the previous administration for all his problems. Americans have become a mentally sick group of people. The democratic socialist mentality of false victimization is what is destroying this country.

Oct 24, 2012 12:08PM
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Why does Obama (along with so many other politicians) have such a hard time balancing the Budget?

Maybe if they had a significant amount of successful business experience to draw on, they could figure out how to make the difficult decisions required to keep spending within the Budget.

Maybe that's what it takes!

Oct 22, 2012 3:29PM
avatar
We can only hope the American's who support free enterprise come out in droves vs the voters who are getting a free ride and pay no taxes and still get a benefit from the government. I have no problem with the government helping the down and out who need a hand up, but I have no patience for those constantly looking for a hand out. We need leadership in the white house who will see the vision of energy independence, a strong military and economic prosperity.

The president is lacking in all those areas and has no reasonable solution to our debit crisis.
Oct 23, 2012 11:02PM
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While it is on my mind,  life is enhanced by freedom of choice, even if it results in difficulties. Dynamics of living bring an energy and verve that cannot be matched by state attempts to control behavior. All through history revolutions and uprisings had at their root government attempts to shape behavior to be within what the state could control.

This may work for awhile but eventually peoplke rise up and rebel against limiting government policies.

Oct 23, 2012 3:12PM
avatar

Everyone wants the rich ($250,000 is not rich) to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes because they don’t think it’s enough. Well, how much is enough? If someone is paying hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in taxes already, why should they pay more? So what if it’s only 10, 12, or even 5% of their income. Why should someone who works harder and sacrifices more, pay more? It’s wrong, it’s unfair. Those paying millions are supporting those paying only a few hundred dollars. If that’s 20% of your income, maybe you just need to work harder? The rest of us are tired of supporting you. Would you rather have 10% of $100,000 or 5% of $250,000?

Oct 24, 2012 11:52AM
avatar

Romney’s Plan to let GM & Chrysler go through bankruptcy like 7-Eleven, Macy’s, and Continental Airlines was intended to allow Detroit come out stronger.

Obama did take GM & Chrysler into Bankruptcy. As the shareholders of GM's common stock know quite well, with Obama's plan, they lost everything. You cannot tell them Obama did not take GM into Bankruptcy.

The truth is that, even though there were significant differences between Romney’s suggested bankruptcy plan and Obama’s executed Bankruptcy plan, both plans had the end goal for bringing Detroit (GM & Chrysler) out of bankruptcy with the American Auto Industry much stronger and better able to compete with foreign auto manufacturers.

The truth is that Romney’s sincere intent was to save Detroit, not destroy it. To claim anything else defies logic.

Obama’s assertion that Romney wanted to bury Detroit is an unethical attempt to gain political advantage by presenting a distorted interpretation of Romney’s intent.

Oct 25, 2012 11:35AM
avatar
Oblamo has 47% of the people in his pocket via the taxpayer's pockets. Thats a nice base to start with. Grow dependency , grow the democrat base. Do democrats ever pay for anything out of their own pockets?
Oct 23, 2012 12:04AM
avatar
Debates do not win Presidential elections.
Oct 24, 2012 3:39PM
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So if obo wins who is he going to blame now? You really can't blame GB for problems that are happening now. It's not GB's fault that companies are announcing new rounds of layoffs now. The blame doesn't even belong to one man, the blame belongs to a concept called socialism.
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