Obama, Romney now tied in presidential race: Reuters/Ipsos poll

WASHINGTON Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:34pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R) are pictured on stage at the 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R) are pictured on stage at the 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York October 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Mitt Romney has closed the gap with President Barack Obama and the two candidates are now tied in the November 6 presidential race, according to a Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released on Monday.

The online survey of likely voters found Obama and Romney were each supported by 46 percent of the electorate as they prepare for their final televised debate on Monday night.

Romney trailed by 1 percentage point when the poll was last published on Saturday. The two candidates have remained within three percentage points of each other since shortly after their first debate on October 3.

"Today's number emphasizes the fact that the race is very close. We enter the final debate with the candidates literally neck and neck," Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said.

However, Obama still holds a substantial advantage in the battleground states that will determine the outcome of the election. Ipsos projects Obama will carry hotly contested states such as Florida, Ohio and Virginia, for a relatively comfortable electoral college victory.

Reuters/Ipsos online polls are measured using a credibility interval. The survey of 957 likely voters, conducted between October 18 and October 22, has a credibility interval of 3.6 percentage points.

Among the larger pool of registered voters, Obama leads Romney 45 percent to 42 percent.

Early voting is now underway in 49 states and the Distinct of Columbia, and the poll found that 16 percent have already cast their ballots.

While the election may be already over for millions of voters, for others it remains very much an open question. Among likely voters, 6 percent said they did not know which candidate they would vote for, or refused to say.

Among those who have settled on a candidate, 15 percent of registered voters said they could still change their minds.

Monday's debate in Boca Raton, Florida, represents the last chance either candidate will likely get to make their case directly to a television audience of millions of voters.

The debate is unlikely to change the dynamics of the race substantially unless either Obama or Romney makes a major mistake, Clark said.

"I think this is how we're going to see the numbers looking for the next two weeks. It's just very close," she said.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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Comments (35)
AlkalineState wrote:
That’s a poll of ‘remaining likely voters.’ Problem for Romney is, 40% of the voters in the United States have already voted. And of those early votes, Obama is leading by a 65 to 35 margin. I know they don’t talk about this on AM radio, because it’s kind of a bummer for the conservative fringe. But good news for mainstream America. Romney does not have the electoral votes to win the Presidency.

Oct 22, 2012 1:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MichaelMann wrote:
Since the focus is on foreign policy in this last debate, the candidates should be asked why they support the illegal invading and occupying of other countries with money borrowed from the same private banking system whose bailout neither candidate contested. Also, Obama should be asked on what grounds he justified recently signing (and Romney, why he didn’t contest) S. 2165, a bill that ensures America does Israel’s bidding – promises that are in addition to the state of the art weapon and defense systems and over 3 billion dollars in annual foreign aid given to them as well as a veto of every UN resolution against them.

Oct 22, 2012 1:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jho8 wrote:
Too bad popular vote does not decide the election, and too bad people in states like mine (RI) don’t count at all, since it’s about 70% democrats and only has 4 electoral votes. Also, they are not literally neck and neck, they are in fact figuratively neck and neck.

Oct 22, 2012 1:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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