Republican challenger Mitt Romney is in a virtual tie with President Obama, based on a poll conducted by Fox News of just likely voters. The poll respondents picked Romney-Paul Ryan 45 percent of the time, while Obama-Joe Biden was at 44 percent.
It’s the first poll conducted by Fox of likely voters—meaning registered voters who will likely vote in November. The biggest challenge for pollsters in doing a poll of likely voters is trying to estimate what percentage of African Americans and Latinos will show up to the polls. Pollsters normally reduce the African American percentage of the vote, believing they are less likely—based on models established in previous elections—to show up to the polls than most categories of white voters. But in an election with an African-American president, it may be even harder to predict what the black turnout will be.
According to the Fox News poll, the number of undecideds is narrowing as both sides have shored up their key voting blocs. Romney is winning white Evangelical Christians (70-18 percent), white voters (53-36 percent), married voters (51-38 percent), men (48-40 percent) and seniors (50-41 percent).
Obama is winning black voters (86-6 percent), women (48-42 percent), lower income households (53-35 percent), young voters (48-39 percent) and unmarried voters (55-34 percent).
Independents back Romney by 42-32 percent, but one in four is undecided. In 2008, Obama won independents 52-44 percent over John McCain.
One of every ten voters is undecided or says they’ll vote for someone other than Obama and Romney. Among that group, 55 percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing and only 17 percent think the country has changed for the better in the last four years.Among undecided voters Romney is viewed more negatively than positively by 28 percentage points, while Obama is viewed more negatively by 12 points.
As far as the ethics of the campaigns, 58 percent say Romney will do or say anything to get elected, while 57 percent say the same of Obama.
As for Medicare, the issue that has obsessed the media in the past few days, voters by a three percent margin trust Obama over Romney to do a better job protecting Medicare and ensuring it’s there for future generations.Romney beats Obama by two points when voters are asked who they trust to improve the economy and create jobs.