Romney and Obama In Dead Heat As Presidential Race Enters The Final Stretch

Three new national polls of likely voters indicate that the race for the White House is essentially a dead heat following Republican hopeful Mitt Romney’s bounce from last week’s first presidential debate.

While anything can still happen over the next frantic final weeks, the surveys make clear that Romney has made up ground to President Barack Obama.

According to a CNN Poll of Polls that averages all three non-partisan, live-operator surveys, Romney has the support of 48 percent of likely voters, with President Obama at 47 percent. While the CNN Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error, the margin is well within the sampling error of the three surveys averaged into the CNN Poll of Polls.

The surveys are the Pew Research Center, which was conducted entirely after the debate from October 4-7; the American Research Group, which was conducted entirely after the debate from October 5-8; and the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll, which was conducted partially before and mostly after the debate from October 2-8.

The Gallup daily tracking poll indicated Romney at 49 percent and Obama at 47 percent among likely voters.

This is Gallup’s first release of a tracking poll of likely voters, so no comparison can be made to pre-debate surveys from Gallup.

Gallup noted, however, that interviews conducted Monday and Tuesday nights suggested that Romney’s debate performance “may not have a lasting impact.”

The ARG poll indicates the former Massachusetts governor at 48 percent, with Obama at 47 percent. According to ARG’s previous poll, conducted Sept. 27-30, the president was at 49 percent, just ahead of Romney at 46 percent.

The Pew Poll shows Romney with a 49 percent to 45 percent advantage over Obama. In Pew’s previous survey, conducted in mid-September, the president had a 51 percent to 43 percent lead among likely voters.

But exclusively targeting likely voters has its flaws as well. Many routinely claim they have voted or are likely to vote when they have or will not. So pollsters use various indirect measures to identify the most likely voters.

Obama and Romney will debate again next week when they meet in Hempstead, N.Y. on Oct. 16.

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