Presidential Race in Dead Heat in POLITICO-GW Battleground Tracking Poll

Candidates remain statistically tied on key issues in latest surveys.

October 08, 2012

With less than a month to go until Election Day, President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney are only one point apart at 49 percent to 48 percent, according to a new POLITICO—George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll released today. 

“Obama maintains a lead on the Presidential ballot and on the central measure of standing up for the middle class,” said Celinda Lake, Democratic pollster and president of Lake Research Partners. “But he still needs to translate the latter into a solid advantage on jobs—the combination of the latest jobs report, his plans for continued job creation over the next four years and the contrast between his jobs plan and Romney's plan offer him the opportunity to do just that.”

Voter enthusiasm continues to be high, with 79 percent of Americans saying they are extremely likely to vote. A difference in voter enthusiasm is shown along party lines with 84 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats saying they are extremely likely to vote. 

“Even more significant is the intensity growth amongst Romney voters over Obama voters,” said Ed Goeas, Republican pollster and president/CEO of The Tarrance Group.  “In the last three weeks it has gone from even, to a seven-point intensity advantage with Romney supporters, to this week’s 13 point advantage – Romney voters (86 percent) versus Obama voters (73 percent).”

Romney maintains his lead on the federal budget and spending (50 to 44 percent) while Obama gained a new lead on sharing values (50 to 45 percent) and re-opened his lead on taxes (50 to 44 percent). Obama also maintains his lead on foreign policy (50 to 44 percent), Medicare (51 to 43 percent) and standing up for the middle class (56 to 40 percent). With a 3.1 percent margin of error, the candidates remain statistically tied on key issues such as the economy (49 percent for Romney and 47 percent for Obama), jobs (49 percent for Romney and 46 percent for Obama) and the ability to get things done (46 percent for Romney and 46 percent for Obama). 

"A tight race just got tighter," said Mark Kennedy, director of the GW Graduate School of Political Management.  "Since this week’s poll was completed mostly before the first presidential debate, it would not be a surprise if next week’s poll reflects even more of a neck to neck race.”

As the race to the White House intensifies, POLITICO and George Washington University will release snapshots of the race each Monday until Election Day. The Battleground Tracking Polls focus exclusively on voters' attitudes toward the presidential election, the Congressional election and key issues. The tracking polls complement the more extensive polls traditionally released by POLITICO and GW.

The POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll is a nationally recognized series of surveys conducted by Mr. Goeas of the Tarrance Group and Ms. Lake of Lake Research Partners. The George Washington University Global Media Institute, affiliated with the Graduate School of Political Management and the School of Media and Public Affairs, serves as the university’s home for the partnership. George Washington’s Gelman Library houses the data archive of the survey results dating back more than two decades.

The poll, which is distinguished from other surveys by its presentation of separate analyses from top pollsters representing both sides of the aisle, surveyed 1,000 registered likely voters nationwide Oct. 1 through Oct. 4, including a protocol for reaching mobile phone users, and yielded a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

Click here for further analyses of these issues and full results.