President Obama built a small lead in the national polls throughout September, but two surveys released Monday showed the race reverting to the neck-and-neck status the contest has known most of the year.
New numbers from ABC News and the Washington Post showed Obama with a 49 percent to 47 percent lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney among likely voters, and another poll from Politico and George Washington University (GWU) produced the same result. While those numbers suggest the state of the race is relatively unchanged, the view of the economy — the election’s most important issue — has seen a slow but steady movement over the last year.
“Ratings of the economy, while very negative, have grown less intensely so since late August (39 percent say it’s in poor shape, down from 45 percent),” ABC pollster Gary Langer wrote in his analysis. “Obama’s 47 percent approval rating for handling the economy, while still underwater, is numerically its highest in more than two years. And views that the nation is headed seriously off on the wrong track have eased by 9 percentage points to the fewest since January 2011.”
Overall, the PollTracker Average of the president’s approval on the economy has evened out as election day nears, but still remains negative.
Romney has a slight 2-point advantage on which candidate is better to handle the economy going forward in the Politico/GWU poll, and a 1-point advantage on who would be better to create jobs. But as time has gone on Romney’s lead on the economy has dissipated, especially in the last month as economic and other polling data has shown Americans are feeling slightly better about the nation’s growth.
The overall PollTracker Average of the national race has shown an Obama lead of about 3 to 4 points throughout September, and with the addition of the new polling stands at 2.6 percent.
The ABC/Washington Post used 813 interviews with likely voters via landline and cell phone, conducted Sept. 26-29. The Politico/GWU poll used 1,000 interviews with likely voters reached by landline and cell phone conducted Sept. 24-27. The ABC/WaPo poll has a sampling error of 4 percent and Politico/GWU’s survey has a 3.1 percent sampling error.
(Photo Credit: Brett Marty Photography)
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.