Voters remain divided on whether they are better off now than they were four years ago

Poll shows Obama, Romney in a dead heat-Challenger’s backers more enthusiastic than president’s

President Obama and Mitt Romney are deadlocked with each holding 49 percent support nationally as they head into Tuesday’s election, though Mr. Romney holds a lead on enthusiasm, according to this week’s The Washington Times/Zogby Poll of likely voters, released Thursday night.

Mr. Obama has more votes already in the bank: About a quarter of those surveyed said they’ve cast their ballots by absentee or early voting, and they broke 53 percent to 45 percent in favor of the president.

But Mr. Romney, the Republican nominee, leads when it comes to those who have yet to hit the polling booth but who said they are certain or very likely to make it on Tuesday — suggesting that his key to victory is persuading his backers to actually turn out next week.

When it comes to issues, the president leads when voters are asked about foreign affairs, national security, energy and immigration, but Mr. Romney has a lead when it comes to handling jobs and the economy, which have dominated this year’s election.

“It’s what brings it to a tie — the fact that he does better on the economy,” said John Zogby, The Times’ pollster, who said it reminded him of the 2004 race, when Democratic nominee John F. Kerry led President George W. Bush on every issue except for national security, where the incumbent held a commanding lead, which powered him to re-election.

The final piece of economic data will come Friday morning when the Labor Department releases the October jobs report, detailing the unemployment rate. Early indications showed a modest number of new jobs added last month, though whether that would lead to a lower unemployment rate is still in doubt.

Last month, the rate stood at 7.8 percent — the exact same level as when Mr. Obama took office.

Voters remain divided on whether they are better off now than they were four years ago, with 46 percent saying “yes” and 47 percent saying “no.” The partisan split, though, is staggering: 74 percent of Democrats said they are better off, while 81 percent of Republicans said they are not. Independents are split down the middle.

That divide underscores another conclusion from the latest polling: Both Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are seeing their base voters come home.

The president has a tremendous lead among black voters and garners support of 78 percent of Hispanics, which would put him ahead of his 2008 performance with that fast-growing voting bloc. White voters, though, are increasingly backing Mr. Romney, who now claims support of 60 percent of them.

The poll of 800 self-identified likely voters was taken Oct. 29 to 31. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Mr. Zogby said the hurricane that struck the Northeast did not likely affect the broad conclusions of the poll, which is in line with other surveys that show a very tight race.

Adding in third-party candidates does nothing to change the dynamic.

Libertarian Party nominee Gary E. Johnson gets 2 percent support and Green Party candidate Jill Stein collects 1 percent support, leaving Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney still tied at 48 percent to 48 percent.

Republicans point to the fact that Mr. Obama has struggled to hit the 50 percent support level.

“Obama isn’t even close to 50 percent of the vote. In fact, again, going back to Real Clear Politics, since the first debate, there have been 24 national surveys done since the first debate, and just one of them has shown Obama at 50 percent of the vote. That’s just one,” Neil Newhouse, the Romney campaign’s pollster, told reporters on Wednesday.

Democrats, though, argued that Mr. Obama has leads in more than enough battleground states to put together the Electoral College map he’ll need to win re-election.

“Let’s be clear: This is a race to 270 electoral votes. And we understand the map that we — or the several maps that we need to get there,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters.

The Times/Zogby poll has consistently showed a tight race nationally, with the exception of late September, when Mr. Obama notched a 9-point lead amid a very bad month for Mr. Romney.

But in October, Mr. Romney rebounded, benefiting from a powerful first debate performance.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sammy
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 20:32:55

    “The Washington Times/Zogby Poll”? Are you serious? Try reading some other sources otherwise you will damage your credibility.

    The Washington Times/Zogby Poll?


  2. WakeUpAmerica
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 21:18:53

    Yes, I’m better off. My investments have doubled, and my house value has increased. My country is out of one insane war, and we have no plans to start another. This president has poise and class, whereas the last one had an ignorant mouth and bombastic, entitled personality. I can be proud of this one. I felt compelled to tell people I did not vote for the Shrub when I travelled abroad.

    Make no mistake, this country will be in deep, deep shit if Romney and his gangsters get into power. The man has proved himself to be without soul or integrity. His Jeep ad alone shows a pathology to his lying. His claims to success as a governor are false. His claims about the auto bailout are egregiously false (douche level). His heartless treatment of workers is beyond disturbing. The man has no compassion and no integrity. He is absolutely clueless about foreign policy. The nicest thing I can say about him is that he is an opportunist and a lying sack of shit. Really.


  3. Gindy53
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 03:07:57

    Our family is better off as well, in fact our whole neighborhood has improved due to people feeling more secure. Almost everyone around us has done some home improvement from new decks to expanding their home with new rooms. That puts money into the local economy and helps everyone else.
    For those voters who are still undecided, well they need to get out more and learn to use the internet to find out how much better off we are and how horrifyingly awful we’d be if Willard “Gordon Gecko x 100” Romney were to be elected.

    By the way, if he is I wonder what book he will be sworn in on… the bible or the book of Mormon.


  4. batgirly
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 12:16:10

    Our IRA’s have more than doubled since Obama took office. Family members who could not find work have now found it. Our real estate values are rebounding.

    Yes, we did almost have another Great Depression (thanks to George Bush, the real estate bubble, and banking deregulation), but it was averted.

    I can’t even imagine how anyone could vote against this president, he’s the best one that I’ve seen in my fifty years on this planet.

    Vote for Romney and the rich will get richer while the poor (formerly middle class) will spend their lives toiling for them.

    If your issues are social conservatism, then maybe ask yourself this: Who is more likely to have an abortion, a woman who has no resources to care for a child, or a woman who has healthcare, a job, and a savings account? And statistics are very clear, making free or affordable birth control available to poor women dramatically decreases abortion and teen pregnancy.

    Wars kill children, pregnant women, and scar whole generations of people for life.

    Voting for Obama IS the moral choice.


  5. climber357
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 09:20:15

    Probability of Obama re-election: Random Drift 98.0%, Bayesian Prediction 99.8%.

    Yeah, I´ḿ an Asian nerd.

    Who would have ¨thunk¨ it?


  6. Sassy
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 13:36:39

    Everyone in my family who wants a job has a job. Two have had major promotions in the last year. My IRA is almost back to what it was, health care has improved for me and for my children and grandchildren. Funny how the Republicans (and wannabe Republicans who want to be WEALTHY too) are not satisfied with their lot in life, while more of the Democrats are. Funny how compassion seems to come from Democrats, while the Republicans seem to be “all about me.” Can’t even imagine life with Romney as our President — will he change directions and decide a new direction every day? Is that his definition of the Change he will bring us?

    I’m praying we go FORWARD with Obama. At least we know where he stands. And I’m hoping for a Democratic congress as well.


  7. mv
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 17:48:50

    Much better off. 2013 under Obama will be a banner year.


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