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POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll:

Obama at 49 Percent and Romney at 48 Percent

October 29, 2012


202-994-3087; [email protected]
Jill Sankey
202-994-6466; [email protected]


WASHINGTON – If the election were held today 49 percent of Americans would vote for President Obama and 48 percent would vote for Governor Romney, according to a new POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll released today. This one-point lead is reversed when voters are asked to rate how likely they are to vote for each candidate. Then, 43 percent say they will “definitely” vote for Romney and 42 percent will “definitely” vote for Obama.

"The latest results of our national poll continue to show an extremely tight race," said Christopher Arterton, founding dean of GW’s Graduate School of Political Management.  "Over the next eight days attention will increasingly focus on voters in critical battleground states.  These voters, who will ultimately decide the race, have been deluged with TV ads, inundated by mailed brochures, bombarded by telephone calls and interrupted by door knockers.  I suspect that much of the nation doesn't envy them."

Early voting has begun and among those who already cast their vote, Obama leads 53 to 45 percent. These early voters represent 15 percent of the electorate.  

“In a tight race, Obama has the edge with a majority of voters who like him, approve of the job he is doing and believe he will win,” said Celinda Lake, Democratic pollster and president of Lake Research Partners. “Obama also has the advantage in the early vote, and women have come back to him. The key now is turnout.”

The president’s job approval rating is 50 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval. Both candidates have a favorable personal rating with the majority of voters. President Obama has a 51 to 46 percent favorable to unfavorable rating, and Governor Romney has a 52 to 43 percent favorable to unfavorable rating.

When voters are asked which candidate they think will better handle key issues, Mitt Romney leads on the economy (51 to 46 percent), jobs (51 to 46 percent), federal budget and spending (54 to 42 percent) and the ability to get things done (49 to 45 percent). Barack Obama leads on foreign policy (54 to 42 percent), Medicare (51 to 45 percent) and standing up for the middle class (54 to 41 percent). With a 3.1 percent margin of error, the candidates are statistically tied on taxes (49 percent for Obama and 47 percent for Romney), sharing your values (49 percent for Obama and 46 percent for Romney) and being a strong leader (49 percent for Obama and 46 percent for Romney).

“Romney has the advantage on the pocketbook issues and Obama has the advantage on more abstract issues,” said Ed Goeas, Republican Pollster and president/CEO of The Tarrance Group.   “The final days of the campaign will most likely feature both candidates making a strong case about these individual strengths.  The difference, as has been the case most of the fall campaign, will be that Romney will be focusing on issues that are the top concerns of most voters.”

With only eight days until Election Day the POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll is a valuable tool in anticipating the outcome and gauging voter attitudes and concerns. Results from the next tracking poll will be announced Monday, Nov. 5. For full results and analysis go to or

About the POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll
The Battleground Tracking Polls focus exclusively on voters’ attitudes towards the presidential election, the Congressional election and pressing 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 Republican pollster Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. The George Washington University Global Media Institute, affiliated with the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) and the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA), 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 these top pollsters representing both sides of the aisle, surveyed 1,000 registered likely voters nationwide Oct. 22 through Oct. 25, 2012 including a protocol for reaching mobile phone users, and yields a margin of error of + 3.1 percent.       

Interview Opportunities
Christopher Arterton, founding dean of GW’s Graduate School of Political Management; Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners; and Ed Goeas, President/CEO of The Tarrance Group; are all available for comment.  For Mr. Arterton, contact Angela Olson at 202-994-3087.  For Ms. Lake, contact Anderson Gardner at Lake Research Partners, 202-776-9066.  For Mr. Goeas, contact Brian Nienaber at The Tarrance Group, 703-684-6688.

For full results from the latest poll go to and