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POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll: The Presidential Race Remains in a Dead Heat with Romney at 49 Percent and Obama at 47 Percent

October 22, 2012

202-994-6466; [email protected]
Michelle Sherrard
202-994-1423; [email protected]

WASHINGTON – The presidential race remains in a dead heat according to a new POLITICO- George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll. If the election were held today 49 percent of Americans would vote for Mitt Romney and 47 percent would vote for Barack Obama.

"All indications are that we are headed into another very, very close election in a divided country," said Christopher Arterton, professor of political management and lead GW faculty member of the Battleground Poll.  "Since about half of the interviews were conducted after the second debate between Obama and Romney, the data indicates a continued but slowing trend toward Romney.  In the next 15 days, the 'ground game' mobilized on both sides will be the critical factor determining the outcome."

Seventy-six percent of Americans say they are extremely likely to vote. A difference in voter enthusiasm remains along party lines with 81 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats saying they are extremely likely to vote. Ninety-four percent of Republicans are supporting Romney compared to 89 percent of Democrats who are supporting Obama.

“Romney has improved in national polls because of greater enthusiasm among Republicans and his large lead in the South,” said Celinda Lake, Democratic pollster and president of Lake Research Partners. “However, the trends underneath in individual battleground states and Obama’s substantial improvement among independents bode well for the president. Women are also rethinking their feelings about Romney; they’ve begun to think that one, good first date—or debate—doesn’t make for a long-term relationship, especially once you get to know the person better.”

 Romney maintains his lead on the federal budget and spending (55 to 40 percent). Romney has also moved ahead on the key issues of the economy (51 to 45 percent) and jobs (50 to 46 percent). Additionally, Romney now leads on the ability to get things done (47 to 43 percent). Obama expanded his lead on foreign policy (51 to 42 percent), and maintained his lead on Medicare (51 to 43 percent) and standing up for the middle class (55 to 41 percent). With a 3.1 percent margin of error, the candidates remain statistically tied on taxes (49 percent for Obama and 47 percent for Romney), being a strong leader (47 percent for Romney and 46 percent for Obama) and sharing your values (48 percent for Obama and 45 percent for Romney).

“Obama continues to have two opponents in this election -- Mitt Romney and the national economy,” said Ed Goeas, Republican pollster and president/CEO of The Tarrance Group. “As the direction of the country took a negative turn in this latest data, Mitt Romney gained on all the economic measurements and in the perception that he is the candidate that ‘can get things done.’  Most disconcerting to the Obama Campaign should not only be the big lead Romney developed over the last few weeks with those voters who say they are extremely likely to vote, but the fact that Romney continues to build his lead with seniors, both middle class families and middle class voters overall, and his double digit advantage with ‘pocketbook’ voters.  While Obama may have regained some of his advantage with foreign affairs, Mitt Romney has moved into the lead with the real issue of this election -- the economy.”

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 towards the presidential election, the Congressional election and pressing issues. The tracking polls complement the more extensive polls traditionally released by POLITICO and GW. For full results and analysis of go to or

About the POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll

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. 14 through Oct. 18, 2012 including a protocol for reaching mobile phone users, and yields a margin of error of + 3.1 percent.       

Interview Opportunities

Chris Arterton, professor of political science; 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 Jill Sankey at 202-994-6466. 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