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NPR Poll Finds Presidential Race Too Close To Call

Ron Elving and Mara Liasson | NPR | October 30, 2012
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The latest and last NPR Battleground Poll for 2012 shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holding the narrowest of leads in the national sample, but trailing President Obama in the dozen states that will decide the election...

...Romney forces have maintained throughout October that the Denver debate transformed the dynamics of the race, and by some measures the former Massachusetts governor has been on the march. But after closing the gap between himself and the president, Romney's gains seemed to hit a wall — at least temporarily.

Ayres, the Republican half of the NPR polling team, said most of the gains for Romney had come among independents, who went from favoring Romney by a few points before the debates to favoring him 51 percent to 39 percent after the debates. In 2008, candidate Barack Obama won among independent voters.

"So were it not for the debates," Ayres concluded, "I think Obama would be cruising to a victory right now. Because of the debates, this is going to be an incredibly close election."

There is direct evidence for that in the NPR poll, which found 33 percent saying the debates made them more likely than they had been to vote for Romney. Just 28 percent said the debates made them more likely to vote for the president...

...The poll was the third conducted by this year's iteration of the NPR bipartisan polling team. The Republican pollster Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic was joined in the effort by Democratic counterpart Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps (and the firm of Greenberg, Quinlan & Rosner). Their joint report was based on interviews with 1,000 likely voters conducted from Tuesday through Thursday last week (Oct. 23-25). The margin of error for such a poll is 3 percentage points for the national sample and 4.5 percentage points for the smaller sub-sample (462 respondents) in the battleground states.

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Filed under: President Obama, 2012 Election, and Presidential Climate