US Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts
Governor Mitt Romney laughs as he sits down to dinner at a
restaurant in Delray Beach, Florida. REUTERS/Jim Young
US Republican Mitt Romney has closed the gap with
President Barack Obama and the two candidates are now tied in
the November 6 presidential race, according to a Reuters/Ipsos
daily tracking poll.
The online survey of likely voters found Obama and Romney
were each supported by 46 percent of the electorate as they
prepare for their final televised debate on Monday night
Romney trailed by 1 percentage point when the poll was last
published on Saturday. The two candidates have remained
within three percentage points of each other since shortly
after their first debate on October 3.
"Today's number emphasizes the fact that the race is very
close. We enter the final debate with the candidates
literally neck and neck," Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said.
However, Obama still holds a substantial advantage in the
battleground states that will determine the outcome of the
election. Ipsos projects Obama will carry hotly contested
states such as Florida, Ohio and Virginia, for a relatively
comfortable electoral college victory.
Reuters/Ipsos online polls are measured using a credibility
interval. The survey of 957 likely voters, conducted between
October 18 and October 22, has a credibility interval of 3.6
Among the larger pool of registered voters, Obama leads
Romney 45 percent to 42 percent.
Early voting is now under way in 49 states and the Distinct
of Columbia, and the poll found that 16 percent have already
cast their ballots.
While the election may be already over for millions of
voters, for others it remains very much an open question.
Among likely voters, 6 percent said they did not know which
candidate they would vote for, or refused to say.
Among those who have settled on a candidate, 15 percent of
registered voters said they could still change their minds.
Monday's debate in Boca Raton, Florida, represents the last
chance either candidate will likely get to make their case
directly to a television audience of millions of voters.
The debate is unlikely to change the dynamics of the race
substantially unless either Obama or Romney makes a major
mistake, Clark said.
"I think this is how we're going to see the numbers looking
for the next two weeks. It's just very close," she said.