As Mitt Romney and Barack Obama head into the second presidential debate, the polls show the two contenders in a dead heat. It's safe to say that at this debate go-round there actually is quite a lot riding on Obama's performance. If Obama delivers as disappointing of a performance as he did at the first debate and Romney deliver as dynamic of a performance, there are worries that Obama and his campaign will not be able to recover.
Looking at the polls as we head into Tuesday night, Romney and Obama are neck-and-neck. RealClearPolitics shows the average polls with Romney so far owning 47.4% and Obama a hair below with 47%. (Insert 47% joke here.)
Gallup polls indicate Romney is in the lead amongst likely voters with 50% to Obama's 46%.
The effects of the first debate are felt in the Gallup polls. Where Obama used to lead Romney by five or six points among registered voters he now leads by three points or less. The president's mission tonight will be to get those numbers back up. At this point, Obama trails Romney by four points among all voters, a stark contrast to his seven point triumph over John McCain in 2008.
At Tuesday night's debate, Romney will attempt to conitnue narrowing his focus on women voters. In the wake of the first debate, Obama's double-digit edge on female voters narrowed. Romney is now tied at 48% with Obama among likely swing-state female voters.
As Obama and Romney face each other and the nation, Americans will be looking for any hint of a change in their candidates polling numbers.
For full live coverage of tonight's presidential debate, follow along here.