Fresh off a contentious town hall-style debate at Hofstra University, and on the road to the third and last opportunity to debate the issues in front of the American people, this Monday from Boca Raton, Florida, President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney are anxiously keeping an eye on the polls that still show a to-close-to-call race.
And, though it remains to be seen if Obama's livelier performance and Romney's "binder full of women" gaffe will alter the polling trends one way or another, so far the Republican challenger pots-debate momentum seems to be holding. Romney continues to close the gap with the president not only at the national level and in swing states but also among important voting blocs such as women, seniors and independent voters.
A new IBD/TIPP Daily Tracking Poll shows the former governor of Massachusetts tied with the president at the national level with 45.3% of likely voters saying they'd vote for the former CEO if the election were held today to 46.8% saying they'd reelected the president. This puts the candidates at a distance of just 1.5 percentage points, well within the survey's margin of error.
Romney has closed the gap by opening a 5-point lead among independent voters, where he dominates the president 45% to 40%. The Republican candidate has also opened a 5-point lead among seniors, and he leads the president among married women, 55% to 41% (the president holds an insurmountable of likely voters — which includes one night's results after this week's Romney-Obama debate — shows Romney now expanding his one-point lead to two points, 49% to 47%, while Obama's lead among women is now down to four points and Romney's lead among men is down to 10 points (from 12 points before the debate).
The latest Gallup tracking poll also shows Romney's momentum that's jumped ahead of Obama by 6 points, 51% to 45%, an increase of one point for Romney and a decrease of one point for the president among likely voters (among registered voters, Romney polls 48% to Obama's 46%). When it comes to swing states, a USAToday/Gallup Poll shows Romney leading Obama, 50%-46% among likely voters (and 48% to 47% among likely voters in the 38 "non-swing" states).