Latest Presidential Polls: Obama and Romney Neck and Neck in the Final Stretch

With less than a week to go before Election Day, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are running almost neck and neck in national polls. According to the results of an online survey released Wednesday by Reuters/Ipsos, Obama leads Romney by a small (but not statistically significant) margin of 47% compared to Romney’s 46%:

 

While some pollsters wonder if super-storm Sandy will affect voter turnout and election results, Ipsos said that its survey results have remained stable through the storm and since the beginning of October.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post daily tracking poll, produced by Langer Research Associates, shows a dead heat with 49% preferring Obama and 49% Romney.

In canvassing public opinion of the candidates’ responses to Sandy, Langer Research found that Obama has come out far ahead with a 78% approval rating compared to Romney’s 44%. Even New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie, a key Romney supporter, has praised Obama’s leadership in responding to the devastation wrought by the storm.

CNN’s “Poll of Polls” suggests that 48% of likely voters would pick Romney and 47% Obama. The latest poll by The New York Times/CBS News suggests that “the president is holding his coalition together with strong support from women and minority voters and is supported by 48% of likely voters nationwide, [...] while Mr. Romney holds a wide advantage among independents and men and is the choice of 47%.”

A Gallup poll conducted Oct. 22-28 found that 51% of Americans would pick Romney and 46% would choose Obama. Gallup’s larger-than-average lead for Romney has prompted some to question Gallup’s screening methodology, saying that it favors interviewees who follow election issues more closely. Gallup interviewed 2,700 likely voters by telephone and says that the survey’s results allow for a ±2% margin of error.

In a separate poll, Gallup asked Americans which candidate they would wager money on, regardless of which candidate they personally support. Respondents gave Obama better odds to win the election: 54% said they would put their money on Obama versus 34% on Romney.

Economic Confidence

Another Gallup poll indicated that the economy remains the dominant issue in this election.  According to Gallup, U.S. economic confidence is now at its highest level since 2008:

Gallup says that 45% of Americans now believe the U.S. economy is getting better, while 49% think it is worsening. This rise in confidence to the highest level in four years comes as the European Commission announced that economic confidence in the euro zone fell for an eighth month to its lowest level in three years. An improving economic mood in the U.S. may undercut Romney’s efforts to represent himself as an agent of change and dampen his charge that Obama’s economic policies have failed.

Congress’ Approval Rating

Although economic confidence has picked up sharply since September, Congress’ approval rating has risen only slightly over the same period to 21%, according to Gallup. Gallup says that this approval rating “ranks among the lowest final pre-election measurements by Gallup in an election year, tied with the 21% reading in 2010 and slightly higher than the 18% in 1992 and 2008.” 

“Historically,” Gallup says, “lower congressional approval ratings — typically those below 30% — have been associated with more turnover of seats by party in Congress, as voters take out their frustrations with the institution by changing its membership. The losses typically occur for the president’s party.”