Close Race In Lead-Up To Final Debate

October 23, 2012, 11:30 AM GMT+0

(Week of 10/20/2012) The race for President remained close as the final debate was set to begin Monday evening. The latest Economist/YouGov Poll, completed the day of the debate, found President Barack Obama with a two-point lead among likely voters, not much different from a week before and not much different from what has been the case throughout most of the campaign.

48% of likely voters were voting or leaning towards voting for the President; 46% were voting or leaning towards voting for his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, underscoring the potential electoral importance of the final debate.

However, the President can take heart from one poll finding. For the first time, his supporters were just as enthusiastic about voting on November 6th as were the supporters of his challenger. Prior to the President’s win in the second debate, held last week, Romney’s supporters were consistently more enthusiastic about casting a ballot.

Romney’s voters were also nearly twice as likely as the President’s supporters to say they could change their mind or were only leaning towards supporting Romney. This was still a relatively small number, though in a close race it could make a difference. 91% of Romney voters said their minds were made up and they would definitely vote for the Republican. 95% of Obama’s voters described themselves as committed.

And voters continued to think the President would be victorious in two weeks: 45% of registered voters expected he will win the election. 29% thought Romney will.

This election is still mainly a judgment on the incumbent. Half of Romney’s voters said they are mainly voting against the President. 49% said they are mainly voting for Romney (however, that figure is among the highest recorded in Economist/YouGov Polls for the GOP candidate).

The President still trails with independent voters. They support Romney 49% to 37%. The gender gap is less striking this week: men are almost evenly divided, giving Romney a two-point lead; women favor the President by just five points.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association