New Polls Show Presidential Race Neck-And-Neck

By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)

(CBS News) - Two national polls released in the last 24 hours show that the presidential race remains a dead heat, with GOP nominee Mitt Romney gaining ground in one survey but losing steam in another.

But despite the deadlocked national numbers, President Obama seems to be retaining a small but statistically significant lead in pivotal Ohio.

Tuesday afternoon's Washington Post/ABC News poll found the candidates nearly tied among likely voters, with 49 percent of respondents backing Romney and 48 percent backing the president. The results were flipped from a week prior, when the same poll showed Mr. Obama ahead of his challenger by a single point. Both results were within the poll's margin of error.

Notably, the Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Romney leading the president by 12 points among independents, a high watermark for the Republican with that group.

The survey, conducted between October 19 and 22, polled 1,382 likely voters.

But if the president's campaign was unnerved by the new numbers from Washington Post/ABC News, they may take heart from today's national tracking poll from Gallup, which shows that Romney's lead has dwindled to 3 points in the wake of Monday's foreign policy debate.

Romney outpaces the president among likely voters in the Gallup survey, 50 percent to 47 percent, but the gap has closed significantly since last Sunday, when Gallup put the Republican nominee ahead by 7 points, 52 to 45 percent

Even yesterday, Gallup's survey put Romney ahead by five points but did not appraise voters' reaction to the final presidential debate; today's survey included one of post-debate reaction.

Gallup's national tracking poll surveys roughly 3,000 likely voters over 7 days. Today's three-point spread is just outside Gallup's two-point margin of error.

Finally, despite the inscrutable national numbers, a Time Magazine poll released today shows Mr. Obama holding onto a five-point lead in the crucial battleground state of Ohio, besting Mitt Romney 49 to 44 percent.

The results corroborate the latest Ohio numbers from Quinnipiac/CBS News, which showed the president leading Romney, 50 to 45 percent, in the Buckeye State.

The Time poll surveyed 783 likely Ohio voters. The survey's margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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