Poll: Mitt Romney, Barack Obama tied

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Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, is tied at 47 percent with President Barack Obama in an NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll of likely voters released 16 days before the election.

In a nationwide survey conducted Oct. 17-20, Romney pulled even with the incumbent Democratic president for the first time this year, showing the race continuing to tighten as the Nov. 6 balloting approaches. The poll of 816 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

"This is going to be a very close race and we've said that consistently," David Axelrod, senior political strategist for the Obama campaign, said yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press." Axelrod said the Obama campaign believes the president remained ahead in battleground states.

Surveys taken during the past week have shown the former Massachusetts governor narrowing or eliminating Obama's lead in most closely divided swing states. Romney picked up momentum after his strong showing in the first debate on Oct. 3 in Denver.

Romney has erased a 5-point lead that Obama held in the same NBC / WSJ survey in mid-September, which had narrowed to a three-point advantage by late last month. Among the larger pool of 1,000 registered voters in the most recent survey, Obama leads Romney 49 percent to 44 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The poll found Romney leads among men, 53 percent to 43 percent, and Obama leads among women, 51 percent to 43 percent. Romney's support among men has grown in the past month while Obama's advantage among women has fallen slightly, according to a summary of the poll from the Wall Street Journal.

The poll shows Romney leading among likely voters in Southern swing states and Obama ahead in Nevada, NBC correspondent Chuck Todd said on "Meet the Press." The two are "essentially tied" among voters in the Midwest, a summary of the poll said.

Polls have shown that more people say the president won the second debate, which was held last week at Hofstra University in Hempstead. According to a Gallup survey released Oct. 19, 51 percent of Americans who viewed the town-hall-style event said Obama won, while 38 percent favored Romney's performance.

Voters in 11 states, including Iowa and Ohio, already have begun casting ballots. By week's end, four of the nine most competitive states will have started early, in-person voting.

On Sunday, the candidates' allies squared off over who would best protect the nation's interests and security abroad.

Romney's top supporters launched sweeping condemnations of Obama's handling of foreign policy, assailing him over a deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and arguing that under the president's negligent watch, Iran has crept closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Obama's backers credited him for isolating Iran within the global community and adopting effective sanctions that have crippled the Persian Gulf nation.

Romney, taking a break from debate prep Sunday in Delray Beach, Fla., declined to answer a reporter's question about whether he would be open to one-on-one talks with Iran.

Both candidates dedicated their weekend to intensive study for the debate; Obama huddled with advisers in Maryland and Romney with his team in Florida.

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, is tied at 47 percent with President Barack Obama in an NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll of likely voters released 16 days before the election.

In a nationwide survey conducted Oct. 17-20, Romney pulled even with the incumbent Democratic president for the first time this year, showing the race continuing to tighten as the Nov. 6 balloting approaches. The poll of 816 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

"This is going to be a very close race and we've said that consistently," David Axelrod, senior political strategist for the Obama campaign, said yesterdaySunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." Axelrod said the Obama campaign believes the president remained ahead in battleground states.

Surveys taken during the past week have shown the former Massachusetts governor narrowing or eliminating Obama's lead in most closely divided swing states. Romney picked up momentum after his strong showing in the first debate on Oct. 3 in Denver.

Romney has erased a 5-point lead that Obama held in the same NBC / WSJ survey in mid-September, which had narrowed to a three-point advantage by late last month. Among the larger pool of 1,000 registered voters in the most recent survey, Obama leads Romney 49 percent to 44 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The poll found Romney leads among men, 53 percent to 43 percent, and Obama leads among women, 51 percent to 43 percent. Romney's support among men has grown in the past month while Obama's advantage among women has fallen slightly, according to a summary of the poll from the Wall Street Journal.

The poll shows Romney leading among likely voters in Southern swing states and Obama ahead in Nevada, NBC correspondent Chuck Todd said on "Meet the Press." The two are "essentially tied" among voters in the Midwest, a summary of the poll said.

Polls have shown that more people say the president won the second debate, which was held last week at Hofstra University. According to a Gallup survey released Oct. 19, 51 percent of Americans who viewed the town-hall-style event said Obama won, while 38 percent favored Romney's performance.

Voters in 11 states, including Iowa and Ohio, already have begun casting ballots. By week's end, four of the nine most competitive states will have started early, in-person voting.

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