Pew Research Center Poll: Obama Pulls Ahead of Romney 50%-47% Versus Last Week’s Tie (UPDATED)

The Pew Research Center poll is considered one of the most solid, respected polls. A week ago it showed the Presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney tied. The new poll shows Obama now with a three point lead:

Barack Obama has edged ahead of Mitt Romney in the final days of the presidential campaign. In the Pew Research Center’s election weekend survey, Obama holds a 48% to 45% lead over Romney among likely voters.

The survey finds that Obama maintains his modest lead when the probable decisions of undecided voters are taken into account. Our final estimate of the national popular vote is Obama 50% and Romney 47%, when the undecided vote is allocated between the two candidates based on several indicators and opinions.

A week ago the race was deadlocked, with each candidate drawing support from 47% of the likely electorate. Interviewing for the final pre-election survey was conducted Oct. 31- Nov. 3 among 2,709 likely voters. The previous survey was conducted Oct. 24-28, before Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the East Coast.

Hurricane Sandy apparently had an impact on the political front, too:

Obama’s handling of the storm’s aftermath may have contributed to his improved showing. Fully 69% of all likely voters approve of the way Obama is handling the storm’s impact. Even a plurality of Romney supporters (46%) approve of Obama’s handling of the situation; more important, so too do 63% of swing voters.


Romney’s biggest plus going into Tuesday may be voter turnout, Pew finds:
Voter turnout, which may be lower than in 2008 and 2004, remains one of Romney’s strengths. Romney’s supporters continue to be more engaged in the election and interested in election news than Obama supporters, and are more committed to voting.

The survey also indicates that voters in the nine battleground states are as closely divided as the national electorate: 49% of likely voters in battleground states support Obama while 47% back Romney.

But there are some good signs for Obama. Some key ones: he has clearly rebounded from his disastrous first debate with Romney, and more of Obama’s supporters are going to vote FOR him than AGAINST Romney:

There are many good signs in the poll for Obama. He has regained much of the ground he lost following his lackluster performance in the first presidential debate. In mid-September, Obama led Romney by eight points among likely voters, but in early October, shortly after the debate, he trailed by four points.

Nearly four-in-ten (39%) likely voters support Obama strongly, while 9% back him only moderately. A third of likely voters support Romney strongly, compared with 11% who back him moderately. In past elections, dating to 1960, the candidate with the higher percentage of strong support has usually gone on to win the popular vote.

Similarly, a much greater percentage of Obama supporters than Romney supporters are voting for him rather than against his opponent (80% for Obama vs. 60% for Romney), another historical indicator of likely victory. And far more registered voters expect an Obama victory than a Romney victory on Nov. 6 (52% vs. 30%).

And he’s been picking up ground among some vital constituencies — in particular, regaining his advantage among women voters:

Obama’s increases in likely voter support are most notable among women, older voters, and political moderates. Women now favor Obama by a 13-point margin (53% to 40%), up from six points a week ago and reflecting a shift toward Obama since early October. Right after the first presidential debate, the women’s vote was split evenly (47% each). Men, by comparison, favor Romney by a 50% to 42% margin, with little change in the past month.

Romney continues to lead among voters age 65 and older, by a nine point margin (51% to 42%) in the current survey. But that is only about half of the 19-point lead he held among seniors just a week ago. Political moderates now favor Obama by 21 points (56%-35%).

And more on Hurricane Sandy’s impact:

Another notable gain for Obama, perhaps reflecting Hurricane Sandy’s effect on the race, comes in a region he was already secure in: the Northeast. He has increased his lead over Romney from nine points (52%-43%) to 21 points (56%-35%) there over just the past week. While the storm’s impact on many parts of the Northeast has been substantial, an analysis of the polling data shows no substantial underrepresentation of voters in the most heavily affected counties.

Pew doesn’t find that early voting is greatly favoring one side over the another.

Here’s Pollster’s poll average chart:

Real Clear Politics’:

Talking Points Memo’s Polltracker page

CNN Poll of Polls page

UPDATE:
The new Reuters/IPSOS poll finds the two in a tie — with Obama gaining ground in Ohio:

The race for the White House remained in essentially a dead heat ahead of Tuesday’s election but U.S. President Barack Obama holds a slim edge over Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the key state of Ohio, according to a Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released on Sunday.

Nationally, of 3,805 polled likely voters, 48 percent said they would vote for Democrat Obama, while 47 percent sided with Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, the poll showed.

The results were similarly close in several swing states seen as determining the winner – Virginia, Colorado and Florida.

But in Ohio – perhaps the single most crucial swing state and where 18 electoral votes are at stake – Obama had 48 percent compared to Romney’s 44 percent. On Saturday, Obama was ahead in Ohio by a point in the same poll.

“It’s really a game of inches. It’s extremely close, but things look pretty optimistic for Obama, I would say, if you do the electoral math,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.

“Looking over the last few days, Ohio does seem to be more comfortably on the Obama side.”

All of the Reuters/Ipsos poll results on Sunday fall within the polls’ credibility intervals, a tool used to account for statistical variation in Internet-based polling.