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Friday, September 14, 2012

Poll: Obama Holds Narrow Edge Over Romney


President Obama holds a narrow three-point advantage over Mitt Romney among Americans most likely to vote in November, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

With their back-to-back political conventions behind them and the general election season fully engaged, the poll found Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney running essentially even among those seen as the most probable to vote. The president has 49 percent and Mr. Romney has 46 percent, a difference within the margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points on each candidate.

The nationwide poll was conducted during a turbulent week in the campaign, with a new wave of television ads from Mr. Romney, a disappointing jobs report for Mr. Obama and both candidates reacting to turmoil and deadly violence in Egypt, Libya and across the Arab world.

Mr. Obama has an advantage among likely voters of 12 percentage points among women, the poll found, while Mr. Romney holds the upper hand among men by eight percentage points. Mr. Obama leads his Republican rival across all ages of voters, except those who are 65 or older, who favor Mr. Romney by 15 percentage points.

The poll found that Mr. Obama holds an advantage of 21 percentage points over Mr. Romney among voters whose household income is under $50,000. Mr. Romney has an edge in higher income groups, including leading Mr. Obama by 16 percentage points among voters whose household income is more than $100,000.

Among a wider sample of registered voters, which included fewer voters who identified themselves as Republicans, Mr. Obama has a stronger command of the race. The poll found that 51 percent of those voters supported Mr. Ob ama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., while 43 percent supported Mr. Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin.

This is the first New York Times/CBS News poll of the election cycle to take a measure of those considered most likely to vote, using a model known as the probable electorate.

With 53 days remaining before the election, and only two weeks before early-voting begins in some states, the presidential contest has assumed a new feeling of urgency. The enthusiasm levels about the presidential race are higher, with 43 percent saying they are more enthusiastic â€" an increase of 10 percentage points from two months ago. Nineteen percent said they were less enthusiastic about the race.

The poll found that the overall framework of the race is largely unchanged from earlier in the year. About one-quarter of likely voters surveyed said their lives were better off and about one quarter said their lives were worse off, while nearly half said th eir lives were about the same.

Yet deep anxieties continue to infuse the electorate. When likely voters were asked about the trajectory of the United States over the last four years, 35 percent said the country was better off, 41 percent said the country was worse off and 23 percent said it was about the same.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted from Sept. 8 to Sept. 12 among 1,170 registered voters and 1,162 likely voters who were weighted by a calculation from responses to questions about voting history, attention to the campaign and likelihood of voting.

The complete results of the New York Times/CBS News poll will be released at 6:30 p.m. at nytimes.com.