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Study: Election Tied Post-Debates, But Republicans Hold Edge

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Polls after the presidential debates put both candidates neck-and-neck, but Republicans are favored in recent Pew polls. (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Polls after the presidential debates put both candidates neck-and-neck, but Republicans are favored in recent Pew polls. (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The presidential campaign enters its final week, and Barack Obama has failed to regain much of the support that he lost in the days following the first presidential debate, and the race is now even among likely voters at 47 percent – and the exact same support Mitt Romney.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 24-28 among 1,678 registered voters, including 1,495 likely voters, finds Obama holding a statistically insignificant two-point edge among registered voters: 47 percent to 45 percent.

When the sample is narrowed to likely voters, the balance of opinion shifts slightly in Romney’s direction, as it did in early October. This reflects Romney’s turnout advantage over Obama, which could loom larger as Election Day approaches.

In the October surveys, more Republicans and Republican leaners than Democrats and Democratic leaners are predicted to be likely voters. In September, the gap was more modest.

Surveys over the past month have found Republicans becoming much more upbeat about the race and about Mitt Romney himself.

More Republicans now see the campaign as interesting and informative. And compared with September, a greater proportion of Romney voters now say they are voting for him rather than against Obama.

The deadlock in candidate support continues to reflect the offsetting strengths and weaknesses of the two candidates. Romney’s personal image has improved substantially since the summer, and his favorability rating among registered voters (50 percent) is now about the same as Obama’s (52 percent).

But Obama continues to lead his rival on many personal characteristics and issues. Obama is seen as the candidate with more moderate positions on issues and as more willing to work with members of the other party. He also holds wide advantages on empathy and consistency. Obama leads Romney by about two-to-one (59 percent to 31 percent) as the candidate who connects well with ordinary Americans, and by 51 percent to 36 percent as the candidate who takes consistent positions on issues.

The poll finds that this year’s debates collectively have had a much more positive impact on opinions of Romney than on views of Obama. Twice as many voters say they have a better opinion of Romney as a result of the debates than say that about Obama (36 percent vs. 18 percent).

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