Washington Post/ABC News National Poll Shows Tight Race: Obama +2

The latest national race polls shows a virtual tie with President Obama leading Mitt Romney 49 to 47. Independents are split exactly even between the two candidates and the party ID breakdown is D +3 among likely voters: Democrats 33%; Republicans 30%; Independents 33%. This is a reasonable breakdown and contrasts with with their prior survey three weeks ago where the survey resulted in a party ID of D +6. I’ll be very curious to see the internals of the “Swing State” subset mentioned in the Washington Post write-up because President Obama opens a sizable 11-point lead against Mitt Romney 52 to 41 which seems highly unlikely. Interestingly ABC News makes no mention of this Swing State subset and no data is provided anywhere by either organization.

Demographics vote

Obama trails by 13 points among white voters, but leads overwhelmingly among nonwhites, with 77 percent support. [Actual levels of support not provided]

Enthusiasm

Among Obama’s supporters in this survey, 51 percent describe themselves as very enthusiastic about their choice – notably fewer than its level at this time four years ago, 61 percent. Indeed Romney has closed the enthusiasm gap from early September; then he trailed Obama by 10 points in very enthusiastic supporters. Today it’s an insignificant 3 points.

Get out the vote and voter contact

Romney also has ramped up his get-out-the vote efforts. In late August, 31 percent of Obama’s supporters said they’d been contacted by his campaign, while just 18 percent of Romney’s backers said they’d heard from their candidate. Today Obama’s outreach number is essentially the same, while Romney’s has advanced, virtually to parity: Twenty-six percent of his supporters now say they’ve heard from him.

Youth vote

Among the particular challenges for Obama are young voters: A mainstay of his support in 2008, they’re far less likely now to say they’re certain to turn out.

Motivating the vote

Getting out the vote, for both candidates, may carry the extra burden of battling expectations. Among Obama’s supporters, 96 percent expect him to win – raising the risk that some will feel secure enough not to bother turning out. Among Romney’s, at the same time, 28 percent pick Obama to win – suggesting the possibility they’ll be demotivated.

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