Washington: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are tied in an exceedingly narrow race with the challenger viewed as a stronger leader on the economy and the president as a better guardian of the middle class, according to a new poll.
The president is holding his coalition together with strong support from women and minority voters and is supported by 48 percent of likely voters nationwide, the New York Times and CBS poll found.
Romney holds a wide advantage among independents and men and is the choice of 47 percent in the survey conducted Oct 25-28, just ahead of superstorm Sandy`s Oct 29 landfall in New Jersey.
In the final days of the campaign, Sandy may have changed the dynamics of the race, giving Obama a chance to display presidential leadership while compelling both the president and Romney to give up valuable days on the campaign trail, CBS said.
With just a week to go before the election, 10 percent of likely voters are still uncommitted, saying they are either undecided or could change their minds about who to vote for, the poll found.
Enthusiasm about voting is higher among Romney`s supporters, 68 percent of whom say they are very excited about voting.
Among Obama`s supporters, 59 percent say they are very excited. Nearly eight in 10 likely voters now claim to be paying a lot of attention to the campaign, including similar percentages of Obama and Romney voters.
Romney now leads the president on the economy by six points, up from three points in a CBS News/NYT poll released just over a week ago.
The Republican candidate has also widened his advantage on handling the deficit and now leads 54 percent to 39 percent. He also leads the president on handling illegal immigration by six points, the poll said.
Obama leads Romney by five points on foreign policy and terrorism, but his lead on those issues has narrowed. He also has a nine-point advantage on the issue of Medicare and a 12-point advantage on abortion.
The candidates are close on taxes (Romney leads, 47 percent to 46 percent) and health care (Obama leads, 48 percent to 45 percent).
More voters say the president (52 percent to 43 percent) would do more than Romney to help the middle class.