Race narrows ahead of first presidential debate

President Obama's lead has narrowed to three percentage points over Mitt Romney, a poll found Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found Obama leading Romney 49 percent to 46 percent. The findings are a slight drop from September, when the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll previously reported Obama leading Romney 50 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.

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Obama widened his lead among registered voters. The October poll found Obama with 51 percent support to Romney's 44 percent support among registered voters. In mid-September, Obama led Romney 50 percent to 44 percent.

The poll also found public opinion virtually unchanged on Obama's performance as president. Forty-nine percent said they approve of the job Obama is doing as president while 48 percent disapprove, down from 50 percent approval to 48 percent disapproval in mid-September. And the story is the same on the economy, even as Romney continues to charge Obama with failing to create a faster economic recover. Fifty-one percent said in the poll they approve of Obama's handling of the economy while 46 percent disapproved, down one point from the previous Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll.

Even as the race tightened though, more of those surveyed said they know what Obama and Vice President Biden would do with another term in office compared to what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would do. The poll found 65 percent said Obama and Biden have a clear message and have laid out what they would do with another term in office while 28 percent said they do not have a clear message. For the Romney-Ryan ticket, 52 percent said they have a clear message and plan for what they would do in office while 40 percent they did not have a clear message.

The poll comes just ahead of the first 2012 general election presidential debate in Denver, Colo. on Wednesday.

The poll was conducted among 1000 registered voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for those voters. The poll had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points for the 832 interviews done among likely voters.