A new poll shows a strong late surge in support for GOP candidate Mitt Romney, bringing him to a tie with President Obama, with a little over two weeks until election day.
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday shows the two candidates in a 47-47 tie among likely voters nationwide, in a poll conducted entirely after last Tuesday’s second presidential debate. Obama, though, retains an edge among registered voters, with 49 percent support to 44.
The numbers mark the first time Romney has pulled even with the president in the poll. In the last poll taken before the first of the three presidential debates, Obama held a 49 to 46 advantage over his GOP challenger among likely voters.
The survey also finds Romney closing Obama’s one-time edge on foreign policy leadership, ahead of Monday's third presidential debate. Forty-four percent say Obama would be the better commander-in-chief to 41 for Romney. Last month in the same poll, Obama held an 8-point advantage on the question.
The third debate will focus on foreign policy and comes as Romney has hammered Obama over the administration's handling of the attacks last month on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The poll finds that Romney, though, holds the edge on the economy, with voters saying he would do a better job by 46 to 40 percent.
But voters are also growing more optimistic about the state of the economy, with 45 percent saying it will improve over the next 12 months, up 18 points from July.
Romney’s favorability has also improved from 41 favorable to 44 unfavorable last month to 43-44 unfavorable. Obama rates a 49 favorable, 43 percent unfavorable.
While Gallup’s daily tracking poll pegs Romney with a 6-point average at 51 to 45 support among likely voters, Republican-affiliated Rasmussen Polling’s three-day tracking survey shows the GOP nominee with a narrower 1-point edge at 49-47. An IBD/TIPP tracking poll has Obama up 3, with 47 percent to 44.
Gallup’s survey has received much attention for falling outside the range of other national polls.
Multiple surveys also show a tight race in 12 battlegrounds that Obama carried in 2008 and which will likely determine the outcome of this race.
A poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) on Saturday showed Obama up 49-48 in Ohio, and a Survey USA poll also gave the president a slight edge in Florida at 47-46.
A Fox News poll on Friday, though, gave Romney a 48-45 lead in the Sunshine state, with CNN/Opinion Research putting him ahead 1 point, at 49-48.
Romney’s surge in the polls nationally and in swing-states comes after his strong performance in the first of the presidential debates, Oct. 3, which he was widely considered to have won.
The Obama campaign is hopeful that a strong performance by the president last Tuesday in Hempstead, N.Y. during the second debate has slowed Romney’s momentum, but the new NBC/WSJ poll shows both campaigns can expect a tight race in the run up to election day.
The NBC/WSJ poll which was conducted from Oct. 17 to 20 has a 3-percent margin of error.
This story was last updated on Oct. 22 at 6:23 a.m.