National tracking polls showed Mitt Romney maintaining a lead over President Obama on Friday even as the incumbent kept his advantage in several swing states.
The national and swing-state data confirmed a tight race that will leave both candidates in an all-out sprint through Election Day to win the race for the White House.
Gallup’s daily tracking poll on Friday found Romney expanding his lead over Obama to 5 points from a 3-point lead earlier on Thursday. Romney takes 51 percent to Obama's 46 in the poll of likely voters, released Friday.
The results suggest Obama has received little bump nationally from the second and third presidential debates, which many Democrats believe the president won. Romney surged to the lead on the back of a dominant performance in the first debate, on Oct. 3, and hasn’t looked back in the Gallup poll since.
Yet Obama remains ahead in a number of swing-state polls, including in Ohio, where an Obama victory would make it difficult for Romney to win the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the election.
Separate polls released Friday showed Obama holding a 4-point lead in Iowa, a 3-point edge in New Hampshire and single-point advantages in Colorado and Nevada.
While Romney looks increasingly strong in Florida, where a poll released Friday by Sunshine State News showed the Republican topping the 50 percent threshold and ahead of Obama by a 51 to 46 percent margin, the totality of the figures suggested Romney still had ground to gain on Obama in the Electoral College.
At the same time, some polls show Romney gaining in swing states, offering evidence for Romney's hopes that momentum remains on his side since the first presidential debate.
Purple Strategies late Friday released the results of polls in Ohio, Colorado and Virginia that showed the two candidates in a statistical tie. Obama was ahead by two percentage points in Ohio, one point in Colorado and tied with Romney in Virginia.
Romney traveled to Iowa on Friday to give what his campaign billed as a significant address, but what largely resembled his standard stump speech.
“Four years ago, candidate Obama spoke to the scale of the times. Today, he shrinks from it, trying instead to distract our attention from the biggest issues to the smallest — from characters on Sesame Street and silly word games to misdirected personal attacks he knows are false," Romney told the audience in Ames, Iowa.
Obama this week has repeatedly hit Romney as a flip-flopper whom voters can’t trust as president. He has also accused Romney of backing tax cuts and other policies favored by former President George W. Bush that Obama argues helped launch the financial crisis and recession.
Obama on Friday spent the day in Washington conducting interviews with hand-picked media his campaign believes could help him reach 270 electoral votes.
The president conducted an interview with radio host Michael Smerconish, a Philadelphia-based show that airs in a number of swing-state cities.
He also sat down with MTV to continue a bid to win over younger voters, as well as April Ryan of Urban Radio Networks.
Polls suggest Obama will win 95 percent of the African-American vote, but the president has worked overtime to target that community in the hope of boosting turnout.
In Iowa, Romney made no secret of the fact that every electoral vote is important.
“You Iowans may well be the ones who decide what kind of America we will have, what kind of life our families will have," Romney said.
A Gravis Marketing poll on Friday found Obama hitting the crucial 50 percent threshold in the state, leading Romney there 50 to 46 percent. But the poll also offered some encouragement to Romney as it showed him leading among independents in the state 48 to 36 percent.
Gravis also polled Nevada, and again, the president was found to be clinging to a narrow advantage in the state. Obama leads Romney 50 to 49 percent there, but Romney is dominating the president among political independents, with some 68 percent favoring the Republican nominee.
In New Hampshire, a poll by New England College showed Obama leading Romney 49 percent to 46 percent. Romney's advantage was primarily with voters over the age of 65, while the president posted a solid advantage among younger voters.
A OnSight Public Affairs poll of Colorado — which has shaded increasingly toward Romney in recent weeks — also showed some momentum for the president, who led his Republican challenger 46 to 45 percent there. Unlike other states, the president posts a 52 to 38 percent advantage with unaffiliated voters in Colorado, driving him to the lead. The president also held a nearly 4-1 lead with Hispanics and a 52 to 41 percent advantage with women, although that was offset somewhat by Romney's 52 to 42 lead among men.
This story was posted at 3:51 p.m. and updated at 4:10 p.m.