By Justin Sink
A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds a deadlocked presidential race with just a week to go until election day.
In the new poll, President Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney are each pulling support from 47 percent of likely voters. The president, though, is leading 47-45 among all registered voters — a difference likely attributable to more than three-quarters of Republicans saying they are likely to vote, outpacing the 62 percent of Democrats who say the same.
The poll shows Romney having largely closed the favorability gap, with Obama now leading just 52-50 percent. Still, Obama is seen as the leader more likely to connect well with ordinary Americans, to take consistent positions on issues, and to be more honest and truthful.
The president is also favored when voters were asked who was best to deal with Medicare, and who they see as a strong leader — again posting improvements from before the debates.
But while Romney is only favored on a few issues, they might be the key to the 2012 presidential election. Romney is favored by a 14-point margin when voters were asked who would be better at reducing the federal budget deficit, and is the choice of 50 percent of respondents on who would best improve the job situation.
Romney also seems to successfully have made the sale as the candidate of "big change" — a frequent refrain of late on the stump — now leading Obama 46-41 percent when asked who has new ideas.
The Pew study also seemed to confirm the conventional wisdom: the presidential debates helped the Republican challenger. Some 36 percent of likely voters said the debates gave them a better opinion of Romney, versus just 18 percent for the president.
A modest gender gap persists in the voters, with men favoring Romney by seven points and women favoring Obama by six. The president does post significant leads among unmarried voters of both genders, pulling nearly six in 10 unmarried women, and 56 percent of unmarried men.
As has been the case throughout the campaign, Romney's strongest support comes from working class whites and the elderly, while Obama is the choice of younger and minority voters.
Still, there is a sense of hesitation about both candidates from voters. More than six in 10 voters say Romney is "promising more than he can deliver," and more than half say "it's hard to know what Romney really stands for." Meanwhile, half of voters agree that the president "doesn't know how to turn the economy around."