Voters in swing states are evenly split between President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney, according to a new poll from USA Today and Gallup.
The poll, released late Sunday, finds 48 percent of likely voters in the nation’s key battlegrounds backing Obama and 48 percent preferring Romney.
Obama also leads by 4 points among registered voters, at 50 to 46, which the poll notes is the largest margin and the first time either candidate has hit 50 percent since Romney clinched the GOP nomination in the spring.
The poll shows Obama regaining a strong edge with female voters, who had drifted toward Romney after the first debate, boosting the GOP challenger in national polls. Obama now leads among women by 16 points, while Romney holds a 10-point advantage among men.
But Romney leads among independent voters by 1 point and holds an edge on the economy, which voters say is the most important issue this election.
Voters pick Romney over Obama on who is best prepared to manage the economy by 3 percentage points and hand Romney a 10-point edge on dealing with the federal deficit.
But Romney has trouble convincing voters he understands their problems. Six in 10 voters say Obama understands the problems they face in their lives, with 45 percent saying the same of Romney.
The poll also finds that swing-state voters are enthusiastic about the upcoming election. Eighty-six percent of registered voters said they had given a great deal of thought to their vote, a similar figure to that of 2008 and 2004.
Romney holds the enthusiasm edge, with 51 percent of Republicans saying they are excited about the race, against 44 percent of Democrats who say likewise.
The poll surveyed voters in 12 battlegrounds: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The poll was conducted from Oct. 27 to 31 and has a 3-point margin of error for matchup questions and a 4-point margin for other queries.
A number of battleground polls released over the weekend showed both candidates in striking distance in many key states. A Columbus Dispatch poll put Obama up 2 in Ohio, and a Public Policy Polling survey put the president up 3 points in Wisconsin.
Romney trailed the president by 5 points in Iowa, according a Des Moines Register poll, but held a 6-point lead in a Florida poll from the Tampa Bay Tribune/Miami Herald/Mason Dixon.