Polls show presidential race tied nationally, Obama up six points in Michigan


Polls show President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney heading into a very close Nov. 6 election, and both campaigns are ratcheting up campaign spending in response.

The Real Clear Politics average of national polls shows a virtual tie between the two candidates, with Obama holding a very narrow 47.1 percent to 46.9 percent lead over Romney.

Two recent polls show Obama's lead in Michigan settling at a comfortable margin for the president after briefly becoming close following the first presidential debate.

A Rasmussen Reports poll found Obama with a 52 percent to 45 percent lead among likely voters, while an EPIC-MRA poll conducted for the Detroit Free Press had Obama up 52 percent to 46 percent.

“I think the (second) debate had a role,” EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn told the Free Press. “You look at people who watched the debate; they’re voting for Obama more than the state as a whole is. Only among people who didn’t watch the debate are they tied.”

Nationally, Obama holds an advantage over Romney in the Electoral College, but swing-state races have tightened as well.

Putting Michigan and Pennsylvania (two states where the president holds average leads of five percent) in Obama's column and North Carolina (where Romney leads by an average of roughly five percent) in Romney's column, Obama holds a 237-206 electoral vote lead over Romney, with 95 votes in play. To win, a candidate must collect 270 votes.

Of the eight swing states currently in play, Obama holds small leads in Ohio (18 votes), Wisconsin (10 votes), Iowa (six votes) and Nevada (six votes), while Romney has small leads in Florida (29 votes), Virginia (13 votes), Colorado (nine votes) and New Hampshire (four votes), according to RCP's polling averages. All together, that would translate into a narrow Obama win, 277-261.

Both campaigns have started to ramp up already record-breaking campaign spending through Nov. 6 in a last-ditch attempt to win over undecided voters in swing states.

Both campaigns, their parties and their super PAC allies are virtually assured of pulling in over $1 billion in donations each. Team Obama has hauled in $969 million in donations so far while Romney's side has raised $919 million so far.

Despite Obama's fundraising lead, Romney has more cash on hand to spend in the final weeks of the campaign in swing states.

Following a brutal Republican primary battle, the Obama campaign took a risk and spent millions of dollars in advertising in the spring and summer seeking to define Romney as an out-of-touch plutocrat. The strategy worked, as Romney lagged behind Obama in polls for most of the year.

Following Romney's strong performance in the first debate, the polls have since tightened, providing Romney an opportunity to potentially pull ahead in swing states by outspending Obama. Romney and his allies have roughly $45 million more in the bank than Obama and his allies.

Romney's campaign has spent millions in swing states over the past couple weeks, presenting him as a bipartisan problem solver and Obama as a partisan Democrat who broke his promises.

Meanwhile, the Obama camp is seeking to remind voters of Romney's time as CEO of Bain Capital, while portraying the president as a leader who has risen up to the occasion during historically tough times.

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