With independents breaking his way, support among men on the rise and enthusiasm numbers firming, Mitt Romney has taken a 2-point lead over Barack Obama as the presidential race turns for home and the IBD/TIPP Poll — America's most accurate — shifts into daily tracking mode.
In a survey of 797 likely voters that began Oct. 2 and ended Monday night, Romney was favored by 47% of respondents and Obama by 45% with 6% not sure and 2% refusing to say.
The results are consistent with some other polls showing Romney has erased deficits that had been widening until last week's debate in which the former businessman and Massachusetts governor turned his campaign around with a convincing win. Most of the IBD poll was taken after the debate.
IBD will be polling daily from now through election eve, Nov. 5, adding 200 respondents to the front end of the poll each day and dropping 200 off the back and then calculating a five-day moving average. Overall results and detailed breakdowns by demographic group will be shown daily on the first page of the newspaper's Issues & Insights (A14 today) section and its website.
The IBD/TIPP Poll, conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence of Oradel, N.J., has been more accurate than any other poll in each of the last two presidential cycles.
The key finding in the latest poll was the 18-point gap Romney has opened up with independents. They now back him 52% to 34%, in sharp contrast to the 8-percentage-point advantage (52% to 44%) that Obama enjoyed with independents in 2008.
"The independents are the kingmakers, and at least for now they appear to be on Romney's side," said Raghavan Mayur, president of Technometrica. "Neither candidate can win the election without the majority support of independents."
In 2008, 29% of voters identified themselves as independents.
Romney also has a 54% to 38% advantage among men voters, a group Obama won by one percentage point in 2008. Obama still leads among women, 51% to 41%, but even that has tightened from 13 points in '08.
Intensity among Romney voters has also strengthened: 70% of them now support him strongly, vs. 62% in September and 46% in August. Republicans also have a higher level of interest in this election — 89% to 84% for Democrats.