Polls: Obama Leads Among Registered Voters

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 14 2012 9:30 AM

Today's Polls: Obama Out In Front Among Registered Voters

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People listen as US President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event in Lions Park September 13, 2012 in Golden, Colo.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/GettyImages.

A pair of new polls out Friday show President Obama leading GOP challenger Mitt Romney with both parties' national convention in the rear-view mirror. The exact size of the president's lead, however, differs depending on the pollster and their take on who is most likely to pull a voting lever this November.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The Reuters/Ipsos survey, which was taken during a four-day stretch ending yesterday, has Obama up by 7 points among what it classifies as likely voters, 48 percent to 41. That number falls one tick to 6 points, 45 percent to 39, among registered voters. Obama's lead in the Reuters survey has been steadily growing since he pulled out to a two-point lead (46-44) the day after the DNC wrapped up last week.

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Reuters on Obama's strengths:

"Thursday's online poll also found far more registered voters preferred the incumbent's policies and approach on taxes (41 percent picked Obama, 30 percent Romney), healthcare (44 percent Obama, 28 percent Romney) and Social Security (39 percent Obama, 27 percent Romney)."

A new survey from the New York Times and CBS News, meanwhile, offers a more complicated picture. Among registered voters nationwide, Obama leads his rival by 8 points, 51 percent to 43. But among the smaller "likely voter" subset (as defined by NYT and CBS), the president's lead falls to 3 points over Romney, a gap that is within the survey's margin of error.

The full poll won't be available until this evening, so it's not exactly clear how the outlets are defining "likely voters" but their respective write-ups make it sound as though they are using a new metric. Here's how CBS News explains it:

"This is the first national poll in which CBS News and the New York Times have measured the presidential race among likely voters. The measure for likely voters takes into account voters' reported intent to vote, voting history and other factors that historically affect an individual's decision to vote."

And the NYT with some of the breakout numbers:

"Mr. Obama has an advantage among likely voters of 12 percentage points among women, the poll found, while Mr. Romney holds the upper hand among men by eight percentage points. Mr. Obama leads his Republican rival across all ages of voters, except those who are 65 or older, who favor Mr. Romney by 15 percentage points."