A new Washington Times/Zogby Poll of 800 likely voters shows the presidential race back to a dead heat between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney. The live telephone survey was conducted by Zogby Analytics Friday through Sunday - the entire sample after both the October 3 debate and the Labor Department's release of new unemployment figures.

The poll shows Mr. Romney solidifying his base of Republicans (88%-6%), white voters (57%-35%), men (55%-36%), evangelicals (59%-28%), married voters (51%-39%, especially married men 63%-30%), NASCAR fans (55%-38%), conservatives (78%-13%), and investors (54%-39%). He continues to poll stronger among 18-29 year olds (39% to Mr. Obama's 49%).

Mr. Romney has turned around a 14-point deficit among independents into a 6 point lead (41%-35%), but 23% remain undecided.

Mr. Obama is very strong among Democrats (85%-9%), Hispanics (73%-19%), women (52%-37%), Catholics (51%-42%), and liberals (84%-12%). While the President leads the former Governor 76%-6% among African Americans, 18% are undecided.

In other Washington Times/Zogby Poll findings:

  • Obama leads Romney 46%-45%, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and other third party candidate added in;
  • By a factor of 55% to 35%, voters do not want cuts in spending to public television. This includes 32% of Republicans and 50% of white voters;
  • By a margin of 46% to 30%, voters think that GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan will defeat Vice-President Joe Biden in the VP debate on October 11;
  • More voters (54%) think Obama will win the election, than those who think Romney will win 32%;
  • A majority (57%) feel they are worse off today than four years ago, compared to 43% who say they are better off;
  • Obama is felt better able to handle immigration (48%-41%) and foreign affairs (50%-44%), while Romney is deemed better on national security (48%-45%) and jobs/economy (50%-44%). The two candidates are tied on energy (46% each);

The Washington Times/Zogby Poll sampled 38% Democrats, 35% Republicans and 27% independents; 74% white, 10% Hispanic, and 12% African American; and 43% conservative, 36% moderate, and 21% liberal voters.

Pollster John Zogby: "No one will ever ask me again if debates matter. I am not sure what happens in the long run, but for now the race turned around with Romney's strong debate performance. The proof is in the numbers. However, each time Romney has received a boost (the choice Ryan, the end of the GOP convention, and the debate), he has brought the race to a tie. I recall vividly how George W. Bush and Al Gore exchanged 5 and 6 point leads in 2000. Why are 18% of African Americans undecided? Is that an anomaly or does he have some proving to do? Young voters tend to be volatile but Romney seems to be outperforming among this group. Best for Romney to drop the Big Bird attack.

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