Poll indicates tight US election race

Poll indicates tight US election race

Republican Mitt Romney’s selection of Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate has not altered the race against President Barack Obama, and the campaign remains very close with less than three months to go, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows.

Overall, 47% of registered voters said they planned to back Mr Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in November while 46% favoured Mr Romney and Mr Ryan.

That is a statistical tie not much changed from an AP-GfK survey in June, when the split was 47% for the president to 44% for Romney.

At the same time, there is a far wider gap when people were asked who they thought would win. Some 58% of adults said they expected Mr Obama to be re-elected, while just 32% said they thought he would be voted out of office.

Mr Obama’s approval rating held steady at about an even split, with 49% saying they approve of the way he is handling his job and another 49% saying they disapprove.

The president remains more positively viewed than Mr Romney and continues to be seen as more empathetic.

Some 53% of adults hold a “favourable” opinion of the president, compared with just 44% who view Mr Romney favourably.

Mr Obama also held a commanding lead among voters as the candidate who better “understands the problems of people like you”, 51% to 36% for Mr Romney. Some 50% see him as a stronger leader than Mr Romney; 41% see Mr Romney as stronger.

After just over a week on the campaign trail, Mr Ryan has a 38% favourable rating among adults, while 34% see him unfavourably. Among registered voters, his numbers are slightly better – 40% favourable to 34% unfavourable. Mr Ryan remains unknown to about a quarter of voters.

Mr Romney put the 42-year-old conservative chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on the ticket August 11. The AP-GfK Poll was conducted from August 16-20.

Mr Romney and Mr Ryan will be crowned as the Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees next week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. The Democrats hold their convention the following week in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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