Obama Leads Romney by 1 Point in CBS/New York Times Poll

Bloomberg Television's Peter Cook reports on how Hurricane Sandy is affecting the race for the U.S. Presidency.

President Barack Obama led Republican challenger Mitt Romney by one point in a poll released last night, the latest survey to show the race virtually tied in the week before Election Day.

The CBS News/New York Times poll taken before Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast put Obama ahead, 48 percent to 47 percent, among likely voters. Obama led Romney, 49 percent to 46 percent in the poll last month.

Obama was ahead among women, 52 percent to 44 percent, while Romney led among men, 51 percent to 44 percent.

Likely voters said Obama would do more to help the middle class than Romney, 52 percent to 43 percent, while the former Massachusetts governor, who dealt with a Democratic legislature, would work better with members of both parties in Congress than the president, 50 percent to 39 percent.

Romney held a 51 percent to 45 percent edge on which candidate would do a better job on the economy and jobs, and a 54 percent to 39 percent advantage on the budget deficit.

While the nation’s unemployment rate slid to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest level since Obama took office in January 2009, it was the first time the rate had fallen below 8 percent in 44 months.

Abortion Rights

The CBS/Times survey found voters, by 51 percent to 39 percent, supporting Obama over Romney on abortion rights. Romney has called for the Supreme Court to overturn its Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Obama also had an edge on handling Medicare, 51 percent to 42 percent. Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has sponsored House-passed legislation that would replace traditional Medicare for future recipients 10 years from now with vouchers to buy private insurance or a government plan with a cap on expenditures.

The poll of 563 likely voters taken Oct. 25-28 had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

A survey released yesterday of Hispanic Christian voters showed Obama with a 63 percent to 26 percent lead over Romney. The poll by Gaston Espinosa, a professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, cited immigration as a key issue in keeping Hispanics in Obama’s camp.

Even so, Espinosa said undecided Hispanic Christian voters who are socially conservative could break in favor of Romney, who opposes same-sex marriage.

Romney ‘Opening’

This “could provide Romney with precisely the opening he needs to win over a small but vitally important slice of Latino undecided voters in key swing states who can help him win,” Espinosa said.

The Oct. 4-10 survey of 1,000 likely Hispanic voters who are either Catholic or Protestant had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Obama announced in June that the administration would no longer deport undocumented residents who were brought to the U.S. as children, have lived in the country for at least five years, had no criminal record, and were in school or had a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Romney earlier this year suggested that undocumented immigrants self-deport and described as “amnesty” any efforts to give them legal status without first requiring that they leave the country. Then, during an Oct. 16 debate with Obama, he said he supports the president’s action to let the children of illegal immigrants stay in the country legally.

Obama, in an interview this month with the Des Moines Register, he said he’s confident he can get an overhaul of immigration law through Congress next year if he’s re-elected.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net.

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