Just over a week before Election Day, a new Elon University poll shows a dead heat between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney in North Carolina.
The poll shows each candidate with the support of 45 percent of like voters. Five percent are undecided.
The poll is the second in a week to show a tie in North Carolina. Two other polls showed Romney with at least a 6-point edge and the Real Clear Politics poll average has the former Massachusetts governor up by 4 points.
But Obama campaign officials wasted little time in touting the Elon results.
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“An Elon Poll just came out showing the race tied,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on a conference call. “I am ridiculously proud of what the North Carolina staff has put on the ground with our volunteers.”
In late August, the Elon Poll found Romney leading with 4 percentage points. The latest poll surveyed 1,238 likely voters Oct. 21-26. The margin of error is about 3 percentage points.
The poll also found:
Voters gave Obama higher marks on national security, health care, foreign relations and immigration. By a slight margin, they said he shared their values more closely than Romney.
More than half of voters, 52 percent, said Romney would do a better job handling the economy.
Fifty-two percent of likely voters say the country is on the wrong track compared to 43 percent who say it’s headed in the right direction.
But voters are increasingly optimistic about the economy. Forty-nine percent say it will get better in the next year while 29 percent expect it to stay about the same. Eight percent believe it will get worse.
“The economy is the most prominent issue of the election and is an important reason why Mitt Romney is in a tight race with the incumbent president,” said Kenneth Fernandez, director of the poll.
“But respondents also seem to have a growing optimism about the economy. More people believe the economy will improve over the next year, and those optimists are more likely to vote for Barack Obama.”
McCrory enjoys double-digit lead
In the governor’s race, the Elon Poll found Republican Pat McCrory with a 14-point lead over Democrat Walter Dalton. It’s the latest in a series of polls that have shown the former Charlotte mayor with a double-digit lead.
The survey also found that 13 percent of Obama voters plan to vote for McCrory.