CNN Poll: Obama, Romney Close Nationally Among Likely Voters

08/24/2012 05:06 pm ET

The race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney remains close nationally, according to a poll released Friday afternoon by CNN/ORC International. Obama attracted 49 percent of likely voters to Romney's 47 percent, within the poll's margin of error.

Obama led, 52 to 43, among a broader pool of registered voters including those less likely to vote -- consistent with CNN's last poll in early August. Historically, polls of likely voters tend to show slightly more favorable numbers for Republicans.

"Likely voters have traditionally been a more Republican group in past elections because they tend to turn out in higher numbers than Democrats, and 2012 looks like it is no exception. This explains why the margin between President Obama and Mitt Romney is smaller among likely voters," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland explained in a statement accompanying the poll's release. "But it is a mistake to say that the race has tightened in the past few weeks, given the lack of movement in the results for registered voters."

More than a third of registered Republicans -- 35 percent -- said they were extremely enthusiastic about the election, compared to 29 percent of registered Democrats.

With the political conventions about to kick off the official general election season, most likely voters said they'd already decided who to support; only 11 percent said they might still change their minds.

Fox News also released its first poll with a likely voter screen this week, showing Romney one point ahead of Obama.

The CNN/ORC poll used live phone interviews on Aug. 22 and 23 to survey 924 registered voters, 719 of them likely voters, with a 3.5 percent margin of error.

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