With eight days to go, polls stay tight

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama walk past each other on stage at the end of the last debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

After polls last week showed a surging Mitt Romney, two new tracking polls released Monday show the race once again tightening with the two candidates essentially tied.

The Washington Post/ABC News national tracking poll shows Romney with 49 percent support among likely voters while President Obama posts 48 percent. The results are within the 3.5 percent margin of error. The Post poll interviewed 1,278 likely voters between Oct. 24 and Oct. 27.

While Romney has the support of voters on issues pertaining to the economy, 50 percent to the president's 45 percent, it is less than the nine-point lead he enjoyed last week. Mr. Obama is ahead of Romney by 13 points, however, on the issue of who understands people's economic challenges.

Perhaps a troubling sign for the president, Romney continues to lead the president among independent voters, with Romney receiving 55 percent support among independents compared to Mr. Obama's 40 percent. 

Another poll released today, the George Washington University/Politico Battleground Tracking poll, which is conducted weekly, shows the race as close as the Post/ABC poll does. The GWU/Politico poll shows Mr. Obama with the support of 49 percent of likely voters compared to 48 percent who back Romney. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points among the 1,000 likely voters interviewed between Oct. 22 and Oct. 25. The poll results also indicate that the race is once again neck-and-neck as the same poll last week showed Romney leading by two but still within the 3.1 percent margin of error. Like previous GWU/Politico Tracking polls, Romney backers are espousing greater enthusiasm as 73 percent who back the Republican candidate say they are "extremely likely" to vote compared to 60 percent who back the president.

Comparing this poll to the same one last week, the president has gained his edge back among women. He leads Romney 54 percent to 43 percent among women voters, but Romney leads the president among men by 12 points.

A third poll, Gallup's Daily Tracking poll tells a slightly different story. Romney is up one point from last week, topping the president 51 percent to 46 percent among likely voters. The seven-day rolling average spoke to 2,700 likely voters and has a two percent margin of error. Romney's five-point lead is smaller than the seven-point lead he saw for a couple of days after the first debate was taken into consideration, but it is greater than Romney's three-point advantage from the middle of last week. 

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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