By Gary Langer
Oct 1, 2012 12:01am
Obama Leads on Expectations – But the Race Itself Stays Close
Registered voters by 2-1 think Barack Obama will win the upcoming presidential debates and go on to prevail in the November election. But expectations aside, the race remains close, with strengths and vulnerabilities for both candidates in the campaign ahead.
After a challenging period for Romney, registered voters by 63-31 percent expect Obama to win re-election, his widest advantage in expectations in ABC News/Washington Post polls to date. A year ago, in sharp contrast, Americans by an 18-point margin thought he’d lose.
Potential voters by a similar 56-29 percent also expect Obama to win the debates beginning Wednesday night in Denver – a result that ratchets up the pressure on the president to perform, leaving Romney, whatever his difficulties, greater opportunity to exceed expectations.
The contest between them, regardless, is far closer than those prognostications would suggest. Registered voters in this survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, divide by 49-44 percent between Obama and Romney, with the race a virtual tie, 49-47 percent, among those most likely to vote.