Today’s Word of the Day? Stasis:

In the battle for the White House, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are locked in a close contest nationally. According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, 48% of U.S. registered voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate support President Obama compared with 46% for Romney. Less than one percent backs another candidate, and 6% are undecided.

“The race was close yesterday, it’s close today, and may even be close on Election Day,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “You need to look no farther than the president’s approval rating to see how divided the electorate is.”

On the whole, this is not good news for Barack Obama.  The previous Marist/McClatchy national poll was in March — and that also showed a two-point lead for Obama over Romney, 46/44.  Since that time, Marist has focused on swing-state polling — which also showed dead heats in June.  Obama and his allies have flooded the media zone with hard-hitting ads, and the best that one can say about their effect is that Obama isn’t losing ground.  Romney has yet to unleash a big attack on the airwaves, but those days will come soon, especially with the way Romney is raising funds.

This is the same survey from Saturday’s release on the tax cut issue, so the same sample issues apply.  The skew is D+7 with a D/R/I of 36/29/34 among registered voters, which means this leans a little toward Obama.  That can be seen in the breakout of independents, which favor Romney by four, 48/44.  In 2008, when the electorate really did have a D+7 skew, Obama won by seven points and carried independents by eight.  Losing independents would mean that Obama would have to get a base turnout that exceeded the 2008 model, which seems extremely unlikely.

This race is not moving at all in any direction at the moment.  The stasis helps the challenger in providing time to gather his financial strength.  The attacks on character don’t seem to be having any real impact at all on the polling, which means that the election will almost certainly be decided on policy and as a referendum on the incumbent — and that’s definitely bad news for Obama.