Romney, Obama tied in new NBC/WSJ poll

One of the last pollsters to catch up to Mitt Romney’s momentum in the presidential race has been the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted by Marist [see update below], which just got done insisting that Obama has a large lead in Iowa — the only pollster to find one in October.  When the latest poll in this series gets released at 6:30 ET today, it will show a dead heat, with Romney now tied nationally at 47% with Obama, in a poll conducted entirely after the second presidential debate:

Heading into Monday’s final debate and with just over two weeks until Election Day, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are now tied nationally, according the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Obama and Romney both get 47 percent among likely voters in the latest edition of the poll, conducted entirely in the aftermath of the second presidential debate last Monday. In the last national NBC/WSJ poll, which was conducted before debate season began, the president held a narrow, three-point lead over his GOP challenger, 49 percent to 46 percent.

Having an incumbent at 47% with 16 days to go before the election is bad enough news for Team Obama.  The poll data has not yet been released, but NBC’s First Read has even more bad news in one particular area — the gender gap:

Looking at some of the most important demographic groups, Romney leads among men (53 percent to 43 percent), Obama is up with women (51 percent to 43 percent) and they are essentially tied among voters in the Midwest.

In 2008, Obama won the election with a +14 gender gap over John McCain — +13 among women and +1 among men — on his way to a 7-point victory in the popular vote.  That advantage has now flipped to Romney, even in the Marist poll.  That’s a sixteen-point flip in the gap, and unless Obama expects a massive female turnout and massive male empathy on November 6th, it’s a very bad sign.

On top of that, both of Rasmussen’s tracking polls continue to show narrow leads for Romney.  Romney leads 49/47 in the three-day national tracking poll four days after the second debate, showing that it had no impact.  Romney leads in the swing-state tracking poll by four for the second day in a row, at 50/46 claiming a narrow majority of the vote.

When the numbers do get released today, pay attention to the independents.  If Romney has a +2 in the overall gender gap and any kind of significant lead among independents, that’s more compelling than the topline numbers — and the late deciders will almost certainly be breaking toward him as well.

Update: I made the mistake of assuming that NBC and WSJ partnered with Marist nationally as well as on state polling.  You know what happens when you assume:

I’ve edited the lead paragraph, and thanks to Neil for the heads-up.

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