Updated at 6:50 pm EDT
As the final televised debate of the presidential campaign nears tonight — at 9 pm EDT — another public opinion poll shows a virtual tie in the contest between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney nationally.
The first of what will become a daily tracking survey by ABC News and The Washington Post in advance of the Nov. 6 election shows Obama with a one-point edge over Mitt Romney among likely voters, 49 percent to 48 percent — well within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Obama holds just a two-point lead over Romney, by 48-46 percent, in a CBS News national poll released tonight, also within the poll’s margin of error.
The surveys are in line with other recent polls showing a tightening race following Romney’s performance in the first debate Oct. 3. Even after Obama’s rebound in Debate No. 2 on Oct. 16, the poll found 37 percent saying Romney had improved following the two debates, compared with 15 percent for Obama.
The third and final debate takes place tonight in Boca Raton, Florida.
Likely voters gave Romney an edge on handling the economy, by 48 to 44 percent in the ABC/Post survey, and on the deficit, 49 to 45 percent. Obama held the advantage on women’s issues, by 52 to 39 percent, and Medicare, 53 to 41 percent.
Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is the sponsor of the House Republican-passed budget that replaces traditional Medicare with vouchers to buy private insurance or a government plan with a cap on expenditures, and co-sponsored legislation to restrict women eligible for government-funded abortions to victims of “forcible rape.”
Sixty-six percent of those urveyed polled said Obama would do more to favor the middle class while 54 percent said Romney would do more to favor the wealthy.
In the CBS poll, Obama is viewed as stronger on foreign policy.