(Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
A new presidential poll released by the Pew Research Center Monday shows President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney neck and neck with likely voters.
Likely voters are evenly split, with 47 percent of voters backing Obama and the same percentage supporting Romney. The Pew poll was conducted Oct. 24-28 among 1,678 registered voters, including 1,495 likely voters.
The latest presidential poll results indicate a slight drop in support for Romney. An Oct. 4-7 Pew poll had Romney leading by four percentage points, 49 to 45 percent.
Among registered voters, Obama has a two-point edge, 47 to 45 percent.
Notably, in June those who were backing Romney were more likely to be "against Obama" than "for Romney." In October, support for the former Massachusetts governor has strengthened with more voters being "for Romney" than "against Obama."
Only one week remains before the presidential election, which many are calling the most critical one in decades.
With the presidential race a dead heat, some say the election will depend on voter turnout.
Currently, polls show Republicans are more enthusiastic about the election than Democrats. Seventy-six percent of Republican or leaning Republican voters say they are likely to vote while 24 percent are unlikely or not registered. Among Democrats or voters who lean Democrat, 62 percent say they are likely to vote and 38 percent are unlikely or not registered.
A boost in Romney's favorability rating has also added to enthusiasm among Republicans. Pew shows Romney's favorability rating among registered voters at 50 percent, about the same as Obama's (52 percent).
Still, Romney falls far behind Obama when rated on how well he connects with ordinary Americans. Only 31 percent say Romney connects well while 59 percent say Obama connects well. A majority also say Obama takes consistent positions on the issues while only 36 percent of voters say the same for Romney.
Romney takes the edge when measured on handling the economy, with 51 percent of voters saying he would do better in reducing the federal budget deficit and 50 percent saying he'd improve the job situation. Only 37 percent believe Obama would do better on reducing the deficit and 42 percent believe the president will improve the job situation.
Other results from the Pew poll show that 39 percent say Romney represents their views on abortion and 48 percent say Obama does. Romney says abortion should be illegal except in the cases of rape, incest or life of the mother. Obama strongly supports a woman's right to choose.
Forty-eight percent of registered voters agree that Obama is a "strong leader" while 43 percent believe Romney is.
The three presidential debates had a big effect on voters when it came to their opinion of Romney. Thirty-six percent have a better opinion of Romney following the debates. Only 18 percent have a better opinion of Obama based on the debates.