Obama vs Romney Polls 2012: With Debate Tonight Romney Closes Gap, Obama Leads in Swing States

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(Photo: Reuters/Jim Young)U.S. President Barack Obama looks over at U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York, October 18, 2012.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has closed the gap on President Barack Obama in the latest Reuters/Ipsos Daily Tracking Poll released on Monday.

Obama had previously led in the Ipsos poll, but his lead has now vanished and the two White House contenders are tied, according to the latest results.

The poll, which surveys likely voters online, found that both Romney and Obama are now tied on 46 percent of those "likely to vote."

The latest poll results come as the two candidates prepare to do battle for the third and final presidential debate on Monday night.

Previously Romney had been behind the president by 1 percentage point, according to the Ipsos poll published last Saturday. However, that tiny margin has now disappeared.

Ipsos pollster Julia Clark has said, "Today's number emphasizes the fact that the race is very close. We enter the final debate with the candidates literally neck and neck," according to a Reuters release.

However, when the polls are broken down into the key swing states, Obama seems to have a slight edge still. The latest Reuters/Ipsos polls indicate that Obama would marginally take Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

The poll was based upon data collected from 957 likely voters surveyed, and was conducted between Oct. 18 and Oct. 22.

When the poll looks at the larger pool of registered voters then Obama carries a three percentage point lead, taking 45 percent compared to Romney's 42 percent.

Reuters has also reported that 49 states and the District of Columbia have already begun early voting, and indicators suggest that as many as 16 percent have already cast their votes.

Monday's third and final debate will commence at 9 p.m. ET and could be a vital game changer in the final weeks before the election on Nov. 6. It is believed that among likely voters as many as 6 percent are still undecided as to who they will vote for, and among those who have already indicated a preference for a candidate, still 15 percent are open to changing their mind in the final days, according to Reuters. This third debate could be key for each candidate in persuading those undecided voters their way, although many analysts suggest it will unlikely be a significant game-changer unless one of the candidates makes a huge mistake.

Monday's debate will be in Boca Raton, Florida, and will focus on foreign policy, and start at 9 p.m. ET.