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Polls show Obama-Romney race is too close to call

Mitt Romney holds a slight edge over President Obama in a nationwide poll published by NPR on Tuesday, but Obama leads by 4 percentage points in the dozen states most likely to determine the winner of an election that is only one week away.

Romney, the Republican nominee, leads Obama, 48 percent to 47 percent, in the national survey. But the president has a 50-46 advantage in the critical states of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

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The results of both the national sample and the battleground state sample were within the poll’s margin of error.

The survey reinforced the notion that Romney’s strong performance in the first debate of the general election was pivotal: An NPR poll released on Oct. 3, the day of the debate in Denver, showed Obama with a 7-point lead nationwide and a 6-point edge in swing states.

Though many political analysts believe Obama rallied to win two subsequent debates, 34 percent of survey respondents said that, overall, the debates made them more likely to vote for Romney; 28 percent said the same about Obama.

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A Pew Research Center poll, also published on Tuesday, showed a similar effect. In that survey, 36 percent of respondents said the debates improved their opinions of Romney, while 18 percent came away with better views of Obama.

The Pew poll showed a deadlocked race nationwide, with each candidate at 47 percent.

The Pew survey was conducted Oct. 24-28 and included 1,495 likely voters. It had a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points. The NPR poll was taken Oct. 23-25 and included 1,000 likely voters nationwide and 462 in battleground states. The national sample had a margin of error of 3.1 points, and the swing state sample had a margin of error of 4.6 points.

Callum Borchers can be reached at callum.borchers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.
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