DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - The presidential race heads into its final two weeks with polls showing a dead heat nationally and some tightening in the most closely competitive states, suggesting the outcome could turn on a mistake or which campaign better mobilizes its forces.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are tied at 47 percent in a national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of likely voters released Sunday.
In Florida, site of the final presidential debate, the candidates were virtually even in an Oct. 17-18 CNN/ORC International poll of likely voters, with 49 percent backing Romney and 48 percent supporting Obama.
A Quinnipiac University/CBS News poll of likely Ohio voters released Monday showed Obama leading Romney by five percentage points, 50 percent to 45 percent. That's half the margin Obama had when that same poll was done in late September.
"This is going to be a very close race and we've said that consistently," David Axelrod, Obama's senior political strategist, said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"The trend is in our direction," said Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on "Meet the Press." Portman, encamped with Romney over the weekend in Delray Beach for debate practice sessions, said the polling reflects what he has seen on the ground.
"The enthusiasm and energy is on our side this year," Portman said. "That's where you want to be at this point in the campaign."
Surveys over the past week have shown the former Massachusetts governor narrowing or eliminating Obama's lead in several swing states, those with a history of supporting either party's presidential candidate. Romney gained momentum from winning his first debate with Obama on Oct. 3 in Denver.
The tie in Oct. 17-20 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll represented the first time this year Obama hasn't led in the survey. The poll of 816 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Romney erased a five-percentage-point lead Obama had in the same poll in mid-September, which had narrowed to a three-point advantage by late last month.
For Romney, the good news is that the latest polling suggests his momentum wasn't stemmed by his second debate with Obama.