Presidential Race Still a Dead Heat -- but Mind the Gaps

Every day between now and the election, ABC News and the Washington Post will release a new head-to-head presidential tracking poll, and so far, this week's results find the battle between President Obama and Mitt Romney essentially tied.

In last night's poll, 49 percent of likely voters gave Romney the edge compared with 48 percent who said they would support the president.

But as ABC News pollster Gary Langer points out, the neck-and-neck nature of the race also happens to include "vast and sharpening gaps among some groups."

Take white men without a college degree, for example. According to the ABC News-Washington Post numbers, Romney leads Obama among that group, 65 percent to 32 percent -- the Republican candidate's highest margin with that demographic of the campaign. It's important to keep in mind that, more than any other voting bloc, this is the group that has helped boost Romney on questions about which candidate is more trusted to handle the economy.

On another gender measure, Obama enjoys a 15-point advantage among women, 56-41 percent, while Romney holds on to a 17-point lead among men, 57 percent to 40 percent.

And another big gap for Obama is among Hispanics -- 75 percent of whom say they support the president. That number represents a new high this season in ABC News polling.

On two key economic questions, voters are split: Likely voters now pick Romney over Obama, 50-44 percent, as the candidate they trust to do a better job of handling the economy, and on the question of which candidate better understands the economic problems of ordinary Americans, voters give the edge to Obama, 50-45 percent, over Romney.

"The shift on empathy, as with trust on the economy, has occurred almost exclusively among white men," Langer notes.

One area where there is no gap, at least nationally, is among early voters. Seven percent of likely voters say they've already voted, but they divide almost evenly between Obama and Romney.

Keep an eye on ABC News.com for our next ABC News-Washington Post tracking poll at 5 p.m. tonight -- and every night -- until Election Day.

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