Despite a tumultuous couple of weeks that have seen the Supreme Court uphold President Barack Obama's health care law, the administration's move to shield hundreds of thousands of immigrants from deportation and anemic job numbers that suggest a stalled economic recovery, the presidential race appears to be a tossup.
The latest Washington Post/ABC News Poll finds that Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are neck-and-neck, tied at 47 percent among registered voters. Neither man has been able to open a significant gap over his rival. Indeed, only two of the 13 polls conducted in the last year have given one candidate a lead that is larger than the margin of error.
The numbers have scarcely budged despite the unprecedented sums of money flowing into the race -- Romney broke the single-month record for a Republican candidate by netting $106 million in June, outpacing Obama by more than $35 million -- and a new advertising artillery of indepedent groups able to collect and spend without limit.
Voters are generally displeased with Obama's job performance, and nearly two-thirds questioned the direction America is heading. But the president continues to benefit from an enthusiasm gap: Three quarters of Obama supporters said their vote was more for Obama, while a majority of Romney backers said their votes were more against Obama than for Romney.
A separate Gallup poll found Obama with a narrow two-point edge among swing state voters, although voters leaning toward Romney were more likely to pronounce themselves very enthusiastic about voting.