President Barack Obama and Republican hopeful Mitt Romney remain nearly tied in the race for the White House, according to a new national poll, which shows a yawning gap between married and unmarried voters.
Obama, according to the Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday, benefits from a 2 to 1 advantage among single women over Romney. The gap between women voters, particularly younger and single women, has been a consistent factor of the race. But the Quinnipiac pollsters highlighted another schism – among married voters Romney leads Obama 51 percent to 38 percent and among unmarried voters, Obama leads 54 percent to 34 percent.
"The marriage gap may be related to the different priorities and economic situations of married and single people," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a release accompanying the poll results.
"Married people are more likely to be older, more financially secure and more socially conservative than unmarried voters. The married column includes more Republicans and more white voters," he said.
"Married voters are more likely to focus on the economy and health care, while single voters are more focused on issues such as gay rights and reproductive issues."
Overall, Obama leads Romney 46 percent to 43 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percent.
As in other polls, a majority of voters said they disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy but are mixed on whether or not Romney would do a better job. Romney also has a slight edge over Obama with independents—43 percent to 41 percent.
With the current campaign debate focused on appropriate levels of taxation and the lack of transparency shown by Romney regarding his own finances, there's one final nugget of note in the survey—Obama dominates Romney when it comes to voters' perception of their compassion. About 56 percent of voters say Obama cares about their needs versus 50 percent who say Romney does not care. Experts say the longer the Obama campaign hammers Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy who doesn't care about Middle America the wider that margin will grow.
Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.