Obama Barely Leads Romney Ahead of Second Debate

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As President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney prepare to meet for round two of the debates, a new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows the president barely leading Romney among likely voters.

According to a poll out Monday, President Obama leads Romney 49 to 46 percent among likely voters. Both campaigns know the stakes are huge.

However, there's encouraging news for Romney: 59 percent of his supporters now say they're strongly enthusiastic about him, compared to 55 percent of the president's supporters.

"I think he needs to be hard hitting on some of his issues, and I think he needs to take a more concrete stand," Ohio voter Tiffany Culver said.

The second debate is a town hall format with the questions coming from the audience.   

"I'm disappointed. I think that he made a lot of promises that haven't been kept," Brenda Lovell, in Ohio, said of Obama, adding that she's still not sold on Gov. Romney yet either.

Democrats say Obama's passive performance in the first debate was damaging. However, campaign officials said they do not expect a repeat.

"I think he's going to be aggressive in making the case for his view of where we should go as a country," David Axelrod, senior Obama campaign strategist, said on "Fox News Sunday."

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who has been Romney's debate-prep partner, said the Republican is ready for battle.

"President Obama is going to come out swinging. I think he's going to have to compensate for a poor first debate," Portman said.

Experts say both candidates must avoid looking too aggressive.

"Both candidates have to tread lightly because if they are going on the offense too aggressively with each other, that can spill over to the audience and make them look too combative," Brett O'Donnell, communications expert, said.

The town hall format could be challenging for both candidates. Neither of them has held many events like this recently.

The debate takes place Tuesday night at Hofstra University in New York. Stay with CBNNews.com to watch the debate streamed LIVE, beginning at 9 p.m. ET, Tuesday.

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CBN News
Mark Martin

Mark Martin

CBN News Reporter

Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.