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Candidates Are Deadlocked as Election Nears: NBC/WSJ Poll

Two weeks before Election Day, President Obama and Mitt Romney are deadlocked at 47 percent among likely voters in the race for the White House, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Among the larger universe of all registered voters, the Democratic incumbent draws 49 percent to 44 percent for his Republican challenger.

That finding underscores the urgency of each side's attempt to rouse supporters to the polls on Election Day, or before that in many states that permit early voting. (Read More: Obama, Romney Tax Plans: A Real Case of 'Go Figure'.)

The telephone survey of 1,000 voters, conducted Oct. 17-20, carries a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points.

The findings come as Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney prepare to face off Monday night in their last of three presidential debates.

The 90-minute session, at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, will be moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. (Read More: Obama Regains His Footing in Feisty Second Debate.)

Full results of the new NBC/WSJ survey, which is conducted by Democratic pollster Peter Hart and his Republican counterpart Bill McInturff, will be released at 6:30 pm.

Obama's campaign adviser David Axelrod, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," said polls for the election were "all over the map.'' He said he had always predicted Obama's re-election attempt would be close.

"If you look at the early voting that's going on around the country, it's very robust and its very favorable to us. And we think that's a better indicator than these public polls, which are frankly all over the, all over the map,'' Axelrod said.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman, a Republican who has helped Romney prepare for campaign debates, told "Meet the Press": "I like what I see because the trend is in our direction ... that's where you want to be at this point in the campaign.''

Romney has been closing in on Obama in recent weeks, with several surveys showing the pair tied or close to it, as Americans remain split between giving Obama more time to fix the economy, or choosing a former business executive who argues he knows best how to create jobs.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Saturday showed Obama with a razor-thin lead, 46 percent to 45 percent. The margin had narrowed from Friday when he had a three-point lead. (Read More: As Last Debate Looms, Race 'Very Much Neck-and-Neck')

After the third and final presidential debate on Monday, Obama travels later in the week to battleground states Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia and Ohio to try to fend off Romney's challenge.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

—By CNBC's John Harwood
@JohnJHarwood

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