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New poll: Mitt Romney gains with women, Barack Obama gains with men

Mitt Romney has closed the 16-point advantage that Barack Obama had with women, a new poll shows. Obama has narrowed the advantaged Romney had with men. Overall, voters are more upbeat about the economy.

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President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney meet family members after the third presidential debate in Boca Raton, Fla. A new poll shows both candidates have something to smile about.

(AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

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What gender gap?

Less than two weeks out from Election Day, Republican Mitt Romney has erased President Barack Obama's 16-point advantage among women, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows. And the president, in turn, has largely eliminated Romney's edge among men.

Those churning gender dynamics leave the presidential race still a virtual dead heat, with Romney favored by 47 percent of likely voters and Obama by 45 percent, a result within the poll's margin of sampling error, the survey shows.

After a commanding first debate performance and a generally good month, Romney has gained ground with Americans on a number of important fronts, including their confidence in how he would handle the economy and their impressions of his ability to understand their problems.

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At the same time, expectations that Obama will be re-elected have slipped: Half of voters now expect the president to win a second term, down from 55 percent a month earlier.

For all of the good news for Republicans, however, what matters most in the election endgame is Romney's standing in the handful of states whose electoral votes still are up for grabs. And polls in a number of those battleground states still appear to favor Obama.

As the election nears, Romney has been playing down social issues and trying to project a more moderate stance on matters such as abortion in an effort to court female voters. The AP-GfK poll, taken Friday through Tuesday, shows Romney pulling even with Obama among women at 47-47 after lagging by 16 points a month earlier.

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