The Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics conducted live Interviews with 522 likely voters at a margin of error of plus or minus 4.29 points. The pollster weighed data on age and gender to correct for discrepancies between sample and population.
52 percent of respondents said they considered themselves to be Democrats, 42 said they consider themselves to be Republicans, and 4 percent identifies as independents.
The survey was conducted from Sept. 12 to 20, an unusually wide window that makes it difficult to know precisely which way the momentum is heading.
Obama’s 8 point margin in the poll is identical to Monday’s polling average by Real Clear Politics, which has Obama ahead 49.2 percent to 41.2 percent. The average does not include this Mercyhurst survey.
The pollster asked voters whether they were voting for their candidate, or against his opponent.
63 percent of Obama supporters say they will vote for him because the support him, 19% because they support him with reservations, and 17% because they oppose Mitt Romney.
Among those who will vote for Mitt Romney, almost as many people are voting against Obama as are voting for the Republican. 43% say they will do so because they strongly support him, 18% because they support him with reservations, and 39% because they oppose Barack Obama.
Mercyhurst also looked at perceptions of the candidates’ religions. 74 percent of voters were able to identify Romney as a Mormon, but only 13 percent said they have a negative view of the Mormon church. A plurality of voters (48 percent) said they couldn’t identify Obama’s religion (Christian), and 12 percent said they believe he is a Muslim.
Here’s the full polling memo: