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Obama leads polls ahead of first debate

  • U.S. President Barack Obama heads into his first debate against Republican rival Mitt Romney with a marginal lead, according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Tuesday.

    Obama drew 49 percent of the vote among likely voters, compared to 46 percent for Romney.

    However, the Democratic incumbent's lead has dropped from the 50 percent to 45 percent gap he enjoyed last month.

    The survey of likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

    Obama maintains a strong lead among Hispanics, young voters and women. An impressive 71 percent of likely Hispanic voters said they plan to vote for Obama.

    Meanwhile, Romney continues to hold a strong margin of support among white voters and men.

    The 90-minute presidential debate is due to take place later in the day in Denver, Colorado.

    It is the first of three televised between Obama and Romney this month that are expected to set the tone for the final month ahead of the November 6 election.