New NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Obama with small lead

President Obama leads 47 percent to 44 percent over Mitt Romney in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday, illustrating the continued tight presidential race.

The numbers were little changed from last month, when Obama led 47 to 43 percent. And the demographic breakdowns in the survey suggested that the core dynamics of the campaign have changed little, as older and white voters largely favor Romney while Obama benefits from a huge advantage among minority and young voters. According to the poll, Obama leads 92 to 1 percent among blacks, 66 to 26 with Hispanics, and 52 to 35 among voters between ages 18 and 34.

Romney leads among white voters 53 to 38 percent and has a six-point advantage among voters between ages 50 and 64.

The polls showed the challenge for both campaigns in how voters perceive Romney, who is much less well-known by the public than the president. Asked “the first thing that comes to mind” about Romney as president, the top answers were “wealthy,” which 12 percent of respondents said, while 10 percent said “good businessman.” Democrats are making the former case, Republicans the latter.

Interestingly, 72 percent of Obama voters cast their decision as a more of a vote for the president, while 22 percent said it was largely a vote against Romney. On the other hand, 58 percent of Romney backers said their vote was largely anti-Obama, while 35 percent described it as a vote for the former Massachusetts governor.

Follow Perry Bacon Jr. on Twitter at @perrybaconjr