PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Likely voters in the 2012 presidential election look like those who voted in 2008, the Gallup Poll reported Friday.
Gallup said 48 percent of likely voters this year are male, up 1 percent from 2008, while female voters dropped 1 percent to 52 percent. The percentage of the electorate that is non-Hispanic white remains the same at 78 percent.
Blacks make up 11 percent of likely voters, down 1 percent, while Hispanics are 7 percent, up 1 percent. Voters less than 50 years old are only slightly less likely to vote this year than in 2008 while the share of the electorate older than 50 is up slightly.
This is good news for the Democrats since high participation by black voters and students helped send President Obama to the White House. But Gallup also reported the percentage of likely voters identifying themselves as Democrats this year is down 4 percentage points to 35 percent, while self-identified Republicans are up 7 points to 36 percent. Gallup found that 46 percent of respondents said they are Democrats or leaning that way while 49 percent called themselves Republicans or Republican-leaning.
In Gallup's daily tracking poll, Republican contender Mitt Romney led Obama 51 percent to 46 percent among likely voters, up 1 point from Thursday. The candidates split registered voters with 48 percent each, the first time Obama has not been in the lead.
The tracking poll is a seven-day rolling average that includes data through Thursday.
Gallup reports that the margin of error for tracking poll data is 1 percentage point.
Gallup based the results of the electorate's composition on a random sample of 9,424 likely U.S. voters at least 18 years of age from Oct. 1 through Wednesday. The margin of error was pegged at 1 percentage point.