Debate is Obama's last chance to talk about the economy

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talk at the end of the first presidential debate in Denver, Oct. 3, 2012.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

(CBS News) The second presidential debate is Tuesday night and the polls show a lot is at stake.

Monday's Gallup Daily Tracking poll has Mitt Romney up by two points, 49 percent to 47 percent. But a new Washington Post poll has the president up by three points. Both are within their margins of error, so technically it's a tie.

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One of the biggest challenges each candidate must tackle Tuesday night is striking a balance of criticizing their opponent while not turning off voters by appearing too aggressive. That would be hard to do in any debate setting, but in this case they'll be doing it in response to a question from a voter in the audience.

It's one thing to ignore a moderator, but when it's a voter, it's more dangerous - especially when the voter shows their displeasure on their face for the cameras.

The debate will also be the last chance for the Obama campaign to talk about the economy. The campaign has changed their strategy slightly -- now, they are betting people feel better about the unemployment rate's recent dip below 8 percent. Campaign strategists are making a bet that voters feel good enough about how things are going that they can say, "don't blow it by changing presidents."

The debate will air on CBS and here on at 9:00 p.m. ET or 6:00 p.m. on the West Coast. Gov. Romney won the coin toss and will get the first question.