Clouds for Obama: Romney poll lead

Wed, Oct 10, 2012, 01:00

The storm clouds gathering over president Obama’s bid for re-election have thickened with the release of a new poll from the respected Pew Research Center that gives Mitt Romney a four-point lead among likely voters.

The Pew survey of 1,511 adults was carried out over four days, starting on the day after the first presidential TV debate last week. Its findings – including evidence that the Republican nominee is making dramatic headway with female voters, young people and those in the heartlands of the midwest – appear to confirm that Obama’s listless performance at the debate, and by contrast Romney’s strong showing, has translated into a powerful political force.

“We found a dramatic shift from a significant Obama lead to a slight Romney edge among likely voters – and this is the first evidence that the debate appears to have impacted the race,” said Carroll Doherty, Pew Research Center’s associate director.

The poll records Obama and Romney on a direct tie of 46 per cent each among registered voters, with Romney taking the lead by 49 per cent to 45 per cent among likely voters. The latter figure marks a striking turn-around in Romney’s fortunes: last month the Pew poll marked him behind by eight points among likely voters.

Romney’s widely lauded performance at the debate in front of almost 70 million viewers appears to have had a particularly favourable impact on several groups that had been assumed to be unassailable strongholds for Obama. Among likely female voters, the two contenders for the White House now stand neck-and-neck on 47 per cent, in contrast to a month ago when Romney trailed by a whopping 18 points.

Support among voters under 50 has bounced in the past month for Romney, by no fewer than 10 points, from 39 per cent to 49 per cent, and he now even leads among this demographic over Obama on 46 per cent.

The one feature that appears to be driving this sharp improvement in Romney’s standing was the debate. Two-thirds of registered voters in the poll said that they thought Romney did the better job during Wednesday’s head-to-head, with only 20 per cent backing Obama. – (Guardian)