Obama, Romney raise record funds
US president Barack Obama's campaign and its Democratic allies raised $181 million (€139 million) in September for his re-election effort, the largest total that either side has announced yet in the 2012 campaign.
The big September number and a good jobs report on Friday that showed unemployment dipping to 7.8 per cent from 8.1 per cent shifted some attention from Mr Obama's lacklustre debate performance on Wednesday against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Helping buoy Mr Obama's fundraising in September was his party's convention and a modest lead in the polls over Mr Romney, whose campaign was plagued by his remark that the 47 per cent of the population who receive government funds are "victims."
Mr Obama's campaign said yesterday that more than 1.8 million people donated to it last month. Of that, 567,000 were new donors. A vast majority of the donations - 98 per cent - were $250 or less. The average contribution was $53.
"That's by far our biggest month yet," campaign manager Jim Messina said in an email to supporters, urging them to chip in even more as the November 6th election draws near.
Mr Obama needs a lift after a surprisingly tame performance at the debate shook his campaign's sense that it was closing in on election victory.
However, Mr Romney's strong showing in Denver did little to convince more voters he understands them or is a "good person," according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey released yesterday.
The Democratic president is ahead of his challenger on character attributes that can win over undecided voters who have not been swayed on tangible policy points, according to the online poll.
On the broad question of who they will vote for in November, Mr Obama kept his 2 percentage point lead among likely voters - 47 per cent to 45 per cent - in the online survey.
The gap was unchanged from Friday, when Mr Obama led 46 per cent to 44 per cent in the tracking poll. His lead was 6 percentage points before the two men first went head-to-head in Denver.
"We haven't seen additional gains from Romney. This suggests to me that this is more of a bounce than a permanent shift," Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said.
Mr Romney, enjoying a boost of support in many polls after his debate performance, addressed a boisterous crowd of 6,500 in the city of Apopka in central Florida, a state that will be critical in whether he wins the White House.
He kept up the pressure on Mr Obama over the US economy, a day after the jobless rate dropped below 8 per cent for the first time since the president took office. He said if the size of the workforce was the same now as it was in January 2009, the rate would be much higher, but that many have given up looking for jobs.