Polls give Romney lead on Obama
Republican challenger Mitt Romney has pulled ahead of President Barack Obama in the race for the White House for the first time in more than a month and leads 45 per cent to 44 per cent among likely voters, according to a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll released today.
With just under four weeks to go before the November 6th election, Mr Romney's surge followed his strong performance against Mr Obama in last week's debate and erased a jump in support that Mr Obama had enjoyed following the Democratic National Convention last month.
The poll showed that voters have warmed to Mr Romney across a range of policy issues following the debate.
Earlier a new poll from the respected Pew Research Center gave Mr Romney a four-point lead among likely voters.
Yesterday, the tracking poll had the two candidates tied at 45 per cent. Mr Obama had a steady lead in the daily tracking poll for most of September after the Democratic convention but Mr Romney narrowed the gap after the debate and finally inched ahead today.
"We have always felt that this was going to be a very close election and the numbers now reflect that - they are head to head, which is where they were pre- both conventions," said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.
"This is where they'll remain, with some movement of course, until we hit election day," Ms Clark said.
Mr Romney gained significant ground against Mr Obama among registered voters on a number of economic policy issues from October 6th-10th, compared to the four-day period leading up to the October 3rd debate on domestic policy.
"Romney has made significant gains in terms of his perception with voters," Ms Clark said. "He has really caught up to Obama on some key issues. The debate was perhaps the trigger, and the positive coverage Romney gained from the debate ... is also part of the explanation on this."
Poll respondents said Mr Romney was best placed to handle the US economy, help fix unemployment and deal with the federal deficit. Mr Romney's best showing against Mr Obama was for his plan to tackle the federal deficit
A total of 39 per cent of registered voters said Mr Romney had a better approach to the deficit, compared to 27 per cent for Obama. The two were tied at 33 per cent on that issue before the debate.
While Mr Obama lost some ground to Romney, poll respondents still said the president had the better approach on healthcare, the Social Security retirement programme, the Medicare health insurance programme for the elderly and disabled, gay marriage and the fight against terrorism.
On taxes, Mr Obama still had an edge over Mr Romney but the president's support dropped by 7 percentage points while Mr Romney's rose by 4 percentage points.
The online survey of 1,027 likely voters was conducted between October 6th and October 10th. The precision of the poll is measured using a credibility interval, which is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Among the 1,199 registered voters questioned, the credibility interval is plus or minus 3.3 per cent.
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 Mr Obama and Mr Romney on a direct tie of 46 per cent each among registered voters, with Mr Romney taking the lead by 49 per cent to 45 per cent among likely voters. The latter figure marks a striking turn-around in Mr Romney’s fortunes: last month the Pew poll marked him behind by eight points among likely voters.
Mr 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 Mr 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.