Romney bounce: Polls show tightening of race


THE US election race appears to be tightening in the wake of President Barack Obama’s lacklustre debate performance, with new national and state polls showing a bounce for Mitt Romney since the two faced off last week.

The first batch of post-debate polling showed Mr Romney narrowing the gap in a national tracking poll from Gallup and overtaking the president in polls from Rasmussen Reports and Clarus Research Group. Rasmussen’s survey found Mr Romney leading by two points and Clarus had him ahead by one after trailing early last week.

The effect was also evident in swing states. In Colorado, a University of Denver poll on Saturday showed Mr Obama with a four point advantage, while a separate poll from Gravis Marketing had Mr Romney up by three points.

Peter Hanson, a University of Denver political scientist, said: “Two important lessons from the polls are, first, there are very few undecided voters left in Colorado, and second, Governor Romney has improved his position to win them over in the closing days of the race.”

Meanwhile, two new polls in Ohio, one of the most crucial battleground states, showed the candidates locked in a one-point race.

Mr Obama has consistently maintained a lead in Ohio and according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls in the state he still holds a three point advantage.

With the race becoming closer, Democrats tried yesterday to contain the fallout from the debate, arguing that Mr Romney was dishonest about his positions to gain the upper-hand.

“He delivered a good performance, but it was completely unrooted in fact,” David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Mr Obama, told CBS News.

“He was the closer at Bain Capital, and the strategy is to say whatever you have to to get the deal.”

Robert Gibbs, another top Obama adviser, told ABC News that the “underpinnings and foundations of that performance were fundamentally dishonest”.

He called Mr Romney’s debate a “masterful theatrical performance”.

The Obama campaign has focused on Mr Romney’s contention that he does not plan a $5 trillion tax cut in spite of his proposal to cut marginal income tax rates by 20 per cent and to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.

The campaign has also questioned how Mr Romney plans to create healthcare legislation that covers people with pre-existing medical conditions, as he said during the debate, without a mandate requiring everyone to buy insurance.

Mr Obama’s supporters have been looking for good news to offset any damage from the debate. On Saturday, the campaign announced that it raised $181 million in September from 1.8 million donors, signalling that it will be well armed financially for the final month of the race. – (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012)