Mitt Romney takes post-debate lead on President Obama nationally, makes gains in Michigan
Following a strong debate performance last week, multiple polls show Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney closing in on or even pulling past President Barack Obama nationally and in Michigan.
Before the first presidential debate, Obama enjoyed a surge in support following the Democratic National Convention, widening his previously narrow lead to a comfortable five-to-six point margin in most polls, and opening up a solid lead in Michigan as well.
That all appears to have changed after the debate.
An EPIC-MRA poll of 600 likely Michigan voters found that Obama’s 10-point lead last month, 47 percent to 37 percent, has narrowed to a closer three-point lead, 48 percent to 45 percent, within the poll’s four-point margin of error.
The number of undecided Michigan voters shrank to 7 percent from last month’s 16 percent, while Obama’s support number jumped up one point, suggesting Romney’s gains were made almost entirely among previously undecided voters.
“Romney has come back like gangbusters,” EPIC-MRA President Bernie Porn told the Detroit Free Press. “Whether or not it’s long-lasting, only time will tell, but probably the remaining debates will be key.”
While Obama’s lead has fallen back down to earth, the poll did have some encouraging news for Michigan Democrats. It found Sen. Debbie Stabenow beating Republican challenger Pete Hoekstra by 20 points, 55 percent to 35 percent.
Obama’s lead appears to have collapsed nationally as well, apparently in response to his lackluster debate performance.
According to a Gallup poll of those who watched it, 72 percent of Americans believe Romney won the debate compared to just 20 percent for the president. Romney’s margin of victory among debate watchers was unprecedented.
“Across all of the various debate-reaction polls Gallup has conducted, Romney’s 52-point win is the largest Gallup has measured,” Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones wrote. “The prior largest margin was 42 points for Bill Clinton over George H.W. Bush in the 1992 town hall debate.”
Romney’s debate win has certainly tightened the race, though polls vary greatly on how much Romney’s support has moved.
A new Pew Research Center poll found Romney beating Obama by four points nationally among likely voters and tied with him among registered voters. Pew found Obama ahead by 8 points among likely voters last month.
The Obama campaign refuted the results of the poll, saying the Pew poll oversampled Republicans. Pew’s previous poll comprised of 39 percent Democrats, 29 percent Republicans and 30 percent independents while the most recent poll comprised 31 percent Democrats, 36 percent Republicans and 30 percent independents.
“This is far bigger than any one-month change in party ID ever reported by Pew in the past,” an anonymous Obama campaign official told CNN.
Gallup’s national tracking poll, which averages seven days worth of national polls, had mixed news for the president. Their poll of registered voters had him up 49 percent to 46 percent nationally, but down 49 percent to 47 percent among likely voters.
However, the registered voters tracking poll suggests Romney’s debate bump may be fading. In the three days leading up to the debate, Obama led Romney by five points, 50 percent to 45 percent. In the three days following the debate, Romney and Obama tied at 47 percent, while the results from Sunday and Monday find Obama retaking his five-point lead.
Gallup’s three-day presidential job approval average sat at 53 percent as of Tuesday, certainly good news for an Obama campaign in reboot mode.
A battleground tracking poll released by Politico and George Washington University suggests the Obama campaign may be facing an enthusiasm problem.
Seventy-three percent of Obama supporters say they are “extremely likely” to vote, compared to 86 percent of Romney supporters who say the same.
The poll found Obama and Romney in a statistical tie, with the president leading 49 percent to 48 percent.
Nate Silver of the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog, which analyzes polls and economic data at the state and national levels and formulates daily forecasts of the presidential race, said Romney’s debate performance appears to have reverted the race to what it was like before the DNC and the Republican convention.
“Polling data is often very noisy, and not all polls use equally rigorous methodology,” Silver wrote Monday. “But the polls, as a whole, remain consistent with the idea that they may end up settling where they were before the conventions, with Mr. Obama ahead by about two points. Such an outcome would be in line with what history and the fundamentals of the economy would lead you to expect.”
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will debate Thursday night.
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