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Monday, October 8, 2012

Pew Poll Shows Romney Advancing


Mitt Romney's strong performance at the debate last week has wiped out President Obama's lead in the latest national poll conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Two-thirds of voters said Mr. Romney did a better job than Mr. Obama, including 39 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of independents. And Mr. Romney has improved his standing on most issues and personal characteristics.

Mr. Romney is backed by 49 percent of likely voters and Mr. Obama has the support of 45 percent. Six percent remain undecided. The four-point difference between the candidates is within the poll's margin of sampling error of three percentage points for each candidate.

Mr. Obama had an eight-point lead among likely voters in the Pew Research Center poll conducted Sept. 12 to 16.

In the wake of last week's debate, Mr. Romney's supporters are newly energized: 82 percent said they had given a lot of thought to the election, up from 73 percent last month. In comparison, 67 percent of Mr. Obama's supporters have given a lot of thought to the election. Sixty-seven percent of voters who prefer Mr. Romney said they strongly supported him, up from 56 percent in September. The number of Mr. Obama's backers who strongly support him has stayed steady at 68 percent.

Mr. Romney's favorable rating among registered voters reached 50 percent for the first time in a Pew poll, up five points since September. On the other hand, Mr. Obama's favorability rating dropped to 49 percent from 55 percent.

In addition to overall favorability, Mr. Romney has gained ground against Mr. Obama in virtually all measures. They are now just about even on which candidate is a better described as strong leader and which is more willing to work with leaders from the opposition. Mr. Obama continues to be seen by more voters as the candidate who connects with ordinary people and who is consisten t on the issues. Mr. Obama's 14-point advantage as the candidate who is more honest and truthful candidate narrowed to five points.

In the latest poll, voters are closely divided on whether Mr. Romney or Mr. Obama would do a better job of dealing with taxes, health care, foreign policy and Medicare. Although most of the interviewing was completed after the improved jobs report was released last week, the voters give Mr. Romney an eight-point edge on improving the job situation.

The latest national poll was conducted Oct. 4 to 7 using landlines and cellphones among 1,201 registered voters, of whom 1,112 are considered likely voters.

The latest numbers from the Gallup tracking poll also shows a close race, but Mr. Obama with the advantage. Based on interviews conducted Oct. 1 to 7, Mr. Obama is the choice of 50 percent of the registered voters surveyed and Mr. Romney is backed by 45 percent.

In a separate poll conducted by Gallup, about two-thirds of those surveyed said they watched the debate, a level similar to Gallup's findings regarding the 2008 debates. Among those who watched the debate, 72 percent said Mr. Romney did a better job, including 70 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats. The telephone poll was conducted Oct. 4 to 6 with 1,013 adults, of whom 749 said they watched the debate. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.