In the first national poll to be conducted entirely after the opening presidential debate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney now leads President Barack Obama by 4 points.
The poll, conducted by Pew Research Center from Thursday through Sunday and released on Monday, shows Romney leading Obama among likely voters nationwide, 49 percent to 45 percent. That’s a stark contrast from Pew’s mid-September poll after both parties’ conventions, which showed Obama up 8 points among likely voters.
The dramatic 12-point swing in Pew’s poll from Obama to Romney is perhaps the strongest piece of evidence to date that the president has paid a political price for his listless performance in the Denver debate. But the complete suite of post-debate surveys from national pollsters is only beginning to emerge, and the early indications are of a less dramatic shift than what Pew is showing.
Republican-leaning Rasmussen found Romney leading by 2 points in its Saturday release, which was based on findings from the tracking period of Oct. 3-5. But in Rasmussen’s Monday poll, conducted entirely after the debate and partially following the release of Friday’s encouraging jobs report, the two candidates were tied again. Gallup reported on Monday that Obama and Romney were tied in the three days immediately following the debate, after Obama led by 5 in the three days prior. But on Monday, Gallup’s tracking — which is based on a 7-day rolling average — showed Obama with a 5-point lead.
The PollTracker Average now shows Romney overtaking Obama to claim a nearly 3-point lead after the president led for the better portion of the last month.