Romney closes gap with Obama to 2 points after debate

WASHINGTON Sat Oct 6, 2012 11:04am IST

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as President Barack Obama listens during the first 2012 U.S. presidential debate in Denver October 3, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as President Barack Obama listens during the first 2012 U.S. presidential debate in Denver October 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama's lead over challenger Mitt Romney has narrowed to just two percentage points since the Republican's strong performance in their first debate, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

In more bad news for Obama, one in five voters said the Democrat's performance in the contest in Denver on Wednesday made them feel more negative about him and almost a third said they felt more positive about his Republican challenger.

"Romney did well, he was perceived as doing well, and we're seeing the effect of that today," said Ipsos managing director Cliff Young. "Definitely in the short-term now, he's picking up people because of his performance in the debate."

The online tracking poll conducted between Monday and Friday showed 46 percent of likely voters backed Obama, versus 44 percent for Romney.

Obama had led Romney by 6 percentage points in the poll released on Wednesday and the edge narrowed to five points - a 48-43 percent lead for Obama - in polling up to Thursday. That was the first including a day of interviews after the meeting in Denver.

It remained to be seen whether his weak performance in Denver will become a long-term problem for Obama. He has two more chances to redeem himself in debates - a second is set for October 16 and the third is on October 22.

The narrowing could just reflect the effect of a flood of coverage after Romney's impressive debate performance, Young said. "The big question is whether this is just a debate effect, or whether the race will get back to status quo," Young said.

More than 9 out of 10 registered voters - 91 percent - said they had seen, heard or read something about the debate, and 54 percent said they thought Romney had done a better job.

Thirty percent said it made them feel more positive toward Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts. That was more than double the 14 percent who felt better about Obama after watching the two candidates go head-to-head.

Twenty percent said the contest had made them feel more negative about Obama, while 14 percent said it made them feel more negative about Romney.

Obama's campaign got a positive jolt on Friday from a surprisingly strong U.S. unemployment report, in which the monthly jobless rate sank below 8 percent - to 7.8 percent - for the first time since January 2009, the month he took office.

That could help him win over the dwindling pool of voters who say they might still change their minds - just 15 percent of those surveyed.

The precision of Reuters/Ipsos polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points for registered voters and 3.0 for likely voters.

The online poll conducted October 1-5 interviewed 1,728 registered voters and 1,434 likely voters.

The questions specifically about the debate - included in the survey since Wednesday night - have a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. The base size for those questions was 976 registered voters.

(Reporting By Patricia Zengerle; Editing by David Storey)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

KOREA FERRY TRAGEDY

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Three dead in east Ukraine, Putin warns of "abyss".  Full Article | Related Story 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Death toll from Guinea Ebola outbreak rises to 122.  Full Article 

Putin Talks

Putin Talks

Runaway spy Snowden is surprise guest on Putin phone-in.  Full Article 

Missing Airliner

Missing Airliner

Search for Malaysia Airlines jet refocuses on drone scans of seafloor  Full Article 

U.S.-Japan Summit

U.S.-Japan Summit

Obama, Abe to battle negative images at U.S.-Japan summit.  Full Article 

Blogger Released

Blogger Released

China releases blogger on bail, jails another amid rumour crackdown   Full Article 

China Pollution

China Pollution

Beijing's bid to move polluting firms watched warily in nearby regions  Full Article 

Holy Week

Holy Week

The Christian faithful celebrate Holy Week, the week which leads into Easter Sunday.  Slideshow 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage