(PRINCETON, N.J.) — Less than a week after the Denver debate, it’s all tied up.
A Gallup tracking poll out Monday morning finds President Obama and Mitt Romney running even nationally — 47 percent to 47 percent — with just under a month to go before Election Day.
This represents a boost for Romney, who, before the debate, was trailing the president by five points, 50 percent to 45 percent. And the poll’s other major finding leaves little doubt that last week’s face-off in Denver played a role.
“Those who viewed the debate overwhelmingly believe Romney did a better job than Obama, 72 percent to 20 percent,” according to Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones. “Republicans were nearly unanimous in judging Romney the winner. But even Democrats rated Romney as doing a better job than Obama, 49 percent to 39 percent.” The question now: Will Romney’s bounce last?
As ABC News Political Director Amy Walter noted this weekend — the fundamentals of the race still favor President Obama. Why?
For one thing, Americans were feeling better about the state of the economy and Obama’s handling of it before last week’s jobs report, which showed the unemployment rate dropping to 7.8 percent, came out. Americans don’t think the economy is as bad today as it was a year ago. And, a small — but growing number — think it’s getting better.
Second, the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll showed 47 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved of the job President Obama is doing on the economy — the strongest the president has been on this question since the summer of 2010 and a 10-point improvement since last fall. Meanwhile, voters’ confidence that Romney will do a better job on the economy has dropped significantly between August and September. Back in August, Romney had a seven-point lead on that question.
Third, thanks to the efforts of millions of dollars of negative advertising over the summer by Obama and his allies, and little to no effort by Romney to rebut them, Romney entered the fall campaign with more people feeling unfavorably toward him than favorably. Voters see Obama as better able to understand the economic problems of regular people and more in tune with the concerns of the middle class.
But there’s a lot President Obama needs to worry about too. His voters are less enthusiastic and less committed to vote than Romney supporters.
A new Politico-George Washington University Battleground tracking poll was the latest to pick up on this trend, finding that 73 percent of those who support Obama said they are “extremely likely” to vote, compared to 86 percent of those who are in Romney’s corner. More Republicans — 84 percent — said they are “extremely likely” to vote than Democrats — 76 percent.
And, this lack of enthusiasm has been a problem even before Obama’s poor debate performance, putting even more pressure on the next round of debates, including this Thursday’s showdown in Kentucky between Vice President Joe Biden and Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz.
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