Romney Takes Lead In Latest Pew Research Center Poll
From the Pew Research Center comes another poll showing Mitt Romney surging in the aftermath of last week’s debate, and, more significantly, taking the lead for the first time in a national poll:
Mitt Romney no longer trails Barack Obama in the Pew Research Center’s presidential election polling. By about three-to-one, voters say Romney did a better job than Obama in the Oct. 3 debate, and the Republican is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September. Romney is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit.
Fully 66% of registered voters say Romney did the better job in last Wednesday’s debate, compared with just 20% who say Obama did better. A majority (64%) of voters who watched the debate describe it as mostly informative; just 26% say it was mostly confusing.
In turn, Romney has drawn even with Obama in the presidential race among registered voters (46% to 46%) after trailing by nine points (42% to 51%) in September. Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49% to 45% edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7 among 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters (1,112 likely voters), finds that 67% of Romney’s backers support him strongly, up from 56% last month. For the first time in the campaign, Romney draws as much strong support as does Obama.
More interestingly, the debate seems to have caused Romney to make gains against the President in specific policy areas:
Similarly, Romney has made progress on the issues. He and Obama now run about even on dealing with health care, Medicare, foreign policy and taxes. Obama led on most of these issues by significant margins in September. Romney also holds a significant 49% to 41% advantage on improving the job situation, despite the fact that most of the interviewing was conducted after the October jobs report, which showed the unemployment rate falling below 8%.
Romney also has once again opened a double-digit advantage as the candidate who can deal with the budget deficit (51% vs. 36%). Romney led by 14 points on the budget deficit in July, but had lost that advantage last month.
A substantial majority of voters continue to say that Mitt Romney’s policies would help the wealthy, but he has made gains since the summer in the perception that his policies as president would help the much-discussed middle class. In July, just 41% thought Romney’s policies would help the middle class. This has risen to 49% in the current poll; a comparable percentage of voters (50%) say that Obama’s policies would help the middle class.
Three-quarters of voters say Romney’s policies would benefit the wealthy (75%), basically unchanged from July (74%). Far fewer (31%) see Obama’s policies benefiting the wealthy. Conversely, two-thirds (66%) see Obama’s policies as likely to benefit the poor, compared with 39% who say the same about Romney’s policies.
And, perhaps, most significantly, the debate seems to have eliminated many of the likability problems that Romney has been suffering from since the campaign began:
The edge in favorability ratings that Barack Obama had enjoyed throughout the campaign has now been erased, as voters’ impressions of Romney have continued to improve while Obama’s ratings have returned to levels seen earlier in the summer. Currently, voters are about evenly divided in their overall opinions of both Obama (49% favorable, 48% unfavorable) and Romney (50% favorable, 46% unfavorable).
While shifts are evident across many demographic groups, there has been a notable change among women voters: In September, just 42% viewed Romney favorably, while 60% had positive impressions of Obama. Today, about half view each of the candidates favorably (51% Obama, 48% Romney).
This leaves the RealClearPolitics Average at +0.5 in the President’s favor, and race wherein the President’s September lead has disappeared:
This is the first non-tracking national poll that’s been both released and fully conducted in the aftermath of the debate and the release of the jobs report on Friday so it likely is reflecting at least the initial public mood on the election at this point. While there’s still more data to come that may change the conclusion, it does appear that we’ve got real movement in Romney’s direction as a result of the debate to the point where, for the first time in many, many months, we have a poll showing Romney leading outside the margin of error. The question, of course, is whether this continues and whether we see it reflected in other national and swing state polling. If it does, then we’ve just seen a race shaken up by a debate in a manner unseen since the 1980 election.