A new CNN poll conducted by the Pew Research Center finds Mitt Romney now enjoys a four percentage point lead among likely voters, topping pro-abortion President Barack Obama 49-45 percent.
The debate played a huge roll in providing the bounce for Romney in the Pew poll, where he trailed during the month of September.
“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,” Pew reported.
From the poll results:
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.
Romney supporters are now more fully engaged in the election, Pew notes.
More generally, the poll finds Romney’s supporters far more engaged in the campaign than they were in September. Fully 82% say they have given a lot of thought to the election, up from 73% in September. The new survey finds that Romney supporters hold a 15-point advantage over Obama backers on this key engagement measure. Supporters on both sides were about even in September.
The gains for Romney come from groups that have sided with Obama throughout the election.
In the presidential horserace, Romney has made sizable gains over the past month among women voters, white non-Hispanics and those younger than 50. Currently, women are evenly divided (47% Obama, 47% Romney). Last month, Obama led Romney by 18 points (56% to 38%) among women likely voters.
Pew makes it clear the debate is the overriding factor for the improve standing for the Romney campaign.
A substantial majority of voters (69%) say they watched at least some part of last week’s presidential debate and by a more than three-to-one margin (72%-20%), voters who watched say that Romney did a better job than Obama. Romney’s performance exceeded voters’ expectations. Heading into the debate, about half said that Obama (51%) would do a better job, while only 29% said Romney would win. Republican and Democratic voters were about equally likely to have watched the debate.
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The vast majority of Republican voters who watched the debate (95%) say that Romney did the better job, and many Democratic voters agree. Democrats are split in their assessment of who did better: 45% say Romney, 44% Obama.
Among independent voters, Romney was the clear winner (78% vs. 14%). And views of swing voters mirror those of independents: 70% say Romney won, 14% Obama.
Nearly two-thirds of voters who watched the debate say it was mostly informative (64%) compared with mostly confusing (26%). Republican voters overwhelmingly found the debate mostly informative (83%); only 11% say the debate was mostly confusing. By contrast, about as many Democratic voters say the debate was confusing (41%) as say it was informative (47%).