Romney Clings to Slight Lead Over Obama Before Second Debate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 15, 2012   |   10:53AM   |   Washington, DC

As pro-abortion President Barack Obama and pro-life challenge Mitt Romney prepare for their second debate tomorrow, Romney holds a slight lead in national and state battleground polls.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 48%. Nationally, Romney has had a slight lead or been tied on nine of the past 10 days. Before that, Obama had been ahead or tied for 16 consecutive days.

Scott Rasmussen notes that, following the first debate, “a very close race shifted ever so slightly from narrowly favoring President Obama to narrowly favoring Mitt Romney.   Either way, it remains too close to call.” Only about two percent (2%) of voters changed their mind following the debate. But, in a close race, even a small change can have a big impact.

“A president’s job approval rating is one of the best indicators for assessing his chances of reelection. Typically, the president’s job approval rating on Election Day will be close to the share of the vote he receives. Currently, 49% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president’s job performance. Fifty percent (50%) at least somewhat disapprove,” the pollster said.

Rasmussen’s look at swing states — that collectively hold 146 Electoral College votes and include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — shows both candidates essentially tied. In the 11 swing states, Mitt Romney and President Obama are now tied with 48% support each. One percent (1%) likes another candidate in the race, and two percent (2%) are undecided.

Romney has led the daily Swing State Survey for the previous six days, reflecting the modest bounce he earned from the first presidential debate. Prior to that, the president had led for 17 of the previous 19 days, and the candidates had been tied twice. In 2008, Obama won these states by a combined margin of 53% to 46%, virtually identical to his national margin.

Meanwhile, a new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll of likely voters puts Obama ahead of Romney 49 percent to 48 percent, a statistical tie and the same as the week before. But, across 10 states identified by POLITICO as competitive, Romney leads 50 percent to 48 percent. It considers the 10 competitive battlegrounds to be Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Politico reports: Even as the head-to-head number held stubbornly steady for the past month, Romney improved his likability numbers. A slim majority, 51 percent, now views Romney favorably as a person, while 44 percent view him unfavorably.



The former Massachusetts governor had been underwater on this measure. In mid-September, 49 percent of respondents viewed him unfavorably. Going into the first presidential debate in Denver on Oct. 3, the electorate was evenly split 47 percent to 47 percent on what to make of Mitt.

Of the 86 percent of voters who said they watched the first debate or saw coverage of it, three in four declared Romney the winner. Only 16 percent thought Obama prevailed. One in three voters said the debate made them more likely to vote for Romney, but 52 percent said it made no difference.

Romney leads by 8 points among independents, 49 percent to 41 percent. Obama won this swing group by a similar margin four years ago, but the president is edging Romney in the head-to-head ballot because of heavy Latino backing and essentially monolithic African-American support.