Romney gains ground on Obama after strong debate

Thu Oct 4, 2012 4:57pm EDT
 

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney gained ground on Democratic President Barack Obama after a strong performance in their first debate heading into the November 6 election, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after their prime-time face-off.

Romney is now viewed positively by 51 percent of voters, the first time he has enjoyed a net positive in the U.S. presidential race, the poll found. Obama's favorability rating remained unchanged at 56 percent, according to the poll.

Romney moved ahead of the president on several core issues after Wednesday's debate, which was widely seen as a victory for the Republican candidate.

Voters now see Romney as a better bet to boost the economy, spur job creation and manage the budget deficit, the poll found. He narrowed Obama's advantage on taxes, the Social Security retirement program and the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly and disabled.

Romney's strong performance could make the race more competitive, Ipsos pollster Cliff Young said.

"If he has more debates like this, is able to push through his message and target undecideds, we might see movement in voting intention, but he needs a lot more of this," Young said.

Obama and Romney have two more debates before the election.

The poll found that Obama's 7 percentage point advantage over Romney had narrowed to a lead of 5 percentage points, 48 percent to 43 percent.   Continued...

 
Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (back) greets his wife Ann at the conclusion of the first U.S. 2012 presidential debate with U.S. President Barack Obama in Denver October 3, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder