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Romney, Obama neck-and-neck after first debate

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 8th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to a new Gallup poll, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pulled even with President Obama following the first presidential debate. Obama had carried a five-percent lead before the debate, according to the poll. Obama held a 50 percent to 45 percent edge over Romney from September 30 to October 2, the poll shows. But in the three days following the debate, from October 4-6, both candidates were tied at 47 percent.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An overwhelming number of people who watched the debate -- 72 percent, thought Romney had done the better job. Even Democrats agreed Romney performed better by a margin of 49 percent to 39 percent. A slim margin of 20 percent of debate watchers thought Obama performed better.

The poll has set a record for candidate gain. The previous record, according to Gallup, was Bill Clinton's 42 point lead over George H. W. Bush in a 1992 town hall debate. Romney's 52-point win is currently the largest margin Gallup has ever measured.

While Obama still leads,  the breakdown between pre- and post-debate margins indicates the debate may have given Romney a much needed boost.

However, a positive jobs report that proved that unemployment dropped below eight percent for the first time in nearly four years may slow some of the momentum Romney gained following the debate.

A separate poll showed that Latino voters' views of the candidates remain relatively unchanged. According to the latest survey from Latino Decisions, a political opinion research firm, Obama still leads Romney among Latino registered voters 72-20 percent. It must be mentioned that the poll was only in the field for one day following the debate.

There are two more presidential debates to come: October 16 in Hempstead, New York, and October 22 in Boca Raton, Florida.

Vice President Joe Biden and Romney's running mate Paul Ryan will debate October 11 in Danville, Kentucky.

In a related poll, a new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll, only 73 percent who support Obama say they are "extremely likely" to vote, compared to 86 percent who back Romney. Likewise, 84 percent of Republicans say they are extremely likely to vote, compared to 76 percent of Democrats.

Among those extremely likely to vote, Romney actually leads Obama 52 percent to 46 percent. That's up from a 2-point lead last week. Obama led 50 percent to 47 percent among this group three weeks ago.

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