Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shakes hands with supporters after a campaign rally at the James Koch Farm in Van Meter, Iowa. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Republican Mitt Romney has erased US President Barack Obama's
advantage in the race for the White House and the two
candidates are now tied among likely voters, according to a
Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll.
With the November 6 election four weeks away, Romney and
Obama each command 45 percent, the daily tracking poll found.
The Democrat held a steady lead in the poll for most of
September, but Romney narrowed the gap following a strong
debate performance last week. Obama had been leading by 2
percentage points in the last poll on Sunday.
The poll reflects a closely divided electorate and a sluggish
economy, Ipsos pollster Cliff Young said.
"It's a much tighter race and Romney became much more
presidential in people's eyes," Young said. "Things are
probably back to where they should be."
Romney's improved prospects have shown up in other polls,
after the former Massachusetts governor launched aggressive
criticism of his rival's economic record during the debate in
Obama's advantage had already started to fade before the
debate as Romney recovered from a series of campaign
The online survey of 1,157 likely voters was conducted
between Oct. 5 and Oct. 9. The precision of Reuters/Ipsos
polls is measured using a credibility interval, which in this
case was plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
Among a larger sample of 1,370 registered voters, Obama led
by 3 percentage points, 45 percent to 42 percent.
Voters' personal views of Romney improved across a wide range
of attributes following the debate, the poll found.
By a margin of 38 percent to 34 percent, registered voters
now say that Romney is more likely than Obama to be effective
The two candidates are now essentially tied when voters are
asked whether they are tough enough and smart enough for the
job, whether they have the right values, and whether they
will protect American jobs. Obama had previously led Romney
on these questions.
Obama is still viewed as more likeable, more eloquent and
more empathetic than Romney by wide margins.
GAINING GROUND ON THE ECONOMY
An earlier round of Reuters/Ipsos polling found that Romney
gained the most ground on the economic questions that were
the focus of last Wednesday's debate.
In the week ended Sept. 30, Obama held a lead of 4.3
percentage points when voters were asked which candidate has
a better plan for the economy. As of Sunday, Romney held a
lead of 4.6 percentage points on that question.
On job creation, Romney led by 2.4 percentage points, erasing
Obama's earlier 5.8 percentage point lead on that issue. The
bad numbers for Obama come despite a monthly jobs report last
Friday that showed unemployment fell to a nearly four-year
low in September.
Romney led by 7.7 percentage points when voters were asked
which candidate would better handle the federal budget
Obama's lead on taxes fell from 10.5 percentage points to 4.9
percentage points. His lead on Social Security fell from 12.4
percentage points to 6.7 percentage points.
This earlier poll relied on a sample of 1,689 likely voters,
conducted over a seven-day span that ended on Sunday. It has
a credibility interval of 5.1 percentage points.