Polls Show Obama Has Widened Lead Over Romney

It appears that the Democratic National Convention had a greater impact on the general public than the pundits had predicted. The Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was hoping for a jump in the polls due to the release of Friday’s disappointing jobs numbers, it doesn’t look like he’s going to get it. According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, Barack Obama has widened his slim lead over Mitt Romney, to a four percentage point lead over his Republican challenger.

Forty-seven percent of 1,457 likely voters surveyed online said they would vote for Obama if the November 6 elections were held today, compared with 43 percent for Romney.

Whereas Mitt Romney and the Republicans received little to no post-convention “bump” in the polls, the Obama campaign seems to have come out of Charlotte with some wind at its back. Although former President Bill Clinton delivered a powerful convention address which was well received by both Republicans and Democrats alike, President Obama’s speech had more tepid reviews, which Republicans had hoped would hurt him in the polls. But Obama’s speech seems to have had little impact on voters.

According to the poll, Obama has increased his lead over Romney in certain characteristics: On which candidate is more “eloquent,” 50 percent favored Obama (compared to 25 percent for Romney); on who is “smart enough for the job,” 46 percent sided with Obama compared to 37 percent for Romne; on  “represents America,” Obama also led.

A similar poll conducted by Gallup confirms Romney’s dip in the polls, showing Obama ahead 49% to 44%.

Politico reports that even Romney’s closest advisers admit in private that he has a tougher path to winning. Although they were plesantly surprised by Obama’s poor debate performance, they also say they are worried that on state-by-state polling numbers, Obama remains ahead. “Our problems are Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire. Our opportunities are Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado,” said a Romney official.

Of course, all polls must be taken with a grain of salt, and the Romney campaign has vowed to continue to fight on. According to Stuart Stevens, Romney’s campaign strategist, “We’re a very patient campaign. We’re the campaign that couldn’t break 25 percent [in the primaries]. We just have tremendous confidence in the governor’s ability to talk to people in a way that resonates. Very steady, very confident.”

PPP’s first post-conventions poll in Ohio finds Barack Obama with a 5 point lead over Mitt Romney, 50-45. This is the largest lead PPP has found for Obama in an Ohio poll since early May. Last month Obama led 48-45.

Both candidates have seen their images improve with Ohio voters in the wake of the conventions. Obama now breaks even in his approval rating at 48%, after being under water with 46% of voters approving and 51% disapproving of him a month ago. Romney’s numbers are up from a 41/52 favorability rating a month ago as well, but he still remains unpopular. Only 44% see him favorably to 49% with a negative opinion.

Romney actually leads 46-44 with independents but Obama has the overall advantage thanks to a more unified party base. He leads 86/11 with Democrats, compared to Romney’s 83/13 advantage with Republicans. Obama’s 75 point lead within his own party is up from 70 points a month ago, suggesting that his party has coalesced around him a little bit more in the wake of a successful convention. By a 47/35 margin Ohio voters say they think the Democrats had a better convention than the Republicans.

Obama’s leading in Ohio because he’s not as weak there with some large voter blocs as he is in other states. He trails only 48-46 with men and 50-46 with whites, and actually leads 49-47 with seniors. His performance with those groups is far better than it is nationally- Romney would need much wider leads with them if he was going to take Ohio.

Despite chatter that Obama’s convention speech was not up to his normal standards Ohio voters still say by a 60-31 margin that Obama gives better speeches than Romney. His position in the state may also be helped by the fact that the folks who gave the major convention speeches Tuesday night are more popular than he is: Bill Clinton has a 57/34 favorability rating and Michelle Obama’s is 57/35. Romney’s wife is an asset for him too- 54% of voters see Ann Romney favorably with 28% holding an unfavorable opinion. But Mrs. Obama wins out in the more popular wife category by a 49/41 margin.

Out of the other Democrats who gave primetime speeches last week Julian Castro made the most positive impression and has a 28/17 favorability rating. Voters are split on Elizabeth Warren at 23/23 and Martin O’Malley doesn’t seem to have attracted much attention with 86% of Ohioans saying they have no opinion about him one way or the other.

It’s hard to see a path to victory for Mitt Romney without Ohio, and Obama continues to be in a strong position there with eight weeks to go.


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