Romney Seeing Debate Bounce in Polls

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 6 2012 2:37 PM

Polls Start Showing a Debate Bounce for Romney

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Mitt Romney greets supporters in St. Petersburg, Florida

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

Mitt Romney’s trouncing of President Obama at Wednesday’s debate is starting to show up in public opinion surveys. Rasmussen Reports, which has regularly shown results more favorable to Romney, gives the former Massachusetts governor a two-point edge over Obama nationally, 49 percent to 47 percent, a mirror image of how the poll looked before the debate. The results are based on a three-day rolling average so two-thirds of the interviews were conducted after the debate. Yet it still marked the first time since mid-September that Romney has been ahead “by even a single point,” points out Rasmussen Reports.

Meanwhile, Gallup’s Saturday poll shows Obama with a three-point lead, 49 percent to 46 percent, a decrease from the five-point margin reported the previous day. Yet Gallup’s poll is taken from a seven-day rolling average from Saturday to Friday, suggesting there is still room for the numbers to continue narrowing.

On Friday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said Obama’s lead had narrowed to two percentage points, 46 percent to 44 percent, down from the six-point edge the president held before Wednesday’s debate. The five-day tracking poll included results between Monday and Friday, and some specific questions about the debate for those who answered after Wednesday. A full 91 percent of registered voters said they had heard something about the debate, and 54 percent said Romney had done a better job.

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In post-debate polls of swing states, Rasmussen has Ohio at a virtual tie with the president up one point, and Romney moving into a two-point lead in Florida.

The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight forecast also showed “a clear shift” toward Romney on Friday, increasing his chances of winning the Electoral College to 15.1 percent from 12.9 percent on Thursday. Yet it’s far from clear whether Romney will be able to hold on to these increases, particularly considering the Friday job numbers will almost certainly give the president a boost.  

“It’s going to take a few more days for the forecast model to catch up to the news, and I don’t think there’s any alternative but to keep an open mind about the polls for right now,” writes the Times’ Nate Silver.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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