Mitt Romney takes the lead in a new Pew poll (Photo : Reuters)
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Last month, the same poll gave Obama a nine-point lead.
While another poll released today by Gallup shows Obama in a dead heat with Romney, tied at 47 percent, either snapshot is a huge turnaround for the president's campaign, which only a week ago was ready to make victory laps before Obama's disastrous performance at the first presidential debate.
Whether the trend will be borne out over the next week remains to be seen. If it is, it will buck conventional wisdom about the effect of presidential debates on election outcomes.
Historically, challengers receive a bump in the polls after the first debate, as undecided voters gravitate toward them. But support for the incumbent usually remains static, particularly in an electorate as polarized as this one.
But Romney seems to have made inroads among not only undecided voters, but women.
"Romney made gains on healthcare, taxes, foreign policy, the role of government," said Andy Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, the organization responsible for the latest poll, speaking to NPR. "He now ties Obama on those issues and he trailed by rather respectable margins a month ago. It's sort of an across-the-board win. And the climate of opinion is strongly Romney compared to a month ago when it was strongly Obama."
One less-dark spot for the Obama campaign: Romney is ahead among all people polled, but among registered voters, the two candidates are tied at 46 percent. Registration deadlines for the November election are passing in several states this week, with many more following the week after.
These polls were taken before the latest job news, which showed the unemployment rate fell to a 44-month low of 7.8 percent. However, the fact that any polls are as volatile as they are this late in the campaign is a bad sign for the president, who has been leading by a respectable margin for the last year.
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