Washington: The strong performance by Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate, at the debate last week has wiped out the lead of US President Barack Obama, latest national surveys have said.
While Romney leads Obama by four per cent among likely voters in a Pew Poll released yesterday, the Gallup Poll said that registered voters` preferences for Obama are evenly split in the first three days of its tracking since the presidential debate on October 3.
The race has become somewhat more competitive compared with before the first debate, Gallup said.
"Those who viewed the debate overwhelmingly believe Romney did a better job than Obama, 72 per cent to 20 per cent. Republicans were nearly unanimous in judging Romney the winner. But even Democrats rated Romney as doing a better job than Obama, 49 per cent to 39 per cent," it said.
Romney`s 52-point win is the largest Gallup has measured. The prior largest margin was 42 points for Bill Clinton over George H W Bush in the 1992 town hall debate, it said.
Romney`s debate performance is also notable from the standpoint that US debate watchers judged Obama the winner of all three 2008 debates with John McCain, it said.
According to Pew Research, Romney is backed by 49 per cent of likely voters and Obama has the support of 45 per cent. Six per cent remain undecided. The four-point difference between the candidates is within the poll`s margin of sampling error of three percentage points for each candidate, it said.
"Mitt Romney no longer trails Barack Obama in the Pew Research Center`s presidential election polling. By about three-to-one, voters say Romney did a better job than Obama in the October 3 debate, and the Republican is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September," Pew reported.
"Romney is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit," it reported.
"Fully 66 per cent of registered voters say Romney did the better job in last Wednesday`s debate, compared with just 20 per cent who say Obama did better. A majority (64 per cent) of voters who watched the debate describe it as mostly informative; just 26 per cent say it was mostly confusing," the report said.
"In turn, Romney has drawn even with Obama in the presidential race among registered voters (46 per cent to 46 per cent) after trailing by nine points (42 per cent to 51 per cent) in September. Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49 per cent to 45 per cent edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month," Pew said.