Washington: Amid a political row caused by Mitt Romney's controversial remarks that 47 percent of Americans looked themselves as victims, a new poll showed President Barack Obama leading his Republican challenger nationally by 5 points.
While a NBC/WSJ survey released Tuesday showed Obama leading Romney by 50 percent to 45 percent among Americans judged "likely" to vote nationally, a Washington Post poll indicated he had an eight point lead over Romney in the crucial battleground state of Virginia.
According to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, fuelled by increased optimism about the economy and nation's direction, Obama now sees his job-approval rating reaching the 50 percent threshold for the first time since March.
Among a wider sample of registered voters, the president's lead is 6 points, 50 percent to 44 percent - up from Obama's 4-point edge last month, 48 percent to 44 percent.
"It's clear to me that Barack Obama has moved a . step ahead," Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, was quoted as saying by NBC.
For his part, McInturff added that the presidential race may very well have seen an inflection point. "The president is in a stronger position than he was before the convention."
But noting similarities between the current numbers and those from the 2004 George W. Bush vs. John Kerry race, he suggested that this contest could be just as competitive.
"If you look at '04 as a model, '04 was really close. And that's how we should continue to think about the campaign."
The NBC News/Wall Street poll also shows 38 percent believing the country is better off than it was when Obama became president, which is a 7-point increase from August.
But a plurality of voters - 41 percent - maintain that the country is worse off; 21 percent say it's in the same place.
Obama's eight point lead among likely voters in Virginia in the Washington Post survey compares to a five point advantage he held over Romney in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey in Virginia that was released last week.
Then Sen. Obama won Virginia by two percentage points in the 2008 election, becoming the first Democrat to carry the state in a presidential contest since 1964.
Both Obama and Romney have made eight swings through the crucial battleground state with their campaigns flooding the state's airwaves with campaign commercials.
First Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 10:57