US presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to have narrowed the gap in the election race with President Barack Obama after a solid performance in last week’s televised debate.
The first polls since Wednesday’s debate – in which Obama was seen to have given a lacklustre appearance – show Republican nominee Romney has had a bounce in popularity.
Romney narrowed the gap in a national tracking poll from Gallup – cutting the president’s lead from 49 to 46 per cent – and overtook the president in polls from Rasmussen Reports and Clarus Research Group. Rasmussen’s survey put Romney ahead by two points and Clarus had Mr Romney up by one, despite trailing early last week.
Romney prepared for the Denver encounter with days of mock debates and was more ready to go on the offensive against Obama in detailed discussion on taxes, jobs, energy and the budget deficit.
Despite the poor performance, Obama was able to cheer a fundraising windfall which will allow him plenty of cash to spend in the run up to the November 6 election.
On Saturday Obama’s camp announced its biggest monthly haul for the 2012 race, stashing $181m (£112m) into the re-election campaign account from September’s donations. That followed another fillip for Obama on Friday, with news the US unemployment rate had dipped to 7.8 per cent.
Following the debate, Obama told a rally he believed Romney had not shown his true colours in the debate, which was watched by 67.2m.
“It couldn’t have been Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favour the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.”
For his part, Romney countered: “What you didn’t hear last night from the president is why it is the next four years are possibly going to be better than the last four years. He doesn’t have a way to explain that, because he has the same policies for the next four years as he had for the last four years.”
Because many of the polls use a weekly, or three-day, average, it will be the middle of next week before the full impact of the debate – the first of three – can be seen.