WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama’s popularity reached an all-time low this weekend while his Republican rival Mitt Romney maintained the lead he gained after the first presidential debate 10 days ago.
On Sunday, Real Clear Politics, which monitors and analyse opinion polls, published an analysis of seven leading polls, giving Mr Romney an average popularity rating of 47.3 per cent, compared to Mr Obama’s 45.9 per cent.
Three of these polls — Pew Research, Fox News and Washington Times/JZ — gave Mr Obama 45pc, his lowest since the election campaign began early this year.
On Sunday afternoon, Gallup Poll also reported that Mr Romney continues to hold a slight edge over Mr Obama – 49 pc to 47 pc -- among likely voters. But among registered voters, Mr Obama maintains his lead, 49 pc to 46 pc.
Pew and Reuters/Ipsos poll says that Mr Romney has been slightly ahead since the Oct 3 debate but a Washington Post/ABC News poll says he is just closing the gap.
Mr Romney also leads in some key swing states, such as Florida, Colorado and North Carolina. But in other swing states, such as Ohio, Virginia and Nevada, Mr Obama still has an edge over Mr Romney.
Even the New York Times, which favours Mr Obama, concedes that Mr Romney has continued to surge since the debate. The surge “has generally been very strong for Mr Romney. But there have also been a couple of rays of hope for Democrats and President Obama,” it notes.
The NYT pointed out that although Mr Romney’s standing declined by two points in the Gallup national tracking poll, he improved slightly in four other tracking surveys, from Rasmussen Reports, Ipsos, Investors’ Business Daily and the RAND Corporation.
And the state polling data was generally consistent with about a three-and-a-half-point bounce for Mr Romney.
In polls conducted in the 48 hours after the debate, Mr Romney’s bounce was as large as five or six points.
Even Thursday’s vice presidential debate does not seem to have done much for the Obama campaign.
Two surveys released since Thursday show both candidates making strong impressions on voters, but differ on who performed better.
A CNN survey of registered voters declared Republican Paul Ryan the winner, 48 pc to 44 pc.
A CBS News poll of uncommitted voters, however, found that 50 per cent thought Vice President Jo Biden won, 31 pc believed Mr Ryan won, and 19 pc said the debate was a tie.
Gallup Poll, which includes the latest data from both presidential and vice presidential debates, notes that neither candidate seems to have “a statistically significant lead,” but Mr Romney “at this point benefits from turnout patterns,” given the five-point swing in his favour when the transition is made from registered voters to likely voters.
The polls, however, do underscore the competitive nature of the election, noting that likely voters at this point are more likely to support Mr Romney than registered voters.
Gallup Poll also found that President Obama’s slight — 49 pc to 46 pc — seven-day lead among registered voters is just about where it was in the seven days prior to the debate.
But while analysing its own statistics, Gallup notes: “Mr Romney’s impressive debate performance may not have a lasting impact as Mr Obama has retained his edge among registered voters.”
Besides, Friday’s generally positive jobs report — showing an eight pc drop in unemployment — may have helped Mr Obama’s standing.
A breakdown of interviewing over shorter periods shows that Mr Romney gained ground among registered voters in the immediate aftermath of the debate, moving from a five-point deficit to a tie.
Since Saturday, however, President Obama has regained a 50 pc to 45 pc edge among registered voters — the same as his margin in the three days prior to the debate.