It's official. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's strong performance in the first debate erased President Barack Obama's lead, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
The former governor of Massachusetts no longer trails the president, as by about three-to-one voters say Romney dominated Obama in the October 3 debate; and is now "better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues" than he was leading into the Denver face off.
Furthermore, the former CEO of Bain Capital is now seen as the candidate "who has new ideas" as well as the one better able to "improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit."
Romney dominated Obama among a majority of registered voters (66%) who said he did a better job than the president in last Wednesday's debate. A majority of 64% of voters also thought that Romney was "more informative" than President Obama.
After trailing by nine points, 42% to 51%, in September, Romney now is even with Obama in the presidential race among registered voters 46% to 46%. Among likely voters, the former governor of Massachusetts holds a 4-point margin over the president 49% to 45%.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7 among 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters (1,112 likely voters), also found that 67% of Romney’s backers support him "strongly" (up from 56% last month). For the first time in the campaign, Romney draws as much strong support as does Obama.
The poll also found Romney’s supporters far more engaged in the campaign than they were in September. Fully 82% say they have given a lot of thought to the election, up from 73% in September. The new survey finds that Romney supporters hold a 15-point advantage over Obama backers on this key engagement measure.
Even Mitt Romney’s personal image has improved on the heels of his debate win. The former governor's favorable rating hit 50% among registered voters for the first time in Pew Research Center surveys, and it's five points up since last month. Obama’s personal favorability rating, on the other hand, fell from 55% to 49%.