Presidential Polls 2012: Romney Leads Obama by 7 Percentage Points in Handling of the Economy

Despite two brutal weeks for the Romney campaign, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. According to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, the Republican presidential candidate is seven percentage points ahead of President Obama when it comes to voters' trust in handling the economy. 

The poll, a potential opening for a badly battered Republican ticket, shows Romney leading Obama among national likely voters -- 51% to 44% -- in what it is still the number one issue in the minds of voters. The finding could represent an opening for a Republican campaign on the defensive, ahead of the October 3 first and crucial presidential debate hosted at the University of Denver in Colorado.   

Romney and Obama remain in a close contest nationally, but the president has opened critical leads in crucial battleground states such as Ohio and Florida -- where the election is going to ultimately be decided due to the cumbersome Electoral College system. 

However, given that the first debate will revolve around domestic policy, as opposed to foreign policy where the Obama campaign hopes to exploit its signature accomplishment of having killed Osama Bin Laden, Romney can have a chance at denting on the president's growing lead if he performs somewhat decently at the University of Denver's forum. 

And the Republicans are already trying to seize the opportunity by downplaying expectations ahead of the debate and trying to refocus on the economy, and making this election a referendum on Obama and what they see as his failed economic policies -- which hey say have increased the debt to the astronomical number of $16 trillion and are keeping the country at a national unemployment rate of over 8% (above the 7% mark that the president pledged to when the 2008 stimulus bill was passed by Congress along party lines).