Latest polls from Real Clear Politics show that the race has tightened considerably since the first presidential debate. In five new national polls, Barack Obama has a lead in three whereas Mitt Romney edged the president in the other two. The polls in the battleground states indicate that the race in those critical states remain tight as well. However, the president continues to maintain a slight edge in many of those swing states, particularly in Ohio.
After the Democratic National Convention, the president started to extend his lead over Romney both nationally and in most of the swing states. Not only did the Romney’s campaign fall behind but he became ensnared in a controversy after the release of the 47% video. Romney's controversial statements helped President Barack Obama strengthen his convention bounce.
The Romney campaign, however, has gotten a big boost following the first presidential debate. Romney has managed to accomplish two goals: First, he closes the gap between himself and the president in the national polls and he even takes the lead in some polls. Equally important, his favorablity ratings have also increased.
Romney decided to recast himself as a moderate in his first face-to-face against the president by embracing many positions that he previously opposed instead of defending some of his campaign’s proposals. Therefore, Romney’s success during the debate rested largely on his willingness to abandon some of his own proposals that he knows that the public does not support. This strategy, though, has helped him remake his image. Indeed, subsequent polls have shown that many people have begun to see Romney in a much more positive light.
Despite the surge in support for the new Romney, many polls continue to give the president a small lead nationally. According to Real Clear Politics, Romney has a razor-thin lead in Colorado and Florida, which are two important swing states. Obama, however, has retained his lead in the critical state of Ohio. The president’s lead in the Buckeye State is crucial because no Republican candidate has won the presidency without winning it.
Because of the tightening of the race, the remaining two presidential debates would be important. The percentage of undecided voters is small. A good debate performance by Obama could help shift some of those voters in his camp, thereby allowing the president to regain the momentum that was squandered by his passivity in the first face-off against Romney.