On the eve of the CNN/Hofstra University Town Hall Presidential Debate, Republican challenger Mitt Romney has jumped ahead of President Obama in the crucial swing states, according to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll. Romney now leads Obama by four percentage points among likely voters in the states that will decide the election. Oddly enough, it's female voters who are giving Romney his new edge.
The survey of voters in 12 battleground states found women concerned about the deficit and debt issues. This favors the Romney/Ryan ticket as the Republicans has cast themselves as concerned with debt and spending, a position that is starting to bear fruit as — according to Gallup — Romney is now tied with Obama among female likely voters (48% to 48%) and handily beats the president among male ones by a 12-point margin.
This is an amazing finding considering that Romney has trailed the president badly among this demographic for most of the campaign. Democrats spent most of their national convention in Charlotte framing the female vote around "reproductive rights" and hammered Romney and the Republicans for supposedly wanting to take away women's right to choose.
However, Romney's renaissance during the first presidential debate in Denver seems to have resonated with female voters and the electorate at large. Despite being criticized by Democrats as the "Etch-A-Sketch" candidate, because of his changing political positions, the former governor of Massachusetts and CEO of private equity firm Bain Capital is heading into the second presidential debate with a lead over President Obama.
Meanwhile, just as the Romney campaign did when the president led his Republican challenger in the post-convention period, the Obama campaign is now crying foul over Gallup's latest numbers. Team Obama circulated a memo from pollster Joel Benenson calling the USA Today/Gallup poll “an extreme outlier” that defies “the trends seen in every other battleground and national poll.”
Funny how both camps cry foul when their trailing, but think polls and samples are totally fine when they're on the lead.