Pew poll: Romney now leads Obama by 4 points among likely voters


US President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney shake hands following their first debate at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, Oct. 3.


Nicholas Kamm

Mitt Romney has taken the lead over President Barack Obama, according to the findings of a Pew poll released Monday afternoon.

The poll, conducted by Pew Research Center from Thursday through Sunday last week, shows Romney leading Obama among likely voters nationwide, 49 percent to 45 percent. Among registered voters, the two candidates are tied at 46 percent.

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It's a sharp contrast from a similar Pew poll in September, which found Obama leading Romney 51 percent to 43 percent among likely voters and 51 percent to 42 percent among registered voters.

A Gallup poll also released Monday showed the candidates tied at 47 percent among registered voters.

"(Romney) had a 46 percentage point margin of victory in the debate. By a 66 percent to 20 percent margin, he was declared the winner by the people that we questioned," Andy Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, told National Public Radio. "According to Gallup, that's one of the biggest debate wins ever."

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The dramatic swing in Romney's favor is the most telling evidence yet that Obama paid a heavy price for his listless performance in last week's first presidential debate in Denver.

In another blow to the Obama campaign, 47 percent of likely voters identified Romney as the candidate with more new ideas, compared to 40 percent for Obama, Yahoo! News reported.

The vice presidential debate is this Thursday, with the next presidential debate coming up Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.