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The polls are out and the verdict is in: Last week’s presidential debate produced in an hour and a half what four days of the Republican National Convention could not—a much-needed bounce.

Following a forceful performance at the debate, Mitt Romney is seeing the best numbers in his campaign so far. Pew Research Center’s poll conducted in the four days after the debate shows Romney surging into the lead among likely voters, 49 percent to 45 percent. In mid-September, Romney was trailing President Obama by 8 points.

One of the major changes in the Pew poll is the shift in party identification among likely voters. It swung from a 10-point Democratic lead to a 5-point Republican edge. The dramatic shift in party ID might be a potential factor in explaining Romney’s latest numbers.

Additionally, Romney now holds for the first time a 50 percent favorability rating among registered voters—a 5-point increment, compared to Obama’s 6-point drop to 49 percent.

In an interesting note, Pew’s data revealed that Romney leads among white voters by a 21 percent margin. Given that many have argued Romney could not win the election without 20 percent or more of the white vote, Romney’s nearly insurmountable lead could prove decisive.

A new Politico/GWU poll also reflected Romney’s post-debate bounce, with the Republican candidate now in a statistical tie with President Obama, who leads 49 percent to 48 percent. Of more concern for Democrats, however, is the enthusiasm gap—73 percent of Obama’s supporters say they are “extremely likely” to vote, compared to 86 percent for Romney. Similarly, 84 percent of Republicans say they are extremely likely to vote, while only 76 percent of Democrats are comparatively enthusiastic.

According to Gallup’s latest poll, the presidential race is now in a dead heat, tied at 47 percent for both candidates. Three days prior to the debate, Obama held a 5-point lead, 50 percent to 45 percent. However, in the polls taken on Sunday, Obama was back at 50 percent, and Romney at 45 percent.

Rasmussen’s latest poll similarly showed Romney and Obama locked in a close race, with 48 percent of support for each candidate.

Sunday’s Reuters/Ipsos poll showed a tightening of the race, with Obama now leading by only 2 points, 47 percent to 48 percent.

Despite Obama’s narrowing lead in national polls, his numbers in the battleground states remain strong. In Virginia, the latest PPP poll shows Obama up by 3 points, leading 50 percent to 47 percent. Though his numbers are down from 5-point lead three weeks ago, Obama advantage is crucial in a state with 13 electoral votes up for grabs. In Colorado, Obama is up by one percentage point, according to a Rasmussen poll. In Pennsylvania, where a voter ID law was recently struck down, a Susquehanna poll conducted after the debate shows Obama up by 2 points, 47 percent to 45 percent. Romney’s favorable image has also improved in Pennsylvania, and now shows a 48 percent to 42 percent favorable to unfavorable rating for the Republican candidate.

In Iowa, Rasmussen shows Obama maintaining a 2-point lead, 49 percent to 47 percent. In Massachusetts, where Romney was governor between 2004-2008, a Western New England University poll shows Obama continues to hold a massive 30-point lead.

With two more presidential debates to go before Election Day, Obama will need to come up with strong performances if he is to quell Romney’s growing hopes.

This post was updated at 12:20 pm

Photo credit: AP/David Goldman


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