Mitt Romney now leads President Barack Obama by four percentage points, according to a new poll by the widely respected Pew Research Center.
The dramatic change follows last week’s debate, in which Obama was viewed as a failure, but also follows a surprisingly large drop in the jobless rate, a point that favors Obama. Other polls also show that Romney’s popularity has risen to the point that the race is a statistical tie.
The only major polling organization showing Obama with a sizeable lead is Gallup, whose “rolling poll” covering the first seven days in October gives the president a three-point lead, but its post-debate poll revealed that both contenders are in a dead heat.
The Pew survey, taken from October 4-7, gave Romney 49 percent among likely voters and only 45 percent to Obama. The results are a dramatic turnaround from a Pew poll in mid-September that put Obama ahead 51-43 percent.
Women, who previously have favored Obama, now are equally divided in their expectations on how they would vote, while Romney holds an eight-percentage point margin among men.
Two more debates are scheduled between Obama and Romney, who clobbered the president n the first debate, according to virtually all analysts and polls.The next presidential debate is next Tuesday at Hofstra University in New York.
The Gallup tracking poll showed 72 percent of Americans thought Romney did a better job than Obama addressing the issues of the economy, jobs and the role of government.