President Barack Obama holds small leads among likely voters nationwide, according to two polls released Monday morning, although Mitt Romney remains in striking distance.
One poll, from ABC News and the Washington Post, shows Obama leading Romney 49 percent to 46 percent, little change from their survey in late September that showed Obama up by 2 points. Thirty-seven percent of likely voters have a more favorable view of Romney following his performance in the first debate in Denver, compared with a mere 8 percent who now have a more positive impression of the president. But 72 percent said the debate did not change how they view Obama, and 47 percent indicated that their views of Romney were unchanged.
Likely voters give Obama the edge — by varying margins — on a slew of policy areas: the economy, international affairs, taxes, health care and Medicare. As has been shown by a number of national polls, Romney’s only advantage over the president is with the federal budget deficit. By a 9-point margin, likely voters prefer Obama over Romney to handle an unexpected major crisis.
Fifty-five percent of likely voters said they consider Obama honest and trustworthy, while 41 percent said he is not. Views of Romney on that front are sharply polarized: 47 percent of likely voters said the Republican nominee is honest and trustworthy, compared with 47 percent who said he is not.
The president’s lead among likely voters in Monday’s other national survey, the Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll, is even smaller, 49 percent to 48 percent. That’s identical to the Politico/GWU poll released last week. But while Obama holds a slim lead nationally, Romney claims a small edge across 10 swing states. Among likely voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, Romney leads Obama by 2 points.
Moreover, the poll suggests that Romney’s outing in the first debate helped rehabilitate his personal standing among likely voters. Fifty-one percent now have a favorable view of Romney, compared with 44 percent who have an unfavorable week. A week ago, the Politico/GWU poll showed a sharp split in opinion of the former Massachusetts governor: 47 percent said they had a favorable view, while 47 percent had an unfavorable view. A majority, 53 percent, views the president favorably compared with 45 percent who have an unfavorable view — virtually no change since last week.
Tom Kludt is a newswriter for TPM. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, he lives and works in New York City. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at Tom (at) talkingpointsmemo.com.