At the same time, 61 percent of likely voters described the economy as poor, and only 22 percent described it as good more than 3 ½ years after Obama took office, another indication of the challenges he faces as he bids for a new term in a time of long-term unemployment over 8 percent nationally.
Other new surveys suggested growing support for Obama in the wake of back-to-back national political conventions and Romney’s struggle last week to explain an erroneous statement issued at a time of demonstrations â€” one of them deadly â€” at U.S. diplomatic posts in the Middle East.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken Sept. 12-16 put the president’s lead among likely voters at 50-44 percent nationwide.
State surveys by Quinnipiac University, The New York Times and CBS News showed Obama at over 50 percent support among likely voters in Virginia, with 13 electoral votes, and Wisconsin, with 10. Obama carried Wisconsin handily four years ago, but Romney recently signaled he was hoping to make it competitive.
The two men were in a statistical tie in Colorado, which has 9 electoral votes, in surveys conducted between Sept. 11 and 17.
A Washington Post poll also showed Obama with a lead in Virginia.
All the surveys were taken before the flap erupted over Romney’s “47 percent” remarks.
Taken together, they showed a highly competitive race as Obama and Romney pursue the 270 electoral votes needed for victory, although with the president in a stronger position than before the two political conventions and with the economy still the dominant issue.
“This is our election to lose,” maintained Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “There’s a reason no president has ever been elected with economic numbers like this. If Obama wins, he’ll be rewriting political history.”
For now, Romney is working to reframe the video controversy into a philosophical difference between himself and Obama — to his own advantage.