Poll: Obama maintains national lead

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Obama took 50 percent support in the poll of likely voters, over Romney at 45. Obama’s lead widens to 50 to 44 among registered voters.

The president’s approval rating in the poll hit 50 percent for the first time since March.

Obama is bouyed in the poll by optimism among voters on the economy and the direction of the country. While voters still hold negative sentiments on both, there has been a marked positive swing in both metrics since August.

Thirty-nine percent now say the country is on the right track, the highest since September of 2009, although 55 still say the country is on the wrong track.

The poll found Obama and Romney are tied at 43 on who is better equipped to handle the economy.

There is an ongoing disparity between the daily tracking polls conducted by Gallup and Rasmussen, which show the race to be a dead heat, and those conducted by the major news outlets.

Obama’s small bounce in the polls following the Democratic National Convention has all but vanished in Tuesday’s Gallup daily tracking poll. Obama takes 47 percent support among registered voters over Romney's 46, according to Gallup.

And the Rasmussen daily tracking poll shows Romney ahead by 2 percentage-points, and is the only major poll out since the conventions to show Romney with the lead.

Obama leads Romney by 3 percentage-points in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.

The NBC-WSJ poll was conducted between Sept. 9 and Sept. 16, so it doesn’t take into account the controversy over Romney’s remarks on the “47 percent,” which stoked a media frenzy late Monday.

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