Pew finds Romney with 4-point post-debate lead over Obama

Mitt Romney has taken the lead over President Obama in a new Pew Research poll released Monday. 

The poll was conducted last week after the candidates' first presidential debate, which observers widely agreed Romney won.

The Republican nominee leads Obama 49 percent to 45 percent among likely voters who were asked who they would pick if the election were held today, the poll found. In September, the poll found Obama leading Romney among likely voters 51 percent to 43 percent.

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Among registered voters that Pew surveyed, the two presidential candidates are tied. The poll found Romney and Obama each with 46 percent, a gain of 9 points for Romney. In September, Pew found Romney trailing Obama 51 percent to 42 percent among registered voters.

Sixty-six percent of registered voters said Romney did a better job than Obama at the debate, according to Pew, while 20 percent said Obama had the upper had during the debate.

On deficit reduction, Romney also gained. The poll found 51 percent said Romney would do better than Obama on reducing the deficit, while 36 percent said Obama would be better than Romney on that front. By comparison, in September, 46 percent said Romney would do better on the issue, while 43 percent said Obama would.

Similarly, Romney also saw gains on job creation. Forty-nine percent said Romney would be better at improving the country's "job situation," while 41 percent said Obama would do better. In September, Obama had the advantage, albeit a slight one, with 46 percent saying Obama would do better and 45 percent saying Romney would. 

When Obama opened up a lead in polls ahead of the debate, some conservatives argued that mainstream surveys skewed in Obama’s favor because of sample sizes that base 2012 turnout projections on the 2008 election, when Democrats — and Hispanics, blacks and young voters in particular — turned out in record numbers.

The previous Pew survey, which showed Obama with an 8 percentage-point lead, sampled 38 percent Democratic and 28 percent Republicans among registered voters, for a margin of 10 percentage points in favor of Democrats.

The current Pew survey sampled Democrats and Republicans equally.

The new poll also shows Romney nearly pulling even with Obama among female voters, with 51 percent support for Obama against 48 percent for Romney. Obama led by 18 percentage points among female voters in the previous Pew survey, 60 to 42 over Romney.

The poll was conducted Oct. 4-7 among 1,511 adults; 1,201 of those surveyed were registered voters.

—Jonathan Easley contributed reporting; this post has been updated.