Mitt Romney has cut into President Obama’s lead in Pennsylvania ahead of their second debate, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll finds that the GOP candidate now trails President Obama by 4 points, 50 percent to 46, among likely voters in the state.

In the same poll taken in late September, Obama led Romney by a strong 12 points, 54 percent to 42.


Romney’s surge in the state is likely thanks in part to his strong performance in the first debate between the two candidates on Oct. 3. Romney was widely considered the winner and has closed the gap in multiple swing states and vaulted to take the lead in some national polls of likely voters.

Both Romney and Obama have favorable ratings in Pennsylvania, with Romney up 46-44 and Obama at 52 percent favorable to 45 percent unfavorable.

Obama’s approval rating as president is also positive, with 50 percent approving and 48 percent disapproving.

Independents split for Obama 50 percent to 43, but the poll found the president behind among white Catholic voters, a key demographic in the state.

White Catholics in Pennsylvania back Romney 56 to 43 percent, rating him favorable by 55 percent to 38. But Obama held a net unfavorable rating, with 45 percent positive and 52 percent negative among likely white Catholic voters.

“Gov. Mitt Romney is coming on strong in the Keystone State, especially among white Catholics,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute director Tim Malloy, in a statement announcing the poll’s findings.

Voters gave a slight edge to Pennsylvania-born Vice President Biden in his debate with Romney running mate Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.). Voters said Biden beat Ryan by 42 to 37 percent, with 11 percent saying they did not watch.

Voters gave Biden the nod for commander in chief over Ryan, saying that he would be better qualified to serve as president by 50 to 42 percent.

A poll by Public Policy Polling released on Monday also showed a tightening race in Pennsylvania. The survey from the Democratic-affiliated polling group found Obama ahead with 51 percent support to Romney’s 44, down from the president’s 52-40 edge in that poll’s mid-September numbers.

No GOP presidential candidate has carried the Keystone State since President George H.W. Bush in 1988.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted from Oct. 12 to 14 and has a 2.5-point margin of error.