World Bulletin/News Desk
U.S. President Barack Obama's lead over challenger Mitt Romney has narrowed to just two percentage points since the Republican's strong performance in their first debate, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.
In more bad news for Obama, one in five voters said the Democrat's performance in the contest in Denver on Wednesday made them feel more negative about him and almost a third said they felt more positive about his Republican challenger.
"Romney did well, he was perceived as doing well, and we're seeing the effect of that today," said Ipsos managing director Cliff Young. "Definitely in the short-term now, he's picking up people because of his performance in the debate."
The online tracking poll conducted between Monday and Friday showed 46 percent of likely voters backed Obama, versus 44 percent for Romney.
Obama had led Romney by 6 percentage points in the poll released on Wednesday and the edge narrowed to five points - a 48-43 percent lead for Obama - in polling up to Thursday. That was the first including a day of interviews after the meeting in Denver.
It remained to be seen whether his weak performance in Denver will become a long-term problem for Obama. He has two more chances to redeem himself in debates - a second is set for Oct. 16 and the third is on Oct. 22.
The narrowing could just reflect the effect of a flood of coverage after Romney's impressive debate performance, Young said. "The big question is whether this is just a debate effect, or whether the race will get back to status quo," Young said.
More than 9 out of 10 registered voters - 91 percent - said they had seen, heard or read something about the debate, and 54 percent said they thought Romney had done a better job.
Thirty percent said it made them feel more positive toward Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts. That was more than double the 14 percent who felt better about Obama after watching the two candidates go head-to-head.
Twenty percent said the contest had made them feel more negative about Obama, while 14 percent said it made them feel more negative about Romney.
Obama's campaign got a positive jolt on Friday from a surprisingly strong U.S. unemployment report, in which the monthly jobless rate sank below 8 percent - to 7.8 percent - for the first time since January 2009, the month he took office.
That could help him win over the dwindling pool of voters who say they might still change their minds - just 15 percent of those surveyed.
The precision of Reuters/Ipsos polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points for registered voters and 3.0 for likely voters.
The online poll conducted Oct. 1-5 interviewed 1,728 registered voters and 1,434 likely voters.
The questions specifically about the debate - included in the survey since Wednesday night - have a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. The base size for those questions was 976 registered voters.
Forces affiliate with Libyan unity government overrun Ben Jawad and Nofiliya as they thrust westwards along the Mediterranean coast
In its annual report, the EU's anti-fraud agency OLAF said it had detected an estimated €888 million in EU funds that were lost to fraudulent claims in 2015
The fight against ISIL, 'which is the number one enemy, must be a Libyan fight and a united fight,' Martin Kobler says
Disruptions in country's transport services are expected as start of Euro 2016 football tournament approaches
In the past week alone, at least 880 people have died in a series of shipwrecks, the United Nations refugee agency says
'The project demonstrates the desire of French companies to contribute to the petroleum sector, the backbone of the Libyan economy,' French foreign ministry says
'I want to tell you that nothing is forgotten, no one is forgotten, and no one is forgiven,' Nadiya Savchenko asserts
'A human catastrophe is unfolding in Fallujah. Families are caught in the crossfire with no safe way out,' an aid group says
The Republic of Dagestan set on the Caspian Sea between the staggering Greater Caucasus mountains is a wonderland of ethnic and cultural diversity
Although not identified, the photograph that has emerged of a drowned baby that was pulled out from the Mediterranean may force European leaders to take further action and provide safe routes for refugees.
Victims’ relatives to file human rights case according to local media
Recent showdown between NATO and Russia is believed to be a possible solution for the Nagorno-Karabakh question in Azerbaijan
No working group can tackle question between Turkey and Russia unless Turkey takes step first, Kremlin spokesman says
Mohamad Taher Siala, a foreign ministry employee for three decades, 'officially took up his post' at the ministry building
As it is announced the number of the Chechen refugees living in Germany it is increased.
'Following last week's closure of the Idomeni refugee camp, the number of refugees trying to cross Hungary's barrier has increased,' Hungarian PM's chief adviser says