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.
German Chancellor says Ankara should prosecute coup plotters with all means and possibilities within rule of law
Dozen killings in last 2 months have largely targeted ruling African National Congress members
Gulen's terrorist organization FETO has extended networks in western Balkans since 1990s
With latest payment, company's financial assistance from European Commission totals more than €10 million
Iraqi authorities typically blame such attacks on ISIL group
Italy has launched an online campaign which seeks to reach the 16-35 age group to deter would be refugees who are most likely to make the perilous journey
Early this month, Turkish ship docked in Israel's Port of Ashdod bearing 11,000 tons of aid bound for blockaded enclave
Trump's comments regarding France were ignored with Francois Hollande saying that "France will always be France"
Angela Merkel has stood firm refusing to amend her refugee policy with a call to her people reminding the of the humanitarian challenge of providing a safe haven for refugees in their country
Alleged member of far-left group seized during family holiday on Dalmatian coast, local media reports
Campaign leading to Aug. 11 polls marred by deaths, dirty tricks to provoke rivals
With more than 2.5 million refugees displaced in north Eastern Nigeria, more than 9 million people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid
Company sees best-ever share price on day of quarterly earnings report
FARC rebels last month signed a peace deal which will by monitored by the UN
Departing president passes the baton to Hillary Clinton as his heir at the Democratic convention
Human Rights Watch has released its children in detention report, detailing the abuse that children suffer for alleged association in conflict related offenses