WASHINGTON—Those hoping for clarity in the presidential race following the party conventions can now officially be disappointed.
We’re back where we started.
After Barack Obama enjoyed a post-Democratic convention bounce in the polls, one week later surveys once again show the battle for the White House in a statistical dead heat. Gallup, which had President Obama up by 7 points last week, has the president’s lead down to 1 point (47 percent to 46 percent) today. Rasmussen Reports shows Mitt Romney up by 2 points, drawing support from 47 percent of registered voters against Obama’s 45 percent.
Gallup also found Obama with a slight lead among registered voters in 12 key swing states. Obama was favored by 48 percent of respondents to Gov. Romney’s 46 percent, but 22 percent of the swing state voters said they are still undecided.
The close poll numbers are almost all within the margins of error for the surveys and underscore the significance of the remaining seven weeks until Election Day. Voters will see three debates between the candidates during that time, including Oct. 3 on domestic policy, Oct. 16 on foreign and domestic policy, and Oct. 22 on foreign policy.
Foreign policy is playing an increasingly important role in the election, and a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows the president’s approval numbers tumbling on the issue. Last month Obama’s approval rating on foreign policy stood at 54 percent, but it’s down to 49 percent after violent protests erupted at U.S. embassies around the world, resulting in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya.
The president’s support mainly eroded among Republicans and independents. While most Democrats (86 percent) still trust Obama’s handling of foreign affairs, he lost about half of his backing among Republicans (10 percent, down from 19 percent) and a significant number of independents (41 percent, down from 53 percent) since last month.
Gallup shows Obama’s overall approval rating at 49 percent. Last week it was briefly treading above 50 percent for the first time since June.