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Pew poll: Romney takes four-point lead among likely voters

Mitt Romney has jumped out to a slight national lead among those likeliest to vote on Nov. 6, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

Pew, which in mid-September showed Romney trailing President Obama by eight points, now shows him leading the president by four points among likely voters -- the first time Romney has led by that much. The poll has Romney at 49 percent and Obama at 45 percent.

Among registered voters, the race is tied at 46 percent after Obama held a nine-point lead last month. The last time Romney broke even with Obama among registered voters in a Pew poll was almost exactly one year ago.

The poll is the second survey today to suggest a significant post-debate bounce for Romney. A Gallup tracking poll conducted in the three days after Wednesday's first general election debate showed Romney and Obama tied at 47 percent among registered voters.

We're still waiting for more post-debate data, but right now, the limited data we have suggest real movement in Romney's direction.

The Pew poll shows Romney's favorable rating rising five points to 45 percent, while Obama's favorable rating dropped seven points to 50 percent. It shows the two men are tied on the question of who is a stronger leader (Obama led 51 percent to 38 percent last month), Romney leading 49-41 on who can improve the jobs situation, and Romney leading 47-43 on the issue of taxes. (All of those numbers are among registered voters.)

All three are central questions in the 2012 campaign.

As for the debate, the Pew poll echoes Gallup, which found the debate to be a landslide victory for Romney. Both pollsters have 72 percent saying Romney won and 20 percent saying Obama won. Pew polling in 2008, by contrast, showed 67 percent thought Obama won the debates while 22 percent thought Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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