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New WaPo-ABC Tracking Poll: Romney 49, Obama 48

Republican voters are overwhelmingly, and strongly opposed to the way President Obama is doing his job, but their support for his challenger, Mitt Romney, is now more affirmatively for him than it is against the president, according to the latest release from the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll.

Overall, the national tracking poll remains steady from Friday’s release, with 49 percent of likely voters backing Romney, and 48 percent supporting Obama. Romney also maintains his significant, seven-percentage-point advantage on handling the economy.

One big shift over the course of the campaign is the makeup of Romney’s support. In July, most voters who backed the Republican said they were motivated more by opposition to Obama than really being “for Romney.” After the party conventions, Romney’s supporters were evenly split on this question. But now, a clear majority are positively voting for Romney, not merely against the president.

The Washington Post’s Scott Clement reports on the latest numbers from the Washington Post-ABC News daily tracking poll, which found that Mitt Romney’s supporters now say they vote for the Republican presidential candidater rather than against President Obama.

Obama’s supporters have consistently said their votes are mainly in support of him, rather than against Romney.

Not only does Romney hold the lead on the economy, but he has also drawn even with the president when it comes to who has the clearer plan to fix the economy. In early July, when the general election campaign was taking shape, Obama had a 16-point advantage on the question. The two candidates are now tied at 43 percent.

One big area of improvement for Romney here is that he may have convinced previously wary Republicans that he has the better economic plan: 81 percent of GOP voters now see him as presenting the clearer plan for financial recovery, up from 67 percent. At that time, a sizable 20 percent of Republicans saw no difference between Romney and Obama here, or said “neither” offered a clear plan.

A separate Washington Post Virginia poll released Saturday has the president clinging to a slender four-point lead in that crucial battleground.

The Post-ABC tracking poll is a series of consecutive one-night “waves” of interviews reported as a rolling, multi-night average. The new results are for interviews conducted Oct. 23-26, among a random sample of 1,295 likely voters. With this release, all interviews were conducted entirely after Monday’s debate in Boca Raton. Results for this sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Show Comments
The Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa say...
For Trump, the victory here was sweet vindication, showing that his atypical campaign could prevail largely on the power of celebrity and saturation media coverage. But there was also potential for concern in Tuesday's outcome. Trump faces doubts about his discipline as a candidate and whether he can build his support beyond the levels he has shown in the polls.
The Post's John Wagner and Anne Gearan say...
Hillary Clinton, who was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses last week by the narrowest of margins, now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.
People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry for solutions.
Hillary Clinton, in her New Hampshire primary night speech
I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
Donald Trump, in his New Hampshire primary victory speech
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