Gallup now has Mitt Romney over Barack Obama by four points among likely voters. Romney has hit 50%. That’s not a good sign for any incumbent. This is attributable to the fact that the first presidential debate was a disaster for the president:
With three weeks to go in the campaign, Obama appears to be losing momentum, and now trails Romney by four percentage points among likely voters. That contrasts with his seven-point win over McCain in 2008. Given this shift in overall voter preferences, it follows that Obama will have lost support among at least some subgroups of the electorate. Those losses are not proportionate across all subgroups, however. He shed the most support among Southerners, college graduates, postgraduates, 30- to 49-year-olds, men, and Protestants. He also lost a moderate amount of support among whites, Easterners, women, and Catholics — while not building new support elsewhere.
Gallup’s registered voter trends indicate that Obama has lost ground with voters since the start of the month, most likely reflecting his poorly reviewed performance in the first presidential debate. Gallup research indicates that debates are rarely transformative events in presidential elections, but Denver may ultimately be seen as an exception, given the changes, albeit minor, that ensued in what has been a highly competitive election. Obama must now hope to reverse those with a resounding win of his own in at least one or both of the upcoming debates in New York and Florida.
I have to be frank and say that I didn’t initially think that the first debate would be nearly as devastating for the president as it turned out to be. But nearly two weeks later, it continues to really hurt him.