This year's presidential election was transformed between the first debate's opening statements in Denver and the closing statements in Boca Raton. As a result, most of the negative impressions created by the Obama campaign's five-month, $300-million television advertising barrage were destroyed. Seen unfiltered, Gov. Mitt Romney came across as an earnest, straightforward, thoughtful conservative with a concrete plan for the nation's future.

Wednesday's average of polls showed Mr. Romney with 48% support to President Barack Obama's 47.1%. On the eve of the Denver debate, Mr. Romney had 46% and Mr. Obama 49.1%.


More revealing, in the past week's 40 national surveys, Mr. Romney was at or above 50% in 11, with Mr. Obama at or above 50% in one. Mr. Romney leads 48.9% to 46.7% in an average of these surveys. At this same point in 2004, President George W. Bush led Sen. John Kerry in this composite average, 48.9% to 45.8%.

So what are each candidate's strategies for the stretch run?

To continue reading Mr. Rove's column in the Wall Street Journal, click here.

Karl Rove joined Fox News Channel (FNC) as a political contributor in February 2008. He also currently serves as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.