Published October 05, 2012
The presidential race appeared to be tightening back up in key battleground states in the wake of Wednesday's debate, as Mitt Romney closed the gap and even edged past President Obama in a trio of polls released Friday.
Rasmussen Reports released post-debate polls in Ohio, Virginia and Florida. They showed a dead heat in all three.
That's a turnaround from last month, when Obama was opening up a lead in those and other states. Romney's Republican supporters are hoping that what was deemed as a dominant debate performance Wednesday will help fuel a campaign-trail rebound, in fundraising, polls and overall momentum with a little more than a month to go until Election Day.
"We're gonna bring back jobs and bring back America," Romney said at a rally in Abingdon, Va., Friday, before heading to a rally later in the day in Florida.
The Rasmussen surveys showed Romney leading by a hair in both those states.
The Virginia poll of 500 likely voters showed Romney leading 49-48 percent. The Florida poll of 500 likely voters showed him leading 49-47 percent.
In a separate Ohio poll, Obama was ahead 50-49 percent.
All three polls were conducted on Thursday and had a 4.5 percentage point margin of error. The results are within that margin, but the surveys nevertheless were among the first to emerge on the heels of Wednesday's debate, with some analysts saying Romney recharged his campaign with his performance.
The Obama campaign is doing a postmortem, and top adviser David Axelrod said the campaign would make "adjustments" going forward. With two more presidential debates and one more vice presidential debate on the horizon this month, the Obama campaign is suggesting it will be more aggressive going forward.
Obama, at a rally in Fairfax, Va., on Friday, repeated the argument that Romney was being disingenuous on the debate stage.
"My opponent, you know, has been trying to do a two-step and reposition and got an extreme makeover," Obama said. "But the bottom line is his underlying philosophy is the top-down economics that we've seen before."
The president was buoyed Friday by a September labor report showing the monthly jobless rate fell from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent - the first time it's fallen below the 8 percent mark in nearly four years.
Republicans, though, said the numbers were hardly a reason to rejoice, and several economists questioned whether the rate drop was a "fluke."
"Today is a sad indictment of the diminished expectations under President Obama," Republican running mate Paul Ryan said in a statement. "Far too many Americans are still waiting for their chance in the Obama economy."
While the unemployment rate decline was nevertheless a good number for Obama, he was also greeted by a bad number Friday afternoon -- a new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office putting the 2012 deficit at $1.1 trillion.