Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by a 2 point margin, identical to his lead in late September according to Susquehanna Polling and Research. But the Republican’s debate performance contributed to a 6 point jump in his favorability rating.
In a poll conducted just after the first presidential debate, from Oct. 4 to 6, 47 percent of respondents said they support Obama; 45 percent support Romney. 3 percent support Libertarian Gary Johnson.
The Obama-Romney head-to-head numbers are identical the most recent Susquehanna Polling and Research survey released on Sept. 23. The margin of that poll, commissioned by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review closely resemble that of another SP&R survey conducted for the Pa. Republican party which showed Obama at a 48 percent to 47 advantage.
When the undecided voters leaning towards a candidate are factored in (breaking 3:1 for Romney), the race narrows to a 1-point Obama lead, 47 percent to 46.
Obama is viewed net favorably, 50 percent to 47 percent.
Perhaps the most significant, given that 76 percent of respondents said they watched the debate, is that for the first time in any public poll, Romney achieves favorable status. 48 percent view him favorably compared to 42 percent who do not.
The pollster further broke down the race thusly:
Obama leads among all females 52-42, while Romney leads 49-42 among males. In geographic regions, Romney leads Obama in the Southwest (49-36), “T”/Central (63-27), and South Central/Harrisburg (51-39), while Obama leads Romney in the Northwest (58-39), Northeast/Lehigh Valley (53-38) and Philadelphia (86-13). Obama leads narrowly in the 4 suburban counties in the Southeast (50-45), while Romney leads narrowly in Allegheny County (51-46). Although the regional breaks usually have a higher margin of error due to smaller sample sizes within them, if these closer margins hold for Romney in both the Southeast and Allegheny County it would validate a significant trend nationally that he is doing better in suburban communities than McCain did four years ago. In 2008, Obama won Allegheny County and the 4 collar counties around Philadelphia each by fifteen point margins.
SP&R’s surveys have varied from several others released in recent weeks; pollster James Lee explained his firm’s methodology in this essay. Essentially, the firm gives more statistical weight to its sample based on Pa.’s demographic and political composition.
For this poll, SP&R surveyed 725 likely Pa. voters via live telephone interviews (defined as likely by their having voted in at least one the general election in 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011 and new voters registered since November 2011). It was not commissioned by any party, news organization or candidate. “Interviews are closely monitored to ensure a representative sample of Pennsylvania’s electorate is achieved based on party, geography, gender, age and other demographics; results are sometimes statistically weighted.”