DENVER – Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has widened his national lead over President Obama, according to a daily Gallup tracking poll.
The poll, which represents a rolling one-week average through October 16, showed Mr. Romney with a 51 to 45 percent lead among likely voters. Mr. Romney’s lead shrunk to a more narrow 48 to 46 percent preference when the poll was expanded to include registered voters.
Since Gallup began tracking in 1936, only one presidential candidate has overcome such a large deficit this late in the campaign season to win the election, according to the Business Insider.
Public opinion surveys also suggest that Mr. Romney has made substantial gains in several swing states, including some traditionally “dark blue” states that were considered out of play by insiders just a few weeks ago.
In Wisconsin, for example, a state that hasn’t cast its electoral votes for a Republican presidential ticket since 1984, a poll released this week found Mr. Romney trailing the president by a razor-thin 49 to 48 percent margin. The October 11-14 survey of 870 likely voters was conducted by Marquette University Law School, and had a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points.
And in Pennsylvania, a state pundits often refer to as “fools gold for Republicans,” a Morning Call/Muhlenerg poll conducted between October 10 and 14 showed Mr. Romney within 4 percentage points of President Obama, who led 49 to 45 percent, well within the poll’s 5 percentage point margin of error.
Polls released this week in the all-important battleground states of Virginia and Florida also moved in Mr. Romney’s direction, with each showing a 1 percentage point lead for the Republican challenger. The Virginia survey, conducted by American Research Group between October 12 and 14, polled 600 likely voters and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points. The Florida poll of 617 likely voters was fielded by Gravis Marketing between October 14 and 15 and had a 4 percentage point margin of error.
Another Gravis Marketing poll, this one conducted in Ohio between October 6 and October 10, revealed that the Buckeye state remains effectively up for grabs.
“Among all of the likely voters, 1,313 of the poll’s participants, Romney is leading with 45.9 percent…compared to the 45.1 percent favoring Obama,” according to the Gravis website. “However, when compared to the individuals who are registered to vote on Election Day, Obama takes the lead with 46.3 percent of the votes, while Romney has just 44.8 percent.”
Public opinion data from Colorado suggested that the race also remains too close to call. An October 15 We Ask America poll of 1,206 likely voters found a slight 48.1 to 47 percent edge for Mr. Romney in the Centennial State. Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson garnered 1.4 percent in the Colorado poll, which had a +/- 2.9 percent margin of error.
As the race turns to the homestretch, Mr. Romney’s national surge is expanding the map of electoral possibility in significant ways, even as he slugs it out with Mr. Obama in the swing states.
Can Romney close the deal? If the Gallup survey is any indication, it appears the Massachussetts Republican may be on the verge of doing just that.