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by
Bryan Preston

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October 25, 2012 - 2:15 pm

The partisan split on this one is D 34 R 30, which isn’t out of bounds. It’s full of win for Romney.

Republican Mitt Romney has edged ahead of President Obama in the new Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll, with the challenger winning 50 percent of likely voters for the first time in the campaign.

Results from the tracking poll were first released Monday evening, and had Obama at 49 percent, and Romney at 48. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the results were flipped, with Romney at 49 and the president at 48. All of the results are among likely voters.

However, Romney does now boast a statistically — and substantively — important lead on the economy, which has long been the central issue of the race. When it comes to handling the nation’s struggling economy, 52 percent of likely voters say they trust Romney more, while 43 percent say they have more faith in the president.

And just as the challenger has leaped ahead on this score, he has effectively neutralized what has been a consistent fall-back for Obama: economic empathy. In the new poll, 48 percent say Obama is more in tune with the economic problems people are having, and nearly as many, 46 percent, say Romney is the one who is more in touch. Just two weeks ago, Obama had a nine-point lead on the question.

The two candidates also run about evenly on the question of handling “international affairs,” little difference from where they were heading into Monday’s debate on foreign policy.

Romney’s improvements on the economy — and on empathizing with the plight of those struggling financially — has been fueled by gains among political independents. Independents now side with Romney by campaign highs on both the economy (61 to 34 percent) and on understanding people’s problems (52 to 42 percent).

Would Nate Silver consider this result evidence of Romney “momentum?”

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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