Today’s results reflect polling from last Wednesday through yesterday, so there is no data in the aftermath of last night’s debate, which went much better for the president.
But Romney also took a 2-point lead among registered voters, a measure that has been more favorable to the president in Gallup’s polling. That means Romney has swung the race 7 points in that measure — before the first debate, Obama led Romney by 5 points among registered voters.
On Tuesday, Romney led Obama 50-46 among likely voters, hitting the crucial 50-percent mark for the first time in the race.
Obama’s approval rating stayed at 49 percent, which is below the “safe” 50 percent threshold for an incumbent’s re-election.
By Gallup’s historical standards, it would take a truly historical comeback at this point for Obama. Since Gallup started tracking in 1936, the only eventual president to mount a comeback down 6 points on Oct. 17 was Ronald Reagan. Reagan, however, was behind 6 points among registered voters.