As the Democratic convention begins this week, a new poll shows President Barack Obama has lost the slight edge he had over GOP challenger Mitt Romney until last week's Republican convention.
The race to November's presidential election is tied at 45 percent for Obama and 45 percent for Romney among likely voters, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found Sunday even as the Democrats were busy preparing for Obama's nomination for a second term this week in Charlotte, N.C.
Last week's Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Obama leading Romney 46 percent to 42 percent. The Republican National Convention, which concluded last week in Tampa, Fla., appears to have given the GOP candidate a small boost.
Ipsos pollster Julia Clark thinks Obama's numbers would also go up during this week's Democratic convention, which begins Tuesday. "The fact that Obama and Romney are still tied signals to me that we're not going to see any sort of sustained bump for Romney," she said. "As we go into next week's convention, Romney will struggle to maintain even footing with the president – we'll likely see a shift back towards Obama."
However, the survey found that Romney was leading Obama among crucial independent voters, 33 percent to 28 percent. The poll, conducted online with 1,441 American registered voters, also indicated that 76 percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, and 73 percent have a similar belief about jobs. Further, 62 percent believe the health care system is on the wrong track.
Romney's improvement on key attributes continued on an upward trajectory, the poll noted. On such issues as he "represents America," "is a good person," and "is eloquent," Romney was essentially tied with Obama. On who is more likable, Romney had improved but still trailed Obama 32 percent to 48 percent, the poll found.
Clark admitted that the Republican convention was "pretty good" for Romney. "I think one of the big tests of the Republican convention was to make him more of a human, make him a little more personable, make him more likable. I think they succeeded there."
A CNN/ORC International poll released late last month showed that 35 percent of registered Republicans say they are extremely enthusiastic about voting, six points higher than the 29 percent of Democrats who feel the same way.
In 2008, around two-thirds of Democrats were extremely or very enthusiastic about election with an 18-point lead over Republicans, which helped Obama overcome the fact that turnout has historically been higher among Republicans.