(Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
Republican presidential candidate continues to reap benefits from the Oct. 3 presidential debate performance against President Barack Obama. New polls in the swing states of Florida and New Hampshire show Romney leading, though with a thin margin and within the sampling error.
The latest American Research Group tracking polls show Romney at 49 percent and Obama at 46 percent in Florida, and the GOP candidate leading 50 percent to 46 percent in New Hampshire as well.
The two states represent a total of 33 electoral votes. The ARG surveys, released Friday, have sampling errors of plus or minus four points. Both polls were conducted entirely after the presidential debate in Denver, Colo., and before last Thursday night's vice presidential showdown between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.
Prior to the presidential debate, the ARG Sept. 25-27 poll in New Hampshire and Sept. 22-22 poll in Florida both had Obama leading 50 percent to 45 percent.
The Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll in Florida, also released Friday, has Romney at 51 percent and Obama at 44 percent. And the Rasmussen Reports poll in Florida gives Romney a 51-47 percent advantage.
However, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll showed Obama at 48 percent and Romney at 47 percent.
Meanwhile, both Obama and Romney were preparing for the second of the three presidential debates set for Tuesday at Hofstra University near New York City, and trying to woo voters in Ohio, the state where the November election could be decided.
Romney had several campaign meetings and events in Ohio last week. Speaking to a crowd at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth on Saturday, he talked about questions he had for Obama on his policies during the debate. "Like why it was, with 23 million Americans out of work, struggling to find a good job, that he spent his first two years fighting for Obamacare, which made it harder to get jobs," he said.
"And the only answer he had a few weeks ago was this. He [Obama] said, 'You know, you cannot change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside.' We are going to give him that chance on November 6," Romney added.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama, on the other hand, highlighted his 2009 bailout of the American auto industry, which employs a large number from Ohio. "But we refused to throw in the towel and do nothing," he said. "We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. I bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way."
Obama boasted of an improvement in the industry. "Today, auto sales are the highest they have been in more than four years. GM is back. Ford and Chrysler are growing again. Together, our auto industry has created nearly a quarter of a million new jobs right here in America," he said.
The race continues to be tied nationally. The Gallup daily tracking poll has Romney at 49 percent and Obama at 47 percent among likely voters, while Obama leads 48 percent to 46 percent among registered voters.