Romney closes gap on Obama

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By V.Tiwari
Date  18 April 2012

President Barack Obama's lead over Mitt Romney has narrowed to 4 percentage points from 11 points a month ago, now that Romney has established himself as the probable Republican presidential nominee.

Obama was backed by 47% of registered voters in the telephone poll conducted from April 12-15, compared with 43% who supported Romney. In the same poll conducted from March 8-11, Obama led Romney by 52% to 41%.

In what could be a problem for Obama in the November 6 election, 53% of registered voters said jobs and the economy were the most important issues in the presidential election campaign, and slightly more - 45% - rated Romney higher in that area than the 43% who favoured Obama.

"Obama has had to preside over a really tough economy ... People are sort of dinging him for it and that's really what's going to make this a competitive race," said Chris Jackson, research director at Ipsos.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama led his Republican rival John McCain by a much larger margin, 52% to 40%, on jobs and the economy, as the Democrat won the election.

The latest poll result is a statistical dead heat; the 2-point gap on the issue is within the margin of error.

Romney's last major rival for the Republican nomination to oppose Obama's re-election left the race before the poll was conducted.

Rick Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator best known for strongly conservative views on social issues that pushed the Republican campaign to the right, ended his run for the White House on April 10.

Romney gained on Obama as he solidified his position as the likely nominee, Jackson said.

Romney's campaign was also heartened last week when a Democratic cable TV commentator made remarks that seemed to criticise his wife, Ann, for staying home and raising their five sons rather than holding a job outside the home.

The comment escalated into a fracas over the role of women in society and gave Romney, who is struggling to improve his ratings among women voters, a chance to reach them through his wife.

In most surveys, Obama has enjoyed a lead of 6% or more among registered voters.

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