Obama Widens Narrow Lead Over Romney: Reuters/Ipsos Poll

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By J.J. McGrath | September 9, 2012 10:53 AM EST

With both the Democratic and Republican national conventions now history, the former party's incumbent Barack Obama has widened his narrow lead over the latter party's challenger Mitt Romney in the U.S. presidential-election race, according to Reuters/Ipsos poll results released Saturday.

If the election were conducted Saturday (as opposed to Nov. 6), then the latest daily tracking poll indicates 47 percent of 1,457 likely voters would vote for Obama and 43 percent of them would vote for Romney, Reuters reported. These voters were surveyed online during the previous four days.

Obama had moved ahead of Romney in the daily tracking poll Friday with a lead of 46 percent to 44 percent. Accordingly, the incumbent doubled his lead over the challenger in 24 hours, from 2 percentage points to 4 percentage points.

In the context of the polling series, this kind of move suggests both Obama and Romney benefited from the so-called bounce in support historically associated with many presidential candidates in the wake of party nominating conventions.

Because the Democratic National Convention ended Thursday and the Republican National Convention ended Aug. 30, this halo effect is more pronounced for Obama than it is for Romney at this moment.

"The bump is actually happening. I know there was some debate whether it would happen ... but it's here," Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said in the Reuters account of the poll results.

Obama's lead over Romney at this point after the incumbent's nomination this week is comparable with Romney's lead over Obama at the equivalent point after the challenger's nomination last week, Clark said.

"We don't have another convention now to turn our attention to, so [Obama's bounce] may maintain," Clark said. "How big it'll be and how long it will last remains to be seen."

Among the 1,720 registered voters who were polled, Obama also boosted his lead over Romney in certain favorable characteristics. In terms of who is more "eloquent," 50 percent cited the incumbent and just 25 percent cited the challenger. In terms of who is "smart enough for the job," 46 percent said the former and only 37 percent said the latter.

The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval, Reuters reported. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points, the news agency said.

Meanwhile, the people who bridge the gap between economics and politics at Intrade -- self-described as "The World's Leading Prediction Market" -- continued to indicate Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT that Obama is more likely to be re-elected and Romney is less likely to elected in November. Intrade market participants have bet there is a 57.6 percent chance the incumbent will win and a 42.6 percent chance the challenger will win.

Similarly, both of Iowa Electronic Markets' 2012 U.S. Presidential Election Markets continued to suggest Friday at 11:59 p.m. EDT that Obama is more likely to be re-elected and Romney is less likely to elected in November.

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