President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney were tied in interviews conducted for Gallup's daily tracking poll in the three days immediately following last week's first presidential debate, with more than 7-in-10 Americans who watched the debate saying that the insurgent Romney did a better job.
Registered voters surveyed Oct. 4-6 split evenly, with 47 percent for each candidate, Gallup reported early on Monday. In the three days prior to the debate, Obama led Romney, 50 percent to 45 percent. Gallup normally reports a 7-day rolling sample for its tracking poll; the most recent version shows him ahead by 3 points, 49 percent to 46 percent.
Among all Americans who said they watched the debate, 72 percent said they thought Romney did the better job, while just 20 percent favored Obama. Even Democrats narrowly preferred Romney's performance, choosing him as the winner, 49 percent to 39 percent.
The 52-point margin by which respondents thought Romney did the better job was the largest Gallup has ever recorded. In 1992, in a poll of registered voters who said they watched the debate, Bill Clinton's debate performance was favored by 42 points over then-President George H.W. Bush, who ran only one point ahead of independent candidate Ross Perot.
For the tracking poll, 1,387 registered voters were surveyed, and the margin of error was plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. The poll of 749 debate watchers was conducted Oct. 4-5, and the margin of error was plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.