President Obama holds a 7-point lead over Mitt Romney nationally going into Wednesday night’s presidential debate, according to a new NPR poll, and has a similar advantage in key battleground states.
The poll showed Obama with a 51 percent to 44 percent advantage over the Republican nominee nationally. In so-called battleground states—Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin—that lead is one point lower at 50 percent.
Obama’s lead has gone up since the last NPR poll in July, which had him at 47 percent and Romney at 45 percent.
Although Obama holds a 50 percent approval rating nationally, residents in battleground states are slightly less approving at 48 percent. In those same states, 59 percent of voters say the country is going down the wrong track.
Still, Romney has lost some ground among voters on issues relating to taxes, the economy, and Medicare.
The debate is likely to have a major impact on respondents of the poll; 83 percent said they were planning to watch and one-in-four said it could influence their vote. But the poll found that only 2 percent of voters called themselves undecided.
Romney has an overall advantage among independent voters, holding a 4-point lead over the president.
The poll was conducted between Sept. 26 and Sept. 30 among 800 likely voters. One-third of those polled lived in battleground states. Conducted by Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps and Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic, the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.