Romney leads in weekly presidential polls for first timeon October 16, 2012 @ 7:50 am (Updated: 7:44 am - 10/18/12 )
It's still a squeaker, 47.4 to 47.3, but the fact that Romney has moved into the lead is significant.
Even more importantly, the electoral college map is shifting too.
Remember, you need 270 Electoral votes to win. Just two weeks ago, the Real Clear Politics projection was 265 electoral votes for Obama and 191 for Romney, with 86 votes still up for grabs.
But now, Romney stays put at 191, but Obama has dropped to 201. That's a precipitous drop of 64 electoral votes. There had been 7 toss-up states, now there are 11, with 146 votes available.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Ohio are back in play, as are Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina. And Romney's starting to pull away in Florida. Obama still has a lead in Ohio, and it's been seen as a kind of Democratic firewall, but privately some Democrats are starting to sweat even Ohio.
If Ohio goes to Romney, one projection puts Romney at 266 electoral votes, with a half dozen other states for him to find four more votes.
The election is clearly a toss-up right now, but because Obama had a steady lead for so long, there's a sense that Romney is winning because he's got all the recent momentum.
The only glimmer of hope for Obama is that a Washington Post/ABC national poll has the President's approval rating at 51 percent, a 50 percent approval rating for an incumbent is usually seen as crucial and he's struggled to get above that mark. But again, that's just one poll.
The only counter to Romney's post-debate surge is the Intrade Real Time Quotes - this is a futures market where real people invest real money on who they think is going to win - and right now the betting still is 62 percent to 38 percent in favor of the president.
In the debate Tuesday, Obama has to show he wants a second term, and has a reason for a second term.
Romney has to show he can connect with the average Joe.
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