Fox News poll: Romney erases five-point Obama lead, now leads by one

Two weeks ago, he trailed Obama 48/43. Today: Romney 46, Obama 45, which is nearly identical to what Reuters’s latest tracking poll shows. Add the Fox poll to the new Gallup and Rasmussen trackers and a couple of others, and voila — a 1.5 point lead for Mitt in the RCP poll of polls. Until this week, Romney had never led in RCP except for a few days last October, and even then his lead never exceeded 0.7 points. We’re in uncharted territory here at the right time.

Some of the Fox data will sound familiar based on what other recent polls are telling us, some of it not so much. The familiar: Romney’s now crushing Obama among independents — a 16-point swing — and his favorables have shot up since the debate, to the point where he actually scores slightly higher than O. Not so familiar:

Support for Obama is down a bit across the board — most notably among young voters: 50 percent of voters under age 30 back Obama, down from 58 percent two weeks ago.

According to the Fox News exit poll, 66 percent of young voters and 52 percent of independents backed Obama in the 2008 election.

As for the election’s key metric, the trendline says it all:

That’s a bad, bad number for The One less than a month out from election day and with the decisive sliver of undecideds now starting to make up their minds. The enthusiasm numbers are grim for him too, with Fox now showing a nine-point advantage for the GOP when voters are asked if they’re very or extremely interested in the election and a seven-point advantage when they’re asked if it’s “extremely” important for their candidate to win. Four years ago, just before election day, Obama had a six-point advantage on that same question. He ended up winning by seven.

Time for Democrats to start breathing into a paper bag? Maybe not just yet, but sounds from this Major Garrett piece like they’re getting the bags ready, just in case:

“This is the first time in this entire campaign some of the new people have seen a bad run,” said a senior Obama strategist. “The veterans are telling them they need to ride it out.”…

Internal Obama swing-state polling now confirms this harsh reality: The president’s lackluster performance cost him all of the advantages he built up through the Democratic National Convention and via Romney’s now-infamous dismissal of the “47 percent” of the country that he said in a closed-door fundraiser would never vote for him.

In other words, in 90 minutes, Obama flushed a month’s worth of convention and 47-percent bounce.

“We were in the lead, but that’s all washed away,” the president’s strategist said. “Now it’s up to us to make the case again against him. Most undecideds are making a choice about him, not the president.”

“We have all sorts of metrics beyond polls,” said another Obama advisor, which goes to show how much they dislike what they’re seeing in their polls right now.

Two more data sets from the Fox crosstabs, just for funsies. Made me laugh:

After that debate performance, O should consider it a moral victory that he’s still under 50 percent. This one is enjoyable too, and more relevant to the voting booth:

Poor President Downgrade. As for the sample, it’s D+1, which is solid given the inevitable surge towards Republican identification after Romney’s debate win. Team Mitt says they’re expecting D+3 on election day, but who knows? If Obama follows through on his ingenious new “all Big Bird, all the time” strategy down the stretch, D+1 or even doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

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