Obama boosted by upbeat housing reports, new polls
Other new surveys suggested growing support for Obama in the wake of back-to-back national political conventions and Romney’s struggle last week to explain an erroneous statement issued at a time of demonstrations €’’ one of them deadly €’’ at U.S. diplomatic posts in the Middle East.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken Sept. 12-16 put the president’s lead among likely voters at 50-44 percent nationwide.
State surveys by Quinnipiac University, The New York Times and CBS News showed Obama at over 50 percent support among likely voters in Virginia, with 13 electoral votes, and Wisconsin, with 10. Obama carried Wisconsin handily four years ago, but Romney recently signaled he was hoping to make it competitive.
The two men were in a statistical tie in Colorado, which has 9 electoral votes, in surveys conducted between Sept. 11 and 17.
A Washington Post poll also showed Obama with a lead in Virginia.
All the surveys were taken before the flap erupted over Romney’s ‘‘47 percent’’ remarks.
Taken together, they showed a highly competitive race as Obama and Romney pursue the 270 electoral votes needed for victory, although with the president in a stronger position than before the two political conventions and with the economy still the dominant issue.
‘‘This is our election to lose,’’ maintained Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. ‘‘There’s a reason no president has ever been elected with economic numbers like this. If Obama wins, he'll be rewriting political history.’’
For now, Romney is working to reframe the video controversy into a philosophical difference between himself and Obama €’’ to his own advantage.
‘‘Instead of creating a web of dependency, I will pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty,’’ he wrote in an article in USA Today that omitted any reference to the furor.
At his fundraiser in Atlanta, however, he referred for a second day in a row to a video of Obama, made in 1998. An Illinois state senator at the time, Obama said he believed in income redistribution, ‘‘at least to a certain level to make sure everybody’s got a shot.’’
Romney added that the country ‘‘does not work by a government saying, become dependent on government, become dependent upon redistribution. That will kill the American entrepreneurship that’s lifted our economy over the years.’’
Responding for the president, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Romney’s efforts to push the 14-year-old video were the work of a candidate having ‘‘a very bad day or a very bad week.’’
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took up the cause in highly personal terms.
‘‘So who are those Americans Mitt Romney disdains as ‘victims’ and ‘those people?'’’ the Nevada Democrat said in a speech on the Senate floor. ‘‘They’re not avoiding their tax bills, using Cayman Island tax shelters or Swiss bank accounts like Mitt Romney.’’
Romney’s campaign released two television ads accusing the Obama administration of conducting a ‘‘war on coal.’’ Aides said they were triggered by an announcement on Tuesday by Alpha Natural Resources that it will close mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and eliminate 1,200 jobs.
Associated Press writers Steve Peoples in Atlanta and Kasie Hunt, Matthew Daly, Julie Pace, Kevin Freking, Donna Cassata and Henry C. Jackson in Washington contributed to this report.