Post-debate poll shows Romney, Obama tied for support
Published Monday, October 8, 2012 9:10AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 8, 2012 5:40PM EDT
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tried to chip away at U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy record Monday as a recent poll hinted that the rivals have entered a statistical dead heat.
Speaking to an audience in Lexington, Virginia, Romney accused Obama of “passivity” in his approach to conflict in the Middle East and suggested that the president has led “from behind.”
The address at the Virginia Military Institute allowed Romney an opportunity to spell out his stance on international relations, an area that’s been characterized as the Republican’s sore point.
But it appeared as if Romney was trying to flip the narrative Monday, implying that his presidential opponent has failed to demonstrate leadership in foreign policy. He went on to suggest that the risk of conflict in the Middle East has increased since Obama took office in 2009.
“I believe that if America does not lead, others will -- others who do not share our interests and our values -- and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us,” he said.
Romney’s assault on Obama’s record came the same day a Gallup tracking poll showed the candidates tied for voter support, each of them backed by 47 per cent of registered voters.
The survey is the agency’s first three-day tracking poll since last Wednesday’s presidential debate, during which Obama delivered an uncharacteristically flat performance. Headlines following the debate overwhelmingly declared Romney the winner.
While speaking in Virginia, Romney positioned himself as the candidate who will “use America’s great influence” to “secure our interests, further our values, prevent conflict, and make the world better.”
Among Romney’s foreign policy promises, he vowed:
- Tighter sanctions on Iran.
- To pursue whoever attacked the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
- To assist members of the Syrian opposition who “share our values.”
For its part, the Obama campaign appears to have shrugged off Romney’s speech.
"We're not going to be lectured by someone who has been an unmitigated disaster on foreign policy," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told The Associated Press Monday.
But the Gallup results suggest the Romney campaign has been somewhat invigorated by his debate success. In the agency’s previous three-day tracking poll, Obama held a five percentage point lead over Romney. The poll showed Obama claiming 50 per cent of registered voters, while Romney held 45 per cent.
The most recent tracking poll was conducted Thursday to Saturday and holds a margin of error of three percentage points. Gallup itself has also cautioned that recently released unemployment numbers -- showing the U.S. unemployment rate slipping below 8 per cent -- could hurt Romney’s momentum.
But with another debate on the horizon, there appears to be no telling which way the scales will tip. Vice-president Joe Biden is poised to square off against Republican Paul Ryan on Thursday.