Mitt Romney opened up his biggest lead yet in a national Gallup survey, with the latest results showing the Republican nominee up 6 points over President Obama — with less than three weeks and just one debate left on the calendar before Election Day.

The Gallup survey, which is based on a seven-day rolling average, showed Romney leading 51-45 percent. At the start of October, he was tied with Obama at 48 percent each.

The poll measures likely voters, with the latest results spanning interviews from Oct. 10-16. The poll would not yet have factored in voters’ views after the second presidential debate, which was held Tuesday.

But the poll shows Romney’s numbers continuing to rise on the heels of the first debate, a trend that was apparently not blunted by Vice President Biden’s aggressive debate performance one week ago.

Though presidential elections are decided in the battlegrounds, the new national numbers surely raise warning signs for the Obama team. Historical polling results show that the candidate who’s up three weeks before Election Day has typically gone on to win — though past polls were conducted of registered voters, not likely voters, which is now considered more reliable. The only candidate in modern times who came from behind three weeks before the election to win was Ronald Reagan in 1980.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls has the 2012 race much closer, with Romney’s lead at less than half a point. In some of the key battlegrounds, Romney has also either drawn closer to Obama or surpassed him. The RCP average of polls in Ohio shows Obama up by a little over 2 points, with the average in Florida showing Romney up by the same margin.

Though the president pulled off a notably more assertive performance at Tuesday’s debate in New York, Romney said Wednesday in Virginia he loves squaring off with the president.

“Now I have to be honest with you, I love these debates. These things are great,” Romney said. “I think it’s interesting that the president still doesn’t have an agenda for a second term. Don’t you think that it’s time for him to finally put together a vision of what he’d do in the next four years if he were elected? I mean he’s got to come up with that over this weekend because there’s only one debate left on Monday.”

But Obama says he does have a plan to make the country better by 2016 — it just involves a different approach than Romney’s.

“We cannot grow this economy from the top down. We grow it from the middle out,” Obama said Wednesday.

Obama’s post-debate message, though, has focused largely on Romney. The attacks he road-tested at Tuesday’s debate resurfaced on the stump Wednesday — including a line about how Romney’s “five-point” economic plan is really just a “one-point plan … (that) says folks at the very top play by their own set of rules.”

With just 19 days to go, the candidates are fanned out in swing states across the country. Obama will be in New Hampshire Thursday morning for a campaign stop — before taping an appearance on the Daily Show. Both candidates will speak Thursday night in New York at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

Paul Ryan, meanwhile, will be in Florida for rallies while Vice President Biden is campaigning Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas.

Source: Fox News



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