Mitt Romney has a 7-point lead over President Obama among likely voters, according to Gallup’s latest daily tracking poll.
Romney takes 52 percent support to 45 percent for Obama, and also leads 48 to 47 among registered voters.
The survey is a rolling seven-day average through Oct. 17, so it includes one day of polling data since Tuesday night’s debate in New York.
Gallup only began tracking likely voters earlier this month. The 7-point margin is Romney’s biggest lead yet in the survey, and comes less than three weeks before the election.
Democrats are hopeful Obama’s fiery performance in the debate earlier this week will be enough to blunt Romney’s momentum. The first debate between the two presidential contenders on Oct. 3 significantly altered the course of the race and propelled Romney to his first national leads of the cycle.
The daily tracking poll is subject to day-to-day fluctuations and could be an outlier. Romney leads Obama by less than 1 percentage point, 47.4 to 46.9, in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls.
Polls in the battleground states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the election favored Obama earlier in the cycle, but have tightened along with the national surveys.
Republicans are increasingly optimistic that Romney will win Virginia, Florida and North Carolina.
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