WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP)– A new Gallup Poll indicates that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pulled ahead of President Barack Obama.

Approximately half of likely voters now say they prefer Romney, while only 46 percent think Obama to be the best choice.

“While Romney’s four-percentage-point advantage is not statistically significant, he has consistently edged ahead of Obama each of the past several days in Gallup’s seven-day rolling averages conducted entirely after the Oct. 3 presidential debate,” a release on the poll stated.

The study confirmed what many already believed to be true – that Obama must secure decisive wins in the last two Presidential debates.

And it was a re-energized Obama who showed up for Tuesday’s showdown at Hofstra University, lifting the spirits of Democrats who felt let down by the president’s limp performance in the candidates’ first encounter two weeks ago.

It was a pushy, interruption-filled encounter filled with charges and counter-charges that the other guy wasn’t telling the truth. The two candidates were both verbally and physically at odds in the town hall-style format, at one point circling each other center stage like boxers in a prize fight.

Though Obama’s considerably more aggressive performance could result in better poll numbers going forward, he went in with a lot of ground to recover – Gallup also learned that Obama has fallen in favor among Southern, middle-aged and white voters, a contrast from 2008 that is attributed to Romney’s current perceived lead.

“He has also slipped modestly among whites, Easterners, women, and Catholics,” Gallup additionally noted.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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