8:27 am Nov. 5, 2012
President Obama leads Mitt Romney by three points among likely voters, 48-45, in Pew's election weekend survey, up from a virtual tie one week ago.
The latest Pew survey was conducted after Hurricane Sandy destroyed parts of the East Coast, and forced President Obama to suspend his campaign for a few days to respond to the crisis. His trip to the region included a highly public embrace from New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who had been one of the president's sharpest critics as a surrogate for Mitt Romney.
And the Pew release suggests "Obama’s handling of the storm’s aftermath may have contributed to his improved showing."
The survey found 69 percent of likely voters approving the president's response to the storm, with 46 percent of Romney supporters, like Christie, saying they approved.
Among swing voters, 63 percent said they approved of the president's handling of the crisis.
The survey doesn't say where those voters reside, and whether they're in all-important states like Ohio and Florida, where the storm is faraway news, but it does suggest the appearance of leadership, and bipartisanship, will only help the president.
Some Republicans, including former Republican National Committee chair Haley Barbour, said the storm had a significant impact, by breaking Romney's momentum and shifting the news cycle in Obama's favor for a few important days.
Pew now estimates the national vote will be Obama 50, Romney 47.