TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - Republican Mitt Romney edged closer to President Barack Obama in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll on Tuesday as he mounts a sustained effort this week to sell himself and his vision for U.S. economic recovery at the Republican National Convention.
In a four-day rolling poll, Obama led Romney by two percentage points among likely voters, 45 percent to 43 percent. That was a slight narrowing of the gap from results of the rolling poll on Monday when Obama was ahead by four points.
Romney arrived in Tampa on Tuesday to hear his wife, Ann, deliver a speech to thousands of party activists at the convention, which runs through Thursday.
Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said it was too soon to say Romney was getting a bounce from the convention, which was shortened by one day because of worries that Hurricane Isaac could strike Florida’s Gulf Coast, where Tampa is located.
“I think if we started to see Romney creep up or become even with Obama or overtake him, that’s when I would say the convention is changing things,” Clark said.
Other polls have shown Obama and Romney neck-and-neck, and the Republican’s campaign officials believe they are in good position to upset the Democrat in the November 6 election.
The latest survey highlights an opportunity for both Romney and the Democratic incumbent: the poll found that “non-aligned registered voters” have not yet swung toward either candidate but are in general extremely negative about the direction of the country.
Only 6 percent of this voting bloc think things are on the right track, even fewer than Republicans.
But this does not mean non-aligned registered voters are simply Republicans who are skeptical about Romney, since 43 percent feel favorable toward Obama and 36 favorable toward Romney.
Clark said this group seems willing to be swayed by the candidate with the more successful economic argument.
“Neither candidate has made a convincing enough argument that they can shepherd economic recovery over the next four years,” she said.
Broadly speaking, Obama still leads on several personal traits. Voters find him more eloquent and likable than Romney. He is, however, in a dead heat with Romney in one category: 51 percent of registered voters surveyed had a favorable view of Obama while 50 percent had a favorable view of Romney.
Pollsters interviewed 1,325 likely voters over four days in the online survey. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points for all respondents.
Editing by Claudia Parsons and Leslie Adler