As Obama basks in post-convention bump, polls show Romney has a tough road ahead

The Takeaway

With less than two months from Election Day, President Barack Obama hold a small but growing lead over his Republican challenger, MItt Romney.

According to the latest average of polls from, Obama holds a 3.6-point advantage over Romney, averaging support from 49 percent of voters to Romney's average of 45.4 percent.

Just six days ago, the polling average showed the two in a dead heat, 46.8 percent to 46.8 percent.

With Romney's vice president named and the conventions behind both parties, there's a limited number of ways left for Romney to close the small but persistent gap he faces with Obama.

But if you go down a level, to the state level, where electoral votes are won, Obama's lead is even more consistent, up a few points over Romney.

David Weigel, a political reporter for Slate, said Romney's message of economic failure on Obama's behalf is largely not resonating because people just don't trust him.

"The president retains a lead on who would handle healthcare better. He retains a lead on taxes," Weigel said. "Sometimes you see a poll that shows Romney doing quite well, but when Republicans used to win national elections, when George Bush won two elections, there was a substantial lead over Democrats on those issues. Back then the Democrats did better on who would tackle the debt."

Romney won the Republican Party in part, Weigel said, because he said he could campaign in states like Michigan. So far, though, there's been no sign that Romney is making headway there.

So what remains are the three national debates slated for October between Obama and Romney. Those events will be crucial opportunities for Romney to make his case that he can better chart a course for the country than Obama. Otherwise, Obama's small but persistent lead may prove insurmountable.

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