Gallup has announced that in their tracker Mitt Romney has pulled dead even with Obama since the debate:
Registered voters’ preferences for president are evenly split in the first three days of Gallup tracking since last Wednesday’s presidential debate. In the three days prior to the debate, Barack Obama had a five-percentage-point edge among registered voters.
An Oct. 4-5 Gallup poll finds roughly two in three Americans reporting that they watched the Oct. 3 debate, similar to what Gallup measured for each of the three 2008 presidential debates. Those who viewed the debate overwhelmingly believe Romney did a better job than Obama, 72% to 20%. Republicans were nearly unanimous in judging Romney the winner. But even Democrats rated Romney as doing a better job than Obama, 49% to 39%.
Go here to read the rest. Two things to remember. First Gallup is still using a registered voter screen. Translate this to a likely voter screen and Gallup is showing Romney ahead by one to two points. Second, Gallup in my opinion is viewing the electorate on election day as too Democrat. Their tracker right now is probably D-4 to D-5 in makeup most nights. I expect the actual electorate to range from parity to D-2. (Rasmussen is showing a party id of R-2.6, and if that is accurate we will have a Republican victory on the level of 1980 or 1994. Rasmussen had the Democrats with a one point party advantage just before the 2010 Republican landslide. Rasmussen is being cautious and uses a D-2 screen in his tracker which shows Romney two points ahead.)
The danger to Obama in all this is that when the voters decide to turn an incumbent President out, they rarely come back to him. Carter and Bush 41 are prime examples of this. Obama, by his pathetic performance in the first debate, may have set in motion a preference cascade for Romney.