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Political Notebook

In aftermath of Sandy, Obama on top in last Pew poll

President Obama held a 48 to 45 percent lead over Romney, according to Pew’s national survey of likely voters last week.

Steve Pope/EPA

President Obama held a 48 to 45 percent lead over Romney, according to Pew’s national survey of likely voters last week.

WASHINGTON — The latest poll by The Pew Research Center shows President Obama rebounding and edging ahead of Mitt Romney in the final days of the campaign, after the president’s favorability dropped significantly following his lackluster performance in the first debate last month.

Obama held a 48 to 45 percent lead over Romney, according to Pew’s national survey of likely voters last week. When undecided voters were taken into account in Pew’s final estimate of the national popular vote on Election Day, Obama maintained the lead at 50 percent to Romney’s 47 percent. The uptick is significant given that a week ago, before the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy along the East Coast, the candidates were deadlocked at 47 percent each. Pew researchers attribute Obama’s growth in popularity in part to how he handled the storm’s aftermath, which earned a 69 percent approval rating among likely voters, including the majority of swing voters.

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“Sandy was the biggest story of the week, not the campaign, so there is reason to think that was the dominant thing on people’s minds, especially for people who were still on the fence,” said Michael Dimock, associate director at The Pew Research Center For The People & The Press. “People may well be thinking about what they want the government to do for them in a way they weren’t a week and a half ago.”

Obama saw the sharpest gain in the Northeast, another reason to suggest the storm was a contributing factor, Dimock said. “The only downside for Obama is that was a region he was already leading in by a wide margin,” Dimock said. “If he builds his numbers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, well, he probably wasn’t going to lose those states anyway.”

Obama also regained some, if not all, of his support among women, many of whom had shifted toward Romney after the first debate. In the latest poll, women favored Obama by a 13-point margin, up from a six-point margin a week ago and a tie following the first debate in early October.

Both campaigns have aired ads in recent weeks targeting women, highlighting abortion and reproductive rights as well as education and health care, issues women traditionally care more about than men, though on which they are not unified. - TRACY JAN

Springsteen moves Christie to tears

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Monday that he was moved to tears by recent interactions with singer Bruce Springsteen, who hugged the governor at a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy on Friday and spoke with Christie by phone on Monday while flying aboard Air Force One with President Obama.

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Christie, a Republican, is an ardent fan of Springsteen, a noted liberal who was traveling with the president to Columbus, Ohio, after playing at an Obama rally in Madison, Wis. Christie said during a press briefing that Obama called during the flight to discuss New Jersey’s recovery from Sandy and then handed the phone to Springsteen.

“Bruce said to me how proud he was of his state and how proud he was of the people of this state and how tough they are,” Christie added. “And he’ll be back to the Jersey Shore soon.”

Christie recalled meeting Springsteen three days earlier at the benefit concert.

“We hugged,” Christie said. “He told me it’s official: We’re friends. I told the president today, actually, that the hug was great and when we got home, there was a lot of weeping because of the hug. And the president asked why. I said, ‘Well, to be honest, I was the one doing the weeping.’ ”

Christie, typically a harsh Obama critic, has been effusive in his praise of the president’s handling of the hurricane and its aftermath.

The Huffington Post reported on Monday that the New Jersey governor turned down Romney’s request to join him at a Sunday night rally in Pennsylvania. - CALLUM BORCHERS

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