Romney's Debate Win Pushes Him Closer in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire

Obama keeps a slim lead in Pennsylvania as Romney pulls into a tie in the Granite State.

By + More
FE_DA_121010CompositeObamaRomneyGalleryOhio.jpg
With little more than two weeks, the last debate is make or break for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney's post-presidential debate bounce has lifted his status in swing states across the country, and now it's even making states that were not competitive—like Pennsylvania—worth fighting for.

A new poll shows the Republican presidential nominee closing President Barack Obama's lead in the Keystone State from 12 percentage points in September down to 4 points. Obama leads Romney 50 percent to 46 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University survey, but Romney is improving thanks to increased support among white Catholics.

"Pennsylvania voters say Vice President Joe Biden, a native son and a Catholic, won the debate and is more qualified than Rep. Paul Ryan to be president, but that doesn't seem to be lifting the top of the ticket," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a release accompanying the poll results. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.

[PHOTOS: The 2012 Presidential Campaign Trail]

In New Hampshire, another swing state, a separate poll shows Romney in a 47 percent-47 percent tie with Obama, where the president had maintained an edge in previous surveys.

"Although New Hampshire offers only four electoral votes in the presidential sweepstakes, it may be an important state for both candidates to actively campaign in," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. "It would be especially worthwhile for Obama, given that his job approval-disapproval number also is fixed at 47 percent."

New Hampshire voters also were split on the vice presidential debate, with 43 percent saying Biden won and 42 percent saying Ryan did.

The Suffolk University/7News poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Obama and Romney face off in their second of three presidential debates Tuesday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Romney is looking to build on his momentum from the first debate, while Obama seeks to stem his polling slide.

Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at rmetzler@usnews.com.