US President Barack Obama has stashed US$181 million into his re-election account to cheer supporters after his limp debate performance, but several polls show movement toward Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Obama’s camp on Saturday announced its biggest monthly haul of the race with last month’s fund-raising figures, a day after supporters got another fillip with news that the US unemployment rate dipped below 8 percent.
Yet there were signs that Romney’s confident debate joust with the president was softening support for Obama in the battlegound states that will decide who will control the White House for the next four years.
In Gallup’s daily poll, Romney cut the president’s lead from 49 to 46 percent, and other national polls and state surveys showed movement to the Republican, who appeared before 6,000 people in Florida on Saturday.
It will be the middle of the coming week until Wednesday’s debate and Friday’s Labor Department data, which showed the tumble in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, are fully factored into state of the race polls.
The president, recuperating after his debate mauling from Romney in Denver on Wednesday night, took time out on Saturday to wine and dine his wife, Michelle, in a belated celebration of their 20th wedding anniversary.
Obama’s fund-raising bonanza means he will have ample money to splash on an advertising blitz in the countdown to the election on Nov. 6. With 1.8 million donors in the month, the funds are also an impressive display of grassroots muscle.
Romney has yet to reveal his monthly fund-raising figures for last month, but early predictions that he would outspend Obama by a distance in the final days of the election appear to have been unfounded.
However, Romney, does have the support of an array of super PAC independent fund-raising committees financed by rich donors and corporations that can spend unlimited sums. The Republican’s campaign also made known after Obama announced his fund-raising gold mine that Romney had raked in US$12 million in online donations in 48 hours after the debate.
Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, said the average donation was US$53 and 98 percent of contributions amounted to US$250 or less and also boasted that the Obama political machine was in full swing ahead of the election.
Messina said the campaign opened its 100th field offices in both Ohio and Florida last month and last week registered 10,000 voters in Florida in a single day.
In early voting in Iowa, Messina said that 105,000 people had already cast ballots, 62 percent of whom were Democrats.
The release of the fund-raising figure came on the second successive morning of good news for the Obama campaign after the president was comprehensively outfoxed by Romney in the first of three head-to-head debates.
On Friday, new Labor Department data showed that the unemployment rate had dropped to 7.8 percent, the lowest level since the president walked into the Oval Office in January 2009.
Obama seized on the news to rebut Romney’s criticisms of his economic strategy and warned that after having come so far, the US could not afford to go back to Republican economic policies that had triggered the crisis.