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Obama brings more optimism

US President Barack Obama speaking yesterday.

WASHINGTON — Americans are becoming more optimistic about the direction of the country, giving a boost to President Barack Obama in the final stretch of the race for the White House, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed today.

The telephone poll, conducted September 7-10, showed 39 percent of Americans believed the country was moving in the right direction, while a still-high 55 per cent believed it was on the wrong track.

The numbers represented a sizable change from August, when 31 per cent of those surveyed thought the country was going in the right direction and 64 per cent, the wrong track.

It was the highest level for the “right direction” rating since April 2010.

The numbers are the latest positive sign for the Democratic incumbent, who polls show is slightly ahead of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the race to the November 6 election.

“It’s good news for Obama, frankly, because the more people who think things are going in the right direction now, the easier it will be for him to get re-elected,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.

“As that number begins to creep up, it’s all good news for the party in power.”

The poll was conducted by telephone with 1,089 adults and is considered an accurate measure within 3.1 percentage points of how the entire US adult population would have responded if surveyed.

Asked whom they would vote for if the election were held today, 48 per cent said they would vote for Obama and 45 per cent said they would support Romney. The three percentage-point difference was in line with Reuters/Ipsos daily online tracking polls.

Recent polls have indicated that Obama left last week’s Democratic National Convention with a small “bounce” after months of being a neck-and-neck race with Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.

The improved ratings could stem from the convention buzz and from a sense that Americans are feeling better about the US economic climate, Clark said. (Reuters)

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