US President Barack Obama lost a five-point lead after last week's debate with Republican rival Mitt Romney, with the two candidates polling even in the three days afterwards, a Gallup poll out Monday has found.
The poll was an early measure of the damage done by Obama's lackluster performance against a more aggressive and energetic Romney, who had been slipping in the days before the nationally televised encounter in Denver.
A separate Gallup poll October 4-5, two days after the debate, found that 72 percent believed Romney did a better job in the debate than Obama, with even Democrats agreeing by 49 to 39 percent.
Gallup's September 30-October 6 poll of registered voters showed Obama had five-point lead over Romney in the three days before last Wednesday's presidential debate.
But in the three days after the debate, the lead had melted away and the two candidates were tied 47 to 47 percent.
Obama still had a three-point edge, 49 to 46 percent, in Gallup's seven-day rolling average ending Saturday, which included polls before and after the debate.
"Even on this basis, the race has become somewhat more competitive compared with before the first debate," Gallup said. "Obama held four- to six-point leads in Gallup's seven-day tracking results in the eight days prior to the Oct 3 debate."