EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH: A woman weeps as US President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday. Picture: REUTERS
EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH: A woman weeps as US President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday. Picture: REUTERS

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 on Wednesday.

The telephone poll, conducted at the weekend, showed 39% of Americans believed the country was moving in the right direction, while a still-high 55% believed it was on the wrong track.

The numbers represented a sizable change from last month, when 31% of those surveyed thought the country was going in the right direction and 64% on the wrong track. It was the highest level for the "right direction" rating since April 2010.

The numbers are a 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," Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said.

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

Asked whom they would vote for if the election were held now, 48% of the population said they would vote for Mr Obama and 45% said they would support Mr Romney.

Reuters