Reporting the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll numbers on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, political director Chuck Todd touted a rather obvious finding in the numbers, relentless media attacks on Mitt Romney have negatively affected how voters view the Republican nominee.
Todd proclaimed: "That 47% remark, it has left a mark, if you will. When we asked, 'Is there anything you've heard in the last few weeks that's made you more favorable or less favorable on Mitt Romney?', 51% said what they've heard has made them less favorable."
Todd promoted Obama's 49% approval rating as being "in the re-elect zone" and hyped only 40% of Americans feeling the country is heading in the right direction as being "the highest number we've recorded in three and a half years."
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After showing Obama at 49% and Romney at 46%, Todd rhetorically wondered: "Why is the President in a commanding small lead?" He then declared: "57% tell us the economy is now in recovering. Highest number we've recorded on that question."
On Wednesday's Today, Todd spun the tightening of the race as showing "the President in a strong position."
Appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box on Wednesday, Todd heralded the NBC News poll as the "gold standard," while dismissing Rasmussen Reports polling as "slop."
Here is a full transcript of Todd's October 2 Nightly News report:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Our political director Chuck Todd is also part of our team in Denver, tonight debuting our new pre-debate polling numbers. And Chuck, how interesting that 34 states are voting, but this race is still on the move, and either a gaffe or a big moment at one of these debates could change the numbers further.
CHUCK TODD: Look, it's absolutely true. And let's look at our new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. There are two numbers that matter more when judging whether a president wins reelection or not. It's his job approval rating and where people see the direction of the country. For the President right now, his job approval rating is at 49%. Disapproval at 48. Our pollsters tell us that 49, that is in the re-elect zone. Now, look at this, direction of the country. 40% say we're on the right track. That 40% is not a great number, but it's actually the highest number we've recorded in three and a half years.
Let's move to the head-to-head with Mitt Romney. This is where the race has tightened a bit. The President's number is steady at 49. Mitt Romney has picked up a couple in the last couple of weeks, sits at 46. What's helping him? Republican voters more enthusiastic, they make it through the likely voter screen.
But it's been a couple of tough weeks for Mitt Romney. That 47% remark, it has left a mark, if you will. When we asked, "Is there anything you've heard in the last few weeks that's made you more favorable or less favorable on Mitt Romney?", 51% said what they've heard has made them less favorable.
That said, the President's got a couple things not going for him on the issue of Libya and Egypt. More people disapprove of how he's handled the situation there, than approve. But the overarching theme here, Brian, and why is the President in a commanding small lead? 57% tell us the economy is now in recovering. Highest number we've recorded on that question.
WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd already in Denver, part of our team on the ground there. And he'll be part of our on-air NBC News team tomorrow evening for our live coverage. That begins 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, that's when we come on the air, 6:00 Pacific here on this NBC station.