After 3 months of trailing, president moved ahead in August. He also got a slight bump in a post-convention poll.
President Obama raised more money in August than Mitt Romney, outpacing him for the first time since the spring and adding to a sense in both parties that Obama is entering the post-convention sprint to Election Day in a slightly stronger position, leaving Romney with less than two months to change that dynamic.
Although the Romney camp raised $111.6 million in August -- its third consecutive month of bringing in more than $100 million -- Obama's higher August fundraising figure of $114 million returned the campaigns to fundraising parity. It was the first time that Obama and his party had raised more money than his rival during a single month since Romney effectively clinched the GOP nomination in April.
Still Obama's campaign warned his supporters against complacency. "No celebrating because they're going to have an even bigger September," it said in a Twitter post.
Romney's campaign, meanwhile, rushed out a memo Monday stating that any post-convention polling lift for Obama was "a sugar high" that would not last.
The first post-convention poll by a major news organization, from CNN and ORC International, showed Obama with a slight gain, 52 to 46 percent, over Romney, within the poll's margin of sampling error. The two campaigns agreed that readings right after the conventions can be ephemeral and that the race was likely to remain competitive until the end.
"There is no doubt that we come out of the conventions in better shape than we went in," said David Axelrod, a senior strategist for Obama. "But as I've always said, the structure of the race is such that it was close before and it's close now.
Neil Newhouse, Romney's pollster and the author of the memo released Monday, said, "Voters are on a Bill Clinton sugar high that's simply not going to last -- polls taken right now probably don't reflect the reality of where this campaign actually is."
Still, Newhouse's comments and memo reflected the sense on both sides that in what had been stubbornly static race, Obama had, indeed, established some sort of uptick in support following his convention in a way that Romney had not.
Newhouse stressed that the GOP convention had worked to improve Romney's standing, in particular, among female voters.
The full force of Romney's first major general election advertising push, which began late last week, has yet to sink in, he added.
The state of the race may not be fully established until polling over the next week measures public sentiment about the effect of the conventions, the latest jobs report and the new onslaught of political advertising.