(Photo credit BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)
By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
President Obama's job approval rating and level of voter support have reached the critical 50% point, according to Gallup, but there is still plenty of opportunity for the White House race to fluctuate.
Gallup says Obama's job-approval rating now stands at 51%. At the same time, the president leads Mitt Romney 50%-44% among registered voters in the daily tracking poll -- similar to where the race stood after the Democratic convention earlier this month.
The race is "currently favorable to Obama," Gallup says in its headline.
The 50% mark for job approval is generally considered a crucial metric for presidents seeking re-election. Gallup has found over the years that presidents generally have won another term if they've reached at least that mark at election time. George W. Bush, who was at 48% in 2004, was an exception.
At one point this month, Obama's approval rating dipped to 43%.
"Obama ... has had more good days than bad this month, in terms of achieving job-approval ratings of 49% or better," writes Gallup's Lydia Saad. "But there have been enough dips below that to suggest the race is far from over."
The two political conventions, events in Libya and the Middle East, and Romney's secretly taped comments about 47% of Americans being dependent on the government have all been factors shaping the presidential race this month. Still to come: three presidential debates and two more government reports showing unemployment and job gains.