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Conflict in the Middle East: Benefit or detriment for Obama? (+video)

The latest surveys of likely voters show President Barack Obama pulling ahead. But Republicans and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney may have an opportunity to cast doubt on Obama's foreign policy as unrest rises in the Middle East.

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President Barack Obama is pulling away from rival Mitt Romney in polls in what might be a turning point in the US presidential campaign, but volatility in the Middle East is allowing Republicans to cast the Democrat as weak on foreign policy and could threaten his momentum.

In the latest survey to show Obama ahead, a Reuters/Ipsos online poll on Thursday gave the Democrat a 7 percentage point lead, 48 percent to 41 percent, among likely voters.

Survey aggregator Real Clear Politics' average of national polls gives Obama a 3.3-point advantage while Gallup's seven-day tracking poll of registered voters has Obama leading by 6 points, one more than a Fox News survey of likely voters.

After months of a neck-and-neck race for the Nov. 6 election, the recent data has stirred speculation that Obama may have reached a breakaway moment helped by the Democrats' convention in North Carolina last week when they laid out a case for his re-election.

"This election is far from over, and we're not inclined to make a final call until the first debate on Oct. 3, but this seems clear: the election is slipping away from Romney," said Greg Valliere of Potomac Research Group which analyzes Washington for investors.

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