Prior to last Wednesday’s debate, the media had all but completely written off Mitt Romney as a valid Presidential candidate. The obituaries were openly being rehearsed. “Romney can’t win,” the refrain went. “He’s so far down that he’d have to swing things by double digits! Even Reagan couldn’t do that!”

Yet according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, that’s exactly what Romney has done. Strikingly, Pew had recorded Romney trailing the President by a whopping 8 points after the conventions. Yet without any apparent shift in sampling, Pew’s poll now shows Romney up by 4 among likely voters, and running even with the President among registered voters. The result is outside the poll’s margin of error of 3.4 points, and if accurate, would show that Romney has a real, statistically significant lead for the first time since the conventions. Talking Points Memo reacts:

The dramatic 12-point swing in Pew’s poll from Obama to Romney is perhaps the strongest piece of evidence to date that the president has paid a political price for his listless performance in the Denver debate. But the complete suite of post-debate surveys from national pollsters is only beginning to emerge, and the early indications are of a less dramatic shift than Pew is showing.

Republican-leaning Rasmussen found Romney leading by 2 points in its Saturday release, which was based on findings from the tracking period of Oct. 3-5.  But in Rasmussen Monday’s poll, conducted entirely after the debate and partially following the release of Friday’s encouraging jobs report, the two candidates were tied again.Gallup reported on Monday that Obama and Romney were tied in the three days immediately following the debate, after Obama led by 5 in the three days prior.  But on Monday, Gallup’s tracking — which is based on a 7-day rolling average — Obama again led by 5.

The poll took place over a period that also includes the release of the new jobs report – a report that was expected by some to provide the President with a bounce. If Pew is any guide, that bounce has not materialized yet.