Coming out of the debate, Mitt Romney’s personal image has improved. His favorable rating has hit 50% among registered voters for the first time in Pew Research Center surveys and has risen five points since September. At the same time, Obama’s personal favorability rating has fallen from 55% to 49%.

In the presidential horserace, Romney has made sizable gains over the past month among women voters, white non-Hispanics and those younger than 50. Currently, women are evenly divided (47% Obama, 47% Romney). Last month, Obama led Romney by 18 points (56% to 38%) among women likely voters. …

Romney now ties Obama in being regarded as a strong leader and runs virtually even with the president in willingness to work with leaders of the other party. And by a 47% to 40% margin, voters pick Romney as the candidate who has new ideas.

Conversely, Obama continues hold leads as the candidate who connects well with ordinary people and takes consistent positions on issues. And Obama leads by 10 points (49% to 39%) as the candidate who takes more moderate positions on issues.