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We had two major new polls released on Monday -- ABC/Washington Post's national poll showing Obama up 3% (a 1% gain for Obama from their last poll) and a Politico/Battleground national poll showing Obama up 1% (the same as their previous poll). We also have the 538 forecast rising to Obama for the third straight day -- it now gives Obama a 66% chance of winning compared to a 34% chance for Romney. We also had two new swing state polls:


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* IOWA: Obama 48%, Romney 48% -- Romney +7% in 3 weeks (ARG)
* VIRGINIA: Romney 48%, Obama 47% -- Romney +3% in 2 weeks (ARG)

The ABC/Washington Post poll is a particularly noteworthy one as it is a high-quality poll that uses live interviews and polls cell phones. As I spoke about in yesterday's robo-polls vs. live-polls article, the premium live-interview pollsters (ABC/Washington Post, NBC/WSJ/Marist, CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac, CNN, FOX News, etc.) are the polls that should be given the most credence, but unfortunately we have not gotten as many polls from those outlets this time around as we did in 2008. Considering we are three weeks from election day, the lack of polling from reputable pollsters is pretty stunning, particularly for key swing states like Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. It leaves a lot of states in a somewhat ambiguous state in terms of trying to figure out where they stand.

All that being said, it's somewhat pointless to get into today's polls too much, as everything could change tomorrow following the debate (plus the only two state polls are from ARG, a firm with one of the worst track records of all pollsters). For now, things seem to have settled down a bit. Romney's post-debate bounce looks to have peaked, but it also looks like a lot of it has stuck, leaving us in a "new normal" of a national race that is within the margin of error and an electoral college that still favors Obama largely due to his persistent and resistant lead in Ohio. Obama appears to have hit his floor a few days ago and has been making a slight rebound ever since, probably partly due to a rise in Democratic enthusiasm following the VP debate, and partly due to the natural fading of some of Romney's large post-debate bounce.

Obviously tomorrow's debate looms large. We have seen how quickly 3-5% of the electorate can shift support. We saw it following the Democratic convention and the 47% video, and we saw it again after the first debate. That small group seems somewhat soft on both candidates, and what happens tomorrow could set them off on their latest shift (or finally sell them on whoever they are currently with). But it goes without say that Obama will need to show a lot more fight tomorrow than he did in the first debate.

I'll have my full preview of the big debate up late tonight on No We Can't Politics (it won't be posted here) and, as usual, I'll be tweeting my debate thoughts live during the debate tomorrow, so be sure to follow me on Twitter.

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