We have one of the busiest days in polling in awhile today, with 17 new swing state polls, along with the eight national daily trackers. The numbers are below, followed by my analysis.
* OHIO: Obama 50%, Romney 46% -- No change since 3 weeks ago (CNN)
* OHIO: Obama 46%, Romney 44% -- Romney +2% since 1 month ago (Purple)
* OHIO: Obama 49%, Romney 47% -- Obama +3% since 2 weeks ago (ARG)
* VIRGINIA: Obama 47%, Romney 47% -- Romney +3% since 1 month ago (Purple)
* VIRGINIA: Romney 47%, Obama 45% -- Romney +9% since 1 month ago (FOX News)
* FLORIDA: Romney 50%, Obama 48% -- Obama +3% since 1 week ago (Rasmussen)
* COLORADO: Obama 47%, Romney 46% -- Romney +2% since 1 month ago (Purple)
* IOWA: Obama 50%, Romney 46% -- No previous poll (Gravis)
* NEVADA: Obama 50%, Romney 49% -- No change since 3 weeks ago (Gravis)
* NORTH CAROLINA: Romney 48%, Obama 47% -- Romney +5% since 1 month ago (Civitas)
* NORTH CAROLINA: Romney 53%, Obama 45% -- Obama +1% since 2 weeks ago (Gravis)
* NORTH CAROLINA: Obama 47%, Romney 44% -- No change since 1 week ago (Grove)
* WISCONSIN: Obama 48%, Romney 43% -- Obama +2% since 1 week ago (Grove)
* WISCONSIN: Obama 49%, Romney 49% -- Romney +2% since 1 week ago (Rasmussen)
* NEW HAMPSHIRE: Obama 49%, Romney 46% -- No previous poll (New England College)
* NEW HAMPSHIRE: Obama 48%, Romney 45% -- No previous poll (Lake Research)
* NEW HAMPSHIRE: Obama 47%, Romney 44% -- No previous poll (Grove)
* NATIONAL: Obama 51%, Romney 45% -- Obama +1% since yesterday | Obama +4% since Wednesday (RAND)
* NATIONAL: Obama 47%, Romney 45% -- No change since yesterday | No change since Wednesday (IBD/TIPP)
* NATIONAL: Obama 47%, Romney 46% -- Obama +2% since yesterday | No change since Wednesday (Reuters)
* NATIONAL: Obama 48%, Romney 48% -- Romney +1% since yesterday | Obama +1% since Wednesday (Gallup RV)
* NATIONAL: Obama 48%, Romney 48% -- Romney +1% since yesterday | Obama +2% since Wednesday(Public Policy)
* NATIONAL: Romney 49%, Obama 48% -- Obama +2% since yesterday | No change since Wednesday (ABC/Washington Post)
* NATIONAL: Romney 50%, Obama 47% -- No change since yesterday | Obama +1% since Wednesday (Rasmussen)
* NATIONAL: Romney 51%, Obama 46% -- Romney +2% since yesterday | No change since Wednesday (Gallup LV)
* OVERALL AVERAGE OBAMA TRACKING POLL BOUNCE SINCE DEBATE: +1.0%
With three full days of post-debate samples now in all the daily tracking polls, Obama's net average bounce nationally sits at 1.0%. As I said in my debate review, even a 1%-2% bounce would be huge, and he appears to have gotten that. The question now becomes, will it last, or will it fade in the coming days?
The 16 swing state polls also continue to reinforce where we are at -- Obama is maintaining a stubborn lead in the electoral college, largely on the strength of Ohio, Iowa, and Nevada, but is also improving his positions in most swing states, with Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, and Virginia all looking like toss-ups now after shifting to lean-Romney 1-2 weeks ago. Most of today's polls came from partisan firms (Rasmussen, Gravis, Purple State Strategies, Grove, Civitas), and many had not posted new polls since prior to the first debate (particularly Purple State Strategies), so the trend line isn't as noteworthy as it is in polls that published one or two weeks ago and then again this week. The CNN Ohio poll is the one getting most of the attention today, and rightfully so, as Romney has failed to make any gains in the state over the past three weeks and remains behind by a fairly significant 4% margin. The trends of the polling averages, which I continue to stress as the most important polling numbers to follow, show positive Obama trends in virtually all the swing states compared to a week or two ago.
That being said, his average leads in Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, and New Hampshire do remain narrow. One thing that I think is starting to get some attention is the idea that Romney may actually have a better shot at flipping Wisconsin than Ohio. I have my doubts about that, seeing as Romney hasn't led a single poll of Wisconsin in months. But for arguments sake, let's say Romney is able to win Wisconsin and not Ohio, while Obama holds on to the rest of his firewall (Ohio, Iowa, and Nevada). Let's also put North Carolina and Florida in Romney's column. That leaves us at 267 Obama, 245 Romney. Romney would then need to sweep Virginia, Colorado, and New Hampshire just to get to 271.
What if Romney pulls out Ohio, but not Wisconsin? Again, let's give Romney North Carolina and Florida, along with Ohio, and give Obama the rest of his firewall (Iowa, Nevada, and Wisconsin). That puts Obama at 259, Romney at 253. Obama would then top 270 by either winning Virginia or winning both Colorado and New Hampshire.
My point here is that Obama has several paths to 270 without Ohio and several paths without Wisconsin. Hell, even if Obama lost Ohio AND Wisconsin, he could still get to 271 by holding on to Nevada and Iowa, and then adding in Colorado and Virginia. Obama continues to have a very favorable map, while Romney has no path to victory unless he flips at least Ohio or Wisconsin, along with Florida, North Carolina, and some combination of Colorado, Virginia, and New Hampshire. It's a difficult map and points to the inherent electoral problem he faces. He would need another 1-2% shift back to him nationally to get the electoral college in a true "toss up" position.
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