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Now that the major players in the 2012 presidential sweepstakes are absolutely clear, we got our first small dose of post-Santorum national polling to kickoff the week.

Firm conclusions, meanwhile, are pretty hard to come by. Two pollsters kicked off the week by putting Barack Obama a few points behind Mitt Romney. Before the drape measuring begins, however, there are two critical caveats. Caveat #1: two other pollsters give the president the lead, and one by a not-insignificant margin. Caveat #2: both pollsters offering a Romney lead are pollsters that have been more bullish than the norm for the GOP this year.

First, the numbers shall flow. Then, the analysis will follow.


NATIONAL (CNN/Opinion Research): Romney 57, Gingrich 19, Paul 18
NATIONAL (CNN/Opinion Research): Obama d. Romney (52-43)

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-45)

NATIONAL (Ipsos/Reuters): Obama d. Romney (47-43)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-44)

WISCONSIN (PPP for Daily Kos): Obama d. Romney (50-44)

AZ-02/AZ-08 (National Research-R): Jesse Kelly (R) 49, Ron Barber (D) 45; Barber 42, Martha McSally (R) 42

NC-GOV--D (Tulchin Research-D): Bob Etheridge 32, Walter Dalton 22, Bill Faison 4

WI-GOV (PPP for Daily Kos): Gov. Scott Walker (R) 50, Tom Barrett (D) 45; Walker 50, Kathleen Falk (D) 43; Walker 51, Doug LaFollette (D) 40; Walker 50, Kathleen Vinehout (D) 38

WI-GOV--D (PPP for Daily Kos): Tom Barrett 38, Kathleen Falk 24, Doug LaFollette 9, Kathleen Vinehout 6

WI-LT GOV (PPP for Daily Kos): Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) 46, Mahlon Mitchell (D) 40

WI-SEN (PPP for Daily Kos): Tommy Thompson (R) 47, Tammy Baldwin (D) 45; Baldwin 46, Mark Neumann (R) 45; Baldwin 47, Jeff Fitzgerald (R) 40

A few thoughts, as always, await you after the jump.

  • The big poll today was the one that was posted right here at Daily Kos. Wisconsin looks tricky, but doable, for the Democrats, as they head into the meat of the recall season. Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his allies have spent a mint trying to both soften up his Democratic opponents, and restore his rep a bit. It seems to have paid off incrementally, though he still sits right at 50 percent. That, coupled with the fact that the Democrats are three weeks away from having a nominee of their own, is key for him right now. But, and this has to be remembered, the Democrats will get one month to return fire. This one is far from over.
  • As for those presidential and Senate numbers, it is useful to remember a caveat here: this is a sample with a recall election likely voter screen. Since it is safe to say that the turnout will be higher in November than it will be in June, one can assume that the screen used in this poll might be a point or three to the good for the GOP. Case in point: the sample in this poll self-identified as being Obama +9 over John McCain in 2008. Obama won the state by fourteen points four years ago.
  • That spate of national polls, as has been the case recently, are all over the map. If you find it helpful, you can conclude that Barack Obama is somewhere between a nine-point lead and a three-point deficit. However, there is a consistency to these polls in one respect: all of them are incrementally worse for the president than previous offerings by the same pollsters. Gallup was Obama +4 a couple of weeks ago, and Ipsos-Reuters was Obama +11 last month. Rasmussen's numbers have been all over the map, but gave Obama a lead more often than not over the past month. CNN, finally, puts Mitt Romney way down, but actually two points closer than his standing in March.
  • A GOP pollster (though, apparently, for neither the NRCC nor the Kelly campaign) gives us the first look at the special election in what is presently Arizona's 8th district (but will become AZ-02 for the upcoming decade). Predictably, they have the leading Republican (2010 nominee Jesse Kelly) doing very well. Less predictably, they claim he has 93 percent name recognition in the poll. To say that I am dubious of that particular stat is the understatement of the day. The good news? We don't have to wait too long to find out if they are right or wrong: the special election to replace outgoing Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is next month, with a primary tomorrow night where Kelly is expected to clinch the GOP nomination. Oddly, said GOP primary was not polled (or, at least, if it was polled, it wasn't released).

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Daily Kos.

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