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For the first time, we get both uniform movement and results from the pair of daily tracking polls (Gallup and Rasmussen). Both of them edged incrementally in the direction of the president, and both polls also showed exactly the same result: a 46-46 tie between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Normally, that kind of consensus would seem to make an ironclad case that these polls are in the fairway of providing an accurate picture of the state of the presidential campaign. There is still enough contrary data out there, however, to make us wonder.

First, the numbers:

(GOP) PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY POLLING (yes...again!):

NORTH CAROLINA (SurveyUSA): Romney 55, Santorum 15, Paul 12, Gingrich 11
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama tied with Romney (46-46)

NATIONAL (PPP for Daily Kos/SEIU): Obama d. Romney (49-44)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Obama tied with Romney (46-46)

NORTH CAROLINA (SurveyUSA): Obama d. Romney (47-43)

VIRGINIA (PPP): Obama d. Romney (51-43); Obama d. Paul (50-39); Obama d. Gingrich (53-37)

WEST VIRGINIA (RL Repass and Partners): Romney d. Obama (54-37)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
KY-06 (Mellman Group for Chandler): Rep. Ben Chandler (D) 54, Andy Barr (R) 30

MT-AL (PPP): Steve Daines (R) 33, Kim Gillan (D) 27; Daines 36, Franke Willmer (D) 25

MT-AL—D (PPP): Kim Gillan 21, Diane Smith 13, Franke Willmer 11, Dave Strohmaier 9, Sam Rankin 4, Rob Stutz 1

MT-SEN (PPP): Sen. Jon Tester (D) 48, Denny Rehberg (R) 43

NV-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Dean Heller (R) 51, Shelley Berkley (D) 40

NC-GOV—D (SurveyUSA): Walter Dalton 32, Bob Etheridge 23, Gary Dunn 5, Bill Faison 5, Gardenia Henley 3, Bruce Blackmon 2

NC-GOV—R (SurveyUSA): Pat McCrory 65, Jim Harney 3, Scott Jones 3, Charles Kenneth Moss 3, Jim Mahan 2, Paul Wright 2

NC—ANTI-MARRIAGE EQUALITY AMENDMENT (PPP): Yes 55, No 41

NC—ANTI-MARRIAGE EQUALITY AMENDMENT (SurveyUSA): Yes 57, No 37

WV-GOV (RL Repass and Partners): Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) 60, Bill Maloney (R) 32

WV-SEN (RL Repass and Partners): Sen. Joe Manchin (D) 74, John Raese (R) 22

A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump...

  • So the two tracking polls, after two weeks of rather aimless drifting with little commonality in either their position or movement, seemed to be in unison over the past couple of days. Both showed movement (though in widely varying degrees) to Mitt Romney over the weekend, and were only a point apart on the margins yesterday. Today, both moved incrementally in the president's direction, and had the race knotted at 46. However, there are still reasons to have a skeptical eye—the national trackers are still coming nowhere near meshing with the available state polling. Two different pollsters give Barack Obama recognizable leads over Mitt Romney in North Carolina and Virginia. So, as I have stated before, you have to ask yourself—how can the race be tied nationally if Barack Obama leads by four in North Carolina and eight in Virginia? Even accounting for margin of error and all that, it seems implausible that the critical mass of state polling seems to hint at a pretty consistent lead for Barack Obama (albeit a quite modest one), but the national tracking polls vacillate all over the map. We haven't seen quite the same degree of volatility in the state maps. Also, despite all the movement in the daily trackers, PPP's weekly tracking poll of the presidential race has been exceptionally consistent: President Obama has led by margins of 6, 5, and 5 points in the three successive weeks.
  • Downballot, a couple of surveys caught my eye today. West Virginia shows us a level of ticket splitting that we don't often see, with Barack Obama trailing by 17 points but apparently generating now ill effects downticket for either Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin or Sen. Joe Manchin. Their leads are almost comically large, over gentlemen that have run against them before and performed fairly well.
  • Meanwhile, in Montana, another Senate seat that at least some folks were putting into the GOP column in pencil may not be so clear-cut, after all. Polls have consistently given Republican Denny Rehberg a narrow edge in his challenge of freshman Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. PPP's new poll, however, puts Tester up five points on Rehberg, a marked reversal of PPP's previous (albeit quite dusty) poll in Big Sky Country. On a related note, PPP also finds the GOP staked to a slight lead in the open-seat race to replace Rehberg in the House. If there is a bright spot for Democrats, the lead is not particularly large, the GOP frontrunner (Steve Daines) is way below 50 percent, and there appear to a lot of persuadable votes still out there in this contest still marked by low-name ID.
  • Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler gives us an object lesson today in rapid response. You might recall in yesterday's Polling Wrap that his Republican opponent, Andy Barr, leaked a dusty poll from the Kentucky 6th where he attempted to challenge the narrative that the state's status-quo redistricting had given Chandler the decisive edge in the newly-drawn district. Barr's poll showed him down just seven points to the incumbent, who barely managed the win in 2010. So Chandler swings back by dropping his own dusty poll, from late March, showing him staked to a 24-point lead. Nicely done, Congressman.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue May 01, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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