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Welcome to ass-backwards Wednesday, where Republicans breathlessly flog a CBS poll, while Democrats turn to Fox News for a counterpoint.

No shit. It's been that kind of a week on the political data front. Democrats took a number of hits this week from less-than-encouraging polling (Wisconsin has been a particular disappointment, though there is still time left on the clock, and the margins remain quite close). And, then, out of nowhere, Fox News produces a poll that one feels confident will not get six seconds of airtime on their own network.

They'll probably flog the new Rasmussen polls, instead.

Here are the numbers:

PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:

NATIONAL (Fox News): Obama d. Romney (46-39)

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama tied with Romney (45-45)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-46)

NATIONAL (YouGov for the Economist): Obama d. Romney (46-42)

NEW JERSEY (Quinnipiac): Obama d. Romney (49-39)

NORTH CAROLINA (PPP): Obama d. Romney (48-47)

NORTH CAROLINA (Rasmussen): Romney d. Obama (51-43)

WISCONSIN (Marquette Law): Obama tied with Romney (46-46)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NH-GOV (PPP): Ovide Lamontagne (R) 40, Maggie Hassan (D) 39; Lamontagne 38, Jackie Cilley (D) 38; Hassan 37, Kevin Smith (R) 31; Cilley 37, Smith 32

NH-GOV—D (PPP): Maggie Hassan 23, Jackie Cilley 20

NH-GOV—R (PPP): Ovide Lamontagne 53, Kevin Smith 13

NJ-SEN (Quinnipiac): Sen. Robert Menendez (D) 45, Joseph Kyrillos (R) 35

RI-01—D (Fleming and Associates): Rep. David Cicilline 40, Anthony Gemma 36

WI-GOV (Marquette Law): Gov. Scott Walker (R) 50, Tom Barrett (D) 44

WI-LT GOV (Marquette Law): Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) 47, Mahlon Mitchell (D) 41

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

  • Just as Democrats immediately leapt upon that CBS poll and went after dissecting its internal sample issues, Republicans wasted no time going after today's Fox News release showing the president with a solid lead over Mitt Romney. The culprit, they argued, was a pretty wide gulf between self-identified Democrats (42 percent) and Republicans (34 percent), a wider gap than was even identified in the 2008 exit polling. Oddly, though, their recent poll had a similar D-to-R gap (six points), but showed the race tied. So, this cannot merely be attributed to an overly optimistic sample for the Democrats.
  • Meanwhile, the polling picture in general in the race for the White House continues to make ... well ... very little sense. Any Mitt Romney "surge", as measured by national polls, has (at a minimum) hit a plateau. What was a House of Ras lead of eight points for the challenger over the weekend is down to one. What was a tied race in Fox's eyes late in April is now a seven-point Obama lead. A deadlocked poll for YouGov two weeks ago is now a narrow Obama advantage. However, at the same time, the state polls are looking worse for the president than they have in recent weeks. Even if you turn to PPP to offset that rather eye-popping Rasmussen poll in North Carolina, it needs to be pointed out that PPP has gone four points in the direction of Mitt Romney there since the last time they polled it. Wisconsin, albeit with samples better geared for the June recall, is closer than it has been all cycle. Alarming side note: the Marquette poll did not have Obama doing dramatically better when the sample was not screened for likely voters. Among merely registered voters, the margin was two points in the president's favor.
  • PPP has started doing something intriguing—they have added a trial heat question invoking Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. His impact is both respectable, and minimal. He draws mid-single digits in North Carolina (6 percent), but scarcely changes the margin (Obama goes from a 1-point edge to a 2-point lead). In New Hampshire, a similar dynamic developed: he got 7 percent, and gave Obama an incrementally bigger lead (51-38).
  • Downballot, aside from that Wisconsin poll, we see an almost comically undefined set of numbers out of the Granite State. An analytical look at those numbers, though, paints a bad picture for the Republicans. Both Democrats are still empty vessels—neither of them even approach 50 percent name recognition. Republican Ovide Lamontagne is the best-known candidate in the field. That might explain why there are far more Democratic undecideds in the general election trial heats there than Republicans. One expects that when everyone comes off the fence, the polls will tilt several points to the good for either Maggie Hassan or Jackie Cilley. Speaking of New Hampshire, we're hoping to see some House numbers here, as well. Ironically, with two rematches in the works, the name rec for these races would probably be substantially higher than the open-seat gubernatorial affair.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed May 16, 2012 at 05:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, and Daily Kos.

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