Finally, a consistent theme from a day's worth of polling. From Nevada to Iowa, and from the national tracking polls to the generic old national polls, the theme was the same: For now, this thing looks damned tight.
Not only is this true at the top of the ballot, but also downballot, as well, where a GOP incumbent barely leads his Democratic rival, and where a new set of House polls (check beneath the fold for the details) hint that any sense that the GOP is a lock to keep their House majority might be in error.
It's not going to take much of a tailwind to make this election cycle very, very good (or, alternately, very, very bad).
On to the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (47-44)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (46-45)
COLORADO (NBC News/Marist): Obama d. Romney (46-45)
IOWA (NBC News/Marist): Obama tied with Romney (44-44)
NEVADA (NBC News/Marist): Obama d. Romney (48-46)
NEW YORK (Quinnipiac): Obama d. Romney (56-31)
OHIO (Rasmussen): Romney d. Obama (46-44)
WASHINGTON (Strategies 360): Obama d. Romney (51-40)
CA-PROP 28-TERM LIMITS (Field Poll): Support 50, Oppose 28A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump ...
CA-PROP 29-TOBACCO TAX (Field Poll): Support 50, Oppose 42
MO-GOV (PPP): Gov. Jay Nixon (D) 45, Dave Spence (R) 34; Nixon 46, Bill Randles (R) 32
MO-GOV--R (PPP): Dave Spence 32, Bill Randles 11, Fred Sauer 4, John Weiler 1
NV-SEN (NBC News/Marist): Sen. Dean Heller (R) 46, Shelley Berkley (D) 44
WI-GOV (Garin-Hart-Yang for Barrett): Gov. Scott Walker (R) 50, Tom Barrett (D) 48
- Midday, the campaign of Democratic challenger Tom Barrett dropped the latest in a series of Democratic-sponsored polls showing the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall elections far closer than public polling would seem to suggest. The latest campaign poll had Scott Walker up 50-48 on Barrett. This stood in fairly stark contrast to yesterday's Marquette Law poll, which had Walker leading by seven points. In a recurring theme, any critiques about "biased" campaign-sponsored polls have to be tempered a bit by the knowledge that the GOP is still sitting on their own data, raising questions about whether their data shows something similar to what the Democrats show. At a minimum, it seems unlikely that their numbers are as good, or better, than some of the public numbers we have seen.
- At the presidential level, both national tracking polls, to say nothing of the trio of NBC/Marist polls and the lone contribution from the House of Ras, all paint a very consistent picture. With not one of the polls showing a lead of more than three points for either candidate, it is clear that both incumbent and challenger are unable, at this moment, to claim a clear advantage. President Obama still seems to have a bit of a built-in edge in the electoral college (as Markos noted on Wednesday), but even these battleground state polls hint at tighter races in three of those states (Colorado, Iowa and Nevada).
- Downballot, meanwhile, Aaron Blake noted that two polls out this week looking at House battlegrounds put the GOP in a potentially perilous position. While they did not seem to do direct candidate trial heats, they did look at incumbent favorabilities. Both polls (one a Democracy Corps effort, the other a Garin-Hart-Yang effort) showed the GOP incumbents with far more middling job approval or favorability numbers than their Democratic counterparts. For example, in the 28 GOP-held districts that Democracy Corps deemed the "most vulnerable" seats for the Republicans to hold, the Republican incumbents had a 37/36 job approval spread. By way of contrast, the two dozen Democratic incumbents were cruising with a 50/26 job approval. This is not necessarily surprising: The 2010 elections cleared out all of the low hanging Democratic fruit, and it is hard to imagine too many Democratic incumbents that will be in great peril (open seats and incumbent-on-incumbent redistricting battles, however, are another matter).
- The new poll out today from the respected California Field Poll seems to do a whale of a job of underscoring just how hard it is to measure support when a proposition or initiative is on the ballot. In the past week, the lead for Proposition 29 (the $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax) has ranged, depending on the pollster, from 8-28 points. Just yesterday, an LA Times-USC poll put the spread on that initiative at 61/33. Today, Field says the figure is closer to 50/42. The tobacco industry has tried to bury the tax under a deluge of negative advertising to the tune of over $40 million. We'll know in five days if their largesse was money well spent.