One theme that has marked this week thus far, and a theme most Democrats will find amenable, has been one in which Barack Obama has done marginally better in trial heats with Mitt Romney than he had done for most of the month of May.
Quite a bit of today's data (a new independent poll in Virginia, coupled with a GOP-sponsored poll in Wisconsin) buttresses that theme. But there was also a new poll out of Michigan (by local pollsters EPIC-MRA) that went in a dramatically different direction, while the Gallup tracker also headed in a red direction. And then, later in the day, Purple Strategies dropped their latest set of battleground polls which included an Ohio poll which recalls the old song "One of These Ones is Not Like the Others."
Ultimately, today was (yet again!) one of those days where either side could cherry-pick to their heart's content.
On to the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-45)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Monmouth): Obama d. Romney (46-42)
NATIONAL (Purple Strategies): Obama d. Romney (48-46)
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Obama tied with Romney (46-46)
COLORADO (Purple Strategies): Obama d. Romney (48-46)
COLORADO (Rasmussen): Obama tied with Romney (45-45)
FLORIDA (Purple Strategies): Romney d. Obama (49-45)
MICHIGAN (EPIC-MRA): Romney d. Obama (46-45)
MINNESOTA (PPP): Obama d. Romney (54-39)
OHIO (Purple Strategies): Romney d. Obama (48-45)
VIRGINIA (Purple Strategies): Obama d. Romney (49-46)
VIRGINIA (Quinnipiac): Obama d. Romney (47-42)
WISCONSIN (We Ask America): Obama d. Romney (48-43)
FL-SEN (PPP): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 49, Connie Mack IV (R) 36; Nelson 48, George LeMieux (R) 35; Nelson 47, Mike McCallister (R) 33; Nelson 47, Dave Weldon (R) 31A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump...
FL-SEN—R (PPP): Connie Mack IV 34, George LeMieux 13, Mike McCallister 10, Dave Weldon 6
MI-SEN (EPIC-MRA): Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) 49, Pete Hoekstra (R) 38
ND-SEN (Mason Dixon): Heidi Heitkamp (D) 47, Rick Berg (R) 46; Heitkamp 46, Duane Sand (R) 38
ND-SEN—R (Mason Dixon): Rick Berg 73, Duane Sand 16
PA-07 (GBA Strategies for Badey): Rep. Pat Meehan (R) 50, George Badey (D) 30
- Speaking of prevailing themes, an old theme seems to be getting resurrected this week. Once again, we are seeing a very clear disconnect between what the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls are doing, and what other standard-issue national polls are showing. Perhaps it is a matter of screening—Monmouth's 4-point lead for Obama among registered voters evaporated (down to a single point) when a likely voter screen was tossed onto it.
- Purple Strategies is back for another round, where they had mixed results. President Obama did incrementally better in Colorado and Virginia, and incrementally worse in Florida. But they had a dramatic difference in Ohio, and one that begs for some data to either confirm it, or refute it. An eight-point shift is pretty damned sizable, especially when none of their other polls moved more than two points. This is definitely one of those "things that make you go hmm", because even in his best days, Mitt Romney has always looked kind of crappy in Ohio.
- The big downballot news is an independent poll (by Mason Dixon, no less!) showing Heidi Heitkamp leading in North Dakota. That's definitely worthy of a "wow", and confirms her own optimistic internal polling earlier in the Spring. GOP calculations for reclaiming the U.S. Senate always have factored in North Dakota. Absent that one, they need to hold one of their own tougher holds, pick off another Democrat that currently looks OK, or start furiously kissing the arse of Angus King.
- Speaking of the Senate, Democrats have to be fairly buoyant about that double-digit lead for Debbie Stabenow over Pete "Spend-it-not" Hoekstra in Michigan, given that said poll was absolutely (almost comically) brutal on the presidential level. Unless you really think Romney's carrying Michigan (and it's hard to find someone who does), then you have to be pretty certain that Stabenow really is up double digits in the state, despite underwater (43/49) job approval.
- Finally, you might be wondering why Democrat George Badey felt the need to release an internal poll showing him getting smooshed by twenty points. The simple answer is to try to put this race on the radar by (a) showing that Meehan is still stuck at 50, and (b) showing that Barack Obama is carrying the district. Badey still needs to find a way to close that gap, of course, and that could be a tall order, absent a lot more fundraising chops than we've seen to date.