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While there was quite a load of data on the presidential campaign beat today (much of the national polling, incidentally, coalescing around the same result—Obama +1), today was really a day for the battle for the balance of power in the U.S. Senate to take center stage. And, on balance, Democrats have to be pretty happy about where they stand in the quartet of races which showed new data today.

On to the numbers:

PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (46-45)

NATIONAL (PPP for Daily Kos/SEIU): Obama d. Romney (50-42)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (46-45)

NATIONAL (Reuters/Ipsos): Obama d. Romney (45-44)

NATIONAL (Tarrance Group--R): Obama d. Romney (47-46)

IOWA (Rasmussen): Romney d. Obama (47-46)

NEW YORK (Siena College): Obama d. Romney (59-35)

NORTH CAROLINA (PPP): Romney d. Obama (48-46)

NORTH DAKOTA (DFM Research for the N.D. Democratic Party): Romney d. Obama (50-36)

PENNSYLVANIA (Quinnipiac): Obama d. Romney (46-40)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
HI-SEN (Merriman River Group for Civil Beat): Ed Case (D) 52, Linda Lingle (R) 36; Mazie Hirono (D) 49, Lingle 44

HI-SEN--D (Merriman River Group for Civil Beat): Ed Case 46, Mazie Hirono 46

NV-SEN (PPP): Sen. Dean Heller (R) 44, Shelley Berkley (D) 43

ND-SEN (DFM Research for the N.D. Democratic Party): Heidi Heitkamp (D) 45, Rick Berg (R) 44

ND-SEN--R (DFM Research for the N.D. Democratic Party): Rick Berg 61, Duane Sand 19

OK-02—R (Cole Hargrove Snodgrass for Mullin): Markwayne Mullin 30, George Faught 15, Wayne Pettigrew 7

PA-SEN (Quinnipiac): Sen. Bob Casey (D) 51, Tom Smith (R) 32

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

  • Taken as a whole, Democrats have to be reasonably pleased with the four polls in key Senate races that dropped today. Democrats hold a lead in Hawaii, where the GOP is hyping well-funded former Gov. Linda Lingle. In fact, no matter the identity of the Democratic nominee, Lingle still trails. Meanwhile, any Republican designs on the Senate seat in Pennsylvania appear fanciful: Even with a fairly close race atop the ticket between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Republican Tom Smith is still getting bounced by incumbent Sen. Bob Casey. Meanwhile, Democrats have a real chance at the Nevada Senate seat held by appointed incumbent Dean Heller. Finally, a Democratic poll confirms what an independent poll last week by Mason Dixon had already stated—Republicans may have a tougher time picking up the open seat in North Dakota than anyone had anticipated. Taken as a whole picture, Democrats have to be pleasantly surprised about where they are right now. Much more than they were, say, six months ago.
  • The presidential numbers, meanwhile, are something of a mixed bag. President Obama still holds a modest, but real, lead in Pennsylvania, a state that is an essential piece in his coalition of states that would ensure his reelection. Meanwhile, he now trails by a tiny margin in North Carolina, a state that falls into the "would like to have, but doesn't need to have" coalition for the Democrats. However, that PPP poll in the Tar Heel State has Mitt Romney claiming a fairly high percentage of African-American voters. With African-Americans routinely about a quarter of the vote in the state, if that number is off even by 10 points or so, it could have a pretty profound impact on the topline numbers. Rasmussen also gives Romney the tiniest of edges in Iowa, but, at the end of the day, it is Rasmussen. A handful of days ago, however, NBC News/Marist also had this one close. Based on those new Senate numbers in Nevada, we can anticipate new presidential numbers out of there from PPP sooner rather than later.
  • Finally, a minor "hmm" moment in the polling, though it could well be nothing. Republican Markwayne Mullin dropped an internal poll showing a solid lead in the open seat in OK-02, the open seat abandoned by retiring conservaDem Dan Boren. However, he did not release any general election numbers when paired with former U.S. Attorney Rob Wallace, the likely Democratic nominee. I have no doubt that the Republicans will be favored to flip a seat that will probably go 65-35 or worse for Mitt Romney. But, assuming that Cole Hargrove Snodgrass polled the general election (and why wouldn't they?), why not release it?
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