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Once again, Thursday provides us with "choose your own meme" day on the data front. If you are a devotee of Mitt Romney (and if you are, and reading this, you are presumably lost right now on the internets, or slightly masochistic), you will (yet again) point to Rasmussen as proof that all is well. Democrats, meanwhile, will be saving all their love for Pew.

On a comparably light Thursday (at least, when compared to the deluge of polls that have greeted us thus far this week), there's a poll for every narrative.

On to the numbers:

PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (47-45)

NATIONAL (Pew): Obama d. Romney (51-41)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (46-44)

NEW JERSEY (Fairleigh Dickinson): Obama d. Romney (49-36)

NORTH CAROLINA (Rasmussen): Romney d. Obama (49-44)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
CA-09 (Tarrance Group for Gill/NRCC): Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) 47, Ricky Gill (R) 45

LA-03 (Public Opinion Strategies for Boustany): Rep. Charles Boustany (R) 56, Rep. Jeff Landry (R) 20, "Fred Green" (D) 15; Boustany 61, Landry 23

MI-06—R (EPIC-MRA): Rep. Fred Upton 61, Jack Hoogendyk 31

MI-11—R (EPIC-MRA): Nancy Cassis 52, Kerry Bentvolio 36; "Someone Else" 40, Bentvolio 21

MO-GOV (Mason Dixon): Gov. Jay Nixon (D) 48, Dave Spence (R) 39; Nixon 50, Bill Randles (R) 35

MO-GOV—R (Mason Dixon): Dave Spence 41, Bill Randles 15, John Weiler 3, Fred Sauers 1

NJ-SEN (Fairleigh Dickinson): Sen. Bob Menendez (D) 45, Joe Kyrillos (R) 33

NY-18 (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for House Majority PAC/SEIU): Rep. Nan Hayworth (R) 48, Sean Patrick Maloney (D) 45

NY-21 (Anzalone-Liszt for the DCCC): Rep. Bill Owens (D) 50, Matt Doheny (R) 38, Donald Hassig (G) 4

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

At the presidential level, today is more or less an "as expected", with one giant exception.

The House of Ras is...well...the House of Ras. They continue to give Republican Mitt Romney the edge in a national trial heat, and they also give Romney a bigger lead in the battleground state of North Carolina than virtually every pollster that has entered the field there. Same old, same old.

Meanwhile, it seems like pretty much every poll released in the Garden State this year has been somewhere on a spectrum between Obama +8 and Obama +16. Fairleigh Dickinson pretty much hits the midpoint, staking Obama to a very secure 13-point advantage in New Jersey.

But then there's Pew. And Pew is definitely dropping an eye-popper in their latest national poll. It is the first double-digit edge for Barack Obama in their poll since the height of the GOP primary, a time when Mitt Romney's national polling numbers were at their deepest valley.

Conservatives will immediately cite that (a) Pew's numbers always tilt Democratic, and (b) this sample has way too few Republicans. The problem with that critique, on the surface, is that the Obama lead is wide enough that even if the party ID shift was retrofitted to a margin that was more amenable to the GOP, Obama would still hold a pretty sizable edge.

Plus, as Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics noted today, merely equating party ID from polls to past performance isn't always shrewd. And, as he notes (and I have been as guilty as anyone of this in my not-so-distant past), it is usually the last refuge of the campaign/advocate of the guy who is losing:

I say this, in part, because we’ve been having this debate for a very long time, and it usually goes nowhere. In 2004, re-weighting polls to reflect the 2000 exit polls was all the rage among Democratic bloggers. The argument went that Republicans hadn’t had parity with Democrats in polling in a very long time, so we should ignore polls showing Republicans even with Democrats, or perhaps even ahead of Democrats in terms of ID. Of course, the final exits showed a tie between the parties, as Republicans managed to turn out their base at “supercharged” levels.

Since then, the same thing has occurred in every election: The losing side objects to the partisan composition of polling. The polls then proceed to get the final result roughly correct.

An incredibly valid point.

In other polling news...

  • Who is Fred Green? Well, apparently, he is a figment of the imagination of the polling crew at P.O.S. In an effort to see if their client (incumbent Rep. Charles Boustany) would get dragged below 50 percent in the open primary in Louisiana (which takes place on Election Day), they conjured up a hypothetical Democrat and tested the impact. The answer: the impact was minimal. "Fred" got just 15 percent, and Boustany still led fellow incumbent Jeff Landry easily, remaining over 50 percent.
  • The Michiganders at EPIC-MRA also had an intriguing polling challenge, but not a unique one. They had to test a race where a candidate on the ballot was challenged by a write-in candidate. The race is the seat in MI-11 left open by the implosion of the political career of Republican Thad McCotter. Kerry Bentvolio, a teabagger that was already in the midst of a primary of McCotter, is now being challenged by establishment pick Nancy Cassis. Her late entry necessitated a write-in bid, but EPIC-MRA still has her as a betting favorite. But polling a write-in is notoriously difficult, as we learned in Alaska in 2010.
  • This doesn't make it into the top half of the Wrap because the polling is of a generic variety, but Democrats have to be extremely heartened by this new report out this week from Democracy Corps. If their numbers are legit (and despite being a Democratic outfit, their numbers have not been unduly optimistic in the past), Democratic control of the House is still quite plausible

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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