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For a Monday, this is actually a fairly busy edition of the Polling Wrap, which might have something to do with the fact that the convention season is upon us.

PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:

NATIONAL (ABC/Washington Post): Romney d. Obama (47-46)

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

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Obama d. Romney (47-44)

NATIONAL (Resurgent Republic--R): Obama d. Romney (46-45)

NATIONAL (The Tarrance Group for the Public Notice): Obama d. Romney (47-46)

FLORIDA (CNN/Opinion Research): Obama d. Romney (50-46 LV; 51-42 RV)

MASSACHUSETTS (Kimball Consulting--R): Obama d. Romney (52-41)

MICHIGAN (Mitchell Research): Obama tied with Romney (47-47)

MISSOURI (Gravis Marketing--R): Romney d. Obama and Johnson (53-36-4)

MISSOURI (Mason Dixon for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Romney d. Obama (50-43)

NORTH CAROLINA (CNN/Opinion Research): Obama d. Romney (48-46 RV) Romney d. Obama (48-47 LV)

NORTH CAROLINA (SurveyUSA for High Point University): Obama tied with Romney (43-43)

OHIO (Columbus Dispatch): Obama tied with Romney (45-45)

PENNSYLVANIA (Global Strategy Group/National Research for the Philadelphia Inquirer): Obama d. Romney (51-42)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
MA-SEN (Kimball Consulting--R): Sen. Scott Brown (R) 49, Elizabeth Warren (D) 43

MI-SEN (Mitchell Research): Pete Hoekstra (R) 45, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) 44

MO-SEN (Gravis Marketing--R): Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 39, Todd Akin (R) 37

MO-SEN (Mason Dixon for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 50, Todd Akin (R) 41

OH-SEN (Columbus Dispatch): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 44, Josh Mandel (R) 44

PA-SEN (Global Strategy Group and National Research for the Philadelphia Inquirer): Sen. Bob Casey (D) 53, Tom Smith (R) 34

PA-06 (WPA Research for the Gerlach campaign): Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) 54, Manan Trivedi (D) 30

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

This smattering of pre-convention polls essentially amounts to a "build your own meme" Monday. Anyone who thinks they see a consistent and obvious theme out of today's dozen-plus polls either has masterful analytical skills, or is merely engaged in a little bit of cheerleading or doomsaying.

Conservatives will no doubt point to the Columbus Dispatch poll in Ohio, and that Mitchell Research poll in Michigan, as a sign that both a Mitt Romney presidency and a Republican-controlled Senate are well within range.

Democrats, undoubtedly, will fire back with CNN's poll in Florida, the Inquirer poll in Pennsylvania, and a pair of tightening polls in North Carolina, as signs that all is well for the president. It's pretty tough, outside of Missouri, to see today's polls downballot as a positive for the Democrats. And, if you think Todd Akin may still be straddling the fence on whether or not he stays on the ballot, the Missouri polls may not be great news, either.

So ... to offer a brief summation, today's numbers make decent arguments for either political party to claim an upper hand, or at least a strengthening hand, as we head into the convention fortnight. After all, when two Republican pollsters cannot even conjure up a lead for the GOP nominee, but ABC and Gallup can? That's when you know you have descended, however temporarily, into an unpredictable moment in the campaign cycle.

In other polling news ...

  • Last week, we had some polls released from a new resource: a firm called Gravis Marketing. They released new numbers in Missouri today that had some pretty ridiculously good numbers for Mitt Romney, and considerably less savory numbers for Todd Akin. As it happens, their release showed it to be a co-effort with something called NorthStar Campaign Systems. Given that said firm makes no bones about its partisan positioning, the Wrap will identify their polls with an "R".

    "Well, why don't you do that for PPP?", someone will invariably whine. The answer is actually really simple. Because, like Rasmussen, their partisan positioning is already well known.

  • CNN, through their polling outfit (Opinion Research) are back with another pair of polls on the heels of their national poll late last week. Like last week's national poll, which had a chasm between their results among registered voters and likely voters, today's polls had smaller, but still present, gaps between the two. In Florida, the margin among registered voters was close to double digits, which "sounds" a lot more impressive than a comparably modest four-point lead. In North Carolina, the president actually had edged into a two-point advantage among registered voters, whereas Romney maintained a narrow one-point "lead" among likely voters.
  • In the other North Carolina poll today (conducted by SurveyUSA on behalf of High Point University), what is even more notable about the tie between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is the fact that this is, on balance, not a particularly good sample for Democrats. African-Americans remain in the teens in the sample, below the 23 percent of the vote they comprised in the 2008 exit polls. The D/R split in the sample is also considerably narrower than it was in the 2008 exit polls. While it is certainly plausible that the D/R gap has eroded in North Carolina since 2008 (though the Democrats still have a sizable lead in voter registration), it seems relatively implausible that there will be substantially fewer African-Americans in the electorate this fall. In other words, this poll does not necessarily represent the ceiling for Obama, given that this is, if anything, a slightly pessimistic sample for the Democrats.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Aug 27, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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