Yeah. What the hell was I thinking?!
There may be small respites between now and November 6, but it would be a safe bet that the polling load will, more often than not, look like yesterday's (28 distinct polls) and today's (a "holy crap" tally of 34 distinct polls).
Today's data is in a strange place. It is far enough removed from the Democratic Convention to no longer simply discount it as "bounce" data, but it also does not really factor in yesterday's critically important news out of the Middle East. Not that today's data (especially the downballot stuff) isn't important, it is just that I'd expect the presidential numbers to shift sooner rather than later. I am not absolutely sure which direction it will go (though I have some suspicions), but I cannot imagine the numbers standing pat.
On to the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Democracy Corps--D): Obama d. Romney (50-45)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (50-44)
NATIONAL (Ipsos-Reuters Tracking): Obama d. Romney (48-41 LV; 45-39 RV)
NATIONAL (Langer Research for Esquire/Yahoo!): Obama d. Romney (50-46 LV; 52-41 RV)
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-46)
CALIFORNIA (Pepperdine University): Obama d. Romney (55-33)
COLORADO (American Research Group): Obama d. Romney (49-47)
COLORADO (Keating/OnSight): Obama d. Romney (49-44)
FLORIDA (Consensus Communications): Obama tied with Romney (42-42)
FLORIDA (McLaughlin and Associates--R): Romney d. Obama (50-47)
FLORIDA (NBC/Marist): Obama d. Romney (49-44 LV; 50-42 RV)
FLORIDA (Rasmussen): Obama d. Romney (48-46)
MINNESOTA (PPP): Obama d. Romney (51-44)
MISSOURI (Rasmussen): Romney d. Obama (48-45)
MISSOURI (Wenzel Strategies for Citizens United--R): Romney d. Obama (57-38)
NEW HAMPSHIRE (Univ. of New Hampshire): Obama d. Romney (45-40)
NEW YORK (Quinnipiac): Obama d. Romney (62-34)
OHIO (American Research Group): Obama d. Romney (48-47)
OHIO (NBC/Marist): Obama d. Romney (50-43 LV; 50-41 RV)
OHIO (Rasmussen): Obama d. Romney (47-46)
VIRGINIA (NBC/Marist): Obama d. Romney (49-44 LV; 49-42 RV)
CA-SEN (Pepperdine University): Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) 52, Elizabeth Emken (R) 30A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump... But, first, a quick heads-up to our Daily Kos Elections readers and pals. With the increased polling volume, and anticipating future volume, the Wrap will be scheduled to appear on your intertubes about ninety minutes later than you have come to expect. Look for it at 9:30 PM Eastern, and 6:30 PM Pacific, from now till the election. And now...jump!
FL-SEN (NBC/Marist): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 51, Connie Mack IV (R) 37
MN-SEN (PPP): Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) 55, Kurt Bills (R) 36
MO-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 49, Todd Akin (R) 43
MO-SEN (Wenzel Strategies for Citizens United--R): Todd Akin (R) 48, Claire McCaskill (D) 43
MT-GOV (PPP): Steve Bullock (D) 44, Rick Hill (R) 39
NY-SEN (Quinnipiac): Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) 64, Wendy Long (R) 27
NY-01 (Siena): Rep. Tim Bishop (D) 52, Randy Altschuler (R) 39
NY-24 (Siena): Dan Maffei (D) 43, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) 43, Ursula Rozum (G) 7
NC-07 (North Star Opinion Research for YG Action--R): Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) 49, David Rouzer (R) 40
OH-SEN (NBC/Marist): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 49, Josh Mandel (R) 42
OK-01 (Cole Hargrave Snodgrass for the Bridenstine campaign): Jim Bridenstine (R) 50, John Olson (D) 21, Craig Allen (I) 6
VA-SEN (NBC/Marist): Tim Kaine (D) 46, George Allen (R) 46
Can we draw any firm conclusions from today's cacophony of polling data? Well, we can conclude that Republicans are the kings of wishful thinking. In my perusing of the internets looking for data today, I came across no less than two dozen right-wing blog posts hyping the bejeezus out of the Rasmussen tracking poll. The teabaggers were down on the House of Ras earlier in the week, but now that we are in "let Ras be Ras" mode, every winger cited that poll as definitive evidence that the Romney-Ryan Express was back on the tracks.
The overwhelming majority of the other polls, however, painted a far bleaker picture for Team Mittens. The biggest blow came at the end of the day, when the (now-weekly) NBC News/Marist state polling found Obama staked to solid leads in three of the most critical tossup states on the map: Florida, Ohio, and Virginia.
That one had to leave a mark, especially since it showed two Democratic Senate incumbents often limned as endangered (Bill Nelson of Florida and Sherrod Brown of Ohio) looking much stronger than pre-convention polling had hinted.
In the smattering of national polls, a consistent conclusion is, quite frankly, pretty hard to come by. The tracking polls floated around with no discernible track to them. After stretching out for a week, Gallup's Obama bounce receded by a point (and his net approval rating fell back below 50 percent). But the Ipsos-Reuters tracking poll gave Obama his biggest lead among likely voters to date, a seven-point edge. Rasmussen, as mentioned earlier, was Rasmussen. The other national polls showed an Obama lead of varying sizes. Of all of them, the most intriguing one might've been one from Langer Research (who, I could've sworn, was also the pollster for ABC). That poll, done for Yahoo! and Esquire Magazine, showed a chasm between RVs and LVs. Even among LVs, though, Obama seemed solid. With RVs, though, the margin would exceed every winning margin for an incumbent president going all the way back to Reagan '84.
Downballot, the general consensus is that the Senate still hinges on a bunch of coin flips, and control of that chamber could really go either way. Democrats have to feel a little bit better about Ohio and Florida, like I said, and the gazillions of dollars thrown at trying to crush Tim Kaine's candidacy in Virginia have only brought George Allen to all square in that race. However, Missouri is an interesting one. Two Republican polls show the race close, with Wenzel giving Todd Akin the edge (more on them later). Here is where the curiosity sets in, however. We have seen zero Democratic polling of late in this race. Is that because the data is really bad for Claire McCaskill? Or, alternately, is it because the data for McCaskill is really good, but they don't want to give the GOP another reason to usher Todd Akin out of the race before the official 9/25 drop dead date for candidate withdrawals?
In other polling news...
- Almost everyone who looks at the polls knows that, with every passing day, there is going to be a poll that totally defies any rational explanation, and simply needs to be laughed off. Congratulations to Wenzel Strategies for providing today's example. The Senate topline alluded to earlier is not the crazy one, though. It is their presidential topline, where they claim that (a) Mitt Romney had 62 percent favorability ratings in the Show-Me State, and (b) he leads the president by nineteen points. If anyone at Wenzel would like to bet me $100 (to our favorite charities, of course), I'd gladly take the president and be spotted the nineteen point spread.
- Today was also the day for a mystery pollster. So, any Florida polling peeps: who the hell is Consensus Communications, and how seriously should we take them? They were one of four pollsters to chime in on the Sunshine State, giving Barack Obama and Mitt Romney an equal 42 percent share of the vote. GOP pollsters McLaughlin and Associates gave Romney a lead, an island on which even the House of Ras refused to join them.
- Those California polls, taken as an internet-based survey done by the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy, also had a bunch of polls on the pending state propositions. Almost without exception, those downballot numbers were great news for progressives. Support for the corporate-backed Proposition 32, which seeks to curb union influence on politics while granting shit-tons of loopholes for Corporate America, has seen the bottom fall out of its support. It still polls at 53 percent, but that is nearly ten points lower than it polled last month. Meanwhile, Prop 30, which is the Governor's tax initiative aimed at funding education and other public services, is still polling well over 50 percent, with little erosion in support after the consortium's first month of polling.