But, hey, there's no crying in polling analysis, so let's get on with it. The problem today, in all candor, is trying to find a coherent theme for the day. I suppose if one exists, it is that a number of rapidly developing memes took a shot in the gut today. It was almost like today was some kind of an homage to ESPN football analyst Lee Corso, the former coach who is fond of refuting his colleagues with a pointed statement that begins with the words "not so fast, my friend!"
Think the GOP is safe in the battle for control of the Speaker's gavel? Not so fast, my friend!
Think Elizabeth Warren is a lock in Massachusetts, and that Arizona will stay red at the Senate level? Not so fast, my friend!
Think that Mitt Romney's 47 percent comment would devastate his prospects in national polling? Not so fast, my friend!
And, friends, don't even try to make sense of the presidential state polling. It is an invitation to utter confusion.
With that in mind, on to the numbers:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama 47, Romney 47DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Ipsos/Reuters): Obama 48, Romney 43 (LV); Obama 48, Romney 38 (RV)
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking w/leaners): Obama 50, Romney 47
NATIONAL (Univ. of Connecticut): Obama 46, Romney 43
CALIFORNIA (PPIC): Obama 53, Romney 39
COLORADO (NBC News/Marist): Obama 50, Romney 45 (LV); Obama 50, Romney 44 (RV)
COLORADO (YouGov): Obama 49, Romney 45
CONNECTICUT (Univ. of Connecticut): Obama 53, Romney 32
FLORIDA (Caddell and McLaughlin--R): Romney 48, Obama 44
FLORIDA (We Ask America--R): Obama 49, Romney 46
FLORIDA (YouGov): Obama 48, Romney 46
IOWA (NBC News/Marist): Obama 50, Romney 42 (LV); Obama 51, Romney 40 (RV)
IOWA (Rasmussen): Romney 47, Obama 44
IOWA (YouGov): Obama 48, Romney 42
MASSACHUSETTS (Univ. of Mass-Lowell): Obama 59, Romney 36 (LV); Obama 60, Romney 35 (RV)
MICHIGAN (Glengariff Group for the Detroit News): Obama 52, Romney 38
MICHIGAN (YouGov): Obama 51, Romney 42
NEVADA (CNN/ORC): Obama 49, Romney 46 (LV); Obama 50, Romney 44 (RV)
NEVADA (Rasmussen): Obama 47, Romney 45
NEVADA (YouGov): Obama 51, Romney 43
NEW HAMPSHIRE (YouGov): Obama 47, Romney 40
NORTH CAROLINA (High Point University): Obama 46, Romney 43
NORTH CAROLINA (YouGov): Obama 46, Romney 46
OHIO (Caddell and McLaughlin--R): Obama 47, Romney 44
OHIO (YouGov): Obama 47, Romney 44
PENNSYLVANIA (Susquehanna Research--R): Obama 48, Romney 47
PENNSYLVANIA (We Ask America--R): Obama 48, Romney 42
PENNSYLVANIA (YouGov): Obama 52, Romney 43
VIRGINIA (YouGov): Obama 48, Romney 44
WISCONSIN (NBC News/Marist): Obama 50, Romney 45 (LV); Obama 51, Romney 43 (RV)
WISCONSIN (PPP): Obama 52, Romney 45
WISCONSIN (Rasmussen): Obama 49, Romney 46
WISCONSIN (YouGov): Obama 48, Romney 46
AZ-SEN (Unidentified Republican Pollster): Richard Carmona (D) 44, Jeff Flake (R) 39A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump...
FL-SEN (We Ask America--R): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 47, Connie Mack IV (R) 42
FL-SEN (YouGov): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 44, Connie Mack IV (R) 40
MA-SEN (Univ. of Mass-Lowell): Sen. Scott Brown (R) 49, Elizabeth Warren (D) 45 (LV); Sen. Scott Brown (R) 50, Elizabeth Warren (D) 44 (RV)
MI-SEN (Glengariff Group for the Detroit News): Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) 50, Pete Hoekstra (R) 34
MI-SEN (YouGov): Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) 46, Pete Hoekstra (R) 40
NV-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Dean Heller (R) 42, Shelley Berkley (D) 41
NV-SEN (YouGov): Sen. Dean Heller (R) 42, Shelley Berkley (D) 35
NJ-SEN (Fairleigh Dickinson): Sen. Robert Menendez (D) 50, Joe Kyrillos (R) 36 (LV); Sen. Robert Menendez (D) 49, Joe Kyrillos (R) 33 (RV)
OH-SEN (YouGov): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 46, Josh Mandel (R) 42
PA-SEN (YouGov): Bob Casey (D) 46, Tom Smith (R) 38
VA-SEN (YouGov): Tim Kaine (D) 43, George Allen (R) 42
WI-SEN (NBC News/Marist): Tammy Baldwin (D) 48, Tommy Thompson (R) 46 (LV); Tammy Baldwin (D) 49, Tommy Thompson (R) 44
WI-SEN (YouGov): Tommy Thompson (R) 48, Tammy Baldwin (D) 42
NC-GOV (YouGov): Pat McCrory (R) 48, Walter Dalton (D) 32
CA-10 (DCCC IVR): Jose Hernandez (D) 46, Rep. Jeff Denham (R) 44
IL-08 (Tarrance Group for the Walsh campaign): Tammy Duckworth (D) 47, Rep. Joe Walsh (R) 45
ME-01 (Maine Peoples Resource Center): Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) 60, Jon Courtney (R) 32
ME-02 (Maine Peoples Resource Center): Rep. Mike Michaud (D) 56, Kevin Raye (R) 37
MI-01 (PPP for the League of Conservation Voters): Gary McDowell (D) 44, Rep. Dan Benishek (R) 42
RI-01 (Feldman Group for the Cicilline campaign): Rep. David Cicilline (D) 46, Brendan Doherty (R) 36, David Vogel (I) 7
So...what are we to make from this heaping helping of fresh data?
The hardest thing to try to divine out of this are the numbers at the top of the ticket. It looks like, at least provisionally, we are seeing the re-emergence of one of our favorite electoral themes from the Spring: substantial divergence between state and national numbers. Obama's national poll numbers, when paired with Mitt Romney, are fairly "meh" today. A new University of Connecticut poll had Obama up by just three points (and actually trailing in what the college kids dubbed the "battleground states"), and Gallup returned to all square for the first time in nearly a month, confounding all expectations, especially after the Romney "47 percent" shitstorm on Monday.
But the state polls, on balance, looked pretty damned good for Team Obama. Republicans will no doubt continue to take NBC and Marist's name in vain, for the polling partnership, as it did last week, produced three outstanding polls for Barack Obama in swing states. Worse still: the leads got even bigger (and Iowa into double digits) when the screen was merely one of registered voters.
The RV/LV gap was an issue elsewhere, as well. What would be a reasonably impressive six-point lead for Obama in Nevada got crunched down to three points, according to the likely voter screen employed by CNN/ORC. And, nationally, a modest five-point edge among likely voters in the Ipsos-Reuters online tracking poll jumped up to a full ten-point lead among registered voters.
The most confounding set of polls, arguably, were the new numbers from online pollsters YouGov. Now, regular readers of the Wrap know the automatic skepticism that accompanies online samples in these parts (indeed, the only poll that will never see light of day in the Wrap, because of poor past performance, is the online polling from Zogby). However, YouGov did a pretty solid job of finding the fairway in 2010, and thus have earned some latitude.
But...man...today their numbers were just plain bizarre. The presidential numbers seemed pretty fair--indeed, if anything, they seemed to favor Obama. But their Senate numbers were generally lousy for the Democrats. For example, they were the only pollster in the past week or so to give Tommy Thompson any kind of a lead, and YouGov actually had him plus-6! Likewise, even as the House of Ras showed tightening in the Nevada Senate race, YouGov gave GOP incumbent Dean Heller a relatively solid cushion of seven points.
YouGov was not the only pollster to make you go "hmm" on Thursday. U-Mass Lowell jumped into the fray, becoming the only pollster this week to defy the trend and claim that GOP Sen. Scott Brown was still out in front in his re-election bid against Elizabeth Warren. Are they the only voice of reason in the Bay State? Well, and this is purely anecdotal, I'm a skeptic. Tonight's Warren-Brown debate dropped some inadvertent hints, one would think. For what it is worth, Scott Brown's demeanor was not one of a guy whose internal polling is telling him that he is cruising. Across the country, a new GOP poll (more on this later) was equally confounding, as it became the first poll to show Democrat Richard Carmona as the slight leader to pick up a seat for the Democrats in Arizona. The poll had him up five points over Republican congressman Jeff Flake. Even Carmona's own polling, up to this point, has had him tied or down a point or two.
Meanwhile, a case continues to build that Democrats have a nonzero chance of reclaiming the House, and that it is quite possible that chance is escalating by the day. Two more GOP incumbents are trailing in internal polling, and the funniest thing is that one of them (freshman Rep. Joe Walsh) is trailing in his own internal polling. A dusty (mid-August) poll for his campaign had him down two. Presumably, that saw the light of day because Walsh wanted to convince the NRCC (and donors) that he is not in full rigor mortis just yet, and was still worthy of some aid and comfort.
In other polling news...
- Easily, my favorite polling story of the week is that Arizona poll. Not for the topline result, although every Democrat without a doubt welcomes seeing a race that has routinely been viewed as "Likely R" become a legitimate threat to flip to the Democrats. Nope, it is the cloak-and-dagger secrecy that accompanies this poll. As the local affiliate there notes in their write-up of the survey, it was conducted by a Republican pollster. But the identity of said pollster is still unknown, because it was apparently leaked without authorization. Translation: GOP firm polled the race, got shitty numbers, and was not going to release them publicly. Until someone with access to said numbers, for whatever motive, decided to alert the media. If nothing else, this will almost certainly spur some public pollster to give 'Zona a shot, even if it looks right now like Barack Obama is not going to play in this state, conceding its 11 electoral votes to the GOP.
- Today's "gotta be kidding me" poll today has to belong to local pollsters Susquehanna Polling and Research, who were apparently contracted by the Pennsylvania GOP to produce some numbers. And, boy, did they produce. The problem is that, in this data-heavy part of the cycle, it did not take ten minutes for their numbers to be immediately contradicted. Their Obama +1 finding was not only contradicted by YouGov (who found Obama up by 9 points), but also a fellow GOP firm (We Ask America, who had Obama +6). The write-up of the poll does bring good news for Democrats: the head of the PA-GOP says that the Romney campaign is not conceding the state, and will be advertising there soon. Democrats, who remember the late-in-the-game Hail Mary attempt by the McCain campaign in the Keystone State in 2008, will surely welcome that call.
- In Susquehanna's defense, however, their Senate numbers, while a joke, are a bit less so. If there is a Democratic seat viewed as safe that might warrant a second look, it is this one. Bob Casey still leads, and still leads rather comfortably, but his numbers have noticeably sagged in the past couple of weeks. Not only did Susquehanna find the lulzy three-point margin, but YouGov had the race at 8 points. What's more: a Muhlenberg College poll earlier in the week still had Casey up double-digits, but had him down to 45 percent. Indeed, he has been at 45-46 percent in the last three polls out of Pennsylvania. Now, given how comparably far behind Smith is, I don't see this as a cause for panic yet. But there is a clear movement, and it does merit watching.