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After a mixed day of polling yesterday -- which served as a victory for the Romney campaign after three weeks of universally bad polling -- today's numbers reverted right back to universally bad. Many in the media jumped to the "race is tightening" headlines yesterday, but whatever minor shifts to Romney we saw in some polls yesterday wasn't really backed up today, meaning it may have just been statistical noise.

Here are the numbers, followed by my analysis.

Originally published at No We Can't Politics.

* VIRGINIA: Obama 48%, Romney 40% -- Obama +13% since March (Roanoke)
* NEVADA: Obama 53%, Romney 42% -- Obama +5% since July (WeAskAmerica)
* NEW HAMPSHIRE: Obama 54%, Romney 39% -- Obama +10% since 3 weeks ago (WMUR)
* COLORADO: Obama 49%, Romney 46% -- Romney +1% since June (WeAskAmerica)
* MISSOURI: Romney 48%, Obama 45% -- Obama +6% since July (WeAskAmerica)

Obama got some monster numbers in Virginia, Nevada, and New Hampshire. Hard to make any case of a Romney comeback with numbers like that. The Obama +15% in New Hampshire poll is probably an outlier, but regardless, it looks like New Hampshire is starting to come solidly back to Obama after flirting with Romney for a bit of time over the summer. Obama continues to have a small lead in Colorado, but it remains a stubborn state and one in which Romney has not seen the big fall he has gotten in states like Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, etc. over the past few weeks.

The Missouri number is also particularly interesting, as we've now seen a couple of polls showing a close race in the state. To put things in perspective, Romney's 5.0% average lead in Missouri is now smaller than Obama's 5.5% average lead in Ohio. Pretty amazing. I'm not really sure it makes much sense for the Obama campaign to invest many resources in Missouri, given that it is unlikely to be a tipping point state for them and they already have one state (North Carolina) that they're gambling in. Still though, interesting to see Missouri so close this year.

We also saw Obama expand his lead from 4% back to 6% in the Gallup poll. His decline in that poll yesterday, along with CNN's national poll showing the race going from a 6% Obama lead to a 3% Obama lead, were the main data points that got people thinking the race could be tightening. With Gallup now right back to the 6% lead they had before, it seems like the changes we're seeing right now are just minor statistical noise.

I also think that while the national race may have tightened ever so slightly, the swing states are not following that trend (NBC/WSJ will release a poll later today showing the national race tightening a bit, but Obama's large swing state leads holding up). Swing states seem to be operating in their own microcosm this year, a result of the enormous amount of money being spent there and the saturation of the two campaign having huge presences in those states. Until Romney can figure out how to get states like Ohio to tighten, the fundamentals of the race will remain the same. It doesn't really matter how much Romney wins Oklahoma by, or if Obama wins California by 3% less than he did in 2008. All that matters is the swing states, and Obama is currently in comfortable positions in most of them.

With the debate tomorrow, the poll numbers that will matter are the ones we begin to see over the weekend and next week, which will factor in the reactions to the debate. We should also get some instant polls from the major networks tomorrow right after the debate, which will give us an idea of who "won" and who "lost." I'll be posting my detailed preview of the debate late tonight at No We Can't Politics so be sure to check it out and bookmark the site. I'll also be tweeting live debate thoughts tomorrow so be sure to follow me on Twitter.

Originally published at No We Can't Politics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How do you know what the NBC poll is going to say (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKS, BradF, raincrow, rennert, oceanview

    later today?  Link?

  •  I don't think the polls actually tightened (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKS, raincrow, pademocrat

    I think there were a few days that Romney supporters couldn't actually bring themselves to say they supported him--to admit it, either to pollsters or to themselves.  But the trauma of his string of screw ups is receding a little, and so his supporters are willing to admit it again.  (For the moment.)

  •  nevada (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Looks good!

  •  I wouldn't campaign in AZ (4+ / 0-)

    There is a new GOP superpac funded by the guy who owns Ameritrade that started pouring close to $8 million into swing states last week.  Obama needs to increase his commitment there to maintain the same advantage that has helped to build his leads.

    In addition, I think more spending by the Obama campaign in Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado and Ohio would help with a lot of House races and Berkley's Senate race.  If there is extra $ to throw around, then they can look at AZ.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 02:03:16 PM PDT

    •  Actually, it's worse - Rove is dumping $11 Million (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in a ONE week attack ad exchange.

      On the presidential level, American Crossroads will spend $11 million on a spot called "Actually Happened," which focuses on the impact that President Obama said the stimulus would have on the unemployment rate. The spot features a man using charts and graphics to show where the president said unemployment would be around now, under 5.5 percent, compared to where it is, at 8.1 percent.
      "Crossroads launches $16 million buy in Senate, presidential contests" [ 10/2/2012]

      One interesting point is the ad campaign does include at least one lie namely that "we have fewer jobs now than when Obama took office", however due to the revised Bureau of Labor Statistics figures this is not true.
      "Ad watch: GOP super PAC makes biggest ad buy yet" [ 10/2/2012]

      Oh and by some accounts, Ricketts and the mysterious Americans for Job Security are dumping $18.7 in attack ad buys.  

      Americans for Job Security launched an ad in six swing states as part of an $8.7 million ad buy disclosed last week...The Ending Spending Action Fund, a new conservative group bankrolled by billionaire Joe Ricketts, was set to debut a $10 million, four-state ad campaign beginning Thursday.
      "Outside groups making play to help Romney with ads" [ 9/27/12]

      So, Obama can't afford to go on offense on Arizona or Missouri (though if he could - he would probably be able to swing them before the election).  

      Also it looks like the President is playing defensive in North Carolina.  North Carolina is one of the few states the Romney campaign alone is outspending the Obama campaign (see - the entry for North Carolina).  

  •  If you look... (12+ / 0-)

    at Nate Silver's latest forecast, Romney now has a 9% chance of winning Wisconsin, which is smaller than the 11% chance Obama has of winning Missouri and the 10% chance Obama has of winning Montana, and not much better than the 6% chance Obama has of winning Indiana.

    Pretty much any source showing Wisconsin (and really New Hampshire and possibly Ohio) still as "Tossup" should also be showing Missouri and Montana as "Tossup" too...but how many maps have you seen doing that?

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 02:07:53 PM PDT

    •  Most maps still show Ohio and VA as toss ups (6+ / 0-)

      despite the glut of polling there showing Obama there with leads of 4 or more. At this stage, thats what you call a lean. Many of these analysts are coloring NC a lean Romney on thinner evidence. There's a good reason though: They want to keep Obama under 270 so it doesn't look like a fait accompli.

      •  It's a sad explanation to the voters... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ms badger, 207wickedgood

        Of Ohio and Virginia and an apology for having those voters endure more and more political ads in the next few weeks.  "Everyone, we're sorry you guys have to endure these ads.  We want your states to be tossups but we can't bring ourselves to admit that your states are going for Obama."


        The most dangerous... programs, from a movement conservative's point of view, are the ones that work the best and thereby legitimize the welfare state. Krugman

        by BasharH on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 02:38:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Real Clear Politics (0+ / 0-)

        Real Clear Politics should tip Nevada to Obama.  The average is over 5 points.  Maybe they haven't yet because it would put him over 270.  He's at 269 right now.  I noticed they tipped Ohio to Obama when the average was between 5.0-5.5.

      •  Much Thinner! (0+ / 0-)

        There have been four recent NC polls with Obama in the lead and every PPP poll of NC has been a statistical tie going back a very long time. Calling it lean Romney is absurd.

  •  Can anyone explain to me (0+ / 0-)

    The discrepancy between national numbers and swing state polls?  Are they really over sampling places like Texas and Alaska to the point they narrow the national numbers?

    •  The difference is that this campaign (5+ / 0-)

      has been focused mainly on 8 swing states.  In most campaigns, that number is closer to 18 and it gets whittled down to about 8 with a month to go.  

      Because of that narrow focus, a larger than normal number of states aren't even seeing a campaign.  That's why you would see a divergence of national v. state.

      Another reason for this is the discrepancy between how southern whites vote as compared to whites in the rest of the country.  In 2008, Obama did better among whites than the average Democrat in regions outside the South, but did worse than the average Democrat among white voters in the South.  That trend continues today in part because of the absence of a truly national campaign.

      Now, I also happen to think the national polls are a bit off too.  I believe the real Obama national lead is in the neighborhood of 5-6 points (which is where most RV polls would have it).  The reason is that based on state polling, Obama seems to be pretty close to his 2008 numbers in blue states and is actually running somewhat ahead of his 2008 numbers in most red states except for Indiana.  The reason those polls are off is because of tighter likely voter screens, which are inherently subjective. I also do not think it is a coincidence that we are seeing tighter screens appear in national polling this week after a full week of the GOP working the refs in advance of the first debate.

      Alternative rock with something to say:

      by khyber900 on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 02:54:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not sure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But I've read some very persuasive analysis/arguments that the state polls are almost always more accurate.

      The national #s look good for Obama, the state #s look great. So... I'm certainly hoping the state #s are right.

  •  Awesome #s (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Those are pretty much awesome #s across the board with the possible exception of Colorado which is just "pretty good."

    Virginia +8!
    New Hampshire +15!
    Nevada +11!
    Only down 3 in Missouri?

    These are landslide numbers.

  •  Akin/McCaskill too close for my liking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But on the other hand, maybe that just means Obama is doing even better than this poll says... it's hard to believe McCaskill is only up by 1 point over Akin.

  •  No Question - Something Happened (5+ / 0-)

    I've been working the phones in New Hampshire,
    calling folks Identified as Undecided Voters.

    A Month ago, a large percentage of folks stated that
    they were Still Undecided. Folks in this Neck of the
    Woods are Like that.

    This Week things Changed. A lot of People finally
    decided to support President Obama.

    The only thing better than taking names Off the Call List
    is Checking the Box Marked "Support Obama".

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 03:07:30 PM PDT

  •  When the polls turned for Pres. Obama a week ago, (3+ / 0-)

    I suggested moving into states that have been leaning Romney, and specifically Missouri, which I believe the president could win. Romney would be forced to spend money and time there, and we all know what happens when swing state voters get a good look at him. He starts to plummet.

    "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

    by cadejo4 on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 03:19:51 PM PDT

    •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cadejo4, 207wickedgood, Larsstephens

      I understand that Obama has more "territory" to defend based on his 2008 EV count but he only lost Missouri by ~4000 votes to a candidate that's better than Romney.

      Arizona is within reach too and that give the president many more outs and combo to get to 270

    •  Romney won't spend $ defending Missouri (3+ / 0-)

      or Arizona.  He has pulled his staff out of Missouri and sent them to other states.  Given the recent polling out of NH, NV, VA, NC, FL, VA, Romney is now in John McCain territory.  If he is going to lose MO or AZ, he's going to lose big anyway.  He is better off leaving those states undefended and concentrate his resources in battlegrounds.

      He doesn't have as much money as Obama but the superpacs are injecting new money into battleground states to keep parity with Obama.  

      Alternative rock with something to say:

      by khyber900 on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 04:01:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Colorado OFA Ground Game is THE FORCE! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    207wickedgood, Larsstephens

    I am so impressed with the field offices going on here in Colorado for Obama for America.  My local field office said they registered 150 people in one day this weekend.  That's huge in my somewhat rural Eagle County high country area.  We have voter registration until Oct. 9 and then GOTV moves forward.  

    My part?  I am hosting a debate watch party at my new restaurant tomorrow.  Then my focus will turn to primarily Latino vote turnout in our area.  

    You are right to say that Colorado can be stubborn.  It's what I call the "Western Libertarian" side of many that are born/from here and elsewhere in the West.  

    "There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves.-Thomas Jefferson

    by greenchiledem on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 03:58:47 PM PDT

  •  Georgia and Arizona (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenchiledem, 207wickedgood

    Would be nice touches- interesting to see if GA can be this year's NC.

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 04:01:58 PM PDT

  •  Swing state voters more likely to vote? (0+ / 0-)

    I get the feeling that maybe the discrepancy between the national numbers and the swing state numbers is related to the discrepancy between registered voters and likely voters that we've been seeing in the polls.

    Obama is consistently doing better with registered voters than he is with likely voters, and he is consistently doing better in swing state polling than national polling.

    Could it be that registered voters in swing states — where the campaigns are really taking place, and where voters feel more empowered to actually make a difference in the presidential election — are more likely to tell pollsters they're definitely going to vote?

    "Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." -Ralph Waldo Emerson "YEAAAAAAARGH!" -Howard Dean

    by AtomikNY on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 04:04:12 PM PDT

  •  I hadn't seen an Obama ad (0+ / 0-)

    on the tube in the Kansas City area for some time but today I have seen the Obama campaign ad re: Romney & China run multiple times. I suspect the campaign internal polling numbers show MO approaching "back in play" status as evidenced by the sudden reappearance of Obama ads in the state.  As someone else mentioned, I dont see the President visiting MO at anytime prior to election day given the dynamics of the McCaskill/Akin race.  I think MO is one of those states where the Obama campaign will keep an eye on the numbers and if things stay close, will continue to put some $$ into it via ad buys and hope in the end to steal it away from the Romney camp while they are not paying attention or at the very least, force Romney to spend $$ there that otherwise would be going to the more readily identified swing states.

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

    by carl spackler on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 05:46:09 PM PDT

  •  So the red states are getting a bit redder (0+ / 0-)

    but the purple states are getting bluer, not a recipe for a Mitt-victory. I wonder if they are scaling back GOP victory party supplies yet.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 06:32:27 PM PDT

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