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We're in a bit of a strange place tonight with the Polling Wrap, of course. With the first debate now in the books, there is no reliable way to know how the needle will move, if it moves at all, from tonight's contretemps.

If the cable pundits and spinners are right, we may have a "game changer". Of course, it is comforting to remember that they are often quite pointedly not right. So, y'know, there's that!

On to the numbers:


NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama 49, Romney 45

NATIONAL (GQR/Resurgent Republic for NPR): Obama 51, Romney 44

NATIONAL (Ipsos/Reuters Tracking): Obama 47, Romney 41 (LV); Obama 46, Romney 39 (RV)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Obama 49, Romney 47

NATIONAL (UPI/CVoter): Obama 49, Romney 46

ARIZONA (PPP): Romney 53, Obama 44

FLORIDA (NBC News/Marist): Obama 47, Romney 46, Others 1 (LV); Obama 48, Romney 43, Others 2 (RV)

HAWAII (Merriman River Group for Civil Beat): Obama 62, Romney 30

MASSACHUSETTS (Mass Insight): Obama 60, Romney 34

MISSOURI (PPP): Romney 51, Obama 45

NORTH CAROLINA (Rasmussen): Romney 51, Obama 47

OHIO (NBC News/Marist): Obama 51, Romney 43, Others 1 (LV); Obama 51, Romney 42, Others 2 (RV)

VIRGINIA (NBC News/Marist): Obama 48, Romney 46, Others 1 (LV); Obama 48, Romney 45, Others 1 (LV)

WASHINGTON (SurveyUSA): Obama 56, Romney 36

WISCONSIN (Marquette Law School): Obama 53, Romney 42 (LV); Obama 54, Romney 40 (RV)

AZ-SEN (PPP): Richard Carmona (D) 45, Jeff Flake (R) 43

FL-SEN (NBC News/Marist): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 52, Connie Mack IV (R) 41 (LV); Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 52, Connie Mack IV (R) 38 (RV)

MA-SEN (Mass Insight): Elizabeth Warren (D) 48, Sen. Scott Brown (R) 44

MO-SEN (PPP): Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 46, Todd Akin (R) 40, Jonathan Dine (L) 9

MO-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 51, Todd Akin (R) 45

OH-SEN (NBC News/Marist): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 50, Josh Mandel (R) 41 (LV); Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 50, Josh Mandel (R) 41 (RV)

WI-SEN (Marquette Law School): Tammy Baldwin (D) 48, Tommy Thompson (R) 44 (LV); Tammy Baldwin (D) 47, Tommy Thompson (R) 43 (RV)

CO-03 (Grove Insight for the DCCC): Rep. Scott Tipton (R) 42, Sal Pace (D) 39, Others 5

FL-10 (Global Strategy Group for the DCCC): Rep. Dan Webster (R) 46, Val Demings (D) 41

MI-01 (Benenson Strategy for the DCCC): Gary McDowell (D) 43, Rep. Dan Benishek (R) 40, Others 9

MI-09 (North Star Campaign Systems for the Volaric campaign): Rep. Sander Levin (D) 44, Don Valor (R) 42

NV-03 (Global Strategy Group for the DCCC): Rep. Joe Heck (R) 42, John Oceguera (D) 38

NH-01 (Public Opinion Strategies for the Guinta campaign): Rep. Frank Guinta (R) 51, Carol Shea-Porter (D) 43

NH-01 (Univ. of New Hampshire w/leaners): Carol Shea-Porter (D) 47, Rep. Frank Guinta (R) 38, Others 1

NH-02 (Univ. of New Hampshire w/leaners): Anne McLane Kuster (D) 42, Rep. Charlie Bass (R) 41, Others 2

NY-21 (Global Strategy Group for the Owens campaign): Rep. Bill Owens (D) 50, Matt Doheny (R) 36

NY-21 (Public Opinion Strategies for the Doheny campaign): Rep. Bill Owens (D) 45, Matt Doheny (R) 40

NC-08 (Anzalone-Liszt for the Kissell campaign): Rep. Larry Kissell (D) 40, Richard Hudson (R) 39

SC-07 (Winthrop University): Tom Rice (R) 49, Gloria Tinubu (D) 36

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

In the battle for the White House, today's national polls were really a mixed bag. Gallup gave back the two-point gain for Obama that occurred on Tuesday. This raises two theories, each equally plausible. Either yesterday's movement was more incremental than it first appeared, and was based more on rounding than anything, or it was the result of a very good night on the seven-day tracker (the head-to-head numbers) falling out of the rotation. The reason why it does not appear to be a true "tightening"? Obama's job approval numbers improved markedly, going from 48-45 to 50-44.

Elsewhere, NPR makes their first foray into the field since July, and sees a considerable movement in the president's direction. This poll (co-authored by the Democratic firm GQR and the GOP firm Resurgent Republic) gave the president a seven-point edge, a marked increase over their previous poll (which Obama led 47-45).

Ipsos/Reuters, Rasmussen and UPI/CVoter, meanwhile, essentially hold steady (Ipsos and Rasmussen creep in Obama's direction by a single point).

At the state level, much hay was made about the "tightening polls" in Florida and Virginia, according to the NBC/Marist polls. Unlike yesterday's NBC national poll, where describing it as "tightening" was somewhat bullshit (the entirety of the movement was a tightened LV screen, and Obama actually led by more among registered voters than he did in September), today's movement is much more legitimate in Florida and Virginia. There is still a pretty wide LV/RV gap in Florida, but both the LV and RV samples show a modest amount of closure between the two candidates. That movement was even more noticeable in Virginia, where the LV/RV gap was a single point.

However, none of that is bound to matter all that much, assuming that Ohio and Wisconsin's numbers are legitimate. In theory, you could concede North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia to Romney (and, lest we forget, the latter two were still Obama leads in these NBC/Marist polls), and Obama would still have 290 electoral votes.

Elsewhere, downballot, the DCCC dropped a bunch of internal polls today, apparently to confirm that some of the races that are at the periphery of the "big race" list are indeed legitimate pickup opportunities. The NV-03 poll may also have been an attempt at counterprogramming, since a late September independent (SurveyUSA) poll in the district had the GOP incumbent up 53-40.

In other polling news...

  • In the polling game, you can't get more disparate than PPP and the House of Ras. And yet, somehow, they arrived at perfect synergy today. Both pollsters went into the Show-Me State, and both found Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill leading Republican trainwreck Todd Akin by six points. The only variation in the data was that PPP included Libertarian Jonathan Dine, and Rasmussen did not. Given Akin's horrific favorability numbers, and McCaskill's own difficulties in securing public affirmation as she seeks a second term, I'd argue that PPP was wise to test the third option. Republican pollsters, meanwhile, are having more trouble finding consensus. Earlier today, Dave Catanese tweeted that he had seen internal numbers from a GOP source showing Todd Akin trailing by seven. Tonight, however, the Washington Examiner came across their own GOP numbers (from Wenzel Strategies) with Todd Akin actually leading McCaskill by two points.
  • If you want to see a poll to end all polls in its pure gobsmacking audacity, check out the link for that poll in the Michigan 9th. Leave aside, for the moment, the fact that the last time Michigan's Sander Levin won with less than 60 percent of the vote was 1998. Volaric's poll (which comes from North Star, which has done several polls this cycle) had the Republican winning African-American voters by nearly a dozen points. It also had Levin, who is from arguably the most famous Jewish family in Michigan political history, losing the Jewish vote by over twenty points. To my Republican readers, I'd be inclined to bet a Romney on this race (that's $10,000, for the uninitiated), but I will settle for a cool hundo to charity for anyone who wants to bet me on this race. Hell, I'll even be generous and spot you double the polling margin here. Anyone want to take Volaric and the four points?!?!
  • Because it cannot be said often enough, check out this excellent and succinct explanation from Kevin Drum of Mother Jones on what constitutes a "statistical tie". The proper answer, of course, is a tie. Yes, CNN, we are looking in your general direction, kids. A four-point Obama lead in a national poll is not a dead heat, as Drum explains. Indeed, there is only a one-in-ten chance that the margin of error actually puts Mitt Romney into a lead in that scenario. Puh-leeze, lord, let this be the final word on this matter.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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