We have several new swing state polls in today and they seem to be pointing towards some settling after what has been a week of extremely volatile polling.
Here are the numbers, followed by my analysis.
Originally published at No We Can't Politics.
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* FLORIDA: Obama 49%, Romney 45% -- No previous poll (Univ. of North Florida)
* OHIO: Obama 45%, Romney 44% -- No previous poll (SurveyUSA)
* NEVADA: Obama 51%, Romney 47% -- Romney +5% since 3 weeks ago (Public Policy)
* NEVADA: Obama 47%, Romney 47% -- Romney +2% since 3 weeks ago (Rasmussen)
* NEW HAMPSHIRE: Obama 48%, Romney 48% -- Obama +3% since 3 weeks ago (Rasmussen)
* WISCONSIN: Obama 51%, Romney 49% -- Romney +1% since 3 weeks ago (Rasmussen)
These numbers are more or less in line with the "new normal" I wrote about yesterday -- a national race that is within the margin of error and swing states that have tightened by 2-3% compared to two weeks ago, but now seem to be stabilizing a bit. The national numbers would further lend credence to this: Obama gained 2% in today's Gallup tracking poll which has the race tied, the Rasmussen tracking poll has Romney up 1%, the Reuters tracking poll has the race tied, and FOX News has a new national poll showing Romney up 1%. As Paul Begala said on CNN today, there has been significant erosion in Obama's support since last week, and his campaign will now need to adjust and plan for a very close 2004-type election as oppose to the 2008-style electoral landslide they were in position for prior to last week's debate.
The Florida poll stands out of the pack as having a very good number for Obama at a time when he hasn't had many, but it's worth noting that the poll covered an unusually large period of time, 10/1 to 10/9, meaning it contains some data from before the debate. Other than that though, we're seeing what we've mostly been seeing. Ohio has gotten closer, Nevada has gotten closer, and Wisconsin has gotten closer. I certainly don't think New Hampshire is a tied race, as Rasmussen indicates, as that poll is actually an improvement for Obama as the previous Rasmussen New Hampshire poll from three weeks ago had Romney up by 3%. Nobody else is showing Romney running that strong in New Hampshire.
Wisconsin remains a major key, but if Obama has a 2% lead there in a Rasmussen poll, he is probably in good shape, particularly since this polling shows virtually no undecideds in the state and comes at Obama's lowest point in the campaign so far. Wisconsin may be just out of reach for Romney if he can't take a lead there following the week he has had. Rasmussen's Wisconsin poll is also more or less the same as what they were showing before the debate -- they had Obama up by just 3% prior to the debate at a time when everyone else had Obama running away with the state. In other words, those two Rasmussen polls are actually somewhat positive signs for Obama as they are not showing a major shift to Romney.
* It should be noted though that Rasmussen weights their party ID, causing less fluctuation. Part of why other pollsters are showing such large shifts to Romney is because they have also found an increase in people identifying as Republicans, which tends to happen following a big event that goes well for one party over the other. Therefore, Rasmussen may be missing an increase in the percentage of Republicans that could stick, or they may be missing an artificial bounce in the percentage of Republicans that will eventually fade. We won't know until election day which method is proven right.
With the VP debate on Thursday, a lot will be riding on what Joe Biden and Paul Ryan do, particularly the media which will use the debate results to alter the media narrative. If Biden "wins," we could begin to see the "Obama's back" narrative, while if Ryan "wins," it should help Romney maintain the "Romney's on a roll" narrative.
This election looks like it will come down to a few key states -- Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Virginia. In a climate where the national vote is within 3%, Obama may have a difficult time winning states like Florida and North Carolina. His easiest path to 270 probably remains Ohio-Iowa-New Hampshire-Wisconsin, Ohio-Iowa-Nevada-Wisconsin, or Ohio-Iowa-Nevada-New Hampshire. Those three combinations all get Obama to 270 without needing Florida, Virginia, Colorado, or North Carolina.
Originally published at No We Can't Politics.