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Shock poll (hat tip Drudge).

The President now leads 49.6% to 44.9%. Romney is tanking, Obama surging.

The trendlines are brutal for Romney. There are some questions about the panel approach to calling the topline numbers - but no one questions whether the method can capture trends. RAND were very sensitive to the Romney surge so there is no reason to doubt the reverse in trend. In a few days we'll be back to where we were before the first debate.

My concern for the concern trolls is also trending upwards.

5:38 AM PT: Update to reflect desire for more info on the methodology.

Since July 5, 3,500 participants in the RAND American Life Panel (all U.S. citizens over the age of 18) have been invited to answer three questions every week:

What is the percent chance that you will vote in the Presidential election?

What is the percent chance that you will vote for Obama, Romney, someone else?

What is the percent chance that Obama, Romney, someone else will win?

Every day one seventh of the panel members receive an email inviting them to answer the three questions above within a week. So one seventh of the panel members always get an email on Monday, one seventh always on Tuesday, etc. In total about 3,500 panel members participate, so every day about 500 panel members get an email inviting them to “vote.”

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