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With about three weeks until election day, and 43 polls in the hopper from this weekend and Monday, we can draw a few very tenuous conclusions about the state of play in the 2012 election cycle:
  • The presidential race has moved clearly back into a very competitive position, although President Obama may have gotten finally stalled the Romney momentum on the polling front over this weekend.
  • Conversely, the GOP's fortunes on the Senate front seem to be getting worse, with it now looking just as likely that the Democrats will gain seats in the upper chamber than they are to lose the Senate altogether.
  • Meanwhile, the House is the great "unfigurable" body in this election. Right now, it looks highly unlikely that the Democrats can find the two-dozen-plus pickups they will need, especially in light of the handful of districts they seem certain to lose back to the GOP. However, the scant amount of data does hint that there may be enough districts in play to make it interesting.

In other words, with just 22 days to go. the only thing certain about the 2012 election cycle is that virtually nothing is for certain.

More on that later. For now, on to the numbers:


NATIONAL (ABC/Washington Post): Obama 49, Romney 46 (LV); Obama 50, Romney 43 (RV)

NATIONAL (American Research Group): Romney 48, Obama 47

NATIONAL (Battleground Poll for GWU/Politico): Obama 49, Romney 48

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney 49, Obama 47 (LV); Obama 48, Romney 46 (RV)

NATIONAL (IBD/TIPP Tracking): Obama 47, Romney 47

NATIONAL (Ipsos/Reuters Tracking): Obama 47, Romney 45 (LV); Obama 46, Romney 42 (RV)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney 49, Obama 48

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

ARIZONA (Behavior Research Center): Obama 44, Romney 42

COLORADO (Gravis Marketing--R): Obama 48, Romney 46

FLORIDA (Gravis Marketing--R): Romney 49, Obama 48

FLORIDA (PPP): Romney 49, Obama 48

GEORGIA (ABT/SRBI for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution): Romney 51, Obama 43

IDAHO (Mason Dixon): Romney 63, Obama 27

IOWA (American Research Group): Obama 48, Romney 48

MINNESOTA (NMB Research--R): Obama 47, Romney 43

NEW MEXICO (Research and Polling for the Albuquerque Journal): Obama 49, Romney 39, Johnson 6

NORTH CAROLINA (PPP): Romney 49, Obama 47

OHIO (PPP): Obama 51, Romney 46

PENNSYLVANIA (Muhlenberg College): Obama 49, Romney 45

PENNSYLVANIA (PPP): Obama 51, Romney 44

VIRGINIA (American Research Group): Romney 48, Obama 47

AZ-SEN (Behavior Research Center): Richard Carmona (D) 44, Jeff Flake (R) 40

FL-SEN (PPP): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 45, Connie Mack IV (R) 37

FL-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 46, Connie Mack IV (R) 45

IN-SEN (Rasmussen): Richard Mourdock (R) 47, Joe Donnelly (D) 42, Others 2

MI-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) 51, Pete Hoekstra (R) 39

NV-SEN (The Mellman Group for the Berkley campaign): Shelley Berkley (D) 42, Sen. Dean Heller (R) 39, Others 5

NM-SEN (Research and Polling for the Albuquerque Journal): Martin Heinrich (D) 48, Heather Wilson (R) 39

OH-SEN (PPP): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 49, Josh Mandel (R) 42

PA-SEN (Muhlenberg College): Sen. Bob Casey (D) 41, Tom Smith (R) 39

PA-SEN (PPP): Sen. Bob Casey (D) 50, Tom Smith (R) 39

VA-SEN (Rasmussen): Tim Kaine (D) 48, George Allen (R) 47

NH-GOV (Feldman Group for the DGA): Maggie Hassan (D) 44, Ovide Lamontagne (R) 39, John Babiarz (L) 5

NH-GOV (Rasmussen): Maggie Hassan (D) 48, Ovide Lamontagne (R) 46

NC-GOV (PPP): Pat McCrory (R) 47, Walter Dalton (D) 37, Barbara Howe (L) 5

CA-09 (Global Strategy Group for the DCCC): Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) 47, Ricky Gill (R) 38

CA-36 (Lake Research for the Ruiz campaign): Raul Ruiz (D) 46, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R) 43

MN-06 (SurveyUSA): Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) 50, Jim Graves (D) 41

NY-01 (Fabrizio McLaughlin for the Altschuler campaign): Randy Altschuler (R) 49, Rep. Tim Bishop (D) 46

NY-25 (Siena): Rep. Louise Slaughter (D) 49, Maggie Brooks (R) 44

UT-04 (Global Strategy Group for the House Majority PAC/Center Forward): Rep. Jim Matheson (D) 48, Mia Love (R) 41

VA-02 (Christopher Newport University): Rep. Scott Rigell (R) 44, Paul Hirschbeil (D) 32

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

Until a late report from the semi-regular UPI/CVoter poll, this looked like the first day in a week where the average of national polls would yield a lead for President Obama. Alas, that UPI/CVoter poll crossed our eyes, and pushed Mitt Romney back into the "lead." However, Romney's average lead of 0.1 percentage points (and yes, media, you could safely call that a "tie") was down from Friday's average of 1.0 percentage points. That total, incidentally, was down from Romney's peak of 1.3 points on Thursday.

Therefore, if nothing else, it seems as if Mitt Romney's post-debate momentum has finally stalled out, and even ebbed ever so slightly. That is good news for the president, but of course it comes at the expense of squandering what had been a pretty steady 3-6 point lead prior the debates.

The president's post-debate malaise extended, to some extent, to his state polling, as well. Today's smattering of state polls are decidedly mixed. PPP gives Obama (arguably) his best individual number of the day, showing his firewall in Ohio holding up respectably. Others might point to Arizona, but I would really like to see some confirming data before I put much stock into one individual poll. Nevertheless, that is also an obviously positive number for the Democrats.

However, they also show Mitt Romney shifting the states of Florida and North Carolina ever so slightly in his direction, although both races remain tossups. ARG(!) was one of the first pollsters offering up a post-debate assessment of Iowa, and the news was not pleasant for Democrats. The "pirate pollster" had Obama up seven in their previous survey, but had today's survey tied. Gravis also showed Obama back into the lead in Colorado, and nearly tied in Florida, but seeing how I don't trust them as far as I can throw them, I wouldn't recommend putting stock into them just because they give Democrats numbers that are more amenable than normal.

Most might find it odd, given the tightening presidential election, but the polls downballot, particularly in Senate races, have not seen a similar movement in the GOP direction. Quite the opposite: Democrats seem to be in a better position to hold the Senate now than they have perhaps all cycle.

What has changed is that a number of GOP-held seats look increasingly imperiled. The general consensus is that Maine is gone, and recent polls (though there weren't any over the weekend) hinted that Massachusetts might not be far behind. Polls this weekend gave Democrats leads in two other GOP-held seats (Arizona, Nevada). If those were to hold (though neither of those would be fairly described as anything other than "toss-up" races), then the GOP would need to snag SEVEN Democratic seats to get to 50/50, and would need eight to win a majority without also claiming the White House. And that's not counting another GOP-held seat (Indiana) where the polls have been decidedly mixed.

So, how do the GOP get those 7-8 seats? Well, our own Daily Kos Elections Senate ratings confirm one Democrat-held seat (Nebraska) as a lock for the GOP. To get the additional six seats, the GOP would need to hit all six toss-up races. The problem there is that a few of them (Connecticut, Virginia, Wisconsin) seem like pretty tough gets for the GOP. Even Rasmussen has Democrats in the lead in all three races.

Could the GOP get there? Sure, they could. But they need to pretty much hit every toss-up to do so, and that seems, given the trajectory in those races, to be reasonably unlikely.

Finally, the House. The economic environment has really hurt our ability to read the battle for the House majority, because there is such a small amount of public polling available (although we did get three public polls today, none of which were great news for Democrats). Therefore, we are left with reading tea leaves based on which campaigns and allied committees are willing to part ways with their private data. That can help us read some races, but all private polling is released with an agenda, needless to say. As a result, figuring out a clear narrative of the 2012 House election cycle is virtually impossible.

It doesn't mean we won't keep trying, of course.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 06:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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