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We have some mixed polling news today as we close out another week. The numbers are below, followed by my analysis.

* OHIO:
Obama 46%, Romney 43% -- Romney +4% since 1 month ago (FOX News)
STATE AVG: Obama +2.5%

* FLORIDA:
Romney 49%, Obama 48% -- Romney +5% since 3 months ago (CNN)
Romney 48%, Obama 45% -- Romney +8% in since 1 month ago (FOX News)
Romney 51%, Obama 46% -- Romney +1% since 1 week ago (Rasmussen)
STATE AVG: Romney +2.5%

* VIRGINIA:
Romney 50%, Obama 47% -- Romney +1% since 1 week ago (Rasmussen)
STATE AVG: TIED

* WISCONSIN:
Obama 50%, Romney 48% -- No change since 1 week ago (Rasmussen)
STATE AVG: Obama +2.8%

* IOWA:
Romney 49%, Obama 48% -- Romney +8% since 1 month ago (Public Policy)
STATE AVG: Obama +2.4%

* NEW HAMPSHIRE:
Romney 49%, Obama 48% -- Romney +7% since 2 months ago (Public Policy)
STATE AVG: Romney +1.0%

This is a pretty good batch of numbers for Romney overall, particularly the Public Policy polls of Iowa and New Hampshire. The Rasmussen numbers in Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin are largely unchanged from a week ago, a good sign for Romney that he is holding on to his gains following what most consider a debate loss for him earlier this week. The CNN Florida number is also a good one for Romney. Taken as a whole, Florida has shifted dramatically to Romney in the past 2-3 weeks, but the likely voter screens continue to show a giant gap from registered voters, in the range of 5-7% in most polls. Obama's lead in Ohio in the FOX News poll, while smaller than it was pre-debates, is a good sign for him that his #1 firewall state remains in his column. The state polls, so far at least, are not showing any real signs of an Obama post-debate bounce. We started to see Obama's numbers stabilize a bit and Romney's bounce fade slightly at the end of last week, and that seems to be the same place we are at this week even after the second debate. I will add my usual caveat on state polls: stick to the polling averages, don't give too much importance to single, individual poll numbers, particularly from robo-pollsters like Public Policy and Rasmussen. If you must give credence to individual pollsters, stick with the high-quality ones that use live-interviews and traditional methodology -- NBC/WSJ/Marist, CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac, ABC/Washington Post, CNN-ORC, FOX News, etc.

It's also worth noting how big the registered voter vs. likely voter gap continues to be in some polls, particularly CNN and Gallup. In that CNN Florida poll, Obama actually is up by 7% among registered voters, but down 1% among likely voters. Showing a 5-8% pro-Romney swing when switching from registered voter models to likely voter models is somewhat of a head-scratcher since the usual historical gap is in the range of 2-3%, not 5-8%. The FOX News Florida poll, for example, has a more logical gap -- Obama trails by 3% among likely voters and by 2% among registered voters, a 1% swing. In Ohio, the FOX News poll shows Obama up by 3% among likely voters and by 5% among registered voters, a 2% swing. If pollsters like CNN and Gallup are over-exaggerating the 5-8% swing they're showing by even 1-2%, it changes the state of the race completely in every swing state. Florida goes from lean Romney to toss-up, Ohio goes from lean Obama to fairly safe Obama, etc. I don't want to get in the habit of nitpicking polls, but it's worth noting and will be interesting to see how things turn out on election day and whose likely voter model ends up being vindicated -- the ones showing a giant 5-8% gap or the ones showing a 2-3% gap. It's also another reminder of how turnout and ground games will decide this election. If Obama gets more of these registered voters that pollsters are wiping out in their likely voter screens to vote than expected, it will lead to him over-performing polls.

The national numbers are better for Obama today, as he is now tied or leading in every national poll/tracker except for Gallup and has regained a very slight lead in the national poll average for the first time in two weeks.

* RAND: Obama +3% (49%-46%)
* Reuters: Obama +3% (46%-43%)
* UConn: Obama +3% (48%-45%)
* IBD/TIPP: Obama +2% (47%-45%)
* Public Policy: Obama +1% (48%-47%)
* Rasmussen: TIE (48%-48%)
* Gallup: Romney +6% (51%-45%)

Pretty clear there which poll is the outlier. Obama has gained about 1% in the average of national polls this week. Some will view that as a bounce from the debate, others will view it as the continued stabilizing and slight fade for Romney from his peak that began last week.

The 538 forecast has Obama back up to a 70.4% chance of winning, his highest point since October 9th when he was in the middle of his post-debate free-fall that took him all the way down from 87.1% to 61.1%, so he's recovered about 9% of what he lost.

As I predicted back in my debate review, Romney has held on to a lot of the gains he got from his first debate win despite losing the second. Some permanent changes were made in that debate in the eyes of many voters -- Romney went from being the monster on the 47% video and the caricature the Obama campaign had turned him into to an "acceptable alternative" to some swing voters, particularly right-leaning Independents. The value of that is immeasurable and once that change happens, it's usually hard to undo. The electorate seems to have hardened a bit as we hit the final stretch. That pretty much ensures us that we are headed for a close finish in this election, similar to 2004.

Where we are at now is not very different from where we were at prior to the conventions -- a very close race, with Obama having a stubborn, persistent edge in the electoral college. Assuming the likely voter models that polls are using, which wipes out about 5-7% of Obama's margin in some polls when compared to the registered voter models, is accurate in its extremeness, the Ohio-Iowa-Wisconsin-Nevada firewall is the main thing holding Obama up right now (even if you take Iowa out of that, just the Ohio/Wisconsin/Nevada combo is enough to get Obama to 271 and victory), and those are the states worth keeping the closest eye on. Florida and North Carolina both continue to look favorable to Romney, particularly North Carolina which I've been saying for months is a waste of resources for the Obama campaign in this environment (if they win it, it will be part of a larger electoral landslide, not the nail-biter we are headed for -- North Carolina is not a tipping point state in any realistic scenario and so it's hard to justify spending money there that could be spent on further solidifying states that could actually make the difference between winning and losing like Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Iowa). Virginia, Colorado, and New Hampshire look like the true toss-ups right now, with Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nevada all leaning blue and Florida and North Carolina leaning red.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more of my election analysis.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You might want to find another Polling Source than (5+ / 0-)

    RCP.

    That Iowa number is really questionable.

  •  Very thoughtful analysis (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    realwischeese, houndcat, kpardue

    In particular:

    As I predicted back in my debate review, Romney has held on to a lot of the gains he got from his first debate win despite losing the second. Some permanent changes were made in that debate in the eyes of many voters -- Romney went from being the monster on the 47% video and the caricature the Obama campaign had turned him into to an "acceptable alternative" to some swing voters, particularly right-leaning Independents. The value of that is immeasurable and once that change happens, it's usually hard to undo.
    That was my feeling even before the second debate. I expected the President to do well, but I didn't expect it to undo Romney's gains though it does seem to have slowed or stopped the momentum in his direction.

    It may all come down to Ohio. Let's hope our margins are strong there.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:23:38 PM PDT

  •  Nate is updating his numbers every couple of (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch, Ryvr, Vicky, Supavash, bontemps2012

    hours now, apparently. Obama's now at 68%. These polls will drive me nuts. Obama overall I think is doing well, but you just had twin dicks Chuck Todd and a Politico guy only talking about Romney's big surge like he was the obvious favorite.
    They didn't talk about Obama at all. Their memes in the media are also what we're up against.

    Screw them. And screw Matthews for not challenging them.

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. Shakespeare, Henry V

    by Wildthumb on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:27:45 PM PDT

    •  Chuck Todd seemed giddy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Supavash, wishingwell

      talking about Romney's continuing momentum and hyping Sunday's NBC/WSJ poll on Sunday. Worried he knows something about this poll that is not good for Obama.

      No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

      by Magster on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:41:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  if the poll is released on Sunday morning... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Supavash, houndcat, Wildthumb

        It had better be still be in the field TODAY and TOMORROW if they want it be current.

        So,  either Chuck has no idea what the results will be, or the poll will be a few days stale when released.

        Either way... Chuck would hyping the  thing like there's no tomorrow.

      •  That NBC/WSJ poll is still in the field (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Supavash

        and it will not be that different from ABC/WAPO.  Obama should be ahead by about 3-4 points nationally.

        Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

        by khyber900 on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:58:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So why was he having his GOPorgasm today?... (0+ / 0-)

          No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

          by Magster on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 05:03:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  To dent Obama momentum? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bear83

            But that would require thought.

            When we were ahead, people at DailyKos said to fight like we were behind. When we were behind, people at DailyKos said to give up.

            by NoFortunateSon on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 05:36:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  If you haven't noticed already the MSM (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bear83

            is invested in a close race.  CNN has been all Romney all the time since before the first debate.  Chuck Todd is also part of it.  I know what I saw from Mitt Romney last night at the Al Smith dinner and I saw a guy who was nervous and worried.  In Obama, I saw a guy supremely relaxed and looking and feeling energetic and younger.  Their internal polling on how debate #2 affected women in battleground states is what has both campaigns reacting in the manner that they did.  The 'romnesia' theme comes from a campaign that is creative and brimming with confidence.  Rehashing Libya comes from a campaign that is struggling to find something to distract attention from a debate which exposed weaknesses among women and latinos.

            Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

            by khyber900 on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 05:50:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Giddy is the word. (0+ / 0-)

        Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. Shakespeare, Henry V

        by Wildthumb on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:42:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't give up so easily on us Tar Heel voters (8+ / 0-)
    particularly North Carolina which I've been saying for months is a waste of resources for the Obama campaign
    NC is 3% less white and 1% less Republican than it was in 2008. Democrats still have a 800,000 voter edge on Republicans here. Every PPP poll and most others for a year have been within 2 points one way or the other.

    It's been 16 years since Jesse Helms was elected to his 5th Senate term, and a lot of old Jessecrats have died off since then. You just don't see ticket splitting as much as you once did.

    Day 1 of early voting in NC had a 2:1 Democratic edge. Let's let this thing play out and see what the OFA ground game can do.

    NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

    by bear83 on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:34:54 PM PDT

  •  completely disagree (6+ / 0-)

    that CNN Florida number is good for Romney.   A 1 point lead among LV but trailing by 7 in RV??   When OFA offices have a 2 to 1 advantage in FL?  I don't think so.  More like that LV screen is probably BS

  •  Regarding North Carolina (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    codairem, kpardue, Iberian, bear83, ancblu

    There is already a giant ground game in place there with highly motivated people in place.  There isn't any way of pulling resources out of that without being hugely disruptive and demoralizing even if Obama intended to (and there is no sign at all that OFA intends to give up on NC)

    Not spending big add money there anymore makes sense.  Either GOTV will or will not deliver the state at this point, and the closer the GOTV makes it, the more likely Romney has to suck resources out from elsewhere to shore it up.

  •  The RV is the only one that counts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash

    based on Brooklynbadboy's diary.

    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 Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:51:25 PM PDT

  •  Poll summary (States) is a bit % on low side (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kkjohnson, ancblu

    Here is another, perhaps more accurate estimate for WI and FL

    Wisconsin:  O +3.5%

    Florida: O +0.8%

    ----

    I obtained these estimates from pollster.com using the "create your own" model feature for specific States, focusing on WI and FL as examples.

    1. click on a State at pollster.com

    2. select "create your own"

    3. Go to "pollster" and de-select all automated polls except ppp and rasmussen (for ideological balance).

    4. Also, under "pollster," eliminate all polls with a (D) or (R) next to them, or known to be partisan polls.

    5. Also, eliminate all internet polls except YouGov, which has established itself & its methodology.

    6. Include mixed or mail formats if they are not (R) or (D).

    I hope it's clear that the purpose is to avoid any kind of partisan tilt at all in the data.  

    Using this method, the results consistently show that the (R) polls are having an excessive effect on computed average poll estimates.

    Interestingly, when ppp and rasmussen polls are both included, the data tends to skew about 1% toward romney.  In other words, rasmussen's effect generally (but not for every State) overwhelms the ppp effect on the poll average.

    ---

    I hope some of you will give this method a try, and hope it is helpful to know about this option for interpreting the data.

  •  PPP had a case of Romnesia today (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, kpardue, wdrath, ancblu

    Their Iowa poll was R+4 and their NH poll was R+3 yet could only manage a 1 point advantage for Romney.  Obama is leading in both states.  Obviously, we have way more data points in IA to back that claim up than NH.  Would like to see more data from NH or a leak from the campaign.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:57:50 PM PDT

  •  an article in WAPO yesterday bothered me.... (0+ / 0-)

    it said Romney is winning the white vote by basically huge numbers, at a level not seen since Reagan. That is not a good sign. Perhaps this is what Chuck Todd was hinting at on Tweety, the Obama could win narrowly but could also lose to Romney in a blowout. I saw a similar dynamic in NJ where Corzine and Christie were mostly tied going into the election, and Corzine lost by about 4 points. It was over pretty quickly.Of course there waas no electoral college. Something is just very weird about this whole election. If Romney is gaining hugely among whites, how can Obama win?

    •  To quote Cleavon Little.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftangler, txdoubledd

      Leftangler said:

      If Romney is gaining hugely among whites, how can Obama win?
      It's white men.  You have to channel Cleavon Little and ask the follow up question:

      And to answer the question, Obama has a nice edge in the gender breakouts - including white women.

      We have to win this.  It may be the last election election of the angry old white dudes.  Demographics are changing.  That they don't have the power they used to is one reason for such hate, anger and irrationality.

      imho,
      Mrick

    •  If those whites are mostly in the South (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftangler, bear83

      Then the electoral impact will be minimized, except in FL and NC, and possibly VA.

      Although, if this phenomenon is true, it might explain the PPP results for IA and NH as well.

      Unionized whites and white Catholics are not as susceptible to the GOP's dog whistles as those in the south, which helps explain why WI and OH are still in our fold. As long as we hold those states, and NV or CO, we will win!

  •  Back down to 67.9 at 538 (0+ / 0-)

    We gained 4.7% on Thursday from 65.7 to 70.4, and then dropped down 2.5% with the Friday state polling.   Trend is still upwards, and I'm ok with 2-steps forward, 1-step back at this point.  Nate has it at a 1.1% popular vote victory.  If his subjective judgment that the most likely situation is for things to stabilize around O+2% nationally then we would go into Election Day with somewhere around a 75-80% chance of winning.  That assumes a draw or minor Obama win in the third debate.  If Romnesia becomes a meme that gets repeated as often as "before it before he was against it" or something like that, and Romney makes some major foreign policy gaffes on Monday then it could go bigger.  However as more people vote, and most people want the election to be over, I think the number of people changing their minds will be few.  People may claim to "make up their mind" in the last week or two or three, but I bet that many of those are people who move from "lean to a certain candidate" into the "definitely voting for that candidate and dragging themselves to the polls or getting a ballot by other means."

    My big concern of the trackers is the RAND survey.  While that is our best tracker and Obama has been making gains, it is unclear why he is gaining.  Number of people switching votes has been advantage Romney since the first debate every single day.  We are gaining because Romney voters intent to vote is dropping while Obama voters intent to vote is rising, possibly because weak Obama voters (unlikely to vote) became weak Romney voters (at a rate even less likely to vote because they are turned off).  I would rather be going up both because of closing enthusiasm gap and getting people to switch votes.

    Democrats *do* have a plan for Social Security - it's called Social Security. -- Ed Schultz

    by FredFred on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:25:53 PM PDT

    •  What will Romney talk about Monday besides Libya? (0+ / 0-)

      Its not as if he's got ANY foreign policy chops, or as if Obama has left many foreign policy openings for Romney to exploit.

      Obama's no dummy - he's got one of the best Secretary of  State's in history. Hillary is doing a hell of a job, and all that leaves Mitt to bitch about is Libya, Syria, and Iran - and there's no new territory to cover there.

      NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

      by bear83 on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:48:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I posed in my last diary ..... (0+ / 0-)

    my reasoning on why Florida is slipping away.  Folks seriously told me that: a) it was not really happening, b) that stating that was 'defeatist language' and 'trollish' and c) that NPA voters weren't being swayed by slick mailers.

    Well, a) it is happening, b) nope, sending a canary into the coal mine is a prudent thing to do if you want to change the outcome, and c), yes, they are.

    The numbers are tightening.  The 'undecideds' are an ever decreasing pool of people to sway.  As a NPA voter, I still have yet to receive one mailer in support of Obama, nothing that refutes Grover Norquist's daily lie bomb in my mailbox.

    Again, I ask, why?

    I condemn Mitt Romney for political opportunism in exercising his free speech rights to criticize America's leaders during a foreign crisis. Wow, I guess I just apologized for Mitt Romney being an ass.

    by emsprater on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:37:39 PM PDT

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