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Today's data, on the surface, seems to have some very clear conclusions that can be drawn. However, with a little digging, it is a day of "buts".

Example #1: PPP's daily tracking poll moved two points in the direction of President Obama.

BUT Tom Jensen of PPP made clear that Tuesday's sample was deadlocked, and the movement was solely attributed to a good Romney night on Saturday falling off of the tracker.

Example #2: Rasmussen claims that, post-debate, the race in Ohio has moved from a slight Obama lead to a (gasp!) tie.

BUT a quick dive into the crosstabs shows Obama leading with Ohio Independent voters, and garnering more support from Democrats than Romney is from Republicans.

The net result? We don't know a hell of a lot more on Wednesday than we did on Tuesday, despite a pretty sizable polling load of 59 separate polls.

On balance, the coin flip narrative seems to be persisting, though there were some small signs that should give Democrats a slight tinge of optimism.

More on that after the jump. For now, though, on to the numbers:

PRESIDENTIAL POLLING:

NATIONAL (ABC/WaPo Tracking): Romney 49, Obama 48

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney 50, Obama 47 (LV); Obama 48, Romney 47 (RV)

NATIONAL (IBD/TIPP Tracking): Obama 47, Romney 44

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

NATIONAL (Pharos Research): Obama 50, Romney 47

NATIONAL (PPP Tracking): Obama 48, Romney 48

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney 50, Obama 46

NATIONAL (UPI/CVoter): Obama 49, Romney 47


ARKANSAS (Univ. of Arkansas): Romney 53, Obama 34

CONNECTICUT (Mason-Dixon): Obama 49, Romney 42

CONNECTICUT (Quinnipiac): Obama 55, Romney 41

FLORIDA (Pharos Research): Obama 47, Romney 47

INDIANA (Pharos Research): Romney 51, Obama 38

MASSACHUSETTS (WBUR/MassINC): Obama 56, Romney 36

MONTANA (Pharos Research): Romney 47, Obama 41

NEBRASKA (Pharos Research): Romney 51, Obama 41

NEVADA (PPP): Obama 51, Romney 47

NEVADA (Rasmussen): Obama 50, Romney 48

NEW HAMPSHIRE (Lake Research For USAction--D): Obama 48, Romney 45

NEW HAMPSHIRE (Rasmussen): Romney 50, Obama 48

NEW YORK (NY1/Marist): Obama 61, Romney 35

NORTH DAKOTA (Pharos Research): Romney 49, Obama 39

OHIO (Lake Research--D): Obama 46, Romney 44

OHIO (Pharos Research): Obama 50, Romney 45

OHIO (Rasmussen): Obama 48, Romney 48

OHIO (SRBI for Time Magazine): Obama 49, Romney 44

OHIO (SurveyUSA): Obama 47, Romney 44

PENNSYLVANIA (Pharos Research): Obama 49, Romney 46

VIRGINIA (Old Dominion University): Obama 50, Romney 43

WISCONSIN (Mason Dixon): Obama 48, Romney 46

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
CA-SEN (USC/Los Angeles Times): Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) 53, Elizabeth Emken (R) 38

CT-SEN (Mason-Dixon): Linda McMahon (R) 44, Chris Murphy (D) 44

CT-SEN (Quinnipiac): Chris Murphy (D) 49, Linda McMahon (R) 43

FL-SEN (Pharos Research): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 52, Connie Mack IV (R) 44

IN-SEN (Pharos Research): Richard Mourdock (R) 46, Joe Donnelly (D) 46

MA-SEN (WBUR/MassINC): Elizabeth Warren (D) 50, Sen. Scott Brown (R) 44

MT-SEN (Pharos Research): Sen. Jon Tester (D) 48, Denny Rehberg (R) 46

NE-SEN (Pharos Research): Deb Fischer (R) 48, Bob Kerrey (D) 45 46

NV-SEN (PPP): Shelley Berkley (D) 44, Sen. Dean Heller (R) 44, David VanderBeek (IAP) 7

NY-SEN (NY1/Marist): Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) 68, Wendy Long (R) 24

ND-SEN (Pharos Research): Heidi Heitkamp (D) 49, Rick Berg (R) 48

OH-SEN (Pharos Research): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 52, Josh Mandel (R) 41

OH-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 48, Josh Mandel (R) 44

OH-SEN (SurveyUSA): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 43, Josh Mandel (R) 42

PA-SEN (Pharos Research): Sen. Bob Casey (D) 42 52, Tom Smith (R) 42

PA-SEN (Wenzel Strategies for Citizens United): Sen. Bob Casey (D) 45, Tom Smith (R) 44

VA-SEN (Old Dominion University): Tim Kaine (D) 50, George Allen (R) 43

WI-SEN (Mason Dixon): Tammy Baldwin (D) 47, Tommy Thompson (R) 45


MT-GOV (Pharos Research): Steve Bullock (D) 47, Rick Hill (R) 45

ND-GOV (Pharos Research): Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) 63, Ryan Taylor (D) 32

ND-GOV (Rasmussen): Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) 53, Ryan Taylor (D) 39

WA-GOV (Elway Research): Rob McKenna (R) 47, Jay Inslee (D) 45


CT-05 (National Research for the Roraback campaign): Andrew Roraback (R) 45, Elizabeth Esty (D) 39

FL-18 (Frederick Polls for the Murphy campaign): Patrick Murphy (D) 47, Rep. Allen West (R) 47

MT-AL (Pharos Research): Steve Daines (R) 47, Kim Gillan (D) 41

NH-01 (Univ. of New Hampshire): Rep. Frank Guinta (R) 41, Carol Shea-Porter (D) 38, Brendan Kelly (L) 4

NH-02 (Univ. of New Hampshire): Anne McLane Kuster (D) 39, Rep. Charlie Bass (R) 36, Hardy Macia (L) 3

ND-AL (Essman/Research): Kevin Cramer (R) 52, Pam Gulleson (D) 32

ND-AL (Pharos Research): Kevin Cramer (R) 54, Pam Gulleson (D) 42

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

Looking at the overall picture today, it is hard to see "game changer" in those numbers, but it is possible to see some sources of optimism for Democrats in general, and fans of President Obama, in particular. While the overall movement, on average, was minimal (from a Romney "lead" of 0.8 points to a Romney "lead" of 0.1 points), the trajectory of the movement was almost entirely uniform.

If you count LV screens and RV screens separately, there are ten separate items on the national political agenda. One of them (a new pollster, Pharos Research, and more on them later) does not have a distinct predecessor to compare to (there is a vague reference in the polling memo to previous polls). The other nine, however, have predecessors. In fact, most of them (of course) are daily trackers. Here is how they broke down, compared to their previous polls:

Moved 2 pts to Romney: Ipsos/Reuters LV
No movement: ABC/WaPo, Ipsos/Reuters RV, Rasmussen
Moved 1 pt to Obama: IBD/TIPP
Moved 2 pts to Obama: Gallup LV, Gallup RV, PPP, UPI/CVoter
So, to summarize, of the nine polls that had prior data, five polls moved in Barack Obama's direction, only one moved in Mitt Romney's direction, and three did not move at all. This is something only a cheerleader would define as "sharp" movement, but it is also possibly something a little more than mere float.

Of course, we will know a lot more by the end of this week, as it relates to these tracking polls. In none of these polls does post-debate data make up more than a third of the sample. By Saturday, all of these polls will be made up primarily with post-debate samples.

At the swing state level, the big news was Time's Ohio poll, which showed Obama staked to a 49-44 lead. In addition, even two pollsters with conservative leanings (PPP Rasmussen and Mason-Dixon) have a couple other Obama firewall states holding up, as they gave him incremental leads in both Nevada and Wisconsin.

(Note: This is the first, and presumably last, time you will see me mistake PPP for the House of Ras)

All in all, a day where you would rather be Barack Obama than Mitt Romney. Especially since, with the day being primarily driven by Donald Trump and Richard Mourdock, it is hard to imagine a burgeoning swell of positive press for team Romney tonight.

In other polling news...

  • You might notice a very good Virginia poll in the mix, and wonder why I did not mention it in the swing state summary a couple of paragraphs above. Well, there is a simple reason for that--it is a brutally bad poll. A good poll shouldn't be in the field for more than 4 or 5 days, so that the respondents are all dealing with essentially the same circumstances. This one was in the field a tad longer. As in...ahem...28 days. It first went into the field in mid-September. September! That means, for those who are into math, that the ODU polling crew did about 15-20 calls a night. Ergo, I would not, if I were you, put a lot of stock into that poll.
  • A more complex polling story is one of the more prolific pollsters in the mix today: a new unit called Pharos Research. This article in The Hill gives us a little background. The firm is run by one Steve Lachtman, a former pollster for Gallup. Having that on your pedigree isn't necessarily bad (maybe he left before they fashioned their new LV screen!), and the numbers are largely within the realm of plausibility. However, my partner David Nir digs in, and finds more questions that answers. As for the data itself: the one "wha?" poll in the mix is probably that Nebraska Senate poll, because when a pollster has a race closer than the candidate's own internal polling, some scrutiny is probably deserved. But most of their numbers seem reasonable, if a little Dem-leaning at the Senate level. FYI: that Indiana poll came before Mourdock's debate meltdown last night.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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