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The Friday before the election was, as expected, a fairly heavy polling day, as we logged a "Friday lite" record of 79 polls. On balance, it was a very good polling day for the president in the state polls, and a slightly more mixed one in the national polls, which is a mere perpetuation of a theme we have seen developing for what feels like years, at this point.

Even in the national polls, however, there is some movement. For the third consecutive day, Barack Obama held a lead in the "average" of national polls released today. Of course, the word "lead" is stretching it: today, that lead was 0.14 percentage points. In none of the three days in question was the lead over a single point.

Of course, during the Romney "surge", his average national polling lead was similar in size (or lack thereof).

The bottom line is this: for the first time in a long time, the polls and the media narrative are starting to line up as the clock winds down towards Election Day. That is not good news for Mitt Romney, as the growing narrative is that Obama is riding somewhat of a wave as he heads into the final weekend of the 2012 election.

More on that, and if the numbers bear it out, after the jump. For now, though, on to the numbers:


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

NATIONAL (Ipsos/Reuters Tracking): Obama 46, Romney 46 (LV); Obama 47, Romney 44 (RV)

NATIONAL (PPP Tracking): Obama 49, Romney 48

NATIONAL (Purple Strategies): Obama 47, Romney 46

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Obama 48, Romney 48

NATIONAL (UPI/CVoter): Obama 48, Romney 48

NATIONAL (Zogby for the Washington Times): Obama 49, Romney 49

CALIFORNIA (Field Poll): Obama 54, Romney 39

COLORADO (Ipsos-Reuters Tracking): Obama 46, Romney 46

COLORADO (PPP for LCV): Obama 50, Romney 46

COLORADO (SurveyUSA): Obama 47, Romney 45

CONNECTICUT (PPP): Obama 55, Romney 42

FLORIDA (Ipsos-Reuters Tracking): Obama 48, Romney 46

GEORGIA (20/20 Insight for a Better Georgia): Romney 52, Obama 46

HAWAII (Merriman River for Civil Beat): Obama 61, Romney 34

INDIANA (Bellwether/Garin-Hart-Yang for the Howey Report): Romney 50, Obama 41

INDIANA (McLaughlin and Associates for the Mourdock campaign): Romney 54, Obama 41

INDIANA (Rasmussen): Romney 52, Obama 43

IOWA (Gravis Marketing--R): Obama 49, Romney 45

IOWA (Mellman Group for Americans United for Change): Obama 46, Romney 44

MAINE (PPP): Obama 55, Romney 42

MAINE-02 (Gravis Marketing--R): Obama 50, Romney 47

MAINE-02 (PPP): Obama 51, Romney 46

MASSACHUSETTS (Kimball Consulting--R): Obama 54, Romney 41

MASSACHUSETTS (PPP): Obama 57, Romney 42

MICHIGAN (Grove Insight for Project New America/USAction): Obama 48, Romney 41

MICHIGAN (PPP for LCV): Obama 52, Romney 46

MICHIGAN (Rasmussen): Obama 52, Romney 47

MINNESOTA (PPP for LCV): Obama 53, Romney 44

NEBRASKA (We Ask America--R): Romney 54, Obama 41

NEVADA (Mellman Group for Americans United for Change): Obama 50, Romney 44

NEW HAMPSHIRE (Gravis Marketing--R): Obama 50, Romney 49

NEW HAMPSHIRE (New England College): Obama 50, Romney 44

OHIO (CNN/ORC): Obama 50, Romney 47 (LV); Obama 52, Romney 45 (RV)

OHIO (Ipsos-Reuters Tracking): Obama 47, Romney 45

OHIO (Rasmussen): Obama 49, Romney 49

OHIO (We Ask America--R): Obama 50, Romney 46

OREGON (PPP): Obama 52, Romney 46

SOUTH DAKOTA (Nielson Brothers): Romney 50, Obama 42

UTAH (Dan Jones and Associates): Romney 69, Obama 26

VIRGINIA (Ipsos-Reuters Tracking): Obama 48, Romney 45

VIRGINIA (We Ask America--R): Obama 49, Romney 48

WISCONSIN (We Ask America--R): Obama 52, Romney 45

CA-SEN (Field Poll): Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) 54, Elizabeth Emken (R) 33

CT-SEN (PPP): Chris Murphy (D) 52, Linda McMahon (R) 43

FL-SEN (Ipsos-Reuters): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 53, Connie Mack IV (R) 41

IN-SEN (Bellwether/Garin-Hart-Yang for the Howey Report): Joe Donnelly (D) 47, Richard Mourdock (R) 36, Andy Horning (L) 6

IN-SEN (McLaughlin and Associates for the Mourdock campaign): Richard Mourdock (R) 46, Joe Donnelly (D) 44, Andy Horning (L) 3

IN-SEN (Rasmussen): Joe Donnelly (D) 45, Richard Mourdock (R) 42

ME-SEN (PPP): Angus King (I) 50, Charlie Summers (R) 36, Cynthia Dill (D) 12

MA-SEN (Kimball Consulting--R): Sen. Scott Brown (R) 49, Elizabeth Warren (D) 47

MA-SEN (PPP): Elizabeth Warren (D) 52, Sen. Scott Brown (R) 46

MI-SEN (PPP for LCV): Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) 53, Pete Hoesktra (R) 40

MT-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Jon Tester (D) 49, Dennis Rehberg (R) 48

NE-SEN (We Ask America--R): Deb Fischer (R) 54, Bob Kerrey (D) 41

OH-SEN (Ipsos-Reuters): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 50, Josh Mandel (R) 42

PA-SEN (McLaughlin for the Smith campaign): Sen. Bob Casey (D) 46, Tom Smith (R) 46

UT-SEN (Dan Jones and Associates): Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) 63, Scott Howell (D) 26

VA-SEN (Ipsos-Reuters): Tim Kaine (D) 47, George Allen (R) 44

VA-SEN (We Ask America--R): George Allen (R) 50, Tim Kaine (D) 50

WI-SEN (Rasmussen): Tammy Baldwin (D) 48, Tommy Thompson (R) 48

WI-SEN (We Ask America--R): Tammy Baldwin (D) 49, Tommy Thompson (R) 46

IN-GOV (Bellwether/Garin-Hart-Yang for the Howey Report): Mike Pence (R) 47, John Gregg (D) 40, Rupert Boneham (L) 5

IN-GOV (McLaughlin and Associates for the Mourdock campaign): Mike Pence (R) 51, John Gregg (D) 39, Rupert Boneham (L) 3

MT-GOV (Mason Dixon): Rick Hill (R) 49, Steve Bullock (D) 46

MT-GOV (Mellman Group for the DGA): Steve Bullock (D) 47, Rick Hill (R) 40

UT-Gov (Dan Jones and Associates): Gov. Gary Herbert (R) 69, Peter Cooke (D) 24

GA-12 (20/20 Insight for A Better Georgia--D): Rep. John Barrow (D) 50, Lee Anderson (R) 44

HI-01 (Merriman River for Civil Beat): Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) 54, Charles Djou (R) 43

HI-02 (Merriman River for Civil Beat): Tulsi Gabbard (D) 73, Kawika Crowley (R) 15

NH-01 (New England College): Rep. Frank Guinta (R) 48, Carol Shea-Porter (D) 41

NH-02 (New England College): Ann McLane Kuster (D) 47, Rep. Charles Bass (R) 41

OK-02 (Oklahoma Poll): Markwayne Mullin (R) 45, Rob Wallace (D) 33, Others 4

SD-AL (Nielson Brothers): Rep. Kristi Noem (R) 50, Matt Varilek (D) 44

UT-01 (Dan Jones and Associates): Rep. Rob Bishop (R) 72, Donna McAleer (D) 15

UT-02 (Dan Jones and Associates): Chris Stewart (R) 44, Jay Seegmiller (D) 28

UT-02 (Mason Dixon): Chris Stewart (R) 55, Jay Seegmiller (D) 28

UT-03 (Dan Jones and Associates): Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) 68, Simon Sorenson (D) 18

UT-04 (Mason Dixon): Mia Love (R) 52, Rep. Jim Matheson (D) 40

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

For the last time (well, okay, the second-to-last time), let's take a look at what states are in the "battleground", and how their polls look compared to a week or two ago. That way, we can see the trajectory, where feasible, for each of the key states.

If we assume that both candidates are right around 200 electoral votes (for the sake of the argument, we will keep the four states Charlie Cook had as leaning to the Democrats--Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, as tossups), there are 11 states to explore. Here they are, with the current one-week polling average, compared to the one-week polling averages on October 15th.

One-week polling average, releases 10/26-11/2 (10/8-15 in parentheses)

Colorado: Obama +1.0 (Romney +0.3)
Florida: Romney +0.5 (Romney +1.6)
Iowa: Obama +2.8 (Obama +1.0)
Michigan: Obama +5.0 (Obama +4.4)
Nevada: Obama +4.2 (Obama +0.8)
New Hampshire: Obama +3.1 (Obama +0.7)
North Carolina: Romney +2.3 (Romney +3.3)
Ohio: Obama +2.6 (Obama +1.7)
Pennsylvania: Obama +5.0 (Obama +4.7)
Virginia: Obama +1.3 (Romney +0.4)
Wisconsin: Obama +4.5 (Obama +2.7)

To recap, in every one of the eleven "battlegrounds" for the 2012 cycle, President Obama is in a better position than he was in mid-October. The average movement has been pretty incremental (the average is 1.6 percentage points), but the consistency of the movement tells us that it is not just mere floating at the margin. It is safe to assume that if the movement were random, we'd see Romney doing better in some places, and Obama in others. But Romney hasn't improved his position anywhere. Not even in Michigan and Pennsylvania, where he mounted a late charge.

You can see some real impact from that renewed emphasis on Michigan and Pennsylvania, though. Obama has moved less in those two states than anywhere else. Nevertheless, it becomes tough to see where Obama loses five percentage points in four days, making this "hail mary" look like a tough, tough sell.

Though, given the landscape, we can also see why Romney is doing this. He has to find a path to 270 electoral votes, and the commonly cited paths are fading away from him. If Romney carried all of the states where he leads in the average (and Florida is very iffy: if you exclude polls released on 10/26 and include only this week's polls, Obama actually pulls into a fractional lead), he loses 303-235.

Guard against complacency, though: those national polls have scarcely budged, even as the state polls have nudged a couple of critical points to the good for Team Obama. And, looking at it in absolute terms, Mitt Romney only needs a slightly stronger tailwind than he did in mid-October to push back to parity. On October 15th, the averages gave Obama a lead of just 281-257. A movement of a single percentage point would have moved Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa. 16 electoral votes, and the ballgame. Today? Things are better. But, still, the margin of error is not immense. Today, Romney would need an approximate movement of...2.6 percent. It is more comfortable, to be sure. But to think this thing is on lock would be a bit premature.

That said, to use a cliché that every ball coach would use at halftime to a sideline reporter: at this stage of the game, I'd rather be us than be them. With 96 hours to go, you'd rather be trying to ensure ways to hang onto your electoral college majority than trying to cobble together a coalition of states to find a way to an electoral college majority.

And, late in the fourth quarter of the game, that is precisely where we stand.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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