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Daily Breakdown: Trackers Remind Us Of A Close Race

Good round of polls for Romney today, although there weren’t many and they were from firms that have tended to offer decent results for Romney so far this cycle.


Iowa seems destined to be among the closest states in 2012. It leaned slightly to the left in 2004 and 2008, but it has a large white working class population which would tend to suggest that Obama should expect larger losses in Iowa than elsewhere. Folks are underestimating Romney’s chances because of it’s relatively Democratic history, but it voted for Bush in 2004, and it’s worth recalling that Obama will do worse than Kerry among white voters in the event of a tied national election, and Iowa is about as white as it gets. The state’s strong economy also has something to do with the perception that Iowa leans Obama, but there’s no evidence that state economic performance is making a difference in Iowa, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Obama had a rough day in the daily trackers, and it’s worth remembering that although there are emerging signs that Obama’s making gains, the trackers continue to show a tight race. So rather than jump to the conclusion that Obama is making big gains, it would be wise to look for a more consistent trend. No, the trackers aren’t perfect, but there’s no reason that a big national shift wouldn’t be detected by Gallup, PPP, or Rasmussen, whatever their flaws. Now, Obama’s gains in the non-tracking polls leave me looking for evidence to complete an emerging trend, but for the moment, it would be wrong to assume that Obama’s up 5 or 6 points with registered voters, or something. 

On balance, there’s no question that this was a good week of polling for Obama. He looks well positioned in Virginia and there are signs that his national lead might be growing. But without more polls or similar movement in the trackers, the right call is to assume that any gains are modest.