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Daily Breakdown: State Polls and Isaac

 Not an incredibly interesting polling day heading into the conventions.

The national polls aren’t exactly attention grabbing, but the state-level polls are somewhat more interesting. Quinnipiac’s Connecticut poll is now the third straight survey to show Romney within 10 among likely voters. There might be a similar phenomenon going on in New Jersey, the other state that’s really a glorified suburb of New York, where Romney also looks like he’s a little closer than one might expect based on a uniform swing. These tallies are hardly unprecedented, as Kerry won Connecticut by just 10 points and New Jersey by 7. Quinnipiac surveys suggest that Obama’s suffered his biggest losses among voters without a college degree. In Connecticut, Obama’s up by just 2 points among voters without a college degree, compared to his big 24 point victory in 2008.

Polls effectively show a tied race in Iowa and PPP’s no exception—they show Obama up by just 2 points among likely voters heading into the convention. That’s hardly surprising: Obama won the state by 10 points in 2008, but nearly half of Obama’s supporters were whites without a college degree—the group that plagues his reelection chances the most. If the election were tomorrow, Iowa would be a solid choice for “closest state.”

In North Carolina, SurveyUSA is the most recent pollster to show a tight race in spite of the expectation of most national pundits. But the poll is a little strange, since it shows an unusually large number of undecided voters. The last SurveyUSA poll showed Romney up 50-45, so I don’t know exactly what to make of a poll that shows a 43-43 race. Part of the issue: they gave voters the option of selecting “another candidate” in addition to undecided/don’t know.

Odds and Ends

--Isaac struggled to combat dry air, but it finally consolidated an inner core and strengthened to Hurricane status this afternoon. The Hurricane Hunters have found that the central pressure has fallen to 971 millabars, which is usually consistent with a strong category 2 Hurricane. But instead of producing a narrow area of category 2 winds, Isaac’s low pressure has yielded an usually large but less intense cyclone. The upside is less wind damage, but the downside is more rain and a larger storm surge over a larger area. While that’s bad for the Gulf Coast, the RNC dodged a bullet. If Isaac had strengthened to a category 2 or 3 Hurricane, New Orleans probably would have ordered evacuations, and it’s hard to imagine that the RNC would have continued unabated under such circumstances.