After a week of swing state polls going Obama’s way, Romney finally added a wave of strong showings in the battleground states while preserving his lead in the national polls.
This is probably Romney’s best polling day of this election. Not only did he hold leads in the battleground state polls but Romney made relatively large gains compared to pre-DNC surveys. And the North Carolina poll where Obama led was partially conducted prior to the debate and Romney led by 6 points in the post-debate sample. Romney even led a poll in Nevada, the first he’s led since the onset of the general election campaign. The national tracking polls didn’t point toward any additional gains for Romney, but that’s hardly good news for the president, who largely trails in the national polls.
Not all of today’s polls were of the highest caliber, as many Democrats were inclined to remind me on twitter. Certainly, Obama would rather be down in Rasmussen and ARG than CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac, but this argument implies that Obama is faring pretty well in the “good polls” and there isn’t an especially clear “good” versus “bad” poll dynamic, at least not yet. Romney made big gains in Pew Research and Fox News, two solid live interview surveys that call cell phone voters and previously pointed toward a modest or even large Obama lead before the debate. At the state level, the argument is somewhat better with Seltzer, CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac, CNN, and NBC/Marist polls showing Obama with a slight edge in the battlegrounds, but these data aren’t so overwhelmingly positive for the president as to outweigh Pew, Gallup, and Fox, let alone when coupled with SurveyUSA. Perhaps future polls will divide along perceived qualitative lines, but right now the evidence is not especially clear.
The silver lining for Obama supporters? So far, it's just one day of polls showing Romney ahead in the battlegrounds and recent polls from NBC/WSJ/Marist or CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac are hardly outdated. And maybe the best news for the president was by omission: pollsters didn't decide to survey Ohio, Iowa, or Wisconsin; three states sufficient to reelect the president where Obama has led in most post-debate polls. If polls will soon show Romney ahead in those states, they weren't published today.
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