With the exception of 1PM chaos as polling addicts went into Gallup withdrawal, yesterday was an uneventful day heading into the final two weeks of the campaign.
There weren't very many polls from battleground states and the few that were came from partisan or less-than spectacular pollsters. If you had to choose a winner, there would be a case for either side. Romney's advocates can argue that he made gains in several national polls and a Democratic-firm showed a tied race in Florida. Obama fans, on the other hand, can argue that Obama held leads in Wisconsin and Nevada--two states that combine with Ohio to provide Obama with 271 electoral votes. And every day that passes without a poll showing Romney ahead in Ohio could be judged a win for Obama, from a certain perspective.
It's worth flagging the two polls from Connecticut as evidence of Obama's current weakness among Democratic-leaning independent voters. In 2008, Obama won Connecticut by 22 points, but yesterday's polls showed him stuck at 52 or 53 percent of the vote. While plenty are blaming the South for Obama's popular vote troubles, most of the available evidence of a decline in Obama's standing greater than his national decline come from outside of the South. Connecticut is one example--but Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Montana, and Indiana are also well known.
Early voting numbers continue to come in from across the battleground states, and the numbers look good for Obama in Nevada. As mentioned yesterday, Nevada is a state where the early voting numbers matter, since Romney's chances depend, at least in part, on a poor Democratic turnout. But the early vote numbers suggest he'll need to win plenty of Democrats, since they're not staying home. More than 20 percent of Nevada's eventual electorate has probably already cast ballots and the Obama campaign is running up the score in Las Vegas' Clark County, home to 70 percent of the state's population. Democrats now lead by 23,000 votes in Clark County, more than one-fifth of their 90,000 vote registration lead.
North Carolina's early voting doesn't deserve much attention quite yet, in part because the burden on Democrats is so high that we won't be able to tell whether they're really on pace to match their '08 numbers for a while. But so far, the numbers show Democrats performing near '08 levels, with a large 51-31 lead among registered Democrats. Just as importantly, 31 percent of early voters are African American--a sign that their enthusiasm remains at high levels.