Virginia and Colorado have faded in importance as Ohio has reascended to its decisive role in teh Electoral College. But the two "new coalition" states of '08 remain competitive and yesterday's polls showed a tight race.
Romney’s best news came from two polls from Virginia, where Fox News and Rasmussen found Romney up by about two points. Romney has led in the majority of Virginia polls since the first debate and just as importantly, Fox News, Rasmussen, and NBC/WSJ/Marist all show Obama performing better in a state like Ohio. On the other hand, PPP found Obama up 5 in Virginia. It's worth flagging that they found better results for Obama in Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina as well, even though they found a tight race in their national tracker. Perhaps that's a sign of the national-state polling split--which you'll observe was on full display yesterday--or just noise. Either way, the PPP result doesn't match with most of the other polls in the state. It looks like a tight race with a slight Romney tilt.
At first glance, Obama received much better results in Colorado, but three of the four polls were conducted by partisan Democratic firms, so that’s worth a grain of salt. The fourth firm was NBC/WSJ/Marist and they showed a tied race, even though they’ve persistently found Obama doing better in the battleground states than other pollsters. The NBC/WSJ/Marist result is also more in-line with other non-partisan pollsters contacting cell phones, like NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac and SurveyUSA. So, for now, my presumption remains that the race is a dead heat, but today's polls hint at the possibility that Obama holds a larger edge.
A tight race in Virginia and Colorado is a real nuisance to the Romney campaign. Obama would probably win reelection if he won either state, but both states look like coin-flips. As a simple matter of probability, Obama would stand a decent chance of winning one of the two states. And even if Romney won both, he would still need to get over the hump in Ohio. And yet another day passed without a survey showing Romney leading in the Buckeye State. The Romney campaign has eleven days left.