Obama has the narrowest of leads over Romney in Florida, Missouri looks like Romney country, and 48 percent of Americans support gay marriage. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: Obama leads Romney 48 percent to 47 percent. This is down from a four point lead Obama held in a June poll. Unaffiliated voters support Romney 47 percent to Obama's 40 percent now, whereas last month Obama led that group by 9 points, perhaps because Romney's favorability numbers have been improving.
Pollster: Public Policy Polling
Methodology: 871 likely voters were surveyed through automated telephone interviews from July 26 to July 29. The margin of error is +/-3.3 perecent.
Why it matters: The tightening margin in this swing state is worrying for Obama. According to the president of PPP: “Florida looks like it will once again be among the closest states in the country with neither candidate having a clear advantage there." The change in Romney's favorability could mean that all those ads haven't done much good.
Caveat: PPP leans Democratic.
Findings: Romney leads Missouri 50 percent to Obama's 44 percent with 2 percent supporting another candidate and 3 percent undecided.
Pollster: Rasmussen Reports
Methodology: 500 likely voters in Missouri were surveyed via automated poll July 30. The margin of sampling error with "95% level of confidence" is +/-4.5. percentage points.
Why it matters: This info supports a poll last week, which also showed Romney with a significant lead on a state that some have said could be on the fence.
Caveat: Rasmussen has been known to lean Republican.
Findings: Support for gay marriage has jumped from years past. Whereas in 2004 only 31 percent total favored it compared to 60 percent who opposed it, in 2012, 48 percent favor compared to 44 percent who oppose. In 2008, 39 percent favored and 51 percent opposed. Democrats now support gay marriage 65 percent to 29 percent. In April 59 percent of Democrats said they were in favor gay marriage. Among that demographic, support from "liberal Democrats" jumped 10 points between April and July. Obama announced he supported same-sex marriage in May. Overall, there wasn't much of a change in opinion after Obama's declaration.
Methodology: 2,973 adults aged 18 and over in all 50 states and D.C. were interviewed via telephone (landline and cell) between June 28 and July 9. The margin error for the total group with "95% level of confidence" is +/-2.1 percentage points. For Democrats the margin of error is +/-3.6 percentage points.
Why it matters: Democrats setting the stage for putting same-sex marriage on their platform seem to be in tune with their party based on these results. But will it help Obama? Maybe, according to the AP: "Advocates of gay marriage say the trends highlighted by Pew and other pollsters suggest that support for it by Obama and his party will be an asset in the Nov. 6 election. Foes of gay marriage disagree, noting that a majority of voters in several swing states have supported amendments banning gay marriage, including Ohio, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina, where the ban prevailed in the May 8 primary."
Caveat: Back in May, a USA Today/Gallup survey showed that 60 percent of Americans said Obama's declaration of support for gay marriage wouldn't change whether they'd vote for him, even though 51 percent approved of it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.