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Things aren't looking good for Mitt Romney in Ohio, President Obama's also up in Florida, and the Massachusetts Senate race is tied. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.

Findings: Two new polls give Obama the advantage in Ohio. A Washington Post poll finds him up by 8 points among likely voters, with 52 percent to Romney's 44 percent. 
Pollster: Washington Post with interviews by Abt-SRBI.
Methodology: For Washington Post: Conventional and cell phone poll of 759 likely Ohio voters September 19 through 23 with a margin of error of +/-4.5 points.
Why it matters: This is bad news for Romney. Romney can win without Ohio, but it would be incredibly hard to do. The state's trend toward Obama is the problem facing Romney that's the most "alarming to other members of his party," Politico's Alexander Burns writes. Meanwhile, the Post's Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake explain that they have moved Ohio from "toss up" to "Lean Obama" on the Fix electoral map. Both campaigns are stopping in the state this week.
Caveat: The Washington Post poll, as Burns points out, does seem to be an outlier with it's big eight point lead. A poll from Gravis Marketing indicates a tighter race with Obama leading 45.2 percent to 44.3 percent. The RCP average has Obama up by 4.4 in the state. And the Romney camp is staying optimistic explaining that internal polls put things differently. Romney's political director Rich Beeson says of the campaign's internal polls, "We are, by any stretch, inside the margin of error in Ohio," according to BuzzFeed.

Findings: The Washington Post poll puts Obama up by 4 percentage points in Florida, with 51 percent to Romney's 47 percent.
Pollster: Washington Post with interviews by Abt-SRBI
Methodology: Conventional and cell phone poll of 769 likely Florida voters September 19 through 23 with a margin of error of +/-4.5 points.
Why it matters: Obama appears to have an edge in another big swing state, one that had looked to be friendlier to Romney. According to the Real Clear Politics average, only two recent polls put Romney ahead of Obama in the state and they do so only by one point. Dan Balz and Jon Cohen of the Washington Post explain how this highlights Romney troubles: "Both campaigns had thought of Florida as potentially more hospitable to Romney than to the president. But Obama’s competitive standing there — benefiting, as he also did in the Virginia poll, from a huge lead among female voters — spotlights Romney’s recent struggles."
Caveat: Both this and the Ohio poll contain some potentially hopeful news for Romney. As Cillizza noted "pessimism still reigns…." with "majority of registered voters in Florida (55 percent) and Ohio (56 percent) say that things have 'gotten pretty seriously off of the wrong track' in the country."

Findings: It's a tied race for the Senate in Massachusetts with Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren each at 48 percent.
Pollster: Rasmussen
Methodology: Automated poll of 500 likely voters in Massachusetts September 24 with a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points.
Why it matters: There had been indications of a Warren bounce and another poll showed Brown up, but Rasmussen puts the nasty race squarely in dead heat status.
Caveat: Rasmussen leans Republican.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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