National polls other than Gallup indicate the race is tight, Obama is up in Wisconsin and maybe Iowa, and Rasmussen has Romney up by five in Florida. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: Gallup has Romney up by six points. Rasmussen has it all tied up, and a national poll from UConn/Hartford Courant has Obama up by three.
Pollsters: Gallup, Rasmussen, UConn/Hartford Courant
Methodology: Gallup and Rasmussen are daily tracking polls; for UConn/Hartford Courant: Poll of 1,023 likely voters October 11 through 16 with a +/-3 percentage point margin of error.
Why it matters: Gallup is still the shocker today, but political analysts are majorly caveating it. Ezra Klein pointed out that Gallup's internals indicate an "electoral college/popular vote split." Per Nate Silver: "its results are deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race, and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case." Rasmussen, on the other hand, has moved the race from a two point lead for Romney yesterday to a tie. Meanwhile, the UConn/Hartford Courant poll has what is basically a "dead heat" within the margin of error, according to Christopher Keating of the Courant. The poll director Jennifer Necci Dineen said: "It's close, and we're seeing a significant gender gap here with women breaking for the president by 55 percent to 38 percent" Now in the RCP average Obama is up by 0.1 percent.
Caveat: Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup, told Klein: "I think we’re still seeing leftover positive support for Romney and I don’t think we’re seeing impact yet from the second debate."
Findings: Obama leads by six in Wisconsin and by eight in Iowa, based on an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll. That said, a Public Policy Polling poll has Romney up by one in Iowa.
Pollster: NBC/WSJ/Marist, PPP
Methodology: For NBC/WSJ: Poll of 1,013 likely Wisconsin voters and 1,137 likely Iowa voters October 15 through 17 with margins of error of +/-3.1 percent and +/-2.9 percent. For PPP: Automated poll of 869 likely voters in Iowa October 17 through 19 with a margin of error +/-3.3 percent.
Why it matters: Obama looks comfortable in two battleground states in at least one poll. As Mark Blumenthal at the Huffington Post points out, "both states are critical for Obama given the close contest nationwide and narrow Romney leads in states like Florida and North Carolina." Meanwhile, earlier this week Nate Cohn wrote in The New Republic, "Iowa holds the keys to Colorado: if Obama lost Iowa, then a victory in Colorado wouldn’t get him over the top without winning another tipping point state, like Ohio or Virginia." He adds: "Victory in Iowa would be enough to reelect Obama if he also won Ohio and Wisconsin." The outlook is not quite as favorable in Iowa, but PPP notes: "Obama has opened up a huge lead among early voters, 66-32. Those folks represent 31% of the electorate. But with the 69% of folks who have yet to cast their ballots, Romney leads 56-39."
Caveat: According to Blumenthal the NBC/WSJ/Marist polls tend to favor Obama. PPP has a Democratic lean.
Findings: Romney is up by five in Florida, according to Rasmussen. Update: A Fox News poll gives Romney a slimmer, three-point lead in the state among likely voters, and CNN has him up by only one point.
Methodology: Automated poll of 750 likely voters in Florida October 18 with margins of error of +/-4 percentage points.
Why it matters: Now, here is a crucial battleground with Romney up by a larger margin. Rasmussen writes that this Romney's "biggest lead of the year" in Florida now putting it in their "leans Romney" category. That said, based on the RCP average he's only up by 2.6 points.
Caveat: Rasmussen leans Republican.