Gallup Could Either Be Good or Bad News for Romney

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Gallup's numbers today lead to varied viewpoints, favorability for both candidates are at highs, and Ohio is tight. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter. 

Findings: In Gallup's first tracking poll of likely voters Romney leads by 2 points, 49 percent to 47 percent. But among registered voters Obama leads by 3 points, 49 percent to 46 percent.
Pollster: Gallup 
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 3,214 registered voters and 2,721 likely voters October 2 through 8 with a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points for registered voters.
Why it matters: So there's some conflict as to what this means. The New York Times' Nate Silver tweeted: "Gallup poll not that newsy. But consensus of polling data pretty bad for Obama. Polls released today show 3.7% bounce for Romney on avg." Plus, as The New Republic's Nate Cohn pointed out, "when Gallup switched to LV's 4 years ago today, McCain gained 6 points." Cohn explains how Gallup shows good news for Obama: he's back to his immediate pre-debate numbers — up 5 points — among registered voters for polling done October 7 through 8.
Caveat: These numbers can obviously be seen from a number of different viewpoints. 

Findings: Favorability for both Obama and Romney are at campaign highs. Romney, however, is still rated more unfavorably than favorably putting him in the negative by 4. As for Obama, 55 percent rate him favorably and 44 percent unfavorably.
Pollster: Langer Research Associates for ABC News/Washington Post  
Methodology: Landline and cell phone poll of 845 registered voters October 4 through 7 with a margin of error of four points.
Why it matters: Since his debate performance Romney's become more favorable, but he still falls behind Obama in that category. 
Caveat: Gary Langer at ABC points out: "Part of Obama’s advantage in overall popularity stems from the fact that more registered voters identify themselves as Democrats than as Republicans; it’s 36-29 percent in this survey, with 32 percent saying they’re independents." 

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Findings: A CNN poll finds Obama up by 4 points in Ohio, while an ARG poll finds Romney up by 1 point. 
Pollster: CNN/ORC International, American Research Group 
Methodology: For CNN: Interviews with 722 likely voters October 5 through 8 with a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points. For ARG: Interviews with 600 likely voters October 5 through 8 with a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.
Why it matters: These numbers come as The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg explain how Romney is trying to reboot his campaign in the state after "his prospects were so shaky two weeks ago that his advisers openly discussed the narrow path to winning the necessary 270 electoral votes without Ohio, which every Republican president in the nation’s history has carried." Now we see polls both with tight results, but one on the red side and one on the blue. 
Caveat: They are both tight, and CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says "With one in eight likely voters saying that they could change their minds between now and November, and several crucial debates still to come, there is every reason to expect the race to change in Ohio." Mitt Romney is philosophical about it all. When asked about the Ohio numbers at a campaign stop, Romney replied, "This is Wendy's, guys. This is Wendy's." 

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