President Obama won the debate, tracking polls are up and down, and Sen. Ben Nelson's lead is shrinking in Florida. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: Insta-polls give the final round to Obama. In the CBS poll of uncommitted voters, he won by a 30-point margin. The victory wasn't quite so large in a Public Policy Polling poll of swing states, which found Obama was up by 11 points. In CNN's poll Obama only won by 8 points.
Pollsters: CBS News, Public Policy Polling, CNN/ORC International
Methodology: For CBS News: Online poll using GfK's web-enabled KnowledgePanel of 521 uncommitted voters. For PPP: Automated poll of 500 swing state debate watchers. For CNN: Survey of 448 registered voters.
Why it matters: Obama had a good night. As Nate Silver points out, averaging the CNN and CBS poll with a Google Consumer Surveys poll putting him up by about 10 points gives the Obama team a 16-point margin, the biggest victory his ticket has had in the debates. (Romney, however, averaged a 29-point win after the first debate.) "Still, with the contest being so tight, any potential gain for Mr. Obama could matter," Silver writes.
Caveat: Silver also points out that foreign policy, the topic of this debate, tends to not matter as much to voters as much as economic policy. Though, they talked about that too.
Findings: The tracking polls show quite different results. Here's they are in order from widest lead for Romney to widest lead for Obama:
- Gallup sees Romney ahead 51 percent to 46 percent, a 1-point change in Obama's favor since yesterday.
- Rasmussen finds Romney ahead 50 percent to 46 percent, up from a 2-point Romney lead Sunday.
- Reuters/Ipsos finds Obama ahead 47 percent to 46 percent, after showing a tie.
- IBD/TIPP finds Obama ahead 46.5 percent to 44.5 percent, down from an almost 6-point lead Sunday.