Paul Ryan gets better favorability ratings heading into the vice-presidential debate Thursday, national tracking polls are again unclear for both candidates, Latino voters in Arizona overwhelmingly support President Obama, and Obama's up by 4 points in Florida despite one pollster calling the state for Mitt Romney. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: Going into the vice presidential debate, registered voters like Paul Ryan better than Joe Biden. Biden is viewed more unfavorably than favorably by a 12 percentage point margin, while Ryan is viewed more favorably than unfavorably by 4 points.
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,201 registered voters October 4 through 7 with a +/-3.3 percentage point margin of error.
Why it matters: Biden comes into this contest following the poor performance of Obama in the first presidential debate, and he already doesn't have the crowd on his side. Before the debate in 2008 he was up 21 points in terms of favorability while Sarah Palin was up 9 points.
Caveat: Debates can change opinions, and people are pretty evenly divided when it comes to their opinions of Ryan.
Findings: Gallup's tracking poll shows Obama and Romney tied among likely voters with 48 percent each, while Rasmussen's and Reuters/Ipsos' puts Romney in the lead by 1 point.
Pollster: Gallup, Rasmussen, Reuters/Ipsos
Methodology: For Gallup: Daily tracking of likely voters October 3 through 9. For Rasmussen: Daily tracking of 500 likely voters per night on a three day rolling basis with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points. For Reuters/Ipsos: Online survey of 1,027 likely voters October 6 through 10 with a credibility interval of +/-3.5 percentage points.
Why it matters: After yesterday Gallup's first test of likely voters showed Romney leading by two, now Obama and Romney are even. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein tweeted: "So Obama is back to his pre-debate
#s... this is why it's worth waiting a few days to see how polls settle." Looking at Gallup's registered voter numbers, Nate Cohn of The New Republic writes: "Not sure whether Romney's bounce endures; Gallup now shows Obama performing above pre-debate levels with RV and approval." Romney pulled ahead by a point today in Rasmussen and Reuter/Ipsos, after remaining tied in yesterday's tracking in both polls.
Caveat: So the narrative is kind of peculiar and has no entirely good news for either candidate. For instance, if you look at the Real Clear Politics average, as the Wall Street Journal did, Romney is now up by a point. There are conflicting results on other topics, too: Obama's approval rating is positive by 11 points according to Gallup and negative by 1 point according to Rasmussen.
Findings: Obama gets 80 percent of the Latino vote in Arizona.
Pollster: Latino Decisions for America's Vote
Methodology: Interviews with 400 Latino registered voters September 29 through October 4 with a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
Why it matters: According to the Real Clear Politics average, Romney is up by 7.6 points in Arizona. But as Tom Kludt of Talking Points Memo explains, this poll reveals that Obama is doing even better among Latinos in Arizona than he is with Latinos overall, and he has a big lead among them as well. Latino Decisions explains that their results could mean a "surprise" for the media if "if Latino turnout is high in Arizona this year."
Caveat: This is where Obama mobilizing his base becomes really important for him.
Findings: A University of North Florida poll shows Obama up by four among likely voters in the state.
Methodology: Poll of 653 Florida residents October 1 through 9 with a margin of error of +/-3.72 percentage points.
Why it matters: This comes as Daily Intel reports that Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos has announced he isn't going to do anymore polling in the state (or in Virginia or North Carolina) because they have "painted those red." Okay, but this poll looks blue, even if the race is still tight. Paleologos isn't being received kindly by other pollsters. SurveyUSA's Jay Leve said: "This guy from Suffolk is obviously a jackass." So, that's that.
Caveat: The RCP average shows the state in a tie.