National and tracking polls show varying results, a USA Today/Gallup poll has Romney up in swing states thanks to women but the Obama campaign sees a problem, Romney is doing better with Latinos in Florida than he does with Latinos nationwide, and fewer voters think Obama will win Tuesday's debate.
Findings: Obama leads by three points in the ABC News/Washington Post poll, two in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, and by one in the Politico/George Washington University Battleground poll, but he's down by one in Rasmussen and two in Gallup.
Pollster: ABC News/Washington Post with sampling, data collection and tabulation from Abt-SRBI, Reuters/Ipsos, The Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners Politico/GWU, Rasmussen, Gallup
Methodology: For ABC News/Washington Post: Landline and cell phone poll of 923 likely voters October 10 through 13 and a +/-3.5 percentage points margin of error. For Reuters/Ipsos: Online tracking poll. For Politico/GWU: Poll of 1,000 likely voters October 7 through 11 and a +/-3.1 percent margin of error. For Rasmussen: daily tracking For Gallup: daily tracking.
Why it matters: Everything's still very close, but based on the results of some of these polls it looks as if the effects of Obama's poor debate performance is tapering off. Of the ABC News/Washington Post poll Nate Silver explains that the poll is "potential important" because "with it, the case is clearer that Mr. Obama has recovered from his post-debate lows, although he has almost assuredly not made up all the ground he lost." Patricia Zengerle at Reuters writes that Obama has "appeared to have stemmed the bleeding from his poor first debate." That said, tracking polls Rasmussen and Gallup have Obama down. Romney's one point lead is down a point from Rasmussen's tracking a day earlier, but Gallup's remains static.
Caveat: Some more good news for Obama and some more bad news. A Reuters/Ipsos poll of early voters shows Obama leading among them by a sizable margin. Some bad news: there are numbers in both the ABC/Washington Post poll and the Politico/GWU poll that show signs of improvement for Romney. In the former, The Fix's Chris Cillizza points out "Romney enthusiasm soars," in the latter Politico's James Hohmann is getting his "his Sally Field moment: They like him. At least more than they used to."
Findings: A USA Today/Gallup poll has Romney up by five points in 12 swing states among likely voters, tying the president 48 to 48 among women. Update: USA Today has issued a correction to their original report saying that Romney actually led by four, and women were split 49 percent for Obama and 48 percent for Romney.
Pollster: USA Today/Gallup
Methodology: Poll of 869 likely voters October 5 through 11 in 12 swing states.
Why it matters: The all-important female vote is now boosting Romney.
Caveat: We aren't looking at each swing state individually here. Tufts University political scientist Richard Eichenberg tells USA Today: "Although swing states share many similarities, President Obama's support among women is holding up well in some of them and less well in others. For example, his support among women is largely unchanged since the first debate in Ohio and Wisconsin, but it is definitely down in Colorado, Virginia and Florida." Plus Nate Silver tweets: "Looking at breakouts of 'swing states' from national polls is just dumb when there are dozens of actual swing state polls out every week." Also, as Aaron Blake points out, the Politico poll shows a Romney lead by two points in ten states deemed competitive, and Obama leading by five in the ABC News/Washington Post poll in "the nine most important states." Finally, Obama's pollster Joel Benenson challenged the numbers in an "interested parties" memo, "In the past, Gallup’s justification for such outlying numbers is that they are providing a snapshot of voter attitudes during a particular time period, not predicting the outcome of the election" and adding: "But this implausible result among women appears to not even provide an accurate reflection on the electorate today, making its value questionable."
Findings: Obama's leads Latino voters in Florida 51 percent to 44 percent, which is much closer than his nationwide 30-plus margin among Latino voters.
Pollster: Florida International University/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald
Methodology: For Florida numbers: Poll of 720 likely Hispanic voters in Florida October 10 through 11 and a +/-3.6 percent margin of error. For nationwide numbers: Poll of 1,000 likely Hispanic voters nationwide and a +/-3.1 percentage point margin of errror.
Why it matters: A demographic Obama appears to be solidly in the lead with looks not so solid in a key swing state.
Caveat: Marc Caputo and Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald point out a large portion of Florida's Latino voters are Cuban-Americans, who have a history of supporting Republicans.
Findings: Voters are lowering their expectations for Obama going into the second debate. While 41 percent still think he will do the better job compared to Romney's 37 percent, before the first debate 51 percent thought he would do a better job compared to Romney's 29 percent.
Methodology: Poll of 857 registered voters October 12 through 14 with a +/-4 percentage point margin of error.
Why it matters: The game has shifted going into tomorrow night.
Caveat: Perhaps lower expectations give Obama a chance to defy them. Or Romney could really stand out.