Numbers raise questions about just how many opinions the debates affected, Obama's up in his crucial state of Ohio, and national polls give Romney the upper hand. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: Debates don't really have that much of an impact when it comes to how people pick their candidates. In the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll 47 percent say the debates made no difference in how they would vote. Meanwhile, 27 percent said the debates would make them more likely to support Romney and 24 said it would make them more likely to support Obama, which just about evens the score.
Pollster: Peter Hart and Bill McInturff for NBC/Wall Street Journal
Methodology: Interviews with 1,000 registered voters October 17 through 20 with a +/-3.10 percent margin of error.
Why it matters: We make a lot of fuss about how debates shift the numbers, but voters say that they aren't really changing their opinions. At the Washington Post Chris Cillizza poses some theories as to what this means. One idea? The country is just very partisan right now. Another? "People don’t like to admit debates sway them."
Caveat: Well, there's another debate tonight.
Findings: Obama is up by five points in Ohio.
Pollster: CBS News/Quinnipiac
Methodology: Landline and cell phone interviews with 1,548 likely Ohio voters October 17 through 20 with a +/-2.5 percent margin of error.
Why it matters: As our Elspeth Reeve explained this morning: Obama needs Ohio, and Obama needs women in Ohio, who in this poll support him by 15 points. As Nate Cohn at The New Republic puts it: "Ohio rests at the center of Obama's claim to an advantage in the Electoral College." This poll gives Obama a bigger lead than his Real Clear Politics average, and Cohn's assessment is that even though the contest is close "Obama's lead remains clear."
Caveat: The team over at CBS writes that Obama is leading among early voters, but is only up by two among likely voters who haven't voted yet. They continue: "As has been the case throughout this election campaign, Ohio Republicans continue to be more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting this year."