A Week Away, the Election's Still Unclear

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An NPR poll shows just how perplexing the presidential race is a week away, it's a dead heat in the Florida Senate race, and a poll today shows Elizabeth Warren up by 7 points over Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.

Findings: Mitt Romney leads by 1 point nationally, but President Obama has a 4 point lead among a smaller sample of voters in swing states.
Pollster: NPR/Resurgent Republic/Democracy Corps
Methodology: Poll of 1,000 likely voters October 23 through 25 with a sub-sample of 462 voters in 12 battleground states.
Why it matters: That Romney is up nationally while Obama is up in battlegrounds is a phenomenon we've seen for several days. Will swing states move more in line with national polls? Or vice versa? Or will the winner of the electoral college be different than the winner of the popular vote?
Caveat: Alexander Burns of Politico points out that "Given that the swing-state sample includes states like New Mexico and Pennsylvania, which have long been counted in Obama's column, that 4-point lead may be less than meets the eye." Also, there's the question of Hurricane Sandy's impact.

Findings: Romney and Obama are tied among likely and actual voters in Florida.
Pollster: SurveyUSA
Methodology: Poll of 595 likely and actual voters October 25 through 27.
Why it matters: Florida is a tight race, and not necessarily a Romney slam dunk. The New Republic's Nate Cohn writes that "Obama’s resilience in Florida is partially related to his weakness there four years ago. In other states like Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, and Ohio, Romney will make gains by running up the score in white, rural areas where Obama outperformed Kerry by a wide margin. But McCain already ran up the score among Florida's rural voters in 2008."
Caveat: Romney is up by 1.3 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics average.

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Findings: Elizabeth Warren is up by 7 points over incumbent Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race.
Pollster: Suffolk University/7News
Methodology: Landline and cell phone poll of 600 likely Massachusetts voters October 25 through 28.
Why it matters: Just yesterday, Scott Brown was up by a slim margin in another poll, now this poll is giving Warren a more decisive victory. This is an important seat for Republicans to hold if they want to win a majority in the Senate.
Caveat: This poll is also showing a drastically different result in the presidential race than yesterday's, though still an Obama victory.

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