Monday, October 22, 2012

One Poll Makes you Happy ...

... and one poll makes you sad. That's where we are this morning. Let's start with the poll that makes me sad.

NBC/WSJ released a national poll yesterday that has Obama and Romney tied at 47. This poll worries me a bit for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, NBC/WSJ is a good poll (Peter Hart and Bill McInturff), they do live-interviews, and they call cellphones. Second, it worries me because Obama's number is 47. As Chuck Todd points out, if it was 49-49, that wouldn't be so bad for the President. But 47 is not really the topline number you're looking for as an incumbent. Now, all of that said, this is the first national NBC/WSJ poll since late September (before the first debate). That poll had Obama ahead by 3 (49-46) so this is not a massive shift by any means and is technically in a range that could simply be statistical noise.

So what poll makes me happy this morning? Quinnipiac has a poll out this morning that has Obama ahead in Ohio 50-45. Quinnipiac is also a good pollster and they also do live interviews and this poll had a very large sample (over 1,500 likely voters). Like the NBC/WSJ national poll, Obama's 5-point lead here is down from where it was in a Quinnipiac poll of Ohio in late September (it was 53-43 then) but Obama still leads by a healthy margin. Perhaps more important than any of that, if you go back through all the polls of Ohio, the last time Romney led in any poll there was in a Gravis Marketing poll (they've got a strong Republican lean from what I can tell) conducted just after the first debate and Romney led by just 1 point in that poll. The bottom line is that Ohio looks good for the President.

What if both of these polls are perfectly accurate? If so, I think it would be likely that Obama would win the Electoral College and lose the popular vote by just a hair.

But there's still two weeks to go and tonight's debate may yet move the needle in one direction or another.

UPDATE: As if on cue, ABC/WP unveiled their new tracking poll today and they have Obama up 49-48. This is not a great result for Obama. But it is better than the NBC/WSJ poll. Obama doesn't need to get to 51. He needs to get to 50. And getting there is easier when it is 49-48 than when it is 47-47. Am I reading too much into one poll? You bet I am. That's what happens this time every 4 years. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

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