Friday, October 26, 2012

Oct. 25: The State of the States

By NATE SILVER
Thursday was a busy day for the polls, with some bright spots for each candidate. But it made clear that Barack Obama maintains a narrow lead in the polling averages in states that would get him to 270 electoral votes. Mr. Obama also remains roughly tied in the polls in two other states, Colorado and Virginia, that could serve as second lines of defense for him if he were to lose a state like Ohio.
The day featured the release of 10 national polls, but there was little in the way of a consistent pattern in them. On average, the polls showed a tied race. Furthermore, among the nine polls that provided for a comparison to another poll conducted after the first presidential debate in Denver, the net result was unchanged, on average, with Mr. Obama gaining one percentage point or more in three polls, but Mr. Romney doing so in three others.
Mr. Obama held the lead in nine polls of battleground states on Thursday, as compared to three leads for Mr. Romney and two polls showing a tied race.
This tally exaggerates the lopsidedness of the polling a bit, since the state polls released on Thursday were something of a Democratic-leaning bunch, some of which had shown strong numbers for Mr. Obama previously.
Mr. Romney’s strongest number came in a Fox News poll of Virginia, which had him 2 points ahead there – a sharp reversal from a 7-point advantage there for Mr. Obama before the Denver debate. However, Mr. Romney’s worst poll of the day was probably also in Virginia, where Public Policy Polling showed Mr. Obama’s lead expanding to 5 points from 2.
Among the 10 polls that provided for a comparison to another poll conducted after the Denver debate, Mr. Obama gained 1 percentage point, on average. The past week of polling suggests that Mr. Romney is no longer improving his position in the race.
Whether Mr. Obama has any momentum of his own, such as because of this week’s debate in New York, is less clear. To me, it looks more like a gradual reversion to the mean than anything all that assertive.
At the same time, Mr. Obama has led in the polling averages all year in states that would allow him to win the Electoral College, and that remains the case now.  FULL POST

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