ELECTIONATE OCTOBER 29, 2012
PPP capped off a strong polling weekend for the president by finding Obama gaining a few points in Ohio, Florida, and New Hampshire.
Although Saturday's Ohio Poll/University of Cincinnati survey was a very strong result for Romney, polls from PPP, Pharos Research, and even the typically Republican-leaning Gravis poll showed Obama ahead in Ohio, a state that looks like a true must-win for Romney so long as the polls in Wisconsin and Nevada continue to show Obama at 49 or 50 percent of the vote. When combined with the polls from late last week, the most recent surveys continue to point toward an Obama edge just slightly north of two points in the Buckeye State.
The big southeastern battlegrounds have looked stronger for Obama since the last debate. After yesterday's Washington Post survey in Virginia, PPP showed Obama ahead by 1 in Florida. Alone, the PPP poll is far from sufficient to demonstrate movement in Florida--especially since the white share of the Florida electorate has apparently declined from 69 to 64 percent over the last month. Count me quite skeptical anytime a poll shows a shift in a demographic group of that size. But the PPP poll isn't the only poll consistent with a case for a tight and perhaps tightening race in Florida: Romney's margin in Rasmussen shrunk from five to two points, the usually GOP-leaning Gravis poll shows Romney ahead by just one, and the only truly recent poll showing Romney clearly ahead came from Susquehanna, a pollster last seen showing Romney up by four points in Pennsylvania. In-person early voting is just under way, but Democrats performed better than '08 in absentee ballots and also fared quite well in the first day of early voting. Altogether, the Obama campaign's chances in Florida are looking better than they did one week ago, even if Romney maintains a slight edge.
You might have noticed those Pharos Research polls and they are indeed newcomers to political polling. With the exception of Pennsylvania their results generally appear to look better for the president than one might expect, but it'll be interesting to see if they wind up producing anything more between now and the election. Of course, there isn't much time.
The clock is ticking for Mr. Romney and Hurricane Sandy probably won't help. Yes, Sandy will interfere with GOTV efforts and television advertisements in Democratic-leaning stretches of northern and eastern Virginia, but the media will be distracted from the race and Romney will be denied crucial time to mount a comeback.