ELECTIONATE NOVEMBER 2, 2012
Yesterday wasn't an exciting day in the polls and nothing upended contours of the race.
For what it's worth (nothing in the Electoral College, to be specific), Obama fared pretty well in yesterday's national polls and was up by a wide margin in Washington State, where Obama appears to be holding near '08 levels.
The non-partisan polls contacting cell phones were generally consistent with prior polls in the battleground states. In Colorado, CNN/ORC showed Obama up 2 points and at 50 percent. SurveyUSA showed Obama maintaining his 4 point edge in Nevada and a few less established firms or university Polls like Callfire, St. Norbert, and High Point provided decent results for the president in Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. Before becoming too despondent or excited about the St. Norbert poll in Wisconsin, keep in mind that several university surveys have provided some wild results in states like Virginia or New Hampshire. How about we agree that St. Norbert (O+9 WI) and Roanoke (R+5 VA) cancel out?
Many of the other state polls were pretty decent for Romney, they just weren't from the right pollsters. Enough people pick on Rasmussen that it's probably gratuitous at this point, but the stakes are high for them in this election and they're out on a limb by showing Romney ahead in just about every battleground state. Since Rasmussen's state numbers were better for the GOP than the final results in 2008 and 2010, they could really use a strong year to hang on to whatever credibility they've retained.
The point isn't that Rasmussen is necessarily wrong. There is a chance that Rasmussen is right. But we've already known that the Rasmussen poll points toward a Romney victory, and therefore the risk of Rasmussen being right should have already been built into our view of the race.
Romney actually had a good poll result in Ohio, but once again the firm diminished the significance of the top-line finding. Whatever the merits of Wenzel Strategies, they're commissioned by Citizens United and they previously stood alone in showing Romney ahead in the state. It's probably worth considering results from private pollsters, but it's probably worth considering them wrong when they're the only organization showing the same thing. Speaking of partisan organizations, a few Democratic firms showed Obama leading in Florida, and at least there are a few other polls showing somewhat similar results to help lend them a bit more credibility.
For Romney to change assessments of the race, he needs to get better results from firms that haven't been showing him ahead in states like Wisconsin and Ohio. There are now four days left.