With the final stretch underway and the two campaigns racing toward the finish line, Romney's opportunity to make a move in the polls is coming to a close. The surveys released yesterday and over the next few days will represent the final poll conducted by a firm in a given state prior to the election. Although the final wave of polls released over the next three days might ultimately hint at movement toward Romney, yesterday’s polls continued to show Obama well positioned in the battleground states that will determine the winner of the presidency.
Romney’s woes in Ohio are well documented and yesterday’s polls were consistent with Obama's three point lead in surveys conducted since the final presidential debate. NBC/Marist and CNN showed Obama ahead by 6 and 3 points respectively, showing little or no movement since their prior survey. Perhaps even worse for Romney, Rasmussen reverted to a tied race in Ohio and WAA, a firm generally providing Romney with favorable results, showed Obama ahead by 4 points. Polls in Nevada and Wisconsin indicated that Romney still doesn’t possess a credible alternative to a victory in Ohio. SurveyUSA showed Romney trailing by 4 points in Nevada, one point worse for Romney than their prior survey, and We Ask America became the fifth poll since the final debate to show Obama ahead by at least five points in Wisconsin. The combination of Wisconsin, Nevada, and Ohio provides Obama with 271 electoral votes. As of today, there is not a single non-partisan survey showing Romney ahead in any of these three of these states.
Just for good measure, it is safe to assert that Colorado discernibly tilts in Obama’s direction. After the first debate, Colorado seemed to be a true toss-up that might have even tilted in Romney’s direction after several of the better state polls showed Romney with a slight lead. But yesterday's SurveyUSA poll showed Obama ahead by 2 points, a reversal of Romney’s 1 point lead following the first presidential debate. And the SurveyUSA poll comes on the heels of Thursday’s CNN/ORC poll, which also showed Obama ahead by 2 points. When combined with a host of other Colorado polls of varying quality, Obama leads by an average of 1.5 points in Colorado polls conducted after the final debate. Perhaps importantly, only Rasmussen shows Romney ahead. As mentioned yesterday, Rasmussen could ultimately prove to be right, but the fact that they're alone suggests that it's unlikely. And since yesterday, Rasmussen's daily tracker shows Obama moving into a tie.
While Obama's narrow lead in Colorado might tenuous, consider a state that many prognosticators assume tilts clearly toward Romney: Florida. While Romney does hold a slight lead, it’s by just .8 points—a margin half as large as Obama’s in Colorado and less than one-third of Obama’s lead in Ohio. Just for good measure, a host of well-regarded surveys show Obama with a narrow advantage in the state or tied, including last night’s NBC/Marist poll showing Obama ahead by 2 points. Of course, other polls beg to differ, including an outlying Mason Dixon poll showing Romney ahead by 6 points in the Sunshine State. But the point is that Obama is far better positioned in Florida than Romney can claim in any of the states along Obama’s path of least resistance to 270.