Are Swing States Swinging Back to Romney?

The Atlantic
Are Swing States Swinging Back to Romney?
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Are Swing States Swinging Back to Romney?

Two different pollsters show Virginia, Ohio, and Florida leaning more towards Mitt Romney than they had been, but the tracking polls still have President Obama up nationally. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter. 

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Findings: Romney is now up by 3 percentage points in Virginia, according to We Ask America, or by 1 point, according to Rasmussen.  Pollster: We Ask America, Rasmussen  Methodology: For We Ask America: Automated poll of over 1,200 likely voters last night with a margin of error of 3 percent. For Rasmussen: Automated poll of 500 likely voters October 4 with a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points.  Why it matters: The debates clearly went well for Romney and now we're seeing some movement in the polls. At one point Obama had been polling ahead in the state — remember when he was up by eight there? — but these polls show him sinking behind. Caveat: Rasmussen leans conservative, and We Ask America, has also been said to do so. Rasmussen does not contact cell phone-only users. We'll have to wait for a new round of polls to come out early next week to fully measure how the debate affected the race.

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Findings: Romney up in Ohio by 1 point. Pollster: We Ask America, Rasmussen  Methodology: For We Ask America: automated poll of over 1,200 likely voters last night with a margin of error of 3 percent. For Rasmussen: Automated survey of 500 likely voters October 4 with a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points. Why it matters: Ohio's undergoing a similar transformation to Virginia, according to these surveys. Obama had been up by eight there in a poll just this week, and there had recently been questions as to whether it was even worth Romney staying in the race there. Based on these polls it appears as if it definitely is.  Caveat: Same as above. Also we saw what happened to Obama's convention bounce, perhaps a debate bounce could subside as well. 

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Findings: Obama is down by 3 points in Florida, according to We Ask America, or by 2 points, according to Rasmussen.  Pollster: We Ask America, Rasmussen Methodology: For We Ask America: Automated poll of over 1,200 likely voters last night with a margin of error of 3 percent. For Rasmussen: Automated poll of 500 likely voters October 4 with a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points. Why it matters: We're seeing a pattern in these polls.  Caveat: See above. But also, a poll out from Latino Decisions finds Obama up 61 percent to 31 percent among Latino voters in the state. These numbers are tighter than his numbers among Latino's in Nevada, but Alexander Burns at Politico remarks that "Obama's standing is still strong for a Democrat in a presidential race." 

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Findings: All that said, today's Gallup tracking has Obama up by 5 points, and Rasmussen has the president up by 2. Meanwhile, Reuters/Ipsos has Obama up by 2, a smaller margin than Thursday's tracking poll.  Pollster: Gallup, Rasmussen, Reuters/Ipsos Methodology: For Gallup: Telephone interviews with 3,050 registered voters in a seven day rolling average with a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. For Rasmussen: Telephone surveys of 500 likely voters a night on a three day rolling average with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points. For Reuters/Ipsos: Online rolling tracker of 1,434 likely voters from October 1 through 5 and credibility interval of +/-3.0 percent.  Why it matters: The big daily tracking polls are still showing Obama up.  Caveat: Given that the tracking polls are taken on a rolling average there's also the possibility that the effects of Romney's debate performance have not yet set in. 

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