Is Romney Really Opening Up a Lead?

Esther Zuckerman
Is Romney Really Opening Up a Lead?

In Rasmussen's daily Tracking Poll, Romney is up by four. In Wisconsin, Obama is up by five. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter. 

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Findings: Rasmussen's daily Tracking Poll today has Romney in a national lead 47 percent to Obama's 43 percent with 4 percent supporting another candidate and 5 percent undecided. 

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Methodology: 500 likely voters per night were surveyed and "reported on a three-day rolling average basis" via telephone. The margin of error for the full 1,500 likely voters +/-3 percent. 

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Why it matters: With other national polls showing Obama leading with by substantial margins, Rasmussen's most recent tracking poll raised our eyebrows. It also is a slight diversion from the direction the conservative-leaning pollster had been going themselves recently. In their poll which recorded opinions August 3 through 5, they showed Obama leading 47 percent to 45 percent. This, according to The Hill, was "only the second time in the last two months that Obama has reached the 47 percent mark, according to Rasmussen, and only the second time in the last month the poll has shown Obama in the lead." In the following poll Obama's lead dropped to one point — 46 percent to 45. In the one after that the two were tied. As we noted yesterday, this also conflicts with poll averages — like those from Real Clear Politics, Talking Points Memo, and the Huffington Post — that show Obama with a marginal lead nationally. 

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Caveat: Rasmussen leans Republican. 

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Findings: In Wisconsin, 50 percent of likely voters would vote Obama and 45 percent would vote Romney, according to Marquette University Law School.

Methodology:  1,188 likely voters were surveyed between August 2 through 5 via landline and cell phone. The margin of error is +/-2.9 percent. 

Why it matters: This just about matches up with what was found in the Quinnipiac/NYT/CBS News poll found yesterday. Obama also led the state in Marquette's July poll, but by a slightly wider marging — 51 to 43. Marquette explains that the "presidential race has remained stable since late May when Obama also led 51-43." For a swing state, Wisconsin hasn't really been swinging. 

Caveat: Among registered voters Obama's lead is even wider: 50 percent to 43 percent.