Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Debate Snap Polls: Obama Won

Posted Oct 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM by Maurice Berger

Here is the verdict of three snap polls on last night's debate: these so-called instant polls all report that President Obama--to one extent or another--won last night's debate: CBS News had Obama besting Romney 37% to 30%, at CNN Obama came out ahead at 46% to 39%, and a Lake Research poll in the battleground states found Obama up 53% to 38%. Keep in mind that voter perceptions of debates often shift as succeeding news cycles parse the outcome. In the first presidential debate and vice-presidential debate, initial results reported a closer result, while subsequent polling in the days following reported far bigger leads for both Mitt Romney and Joe Biden. Will Obama's edge expand or decline? Stay tuned.

Pew: Who Will Do Better In Tonight's Debate?

Posted Oct 16, 2012 at 9:37 AM by Maurice Berger

Who will do better in tonight's debate? That's the question asked by a new Pew Research poll. 41% of voters surveyed say President Obama will do better, while 37% expect Mitt Romney to prevail. Two weeks ago, voters expected Obama to win by a 51% to 29% margin--an expectations game that further hurt him in the wake of a poor debate performance. Who will these lower expectations help or hurt? Stay tuned.

Is Romney's Momentum Slowing?

Posted Oct 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM by Maurice Berger

With yesterday's  Rasmussen survey showing the President with a +1% lead over GOP challenger Mitt Romney--the poll normally has a slight GOP tilt--PollTrack wonders if Romney's momentum from last week's debate is slowing down. Other trackers have also showed movement back towards Obama, but with Romney holding onto an aggregate lead of less than 1%.

Swing state polls have been fairly erratic, with some polls showing a substantial lead for one candidate or another (from +6% for Obama in Ohio to +7% for Romney in Florida) to a virtual tie. In many instances, polls are alternately reporting leads for both candidates in the same state (most polls show Obama leading in Ohio, others give Romney a slight lead; in Florida, it is just the opposite, with one poll showing Romney up by +7%, another Obama up by +4%.

What these numbers suggest is a race in flux, a degree of statistical noise due to a major event in this past week's news cycle (the president's poor debate performance) and a shifting enthusiasm gap, with GOP voters now more revved up than Democrats. Has Vice-President Biden's feisty debate performance fired up unhappy Democrats? Has Rep. Ryan's cool resolve added to the sense of a GOP ticket on the rise? Did either performance move the needle with independent voters? A few more days of polling should give us a better sense of the direction of the race leading into next week's presidential debate in New York.