Battleground State Polls: Where are We Today?

After that craptastic effort by Neil King in the Wall Street Journal, it was refreshing to read a straight forward look at the polling changes in the Battleground States following the game-changing first debate.  My one nit is the author points out Romney’s lead in Florida is skewed by the one poll giving him a 7-point lead but he doesn’t point out the same issue exists on behalf of Obama in Ohio with an outlier poll giving him a 6-point lead.  Otherwise here is a clear, sober look at the state of the polling in the Battlegrounds with the electoral vote count in parenthesis:

Mitt Romney’s overwhelming debate victory has tightened the presidential race in the dozen or so battleground states that will determine the winner of the election.

Florida (29)

Romney enjoys a two-percentage-point advantage in the Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls after crushing Obama in their initial debate. He had previously trailed the president by 1.6 percentage points. But it’s possible Romney’s numbers are being boosted by one poll. The Tampa Bay Times released a survey Thursday that showed him up by 7 percentage points, a finding the looks like an outlier compared to other polls. The Tampa poll showed Obama’s 11-point lead among independents swing to a 13 point advantage for Romney. In addition, Hispanic voters in the poll favored Romney 46 to 44 percent over Obama, despite the president’s more than 50-percentage point lead among the group nationally.

Ohio (18)

Obama has only a 1.5 percent lead in the RCP average, a sign things could be tightening. The president has been ahead in Ohio for months and may have lost a chance to lock-up the state with his debate performance. It was thought before the debate that Romney might have to focus his resources on other states. Democrats are hopeful that gains made early in the cycle, when Obama effectively portrayed Romney as an out-of-touch corporate raider to the state’s blue collar voters, is enough to withstand the GOP challenger’s late charge — particularly since voting has already started.

Virginia (13)

Obama held a nearly 4-point advantage in Virginia in the RCP average heading into the debate, but that’s been completely wiped out and the candidates are now tied. In addition, the last two polls in the state show Romney with 1 and 2 point leads.

Wisconsin (10)

After Romney selected home-state favorite Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, the GOP ticket spiked in Wisconsin, but Obama has since regained his lead. But Obama’s lead has been greatly diminished in the wake of the debate, falling from 8 points in the RCP average to 2 points.

Colorado (9)

Colorado is the most fickle swing state for Democrats, who were hopeful the state’s popular Democratic governor, concentrated pockets of social liberalism and rising Hispanic population had flipped the state permanently in their favor. But Colorado has strong independent and libertarian streaks, and appears to be headed for a photo finish. Obama held his biggest recent lead of 3 percentage points in the RCP average heading into the debate. Romney has since inched ahead of Obama, although by less than one percent, with recent polls split and showing the candidates in a statistical dead heat.

Iowa (6), Nevada (6) and New Hampshire (4)

With the race essentially tied, any of these three small delegate prizes could tip the race either way. Obama presently has small leads in all three, although Romney is within the margin of error. Both Nevada and Iowa went for Bush in 2004 and Obama in 2008. New Hampshire has gone for the Democratic candidate the last two elections, but went for Bush in 2000.

Pennsylvania (20) and Michigan (16)

Obama appeared to be cruising to victories in both states before the debate, but things have tightened. A win by Romney would dramatically alter the race and greatly increase his chances of winning. That said, at this point a victory by Romney would be a surprise. Obama once had an eight-point average lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls in Pennsylvania, but now has only a 4.5 percent advantage. The president had a commanding 10-point lead in Michigan before the debate, but Romney since then has closed to within 4 points in the RCP average.


  1. Mark Casper
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    PA and MI are NOT battleground states and I am at a loss why so many smart people keep calling them that. Now, it is not impossible that R/R could win one or both, but that does not make them a battleground. Why? Because there is no rational person who sees him doing so in an election close enough for it to matter. If he wins either or both it will be gravy. He will already be beyond 300 EV’s. Rasmussen is doing this too. He is showing swing state polling with R/R up 1 or two … but it includes these 2 meaningless states. If he eliminated them and stuck with the actual deciding states, they would be up 3-5 points.

    • Posted October 13, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink | Reply

      I believe that the Romney campaigns believes they have PA. He has only been there only once. If RR thought they were in trouble in Ohio they would be in PA on odd days, OH on even.

    • WillBest
      Posted October 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Obama’s policies have absolutely been hostile to western PA. Its definitely competitive with I think Obama holding a 2-3 point advantage. Certainly enough that a ground game plus undecideds could carry him to victory. MI I think is a lost cause. Its probably more like 4-5 points for Obama which is hard to overcome at this stage.

    • shane
      Posted October 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      i agree they are not true battlegrounds. If Romney wins them it would be in the midst of a massive landslide that would be evident. But it doesn’t hurt him to swoop in and domoralize Obama’s voters s bit by getting the conversation going they are up for grabs.

      Unless Obama comes out with a massive knockout punch tues I think in.the next seven days you will start to see Romney inch further ahead as democrats come to.accept the possibility Obama is a one term failure

    • William Jefferson Jr.
      Posted October 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well, you’re right. A “battleground” is a state either candidate could win in a 51-49 election. Still, it’s fun to dream about PA and especially Michigan.

  2. Posted October 13, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    Disagree about Ohio. All signs on the ground point to a Romney win.

  3. Kristi
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I disagree with Ohio too, Romney will win there. PA and Michigan are… well… probably a pipe dream. Would be nice but I dont see PA turning red anytime soon.

  4. bman77
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Perdogg, what evidence is there that the Romney campaign believes they “have” PA..I hope you are right, but that sounds too good to be true, one thing to say it’s competitive, but to say they “have” it..that is a strong prediction.

  5. Eric
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Pennsylvania and Michigan should not be clumped together. They are different. Michigan is to the left of Pennsylvania. Obama won Pennsylvania by 11. He won Michigan by 16 in 2008.

    As to the article, I think it’s a very optimistic view for the Obama campaign. Romney is ahead by a decent amount in North Carolina and Florida. He leads in Colorado and Virginia as well. New Hampshire is slightly leaning Romney. Nevada is hard to gauge but close to a tossup. Not sure about Ohio. Ohio is either a tossup or Romney is slightly ahead in Ohio. It’s a historically Republican state. We don’t really have any recent polls for Iowa, so hard to say much about it. Obama holds slim leads in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

    If the election were today…70% chance Romney wins it.

    • damien
      Posted October 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      romney ryan are spending lots of time in michigan….so i gotta think they see something

  6. wholefoodsrepublican
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    nail down FL, NC, VA in the next week — but of course don’t take them for granted; then nail down Ohio. build up the game in CO, IA, NH, and WI. Michigan and Pennsylvania would be icing on the delicious cake. but the goal would be to secure the electoral college and then we can focus on winning the senate in the last 10 days (MO, MT, OH, VA, WI and maybe even FL or ND and maintain MA, NV, AZ, IN)

  7. damien
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    good news…both rasmussen and gallup have romney at 49…my guess is biden’s act thursday will kick him over 50 in at least one..

  8. No Tribe
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Am watching to see if Obama is going to contest CO swinging to Romney or not. I agree that Ohio has swung toward Romney. Obama is gonna ramp up class warfare in Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

    Notice that Florida is not on that list, and Wisconsin is.

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