It’s a two-point gain, flipping a 49/48 lead for O into one for Romney, which isn’t statistically significant. It also doesn’t include reaction to the debate. That’ll start being priced in tomorrow. So why post it? Two reasons. First, it’s been maybe half an hour since we’ve had any poll news on the site and, well, that just won’t do. Second, certain excitable, Obama-worshipping “conservative” pundits are starting to turn desperate at their hero’s predicament, so a poll showing Romney ahead is worth plenty in schadenfreude points.
Plus, there’s a little news too:
But there are fledgling signs of a fresh advantage for the challenger. Asked whom they trust on the economy, 50 percent of likely voters say Romney while 45 percent side with the president. That’s the first time this fall that either candidate has had even an apparent edge on the clear No. 1 issue on voters’ minds. Political independents break for Romney by a 12-percentage-point margin on the subject, a high for the campaign.
Note this as a possible bellwether for other polls this week. One of the Romney victory scenarios involves casual voters finally starting to concentrate on the election in the last few days, gravitating naturally towards the state of the economy, and settling on Romney as a “change” candidate. That couldn’t have happened if he hadn’t passed the test of presidential viability at the debates, but he did, with flying colors in Denver. So maybe ABC’s picking up the first traces of a late, economy-fueled break for the Republican here. And maybe Rasmussen’s swing-state tracker is picking it up too:
In the 11 swing states, Mitt Romney earns 50% of the vote to Obama’s 45%. Two percent (2%) like another candidate in the race, and four percent (4%) are undecided.
This is now the third time Romney has hit the 50% mark in the combined swing states in the past four days and is the biggest lead either candidate has held in nearly three weeks. This survey is conducted on a rolling seven-day basis, and as a result, virtually all of the interviews for today’s update were completed before the end of last night’s presidential debate.
Over at the Corner, Michael Knox Beran flagged a bit from an AP story claiming that the Obama campaign is preparing a Plan B route to the presidency just in case they lose Ohio. That’s fantastic news for Mitt, as Ohio’s almost a must-win for him, and O’s Plan B is complicated: Assuming that he has 201 EVs in the bank now, he’d need to win Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and either Virginia or Colorado to pull it off. Problem is, he’s leading in each of those first six states right now in the RCP average and he’s effectively tied in Virginia and Colorado (Romney leads by two-tenths of a point in the latter state). In fact, I should probably amend yesterday’s post identifying OH, NH, IA, and NV as the four must-watch states. Wisconsin is actually slightly closer than Nevada in the RCP average, and since we had a huge victory there over the summer and have a native son on the ticket, that’s really more deserving of “decisive toss-up” status than Nevada is. (There are more EVs in Wisconsin, too.) The last time Romney led a poll in Wisconsin was mid-August, though, when he led two, but the last two polls taken this week have him within two points. I assume Paul Ryan will spend the bulk of his time there over the next two weeks while Romney shuttles between Ohio, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Ohio.
Here’s the Onion paying tribute to the casual voters who’ll decide America’s fate for the next four years. Exit question: Second look at Maine’s Second District?
Update: A good catch by ConArtCritic and Ace: Right now, Gallup’s tracker has the partisan ID split among likely voters at … D+0.2. That’s why they’re persistently showing a 5-6 point lead for Romney right now. If that’s how it ends up on election day, a la 2004, then you won’t need to worry about counting electoral votes. Romney wins handily.