Obama Gains in Swing States
But he and Romney are dead even nationally
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Nov 1, 2012 7:55 AM CDT
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney exchange views during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, in this Oct. 18, 2012 file photo.   (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

(Newser) – Hurricane Sandy has thrown polling into disarray—Gallup, for instance, has suspended its daily tracking poll—but some data is still trickling in for those desperate for presidential election score updates. Here's what we know today:

  • President Obama has expanded his lead in Michigan, and now leads 48% to 42% in a Detroit Free Press poll. "I think the auto issue has solidified things for Obama," the pollster says.
  • Obama also has a decent lead in Iowa, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, which has him up 50% to 44%. The same poll shows him with smaller leads in Wisconsin (49% to 46%), and New Hampshire (49% to 47%).
  • A Quinnipiac poll from yesterday has Obama up in all-important Ohio 50% to 45%, but the Washington Post has moved Ohio from "leans Obama" to "toss up" on its map, saying it has been "too close for too long."

  • President Obama also has a lead in the "how much people like him" category. A new Gallup poll shows Obama with a 62% approval rating—the same rating he had at this time in 2008—compared to 55% for Romney.
  • But a new AP poll shows that voters are more likely to believe that Romney will break Washington's gridlock; 47% said Romney would be better at doing so, compared to only 37% for the president.
  • And nationally, the race remains exceedingly close; a new Fox News poll of likely voters has the candidates tied at 46%, and RealClearPolitics' polling average has them even down to the decimal place at 47.4% each.
  • Most pundits are saying the race is too close to call, Politico reports. As one columnist put it, "Nobody knows anything."
  • Well, except one guy: Nate Silver has the president's chances for victory up to 79% on FiveThirtyEight. When Joe Scarborough pointed out the Politico story on Twitter, Silver shot back, "If you think it's a toss-up, let's bet. If Obama wins, you donate $1,000 to the American Red Cross. If Romney wins, I do. Deal?"
  • Of course, if Europeans got to vote, this thing would be over; 90% would back Obama, Reuters reports, based on a British poll out yesterday.

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In Florida, 2 million early votes cast, Democrats held an edge by fewer than 40,000 ballots — a 70 percent drop from 2008. In Ohio, comparing county results in early voting from 2008 with those of today, turnout was significantly better for Republicans. In Iowa, Republicans prefer to vote on Election Day, and that Democrats need to bring an early voting lead of 130,000 to the polls on Election Day in order to win. Republicans are over-performing in early voting in 71 of 99 counties from 2008, making it less likely that Obama would reach the margin needed. Other swing states showed similar patterns, and Republicans seemed to be leading in early and absentee voting in Colorado. Beeson predicted “we will win on Election Day big” in North Carolina, which Obama has continued to avoid in recent weeks. In sum, there is considerable evidence from both polling of and actual early voting that the political landscape portrayed in a number of state polls showing an Obama lead in swing states doesn’t exist. If that improvement in early voting holds up, Democrats should wonder if those state polls in which they have been investing so much hope are even in the 2012 election ballpark. We’ll find out next week.