Obama vs Romney Swing State Polls Show Romney Must Win the Presidential Debate

The last few weeks have been extremely good for President Obama in the polls after an amazingly well executed national convention (day 1day 2, and day 3) energized the base and caused independents to give his candidacy another look.  

However, all good things come to an end eventually – where is the president’s standing today now that his bounce has finally ended? Is he doing well in the swing states? What states should voters keep an eye on while watching returns come in on election night?

Fortunately for the president, his poll bounce has not faded away much, leaving him with the highest level of popular support he’s had this year. Conversely, the Republican National Convention failed to push Governor Romney over the top and two vital weeks of effort to limit the pain failed after a number of gaffes and scattered messaging put Romney’s campaign on the defensive.

Here are the latest swing state polls released this week, as listed at RealClearPolitics:

Florida (29 EV)

9/26 Florida Times-Union/InAdv    Obama 49, Romney 46

9/26 CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac             Obama 53, Romney 44

9/25 Washington Post                      Obama 51, Romney 47

9/24 ARG                                        Obama 50, Romney 45

Pennsylvania (20 EV)

9/28 Morning Call                    Obama 49, Romney 42

9/26 CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac      Obama 54, Romney 42

9/26 Franklin & Marshall         Obama 52, Romney 43

9/24 Mercyhurst University      Obama 48, Romney 40

Ohio (18 EV)

9/26 CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac     Obama 53, Romney 43

9/25 Washington Post              Obama 52, Romney 44

9/25 Gravis Marketing             Obama 45, Romney 44

Michigan (16 EV)

9/28 Gravis Marketing        Obama 50, Romney 46

9/24 Rasmussen Reports     Obama 54, Romney 42

North Carolina (15 EV)

9/27 NBC/WSJ/Marist    Obama 48, Romney 46

9/24 Civitas (R)               Obama 49, Romney 45

Virginia (13 EV)

9/28 ARG                      Obama 49, Romney 47

9/27 Suffolk/WWBT     Obama 46, Romney 44

Wisconsin (10 EV)

9/24 We Ask America    Obama 53, Romney 41

Colorado (9 EV)

9/26 Gravis Marketing      Obama 50, Romney 46

9/24 PPP (D)                   Obama 51, Romney 45

Iowa (6 EV)

9/27 Voter/Consumer Res/TIR (R)     Obama 46, Romney 47

9/26 PPP (D)                                     Obama 51, Romney 44

9/24 ARG                                          Obama 51. Romney 44

Nevada (6 EV)

9/27 NBC/WSJ/Marist             Obama 49, Romney 47

9/25 Retail Assoc of Nevada     Obama 46, Romney 46

9/25 PPP (D)                            Obama 52, Romney 43

9/24 ARG                                 Obama 51, Romney 44

New Hampshire (4 EV)

9/28 ARG                         Obama 50, Romney 45

9/27 NBC/WSJ/Marist     Obama 51, Romney 44

This is phenomenally bad for Mitt Romney coming in the last 40-ish days of the campaign, when attitudes harden and when early voting begins. President Obama is ahead by 3-9 points in Florida, without which it will be extremely difficult for Romney to obtain 270 electoral votes he needs at all. He is down nearly 10 points in Ohio, a state Republicans have historically needed to obtain the presidency (though Romney could still pull through, if with extreme difficulty). Mitt Romney knows this, although one reporter following both campaigns in Ohio has noted, its only causing him to behave more erratically. Pennsylvania and Michigan have been so far in Obama’s corner for months now that Romney’s campaign has essentially written them off, even if they aren’t publicly declaring it like Sen. John McCain did in 2008. Wisconsin once looked like it might swing with the pick of Rep. Paul Ryan as the vice presidential nominee, but the trends are not going in the right direction. If Republicans manage to get out the vote more than Democrats this year, Romney may still win Virginia and North Carolina, but is asking for a lot in a year when Democrats are more enthusiastic about their candidate than Republicans are for theirs.

Continuing the cascade of bad news, apparently one factor that has been driving the polls has been a sudden loss in voter identification with the Republican Party since the Democratic National Convention – falling a whole 5 points in September. President Obama has striven to make this campaign not a referendum of his handling of the economy, but a choice between two social compacts for America, and it seems to have worked. As political analyst Charlie Cook notes, if this trajectory continues on for another 7-10 days, Romney’s fundraising is going to dry up as party operatives hedge their bets and redirect their resources elsewhere in order to prevent a reelected President Obama from gaining control over Congress. If Romney does not excel in the debate on October 3rd, he will be a dead man walking.

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John Doble

John is a political junkie and a native of Minnesota. His primary interests are politics, history, and neoclassical moral education. He has previously interned at the Truman National Security Project, the Stimson Center, both houses of Congress, and for the Governor of Wisconsin. John has an M.A. in International Affairs from American University and a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Any views expressed here are his alone.

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