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Have polls ever seen more bizarre than during this election cycle? Or are there just so many more of them and more attention being paid to them? Pretty much throughout the campaign we've seen poll after poll with outrageously oversampled Democrats. If you look at the best-case scenario elections for each party, you have to look no further than 2008 (D+7) and 2010 (R=D). Anything that is much outside of those is ridiculous, and few people expect either of those extremes to be hit. Personally, I'm guessing D+4, but that is just a gut feel. But it hasn't been unusual to see polls with double digit advantages to Democrats, which don't tell us much because we know, yes, if on election day it is D+10, 0bama wins. Today, there is a Pew poll out showing Romney up 4. That isn't so much a huge number as it is a huge swing. The partisan sample is nearly evenly split between D and R. As much as I'd love to believe that this is an accurate projection, a D=R split on election day seems too rosy to me. Yes, I suspect that the debate made a significant impact in the direction of the race. But to Romney +4? Skeptical.

Maybe they were just capturing alternating peaks of enthusiasm. Last month's poll, right after the DNC, had 0bama up 8. This month, right after Romney's decisive debate victory, they show Romney up 4. My guess is that each poll was a fair read of a spike in enthusiasm at the time, but not a great projection of what will happen on election day. At least at this point. But less than a month out from election day (and with voting going on in some states right now), even these blips in polls have to be taken a little bit seriously.

Mitt Romney no longer trails Barack Obama in the Pew Research Center’s presidential election polling. By about three-to-one, voters say Romney did a better job than Obama in the Oct. 3 debate, and the Republican is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September. Romney is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit.

Fully 66% of registered voters say Romney did the better job in last Wednesday’s debate, compared with just 20% who say Obama did better. A majority (64%) of voters who watched the debate describe it as mostly informative; just 26% say it was mostly confusing.

In turn, Romney has drawn even with Obama in the presidential race among registered voters (46% to 46%) after trailing by nine points (42% to 51%) in September. Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49% to 45% edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month.
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