The headline, I guess, is that Barack Obama is holding his lead in Ohio. But aren't the new NBC/WSJ/Marist polls really good news for Mitt Romney? After one of the weakest Septembers you could imagine for an underdog candidate, Romney is back in contention for 42 electoral votes in the new South.
In Florida, after the RNC, the NBC/Marist gave Obama a 49-44 lead in Florida. It's now a 47-46 lead. In Virginia, in September the same poll gave Obama a 49-44 lead in Virginia. It's now 48-46. We don't have terrific breakdowns by race, economic status, etc, but these are both states where voting's slightly more cumbersome than it was in 2008; there's absentee voting now, but in Florida, early voting has been cut back.
And this is just objectively pro-Romney movement. In Virginia and Ohio, Republican Senate candidates have started to sink under the waves, despite massive third party spending on their behalf. In Virginia, it's Tim Kaine opening a 49-44 lead after being tied for months. In Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown's lead has grown from 49-42 to 50-41. Florida's movement has been a little more generically pro-Republican, with Sen. Bill Nelson watching his lead move from 51-37 to 52-41. You've got more ticket-splitting, and it doesn't benefit Obama.
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