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. ...Pew Research
Question: Is this more about scoring the debate than about who the respondent will vote for?
Or is it "engagement"?
More generally, the poll finds Romney’s supporters far more engaged in the campaign than they were in September. Fully 82% say they have given a lot of thought to the election, up from 73% in September. The new survey finds that Romney supporters hold a 15-point advantage over Obama backers on this key engagement measure. ...Pew Research
That was then, this is now. And now, in the morning after, we're finding some corrections to the impression the Pew Research poll left -- including the odds for Romney, with respect to the Electoral College, shooting up about 3 points. Nate Silver, while bowing deeply to the Pew poll -- probably the most respected of all -- points also to the chronically right-leaning Rasmussen survey showing Obama with a persistent, if small, lead. And there are shadings of grey we need to take into account:
The Pew poll was conducted from Thursday through Sunday, although more of the interviews were conducted in the earlier part of that period. There’s nothing in the poll that really refutes the story that Mr. Romney initially received a very large bounce after the debate (perhaps somewhere on the order of 4 or 5 points, if not quite as large as Pew shows it), which has since faded some between the news cycle turning over and the favorable jobs report on Friday.
The evidence that Mr. Romney’s bounce is receding some is only modestly strong — as opposed to the evidence that he got a significant bounce in the first place, which is very strong. Still, the order in which polls are published does not exactly match the order in which they were actually conducted — and at turning points in the race, these details can make a difference. ...Nate Silver, 538
Then there is a combination of economic elements which would seem to give Obama a steady, small lead in the race -- a 2.5% lead in the popular vote.
In the end, Silver says, beware of overreacting to the barrage of poll results in the final days before the vote.