Republican voters like the idea of Condi for VP, Mitt should release tax returns, the economy is important to people, and deadlocked in Virginia. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.

Findings: If they had the choice, most people would like to see Condoleezza Rice as Mitt Romney's running mate. Out of the entire sample population 30 percent said they would prefer Rice, 12 percent said Marco Rubio, 8 percent said Chris Christie, and 6 percent said Paul Ryan. Overall 24 percent said they "don't know." Only taking into account Republicans yielded the same result for Rice: 30 percent supported her as top choice. Rubio was the second most popular at 19 percent, and 16 percent said they didn't know. 

Pollster: Fox News

Methodology: 901 registered voters were surveyed via live telephone interviews between July 15 and 17. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points. 

Why it matters: Rice as VP is unlikely, meaning Romney might have trouble finding a candidate that people — especially his base — are overly enthused about. According to Reuters on Tuesday the final three are: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. Only 5 percent of Republicans would like to see Jindal, 2 percent Pawlenty and 3 percent Portman. Who he picks matters at least "somewhat" to most voters.

Caveat: That said, if an Obama-Biden ticket faced a Romney-Rice one, the result would be even 46 percent to 46 percent. Also, according to Nate Silver, the Fox News poll had been "slightly Republican-leaning so far this cycle." That said, this poll puts Obama in the lead 45 percent to Romney's 41. 


Findings: Most people think Mitt Romney should release more tax returns. With the results broken down 75 percent of Democrats call "for more disclosure," as do 53 percent of independents and 30 percent of Republicans.

PollsterUSA Today/Gallup

Methodology: A survey of 539 adults Wednesday. Margin of error is +/-5 percentage points. 

Why it matters: This is the second time this week that a poll has found that Americans want more information out of Romney.

Caveat: Although people want Romney to give in and release them already, not all are convinced the move will be beneficial to his campaign: 44 percent said they think damaging information will come out of the returns of which 15 percent said they would  "show he is unfit to be president." On the other hand, 42 said they didn't think it would show anything "politically harmful." 


Findings: Obama and Romney are in a "statistical dead heat" with Obama at 47 percent overall and Romney at 45. Among "battleground voters" The candidates are dead even with 46 percent each. While Republicans vote overwhelmingly Romney and Democrats overwhelmingly Obama, independents are in the middle, but leaning Romney who has 45 percent to Obama's 40. 

Pollster: NPR

Methodology: 1000 likely voters "including an oversample to reach" 462 voters in the "battleground states" of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Subjects were interviewed via landline and cell phone between July 9 and 12. Margin of error for the entire poll is +/-3.10 percent, for Republicans +/-5.70, for independents +/-5.58, for Democrats +/-5.19, and for battleground voters +/-4.56. 

Why it matters: Have we mentioned that this race is tight? According to Mike Allen's Playbook today: "Get real about who's up and who's down in these polls. Nobody's up or down: Every single result is in the margin of error. And that will probably be the case in every single poll, at least until after the conventions." 

Caveat: The poll sample has a Democratic advantage: it is 39 percent Democrat and 29 percent Republican. 


Findings: A majority of voters — 54 percent — say the economy and jobs are "extremely" important in how they vote. 

Pollster: CBS News/New York Times

Methodology: 1,089 adults were surveyed via telephone between July 11 and July 16. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points. 

Why it matters: This gives Romney a leg up since 49 percent say he would do a better job on the economy than Obama at 41 percent. According to the Times: "declining confidence in the nation’s economic prospects appears to be the most powerful force influencing voters." 

Caveat: Nate Silver explains: "The Times/CBS News has generally shown more favorable results for Mr. Romney (and less favorable ones for Mr. Obama) than the polling average."


Findings: Obama is down in Virginia. Whereas in March he had a 50-42 percent lead over Romney, now the two are tied at 44 percent each. 

Pollster: Quinnipiac

Methodology: 1,673 registered voters were surveyed in live interviews on landlines or cell phones  between July 10 through 16. The margin of error is +/-2.4 percentage points.

Why it matters: How about that race being tight? Plus, Virginia is a swing state. 

Caveat: According to Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute: "One small edge that President Barack Obama has is likability. Voters have a slightly more favorable opinion of the president than they do Gov. Mitt Romney."