A confusing picture for Obama in Michigan, a lead in New York, and voter stagnancy in general. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.

Findings: New polls create a puzzling picture in Michigan. In a Public Policy Polling poll, he is up 53 percent to Romney's 39. But in a separate poll from Mitchell Research & Communications Romney leads in the state 45 percent to 44 percent. 

Pollsters: Public Policy PollingMitchell Research & Communications

Methodology: For PPP, 579 registered voters were surveyed through automated telephone interviews in Michigan between July 21 and 23 with a margin of error of +/-4.1 percent. For Mitchell, 825 likely voters were polled in an automated telephone survey July 23. The margin of error is +/-3.4 percent.

Why it matters: Jamelle Bouie writes at Plum Line that these polls go to show it is all about white voters: "The key question for anyone looking at Michigan is whether Obama has maintained his white support." The reason for Obama's good numbers in the PPP poll, the pollster says, is his success with white voters. He leads with them in Michigan 48 to 44 percent. But in the Mitchell poll, Romney leads 46 to 42 percent. The Mitchell poll also indicates that Romney is gaining favor among independents. In this poll, Romney lead them 44 percent to 34 percent. Last month it was 43 percent to 38 percent.

Caveat: Multiple here. A Rasmussen poll of the state which was also conducted on July 23 and released yesterday has Obama somewhere in between PPP and Mitchell at 48 percent while Romney is 42. On a separate note: PPP's poll indicates that if Romney happens to pick Condoleezza Rice as his vice president — already proven a popular choice — his lead could shrink to 50 percent to 42 percent. Finally, PPP is a Democratic leaning firm. 


Findings: Obama leads in New York a whopping 55 to 32 percent. 

Pollster: Quinnipiac

Methodology: 1,779 voters in the state were surveyed through live interviews between July 17 and 23 with a margin of error of +/-2.3 percentage points. 

Why this matters: This poll just proves what we already knew about New York: it doesn't matter. According to the poll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Maurice Carroll said, "In the race for the White House and the U.S. Senate, it looks as if you could color New York blue and throw away the crayon." 

Caveat: Romney may not have much luck finding votes in New York, but he is finding lots of money.