In today's polls, the presidential race looks tight, but Obama looks the same as he did four years ago in Virginia and North Carolina. Here's our guide to the day's polls and which ones matter.

Findings: Obama is leading in both North Carolina and Virginia. In North Carolina he leads by just one point — 47 percent to Romney's 46. In Virginia he's up by 8 — 50-42.

Pollster: Public Policy Polling

Methodology: 775 and 647 North Carolina and Virginia voters, respectively, were surveyed between July 5 and 8. The margin of error for North Carolina was +/-3.5 percent and Virginia's was +/-3.9 percent. 

Why it matters: With an ABC News/Washington Post poll telling us today that Romney and Obama are tied at 47 percent nationally, it's interesting to learn that in these two swing states Obama is "in very similar shape" according to Public Policy Polling, as he was four years ago. It also shows that the Bain Capital attack ads are having an effect on North Carolinians, 40 percent of whom say "what they know of Romney’s time there makes them feel more negatively about him." 

Caveat: PPP is a Democratically affiliated pollster, and its polls have been among the most favorable to Obama this year. Even so, its North Carolina cross-tabs show Romney with 55 percent of independents, up from 42 percent last month, which would be a better thing if his support among Democrats hadn't dropped so much from 13 percent to 20 percent.


Findings: Although Romney and Obama are essentially tied in support, 44.9 percent of people think Obama will win the election compared to 32.8 percent who think Romney will and 22.3 percent who are not sure. 

Pollster: JZ Analytics/The Washington Times

Methodology: 800 likely voters were surveyed via telephone between July 6 and July 8. The margin of error is +/-3.5 percent. 

Why it matters: The wisdom of crowds. 

Caveat: There are a lot more people who think Obama is going to win but will vote for Romney anyway. Asked who they are voting for, 42.8 percent of the voters surveyed are going for Romney while 42 percent are planning to vote Obama. 


Findings: The country is evenly divided, 47-to-47 percent, on whether they support or oppose the health care reform. 

Pollster: ABC News/Washington Post

Methodology: 1,0003 adults were surveyed in a "random national sample" by telephone between July 5 and 8. There is a sampling error of 4 points. 

Why it matters: More people are supporting the law now than they did before the Supreme Court decision found most of Obamacare constitutional, when those opposed outnumbered supporters 53 percent to 39 percent. 

Caveat: Obama hasn't received much credit from those who now support his signature first-term accomplishment: his approval on health care is at a low of 41 percent approving and 52 percent disapproving. And Democrats pondering whether the health care law will be a liability in November can't take any solace in the new numbers: asked if they would be more or less likely to support a candidate who supported the reforms, those polled also split 28-28 percent.