Polls today show Obama is doing well among single, eastern and nonwhite voters. The Midwest and West look trickier for him, but he maintains leads in swing state polls. Here's our guide to the day's polls and which ones matter.
Findings: Although yesterday was all about how Obama and Romney are just about equal in the polls, today finds Obama with a slight lead, beating Romney 46 percent to 43 percent, and the lead is due to Obama getting more support from single people while Romney leads the marrieds.
Methodology: 2,722 registered voters were called by live interviewers on land lines and celle phones between July 1 and 8. The margin of error is +/-1.9 percent.
Why it matters: According to Peter A. Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, the "marriage gap" trumps the "gender gap" when it comes to what says more about the election. The poll found that married voters tend to favor Romney 51 percent to Obama's 38, whereas the unmarried swing Obama 54 to 34. Brown argues married voters have a number of traits that make them more Romney-prone: "more likely to be older, more financially secure, and more socially conservative." The married voters are also more white and more Republican.
Caveat: Both candidates are in the negative when it comes to favorability, and while voters don't like the way Obama is handling the economy — they disapprove 55 to 40 percent — they aren't too sure which candidate would be better at fixing it: Obama gets 45 percent and while Romney is hair ahead at 46 percent.
Findings: Obama has a strong lead over Romney in the East, 53 to 37 percent. Romney has a similar lead in the South, 51 to 41 percent. They are split in the Midwest where Obama has 46 percent and Romney had 44 percent, and in the West where Obama has 47 percent and Romney has 45 percent.
Methodology: Gallup conducted telephone (landline and cellphone) interviews with 17,046 registered voters in all 50 states and D.C. The maximum margin of error for results from the total sample is +/-1 percentage point. For results from the regional total samples — 3,428 in the east, 4,011 in the Midwest, 5,626 in the south, 3,981 in the West — is is +/-2 percentage points. The maximum margins of error are stated with "with 95 percent confidence."
Why it matters: The Midwest and the West will decide the election, the poll points out, and Obama has a slight lead in both regions.
Caveat: As Mitt Romney tried to appeal to the NAACP today, Obama has is leading Romney by more 40 points or more among nonwhite voters in all regions. Among white voters Romney leads in all regions except for the East where Obama has a 1 point lead.
Findings: Obama leads Romney in Pennsylvania 47 percent to 40 percent with 13 percent undecided, and in New Mexico 51 percent to 40 percent with 9 percent undecided.
Pollster: We Ask America
Methodology: In both states automated polls were conducted between July 9 and 10 with a +/-2.8 percent margin of error. In Pennsylvania 1,227 likely voters were polled; in New Mexico 1,295.
Why it matters: Obama is leading in these swing states, which were also among the 12 polled by USA Today/Gallup earlier wherein he was only leading by 2 percentage points, however was declared "the clear winner in the ad wars."
Caveat: There has been talk on the web that We Ask America leans right, and Nate Silver has noted its "Republican-leaning house effects." That said, this one bent towards Obama and the Democratic Senate candidates in these polls.
Findings: Obama made some strides in Wisconsin, where he was leading by only a point in May, is also ahead in Wisconsin 50 percent to 44 percent.
Pollster: Public Policy Polling
Methodology: 1,057 Wisconsin voters were surveyed through automated telephone interviews between July 5 and 8. The margin of error is +/-3.3 percent.
Why it matters: Another success for Obama in a swing state, that is showing its red colors in other areas of this poll with approval for Scott Walker rising "slightly" from May. Still, a Romney-Walker ticket wouldn't yield improved results for the Republicans with 49 percent still favoring Obama and Biden to Romney and Walker's 43.
Caveat: Even though PPP leans Democrat, they point out a potential problem for Obama. If Romney selects Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice president, Obama's lead would be cut 47 percent to 46 percent.