Obama leads in Washington, Nevada, and Wisconsin, where a small majority of voters think gay marriage should be illegal. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.

Findings: Obama leads Romney in Wisconsin 49 percent to 42 percent. 

Pollster: We Ask America

Methodology: An automated poll of 1,162 likely voters conducted between July 17 and 18, with a margin of error of +/-2.93 percent. 

Why it matters: According to the poll: "The surprising margin of Walker’s recall victory has many believing that Wisconsin is play for Mitt Romney." That said, Obama is leading. Our own Elspeth Reeve considered whether the state swings back in June.  

Caveat: Overall, 9 percent are undecided and therefore up for grabs. Also, as we've noted before, there is talk of We Ask America leaning right. 


Findings: Approval of gay marriage is growing in Wisconsin. Now 43 percent want it to be legal compared to 47 who don't. 

Pollster: PPP

Methodology: 1,057 voters in the state were polled through automated telephone interviews between July 5 and 8. The margin of error is +/-3.0 percent. 

Why it matters: There is growth in this regard. Last August 39 percent of those polled thought gay marriage should be legal while 50 percent thought it should be illegal.  

Caveat: When factoring in civil unions the amount of support goes up to 69 percent of people who approve. 


Findings: Obama leads in Nevada 49 percent to Romney's 43. 

Pollster: We Ask America

Methodology: An automated poll of 1,092 likely voters conducted between July 17 and 18. The margin of error is +/-2.95 percent. 

Why it matters: In this swing state Obama maintains a 7 percentage point lead over his opponent. 

Caveat: Independents choose Romney 49 percent to 37 percent, and this poll includes Libertarian Gary Johnson who gets 2 percent of the vote overall. According to We Ask America: "With many predicting a presidential race that will end in a photo finish, third-party candidates may certainly play an important role in deciding the eventual winner by siphoning off enough votes to count." 


Findings: Obama leads Romney in Washington state 46 percent to 37 percent. 

Pollster: SurveyUSA

Methodology: 630 registered voters in the state were surveyed on landlines and cell phones. The margin of error is +/-4 percent. 

Why it matters: This is not surprising. Washington state is blue. That said, a poll in May had Obama up by a bigger margin: 14 points. 

Caveat: The state isn't entirely blue. The governor race is tight. Republican Rob McKenna has 42 percent to Democrat Jay Inslee's 41 percent.