Voters are seeing President Obama as the way to go for the benefit of the economy, Mitt Romney is seen unfavorably by half of Americans, Democrats lead Senate races in Florida and Ohio, and the Arizona Senate race might be tighter than expected. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: In Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Obama is beating Romney on who's the best candidate to handle the economy, but trailing him when it comes to handling the budget deficit, in a Quinnipiac University/ New York Times/ CBS News poll. And Obama has the advantage — 48 to 39 percent — when it comes to who has the best economic vision, despite a negative approval rating when it comes to job approval on the economy, according to a Bloomberg poll.
Pollster: Quinnipiac University/ New York Times/ CBS News, Selzer & Co. for Bloomberg
Methodology: Interviews with 1,196 likely Florida voters, 1,162 likely Ohio voters, and 1,180 likely Pennsylvania voters September 18 through 24 with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points. For Bloomberg: Telephone poll of 1,007 adults September 21 through 24 with a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points.
Why it matters: In a day of bad news for Romney in the polls, this might sting. (Or might be positive. It depends on who you're talking to.) Romney's trump card was the economy, but despite disapproval with the way Obama has handled it up to this point, Romney is lagging both nationally and in swing states on that subject. In Ohio Wednesday Romney focused on the deficit, one place where he does have an advantage, ABC News' Sunlen Miller reported.
Caveat: Romney holds onto his advantage on who would create the most jobs by a little bit -- 47 percent to 45 percent, Bloomberg finds. And there are some differences in these results between the two polls. Whereas the Times poll surveyed likely voters, Bloomberg surveyed American adults for some (though not all) of the results mentioned above.
Findings: Romney's looking pretty unfavorable. A Bloomberg poll finds that 50 percent of Americans have unfavorable views of Romney.
Pollster: Selzer & Co. for Bloomberg
Methodology: See above.
Why it matters: Romney just isn't well-liked. Bloomberg's Julie Hirschfeld Davis explains that "negative ratings are preventing him from capitalizing on President Barack Obama's vulnerabilities in the race for the White House." At 50 percent seeing him unfavorably, he is at "a September high for a presidential challenger in the last three decades." Meanwhile, a Washington Post/ABC News poll finds people reacting negatively to Romney's "47 percent" comments and a whopping 61 percent of Americans are sour on way he is running his campaign.
Caveat: There's always the possibility that debates could turn things around.
Findings: Republican are down in Senate races in Florida and Ohio, according to the Times poll. In Florida, incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson leads Republican Connie Mack by 14 percentage points, and in Ohio incumbent Sherrod Brown leads Josh Mandel by 10 points.
Pollster: Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News
Methodology: See above.
Why it matters: The Democratic incumbents are holding strong in these two races, which neither party can really afford to lose in the Senate. "Republican groups initially targeted Ohio and Florida as potential opportunities to pick up seats from Democrats, with 41 days remaining until Election Day, Democrats hold clear advantages in both states," the Times' Jeff Zeleny explains.
Caveat: The Hill 's Justin Sink points out that the two had not had a strong a hold on their seats and Democrats "had worried the pair of swing-state lawmakers could be tested this fall." Both Republican candidates have some weaknesses.
Findings: Meanwhile in Arizona, the Democratic candidate Richard Carmona might be posing a challenge to Republican Rep. Jeff Flake. Though Flake still leads by 6 points in a Rasmussen poll, Carmona's support is up since late June. An internal poll from Carmona's campaign gives Flake only a 1 point lead.
Pollster: Rasmussen, Anzalone Liszt Research
Methodology: For Rasmussen: Automated poll of 500 likely Arizona voters September 25 with a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points. For Anzalone: Telephone interviews with 600 likely voters September 18 through 23 with a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.
Why it matters: Rasmussen has moved this race from "Safe Republican" to "Leans Republican," which means another potential Republican seat could be in jeopardy.
Caveat: The Hill 's Alexandra Jaffe points out that it's still early in this race and both candidates will have to work to define themselves (or each other). Carmona remains fairly unknown.