Debate viewers think Mitt Romney beat President Obama, and the Connecticut senate race is basically tied. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: Two-thirds of Americans think that Romney did the best job in the debate, a CNN poll finds. Meanwhile, an instant poll from CBS found that 46 percent of uncommitted voters thought Romney won the debate, while 22 percent thought Obama did, and 32 said it was a draw.
Pollster: CNN/ORC International, CBS News
Methodology: For CNN: Landline and cell phone interviews among 430 adult Americans who watched the debate October 3 with a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points. For CBS: Online poll ("using GfK's web-enabled KnowledgePanel(r)") of 523 uncommitted voters who watched the debate with a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.
Why it matters: The polls matches up with general perception in the media that last night did not go well for Obama.
Caveat: We're going to have to wait a little longer to see how this effects the polls overall, not to mention almost half of the respondents said the debate wouldn't change their vote. Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall questioned the demographics of the CNN poll this morning, saying it "doesn’t appear to contain anyone (or doesn’t appear to contain any representative sample) under 50, anyone outside of the South or anyone who’s not white." But! "there seems to be a straightforward non-nefarious explanation," Marshall writes, ultimately concluding: "CNN provided us with the internals of the poll, and the demographics of the poll respondents are very much line with normal standards for randomized sampling." Update: Also, Nate Silver notes that, looking at past years' CNN polls, "the relationship between the winner of the instant-reaction poll and the change in head-to-head polls is positive, although not statistically significant." See his chart:
Findings: It's tight in the Connecticut senate race with Republican Linda McMahon up one point over Democrat Chris Murphy.
Methodology: Landline and cell phone interviews with 1,696 likely voters September 28 through October 2 with a margin of error of +/-2.4 percentage points.
Why it matters: Whereas some Senate seats are surprising Republicans with their competitiveness -- take for instance, Arizona -- Ramesh Ponnuru and Margaret Carlson explain in Bloomberg View how shocked they are that that McMahon is doing so well, as she failed to win in 2010 and the state currently is blue for Obama.
Caveat: It's obviously very close. Poll director Douglas Schwartz said: "Connecticut voters like Linda McMahon more than U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy. But the Democrat seems to be holding his own against the onslaught of negative advertising."