Forget Gallup's tracking poll and its claim Romney leads Obama by 6 points. Nonsense!
As NY Times premier analyst Nick Silver pointed out in his "538" column yesterday, history shows that Gallup is prone to mighty big boo-boos. Like a 26-point swing back and forth in just one week earlier this season. Yoicks! Or a 10-point miss on the final results in 2008 and 2010.
Consider instead the new Marist poll for NBC and its numbers-man Chuck Todd. This new polling shows Obama leading by 8% in Iowa and by 6% in Wisconsin.
State polls are generally more accurate than national ones. Further, the results in Iowa and Wisconsin tell us far more about the race than does Gallup's stab at a national figure. As 2000 so unforgettably demonstrated, we don't elect presidents by national popular vote.
We elect a president state by state in the electoral college. With Wisconsin and Iowa in his column, Obama needs only Ohio in order to win the electoral college, provided he holds all the states Kerry won in 2004. Obama has several other plausible ways to do it, but that's the most reliable because he leads in Ohio by about 4 or 5 points per the last polling (pre-second debate). But he also can make it without Ohio by winning Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada if he continues to hold on to Wisconsin and Iowa.
Since Wisconsin usually is a blue state in presidential races, it's clear Iowa is the swing pin for Obama. Thus the Marist poll's result about Iowa is infinitely more important than the Gallup national poll even if the Gallup one weren't so obviously cuckoo.
Also the Marist poll shows a LOT of early voting in Wisconsin and Iowa, and Obama's leading Romney 2 to 1 among these early voters. Marist predicts this year's early voting will be 40% of total voting as compared with 30% in 2008. Even though Romney may win more of the votes cast on Election Day in these two states, he apparently can't catch the Obama early voting lead.
This is good news, not for just its numbers, but for what it tells us about the Obama ground game. In simplest terms, it tells us the Obama ground game is working mighty fine!
More next time of cheery news! I hope.
Early voters or late voters, it doesn't matter. All voters have the right to see your tax returns, Romney you bum!