Presidential polls have been moving ever so slightly toward Barack Obama since Mitt Romney closed the president’s widening gap with a strong showing in the first presidential debate, but, with an Obama win in the second debate, pollsters now wait to see whether the president can take back the commanding lead he once held.
Obama once held leads in national polls of four to six points, but those margins have disappeared with Romney’s post-debate bounce.
Presidential polls released in the time directly before and after the second presidential debate show a variation. Some national tracking polls, like those from Gallup and Rasmussen, show Romney holding an edge in the election and even passing the 50 percent barrier among likely voters. But other polls show Obama ahead nationally, and state polls give even stronger numbers.
Obama has consistently held leads in the critical swing state of Ohio, which is seen as critical to both candidates.
As Obama holds steady in presidential polls, political analysts wait to see what bump he could receive from his strong performance in the second presidential debate. As The Huffington Post noted, Obama was seen as the winner in a number of snap poll, though results on specific topics were mixed.
A CNN survey of registered voters watching the debate found that 46 percent said Obama won the debate and 39 percent said Romney did outside of the survey’s four-point margin of error.
It’s not known whether Obama can erase the nearly 2.5-point bounce Romney received from his own debate win, but election expert Nate Silver warned not to look too much into polling disparities seen now.
“This is a curious distribution of polls. While on average the polls showed almost an exact tie in the race, none of the individual polls did so, each lining up on the side of Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney.
“What to make of this pattern? Not much, I don’t think. On Monday, the national polls did seem to form a nice, tight distribution, clustered around the mean. On Tuesday, they didn’t. If the differences persist, they will be worthy of our attention, but the strong suspect here is simply statistical noise. People spend far too much time trying to determine which polls are right, when the correct attitude is to endeavor to infer which polls are less wrong.”
Silver said he is looking forward to presidential polls in the coming days to see if polls converge on a number and if Obama’s debate win will have any positive effects for the president.