Who is leading this election? With new Presidential Polls coming out nearly every day, it can be hard to keep up with the race.
According to the latest Gallup poll, Mitt Romney is currently leading the president by 7 points. Obama still has the lead in some key swing states, but the electoral college may be starting to tip in Romney’s favor.
Of course, all of that could change tomorrow.
CBS News Director of Surveys, Sarah Dutton, said that presidential polls can fluctuate day to day depending on various factors. Dutton said that polls will fluctuate greatly after major news events. For instance, after the first debate Mitt Romney saw a big boost in the polls as more people saw him as a confident and viable candidate.
“Poll results reflect the mindset of voters during the time the poll was conducted … Those voters can change their minds later, or decide not to vote, or not be able to get to the polls on Election Day to vote.”
Polls can also fluctuate depending on how they are conducted. Political committees may ask questions over the phone, online, or in person.
“It’s certainly important to understand whether a poll includes calls to cell phones, whether it’s done online, whether live interviewers ask the questions, when the poll was conducted – those are all part of a poll’s methodology. Consumers of polls should be aware that not all polls are conducted the same way, and some utilize a more rigorous methodology than others.”
Different polls also target different groups of people. With the election only a few weeks away, several groups are targeting their polling questions at undecided voters. Other polls are looking at all “likely voters,” but even those polls may be skewed by the fact that committees may define a “likely voter” in different ways. CBS writes that some groups will include responses from people who state that they will “definitely vote” in the election. Other groups check voter history or ask if a person knows their polling location before including them in a survey.
Gallup, who provides a daily poll, showed today that Romney was leading by 6 points when it came to likely voters. When it came to all registered voters, however, Romney led by only one point.
Quinnipiac University Polling Institute assistant director Peter Brown said that people have to look at several polls over a period of time to get a feel for the election. At the moment, the presidential polls show that the country’s excitement for Mitt Romney is growing.
“Clearly, two weeks and three days ago before the first debate, there were an awful lot of people who, according to the polls, thought Mr. Romney’s chance of victory were small … Obviously, the polls have changed. Overall, Mr. Romney’s certainly doing better than before the first debate.”
Do you keep track of the presidential polls?