Latest Presidential Polls: No Bump For Obama After Winning Third Debate, Race Remains Tight

The latest presidential polls show that despite winning the third presidential debate, President Barack Obama has seen no significant bump in a race that remains very tight.

As HuffPost Pollster notes, there are two ways to view the third presidential debate by looking at the latest presidential polls. The first is that the clear win for Obama has cut into the momentum Mitt Romney has seen since his own clear win in the first debate.There is some evidence to support this idea, the report states:

“If we average the polls conducted by Gallup, Pew; Ipsos, ARG and the Daily Kos, we find that before the debate, Obama was ahead by four points; afterwards Romney led by four – a shift in the lead of eight points. Before the debate, Obama was heading for a clear victory; afterwards, Romney looked the more likely winner. Since then, the contest has narrowed a little, but Romney has held most of his initial gain.”

But looking at it another way, the latest presidential polls show the debate having only a small difference. In polls conducted by YouGov, Rasmussen and ABC/Washington Post, the debate shifted the nationwide vote shares by about one point. For a race that has remained tight since Mitt Romney’s first debate performance showed him as a capable leader, this scenario appears to be the most likely.

The latest presidential polls from swing states support this theory as well, HuffPost Pollster notes:

“Movements in polls in the key states sit nearer version two than version one. If we average their findings then Florida tipped from Obama to Romney after the first debate, but Obama remained ahead in other key states – notably Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico. Obama narrowly led in Virginia and Colorado before the first debate; afterwards, they were too close to call. On these figures, Obama would still win the electoral college, even if Romney won Virginia and Colorado.”

Elections scenarios are increasingly showing that Ohio will be the deciding state. As the election blog FiveThirtyEight points out, a statistical analysis of all electoral college scenarios shows that Ohio is the deciding state close to half the time.

If this remains to be true, Obama would be breathing a sigh of relief. The latest presidential polls from Ohio show him holding on to a small but consistent lead in the Buckeye State.

As FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver points out, Obama’s good standing in swing states gives him many paths to the 270 electoral votes needed to stay in the White House:

“Mr. Obama also seems to be holding onto thin leads in the polling averages in the states that are most essential to his path forward in the Electoral College.

Two polls of Wisconsin published on Monday, for example, gave him leads of 3 and 5 percentage points.

There were four polls published of Pennsylvania on Monday, showing Mr. Obama ahead by margins varying from 3 percentage points to 10. Our forecast model comes in toward the lower end of that range, showing a lead there of about 4.5 points for Mr. Obama right now.”

Taking all of the latest presidential polls into account, FiveThirtyEight gives Obama a roughly 70 percent chance of winning the election, takingabout 290 electoral votes in all.

Other sites that aggregate the latest presidential polls find the race roughly the same way. HuffPost Pollster notes that at the moment, Barack Obama would win 253 electoral votes and Mitt Romney 191. The other 96 electoral votes come from the seven “toss-up” states on the map.

Real Clear Politics has Mitt Romney winning 206 electoral votes at the moment to Obama’s 201. When the map is reconfigured to allot all toss-ups to the candidate currently leading, Obama leads Romney 281 electoral votes to 257.

The electoral college map from the Washington Post shows Obama with 255 votes to Romney’s 206.

Predictably, each side is spinning the latest presidential polls to show a benefit for their candidate. Red State’s Erick Erickson says that with time running out, Obama’s decision to keep campaigning and spending money in states that are a lost cause to him — namely North Carolina and Florida — could cost him the election as presidential polls show Romney ahead comfortably there.

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post notes that Romney’s missteps are handing the election to Obama, a viewpoint that can be confirmed by cherry picking the latest presidential polls showing Obama in the lead.