Prez Debate Numero Two

Ken AshfordElection 2012Leave a Comment

So after a couple of weeks of cunfusion and angst over who is winning the presidential contest– not just by polls, but via "conventional wisdom" (whatever that is) — we're told today by WaPo/ABC and Politico/Battleground/GWU national surveys that things are, well, pretty much the same as they were before the first presidential debate.  The WaPo/ABC puts Obama up by 3 points (49/46) among LVs; Politico et al has him up 49/48. 

So it seems that the so-called "Romney surge," at least in national polls, is over, and we're looking at a contest in which Obama maintains a small lead –not one in which excited conservatives are about to snake-dance to the polls to lift Mitt to a smashing victory over a dispirited president and his demoralized troops.

Of course, those are national polls, and what matters are state polls, particularly in swong states.  Romney now is finally close them up, although Ohio still seems to be out of his reach.

That could all change tomorrow night, of course, when the candidates meet again at Hofstra University.  Obama could be off his game again.  Or Mitt could be so unusually oily (even for him) that Obama just looks bad.

But it will be important to see the fallout, first on the national stage and then within swing states:  Says Nate Silver:

If Mr. Obama gains a net of 2 percentage points after the debate, then he should move ahead in the majority of national polls, and his swing state polls should show a clear advantage for him.

If Mr. Romney does instead, then not only would most national polls give him a lead, but so should some in states like Ohio and Iowa where he has struggled to break through.

But it is a town hall-style debate, which is always fun since the audience gets involved.  And it tends to favor Obama, who "connects" better than Mitt.