Despite trailing Rick Santorum in most recent national polls, Mitt Romney appears to have momentum on his side in Michigan and a big lead in Arizona, just four days before both states hold Republican presidential primaries.
In Michigan, two new automated, recorded-voice surveys show Romney with a small, single-digit lead. The two polls, from Rasmussen Reports and Mitchell Research , were both conducted on Thursday, Feb. 23, and are the first to be fielded in Michigan entirely following Wednesday night’s nationally televised candidate debate.
The Rasmussen Reports poll gives Romney a six-point lead over Santorum (40 to 34 percent), a reversal from the four-point Romney deficit the firm found just three days earlier. The Mitchell Research poll shows Romney three points ahead of Santorum (36 to 33 percent), a big shift from the nine-point Santorum lead the firm reported one week earlier.
The new findings are slightly better for Romney than the results of five other surveys conducted earlier in the week, which collectively described a very close race between the top two candidates, ranging from a four-point Santorum lead to a two-point Romney advantage.
The HuffPost Pollster’s Michigan chart, which attempts to smooth out random variation in the all public polling data, shows that the biggest change over the past week has been an increase in support for Romney. Over the same period, Santorum’s numbers have declined only slightly. The chart’s trend lines now give Romney a very slight lead over Santorum (36.3 to 34.7 percent), followed by Ron Paul (11.2 percent) and Newt Gingrich (8.0 percent).
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Did you vote today? If not, why wait until Tuesday? Most states have early voting which is convenient for many reasons and an excellent way to avoid long lines and aggravation. Here’s a list of states that have early voting:
Where are we on early voting and what does it tell us about possible election outcomes?
It’s a mixed bag, which is opening the door to both sides claiming that the numbers show they are ahead in the early vote. That said, there are some interesting developments within key states that provide clues as to who is currently ahead in some races — and where the candidates are in tightly locked battles.
First, the overall numbers on early voting and what we might typically expect. Between 2004 and 2008, the percentage of votes cast prior to Election Day increased from 20% to 30%, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. In-between, in 2006, the percentage dropped to 18.5%. So far, we are on track to see early voting numbers comparable to 2008. In previous elections, the pace of early voting picks up as Election Day nears. Consistent with that, the most people voted on Tuesday than any other day so far in many states and localities. It ain’t over until it’s over, so early voting could still sputter to a halt. Past performance suggests otherwise.
Nationally, the polling on the generic ballot is like a Rorschach test. If you favor Republicans, you may believe Gallup and Rasmussen, which show big leads for Republican candidates. If you favor Democrats, you may like Newsweek, which shows Democrats with a slight lead. The early voting numbers so far — the partisan registration numbers where they are available and the county level data where they are not — suggest that more Democrats have voted than Republicans.
Don’t believe me? Well, you don’t have to take my word on it. The most recent Zogby poll has a cross tabulation for people who have already voted. The Zobgy poll confirms the early voting data: Democratic House candidates have a 4 point edge among people who have already voted. But here is the good news for Republicans, Zogby finds Republicans have a 5 point edge among likely voters. If Zogby and other pollsters are correct, Republicans will dominate on Election Day.
It may just be the bouncing ball of randomness at work but new polls in California, Nevada, Ohio and Kentucky released over the weekend gave Democrats something to smile about, or perhaps just a little less to wince at. Specifically, a new California poll confirms a slight rebound by Senator Barbara Boxer, while a new Nevada survey conducted by a Republican firm is more positive than other recent surveys, giving Senator Harry Reid his biggest edge since August.
In California, a new survey sponsored by the Los Angeles Times and USC and conducted by a bipartisan team of campaign pollsters finds Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer leading Republican challenger Carly Fiorina by eight percentage points (51% to 43%). While the result is a bit better for Boxer than some other recent surveys, the difference is slight — polls by Field and SurveyUSA conducted last week both showed Boxer leading by six point margins. The new survey nudges our trend estimate, which also considers slightly older polls, up to a 3.7 point margin for Boxer (47.9% to 44.2%), just enough to push California into the “lean Democrat” column.
The new LA Times/USC results also show Democrat Jerry Brown with a five-point edge (49% to 44%) over Republican Meg Whitman in the California governor’s race, a slightly better margin than on the SurveyUSA and Field polls last week. The new poll narrows Whitman’s lead on our trend estimate to a single percentage point (45.7% to 44.8%), confirming this race as one of the closest in the nation.
A new poll sponsored by the Retail Association of Nevada produced a bit of a man bites dog story: The survey, conducted by the respected Republican campaign polling firm Public Opinion Strategies shows Democratic Senator Harry Reid with a five-point advantage (45% to 40%) over Republican Sharon Angle. Four previous polls conducted over the last two weeks have shown a slightly narrower race, all ranging between a tie and a one-point Angle advantage. Our trend estimate splits the difference and shows Reid with a “toss-up” worthy one-point edge (45.4% to 44.3%). Although individual polls have shown variation, our trend lines in the Nevada race been remarkably flat since July. Continue reading…