The other major tracking poll, Gallup, has shown no bounce at all for Romney. Gallup had the race even before the convention and now has Obama up 1. The Gallup survey is a 7-day rolling average, so its results tend to move less abruptly than those in the Rasmussen survey. It is possible Romney may still get a small boost. In any case, the two tracking surveys have diverged on the impact of the convention. A third tracking poll by Reuters/Ipsos, begun before the convention, has moved from a 4-point Obama lead to an even race — a 4-point swing towards Romney, which is a result in the middle of the Rasmussen and Gallup results.
There have been very few polls in the swing states the last week, though those that have appeared recently have generally been more favorable to Romney than to Obama. PPP, a Democratic polling firm that has had a slight lean towards Democratic candidates this cycle, has Obama up 1 in Florida and even with Romney in North Carolina. However, a poll by Elon University and the Charlotte Observer released on Sunday has Romney up 4 in North Carolina. Last week, an EPIC poll in Michigan had Obama up 3 (he won the state by 16% in 2008), and PPP polls had Obama up 3 in Nevada (a state he won by 12% in 2008) and up 2 in Iowa (a state he won by 10% in 2008). Both states are margin-of-error states at the moment, and practically even. Michigan is a state that Nate Silver has argued is not a tossup state this cycle, but there are now several recent polls by instate pollsters that seem to suggest otherwise. The amount of time the president is spending in Iowa (4 days the last two weeks), a state with only 6 Electoral College votes, suggests that the Hawkeye State is very much in play.
Assuming Romney wins Missouri, North Carolina, and Indiana — three states where he now has the lead — his Electoral College total would be 206. If Romney can win Ohio, Virginia, and Florida, he would be at 266. Iowa then puts him over the top. If Michigan is in play, as it seems to be, then Romney has a shot at 317 Electoral College votes, all the Bush states from 2004 except New Mexico, plus New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
In the RCP averages, Obama now holds the following leads in the tossup states: Ohio 1.4%, Virginia 0.6%, Nevada 3.3%, Wisconsin 1.4%, Michigan 1.2%, New Hampshire 3.5%, Florida 1.0%, Iowa 0.2%, and Colorado 1.6%. The states in which Romney leads plus those in which he trails by less than 2% total 307 Electoral College votes. Exclude Michigan, and the total is 291. Many of the battleground states have had no polls taken since the GOP convention, and Romney’s numbers may improve from levels in those averages.
Of course, there will likely be a bounce-back for Obama this week in Charlotte. Given voters’ much greater familiarity with Obama than Romney, it is possible, however, that viewership will be down even more for the Democratic convention this year than for the GOP convention and the positive buzz for the president will be diminished, despite the best efforts of Obama’s many media worshipers. This race has been close for months, and there is no evidence yet of a breakout by either candidate. The debates may offer the last chance for that.