Context is everything. The state polls that came out last night and today can only be viewed in the context of the post-debate Democratic mega-freak-out. And in that context, they don’t look too bad for Obama.
The key state is Ohio. The state has popped back into the Toss Up category on the TPM Electoral Scoreboard. But if you look at the details it looks more encouraging for Obama. Two of the seven polls are from Rasmussen. One from Rasmussen proper has Obama +1. Another comes from Rasmussen subsidiary Pulse Opinion. Also Obama +1. There are also two quality polls: NBC/WSJ/Marist and CNN. They have Obama +6 and Obama +5 respectively. See all the data here. So significant tightening but even in the aftermath of the debate, Obama appears to have a real lead in Ohio. That’s a very big deal. If Obama has Ohio, he has the inside track nationwide.
Florida has tightened significantly too. But he holds on to a slither-thin .7 lead according to the PollTracker Average. And the NBC/Marist poll is a 1 point margin similar to what it was before the debate.
Virginia is tight and one place where the picture is a bit more muddled. A 1 point margin in the PollTracker Average. But the premium polls continue to tip toward Obama overall. Quinnipiac has Obama +5. NBC/Marist has Romney +1. The Obama Team really wants or needs Virginia in hand not to go into the election with a nail biter.
The take away is that Obama seems to have survived the debate aftermath in the swing states with leads that are stable or possibly diminished but still intact. The issue is whether Obama can turn in a performance next week that will stabilize people’s read on who he is and whether he’s got his focus and mojo in the job.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.