Polling rarely takes a holiday, and this Presidents’ Day weekend was no exception. In addition to the first set of fairly sobering poll numbers for Barack Obama in recent memory (whether we call these outliers or not is going to depend on what we see in the next couple of days), we also see three new polls which hint at an exceptionally close race not only in Michigan, but also in Arizona. With those two states the next ones to cast ballots on February 28th, all eyes will be on them as Republicans try to edge ever closer to settling on a candidate to challenge the president.
Interestingly, even though Mitt Romney seems to be rebounding in Michigan, he seems to be losing a bit of his grasp not only in Arizona, but in other states, as well. Meanwhile, his standing in the Gallup tracking poll of the GOP primary nationally is near a low-point, as Rick Santorum has forged a double-digit advantage.
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Santorum 36, Romney 26, Gingrich 13, Paul 11
ARIZONA (PPP): Romney 36, Santorum 33, Gingrich 16, Paul 9
MICHIGAN (PPP): Santorum 37, Romney 33, Paul 15, Gingrich 10
MICHIGAN (We Ask America): Romney 29, Santorum 29, Paul 12, Gingrich 10
OKLAHOMA (Sooner Poll): Santorum 39, Romney 23, Gingrich 18, Paul 8
TEXAS (Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune): Santorum 48, Gingrich 17, Romney 16, Paul 14
VIRGINIA (Christopher Newport Univ.): Romney 53, Paul 23
On the general election front, Gallup heads back into the breech with a set of numbers that, given where every other pollster has been for weeks, has to provoke some head scratching. However, we also see a significant softening in the Rasmussen tracking poll over last week, plus the respected Iowa poll had some pessimistic data for the president, as well. Either several pollsters are suddenly missing the fairway, or the numbers for Barack Obama have softened markedly from earlier in the month.
NATIONAL (Rasmussen): Obama d. Santorum (47-44); Obama d. Romney (46-42)
NATIONAL (USA Today/Gallup): Romney d. Obama (50-46); Obama d. Santorum (49-48)
IOWA (Selzer/Des Moines Register): Paul d. Obama (49-42); Santorum d. Obama (48-44); Romney d. Obama (46-44); Obama d. Gingrich (51-37)
TEXAS (Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune): Santorum d. Obama (51-37); Romney d. Obama (49-36)
VIRGINIA (Christopher Newport University): Santorum d. Obama (46-42); Romney d. Obama (46-43); Obama tied with Paul (43-43); Obama d. Gingrich (45-40)
WASHINGTON (SurveyUSA): Obama d. Romney (50-39); Obama d. Paul (50-37); Obama d. Santorum (51-38); Obama d. Gingrich (56-34)
A quick look at what today’s numbers mean, and why there is good and bad news for Mitt Romney therein, after the jump.