This morning pollster Scott Rasmussen reported that in his three-day tracking poll Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by a 49%-47% margin. This covers interviews conducted Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, which is to say it includes two post-debate nights. (Pollsters quit interviewing at 9pm local time, so that on Wednesday night only respondents in the Mountain, Pacific, Alaska and Hawaii time zones could have watched the whole debate, and only some of them. These time zones include about 23% of the nation’s population.) Since the three-day track announced yesterday showed Obama ahead 49%-47%, the Friday interviews must have shown Romney with more than 50% of the vote. It’s the biggest one-day turnaround in Rasmussen’s tracking poll since the parties’ national conventions.
As Rasmussen warns, this result could just be statistical noise. We’ll know more when more polls come in. But it’s consistent with the trend shown in both Rasmussen and We Ask America Thursday night polls in the key target states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia—the three closest Obama 2008 states except for North Carolina and Indiana, where he won by (rounded off) 1% of the vote. My Sunday Examiner column, not yet online, takes a look at those polls and the implications for the strategy of the Obama campaign, which has spent heavily on anti-Romney ads in those three states in an attempt to create a firewall between Romney and the 270 electoral votes needed for a majority.
I take all these polls as evidence—by no means conclusive evidence, but evidence—that Romney’s overwhelming victory in the October 3 debate turned this election around.