Romney surges ahead, but race still tied

The race for the White House is still seen as either a virtual tie or Barack Obama's to lose with national polls ranging from a three point lead for the president to Mitt Romney surging ahead by seven points.

With a new Gallup daily tracking poll released Thursday showing Romney surging ahead among likely voters 52 percent to 45 percent, Romney slightly widened his lead to 47.7 percent to 46.7 percent in the RealClearPolitics (RCP) average.

In the electoral map of RCP, a respected political news aggregating site, Romney for the first time led in states, totalling 206 electoral votes to Obama's 201 with 131 too close to call.

It takes 270 to win the White House in the 538-member Electoral College chosen by popular vote in a winner-take-all election in the states.

But the national media seemed to take the Gallup with a pinch of salt.
"FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus", another respected poll aggregating blog on the New York Times, for one, joined issue with the Gallup poll in a post titled "Gallup vs. The World."

Thursday's Gallup national tracking poll showing Romney ahead 52 percent to 45 percent is "deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case," Silver argued.

"Other national polls show a race that is roughly tied on average, while state polls continue to indicate a narrow advantage of about two points for President Obama in tipping-point states like Ohio," he added.

Silver also noted that in 2008, Gallup "put Mr. Obama 11 points ahead of John McCain on the eve of that November's election," while "the average of polls put Mr. Obama up by about seven points," which was the actual margin.

ABC World News also saw "some new evidence that the President is gaining ground after this week's debate."

The reference was to a new NBC/Marist/Wall Street Journal poll from two battleground states of Iowa and Wisconsin showing Obama up by eight points and six points, respectively.

Similarly, CBS Evening News bracketed the Gallup poll results with a description of Romney's advantage as "narrow", telling its viewers to "remember, it's not the popular vote that elects a president, but the electoral vote".

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