The new CNN poll becomes the fourth of the day to show the Obama/Romney race w/in 3 points. CNN has Obama ahead among likely voters 50-47% (ARG has Obama at 49-46%, ABC/WashPo has Obama at 49-47%, and Politico/Battleground has Obama at 49-47% - not to mention today's Rasmussen Tracker has Obama ahead 50-47%, and Gallup shows a 49-45% Obama lead). In other words, it seems like a pretty safe bet to say that Obama is heading into the first debate with a 3 point lead, and is awfully close to 50% nationally.
Like the PPP NC poll released last night, and the ARG NC poll released this morning, a large Democratic advantage in partisan identification neutralizes Mitt Romney's strong lead with Independent voters (49-41%). CNN's survey finds voters identifying as 37% Democrat, 29% Republican, and 34% Independent (D+8), the same net Democratic partisan advantage from 2008. But if the electorate in November resembles the 2010 national electorate, the CNN numbers flip from a 3 point Obama advantage to a 4 point Romney advantage (50-46%):
CNN poll weighted to 2010 national partisan identification:
Party ID Obama Romney
35D 32.55 (93%) 2.1 (6%)
35R 1.4 (4%) 33.6 (96%)
30I 12.3 (41%) 14.7 (49%)
For most of the earlier part of this year, conventional wisdom suggested that the poor economy would prevent Democratic turnout from matching or exceeding 2008 levels. But polling in the immediate aftermath of the DNC pointed to increased Democratic enthusiasm. That enthusiasm manifested itself in better head-to-head results for the President, and increased Democratic partisan identification among survey respondents. Some poll findings even suggested better-than-2008 Democratic turnout. CNN's D+8 party ID is in line with most of the post-DNC poll findings on party ID. But what would the CNN results look like if re-weighted to a Democratic partisan identification of 3.5 points (the average of 2010 and 2008 turnout)?
CNN poll weighted to average of 2008 and 2010 national partisan identification:
Party ID Obama Romney
37D 34.41 (93%) 2.22 (6%)
33.5R 1.34 (4%) 32.16 (96%)
29.5I 12.095 (41%) 14.455 (49%)
If CNN's crosstabs are to be believed, Romney leads the President by a small 49-48% margin in the event the electorate looks like an even mix between 2008 and 2010 turnout.
As compared to last Monday, today is a much better poll day for the Romney camp.