Is President Obama really behind by five points in the swing states?

The Week's Editorial Staff
The Week
President Obama campaigns in Florida on Oct. 11: Women in 12 crucial swing states are increasingly leaving the Obama camp and supporting Mitt Romney, according to a new poll.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows Mitt Romney with a sizable lead. Malarkey, insists the Obama campaign

A new USA Today/Gallup poll released on Monday shows Mitt Romney with a five-point lead among likely voters across 12 critical swing states. The poll ascribes Romney's surge to growing support from women, who are now evenly split between the GOP candidate and Obama. And if the trend holds, things could get even worse for the incumbent. "As a group, women tend to start paying attention to election contests later," says Susan Page at USA Today, "and remain more open to persuasion by the candidates and their ads." 

However, the Obama campaign pushed back heavily against the poll, calling it an "extreme outlier." "Gallup's data is once again far out of line with other public pollsters," writes Obama pollster Joel Benenson. "In 14 state polls conducted across 8 swing states since October 4, President Obama leads among women in every single one." 

Is Obama really this far behind in battleground states? Several commentators mocked the Obama campaign for trying to "unskew" the polls, which was what conservatives were accused of doing when they questioned the results of polls showing Obama with a lead.

The New York Times' Peter Baker:

— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) October 15, 2012

And Bloomberg's Josh Barro:

SEE MORE: Are liberal critics to blame for Obama's fall in the polls?

— Josh Barro (@jbarro) October 15, 2012

However, other stat wonks had genuine disagreements with Gallup's methodology, as well as the relevance of a poll that averages out the results from 12 different states.

New York Times poll guru Nate Silver:

— Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight) October 15, 2012

SEE MORE: Anatomy of a campaign ad: 'Big Bird'

— Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight) October 15, 2012

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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