It's unclear who won the vice-presidential debate, and Mitt Romney is leading President Obama in Florida and New Hampshire. Here's a guide to today's polls and why they matter.
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Findings: Instant polls following last night's debate conflict as to who was the winner. Ryan won by a slim margin—48 percent to 44 percent—among registered voters, CNN found. But among uncommitted voters, 50 percent gave it to Biden while 31 percent gave it to Ryan, CBS found. Pollster: CNN/ORC International, CBS News Methodology: For CNN: Landline and cell phone interviews with 381 registered voters who watched the vice presidential debate October 11 with a margin of error of +/-5 percentage points. For CBS: Online poll using GfK's KnowledgePanel of 431 uncommitted voters with a margin of error of +/-5 percentage points. Why it matters: This debate sure was lively, but it's unclear who won. These polls say the same thing. Caveat: As The New York Times' Nate Silver points out, these polls "are not directly comparable" and adds "vice-presidential debates rarely move head-to-head numbers between the presidential candidates – even when there is a much clearer verdict in instant-reaction polls. So one should err on the side of caution in assuming that the debate had much influence either way."
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Findings: Romney is ahead by 4 percentage points in Florida, with 51 percent of likely voters' support, Rasmussen finds. American Research Groups poll has Romney up by 3 points in Florida. Pollster: Rasmussen, ARG Methodology: For Rasmussen: Automated poll of 750 likely voters in Florida October 11 with a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points. For ARG: Interviews with 600 likely voters October 8 through 11 with a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points. Why it matters: Though Florida is obviously still a close race, it's now leaning a two points in the red in the Real Clear Politics average. Yesterday, Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and Geoffrey Skelley moved Florida to Leans Republican. Caveat: Sabato et al. caveat themselves by saying they made the move "even though the polling there still indicates it is a toss-up."
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Findings: Romney is leading Obama by 4 percentage points in New Hampshire. Pollster: ARG Methodology: Interviews with 600 likely voters October 9 through 11 with a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points. Why it matters: New Hampshire was looking to have been leaning Obama, but as recent reports indicate a tightening race in the state, this poll puts Romney in a small lead. Caveat: Obama still has a six point lead in a poll in the WMUR Granite State Poll Tuesday, but that was down from a 15 point lead a week prior.