Between October 4th and October 11th, YouGov recontacted likely voters in twenty five states to find out how their vote intentions had changed since mid-September, when they were first polled (for an overview of the September results, click here). Results of the October recontacts show that the presidential race has moved slightly in Republican nominee Mitt Romney's favor since September, but that President Barack Obama remains better positioned to win the election. Bigger shifts between September and October are evident in the many competitive U.S. Senate races throughout the country, as well as in the few governor's races that are being contested this year.
Among the seven states that YouGov has grouped into the category of Battlegrounds (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin), October results show that Romney has narrowed the race to a statistical dead-heat in three: Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. Romney has a nominal lead in one of these three states, North Carolina. In Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, and Wisconsin, Obama remains narrowly ahead.
YouGov also recontacted voters in the three Rust Belt States of Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. These states, once viewed as the centerpieces of Mitt Romney's Electoral College strategy, have proven to be more challenging to the Romney campaign than most pundits predicted. Results from the October recontacts show President Obama maintaining a nominal lead over Romney in Ohio and sizable leads in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Few substantial changes can be seen in the presidential race in the other states for which YouGov recontacted likely voters. Obama continues to hold substantial leads in Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington, and wider leads in California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. Romney continues to hold solid leads in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas.
The U.S. Senate races are the contests for which the October recontacts show some particularly large shifts. In Connecticut, the September poll suggested Republican Linda McMahon was on the verge of a major upset, leading Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy by four points among likely voters; in the October recontact, Murphy has taken a two-point lead but the race remains close. In Massachusetts, the September poll showed a dead-even contest between Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren; in the October recontact, Warren has a marginal lead over Brown. In Wisconsin, the September poll showed former GOP Governor Tommy Thompson ahead by four percentage points over Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin among likely voters; in the October recontact, Baldwin leads Thompson by five points.
In Senate races involving Democratic incumbents in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, the Democratic incumbents are still in front of their Republican challengers. Finally, in the Virginia Senate race, former Republican Senator George Allen and former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine are still in a flat-footed tie among likely voters, as they were in September.
The October recontact shows some potentially important changes in two governor's races. In Washington, Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee now enjoys a healthy, ten-point lead over Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna; in September, Inslee's lead was a modest four points. And in Indiana, former State House Speaker John Gregg has cut into Congressman Mike Pence's lead, though he remains far behind. The Governor's races in Missouri and North Carolina appear to be just about over: in Missouri, incumbent Democratic Governor Jay Nixon is well on his way to a second term, while in North Carolina, Republican former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory seems almost certain to win that state's governorship.