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Today’s Polls, 6/17

An odd day of polling, but one attention-grabbing result dominates the rest. That is from Ohio, where Public Policy Polling has Barack Obama ahead by 11 points. While Public Policy Polling developed a reputation as being somewhat Obama-friendly in the primaries, its track record is fairly strong, and its prior Ohio poll — taken way back in March — had shown McCain ahead by 8 points. As Ohio is probably the single most important state in this election (it’s by no means the only important state, but it’s pretty darned important), this result is enough to drive Obama past the 67 percent threshold in our overall electoral projection; we presently have him as about a 2:1 favorite to win the election.

In Minnesota, however, SurveyUSA has Obama with just a 1-point lead over McCain. SurveyUSA’s methodology takes a more fluid view of party identification, and so it tends to produce results that can be more encouraging for the non-dominant party in a particular state. Its most recent previous Minnesota poll, taken back in May, had shown Obama ahead by 6 points.

In North Carolina, Civitas has John McCain ahead by 4 points — down a tick from the 5-point lead he held a month ago. Obama has yet to show a lead in North Carolina, but has trailed by somewhere between 2 and 4 points in the three most recent polls of the state.

There is also a SurveyUSA poll out in Kentucky that shows Obama trailing by 12 points. This poll made it across our wires too late to be included in our metrics, but it speaks to the extent that Obama is starting to improve his numbers among lapsed, Clinton-leaning Democrats, particularly in Appalachia. Obama had trailed by 24 points in Survey USA’s May poll of Kentucky, and by as many as 36 points previously.

There are also a series of national polls out, all of which have consolidated in the area of Obama +4, exactly the popular vote margin that we attribute to him based on the state-by-state polling results.

So what to make of the meme that Obama’s numbers haven’t been bouncing? The only way that you can come to that conclusion is if you cherrypick results. There have been a few dozen polls released since Clinton conceded the primaries, and our methodology extracts an average bounce of about 4 points between them. Four points is not so large that some individual polls won’t show a bounce, particularly if the bounce is concentrated in particular states and regions. But bounce Obama has, and the longer Republicans remain in denial about it, the less time they’ll have to catch up.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

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