Tonight’s third and final 2012 presidential debate will feature 90 minutes on foreign policy — an extremely important set of issues, of course, but not a subject area that sits atop voters’ list of concerns this year. As President Obama and Governor Romney enter tonight’s third-round bout, a cross-section of polls are converging to cement a clear pre-debate trend: The Republican challenger has established a modest lead over the incumbent nationally, while building momentum in critical battleground states. Let’s take a peek at some of the data:
(1) Rasmussen and Gallup – The two primary daily tracking polls both show Romney in the lead among likely voters. Rasmussen pegs Romney’s edge at two points (49/47), while Gallup again shows a larger cushion (51/45). The GOP candidate has held a lead of greater than five points in this poll for more than a week. For the third straight day, Rasmussen’s (slightly more volatile) swing state tracker shows Romney out front by a handful of points. Today, it’s 49/46.
(2) NBC/WSJ – This national survey has consistently been among least kind to Republicans in recent months, yet it can’t avoid picking up on the emerging trend. Dan covered this poll yesterday; it shows a 47/47 tie. As NBC’s Chuck Todd says, sitting at 47 percent two weeks out isn’t a position of strength for an incumbent president: