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Amid Surge, Obama Camp Guards Against Overconfidence

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Polls continued to shift strongly in President Barack Obama’s favor today, with the president opening up a 6-point lead in the Gallup tracking poll. He has even bigger leads in some polls in key swing states, including in Ohio, where both he and GOP challenger Mitt Romney campaigned today.

Obama jumped to a lead of 50 percent to 44 percent in the seven-day Gallup tracking poll, up from 48 percent to 45 percent Tuesday and a 47-percent tie just a few days ago. The results came as the Obama campaign tried to guard against overconfidence, and the Romney campaign has argued in recent days that most public polls are flawed.

The Romney campaign in the past week had taken solace in the relative closeness of the Gallup poll.

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a top Romney surrogate, dismissed every poll in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel on Tuesday night — except for Gallup and Rasmussen. The Rasmussen poll, which has favored Republicans more than most other polls and is viewed as having a controversial methodology, showed a 2-point Romney lead nationally: 48 percent to 46 percent when leaners are included. Other Romney surrogates and the candidate himself have portrayed the race in recent days as tied or close to tied.

But several polls in recent days have shown Obama with a big lead in Ohio, including a new Quinnipiac/CBS/New York Times poll showing the president with a 10 point edge, 53 percent to 43 percent. That poll also found a 9-point Obama advantage in Florida and a 12-point edge in Pennsylvania. The polling advantage has prompted some news organizations to put Ohio into the leans-Obama category rather than viewing it as a tossup; Romney’s path to 270 votes is much harder without Ohio’s 18 electoral votes and is likely impossible if he also loses Florida.

The Obama campaign, meanwhile, is trying not to get overconfident.

“We don’t get too whipped up when we’re up, or too whipped up when we’re down,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters today before the Gallup numbers came out. Psaki had been asked about the Romney campaign accusing the Obama camp of spiking the ball on the 30-yard-line.

“We’re running this race in every single swing state like we’re 5 points down. If we need to pass out horse blinders to all of our staff, we will do that,” she said.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney quipped, “I think the real question is: What would the replacement refs do if somebody spiked their ball on the 30-yard line?”