Karl Rove on Fox News, maintaining an upbeat face in the face of a flurry of polls showing Mitt Romney behind in swing states.
"I think we've got to approach them with a lot of skepticism.... Step back just a little bit and look at the arc since April. President Obama's gone from 220 solid states -- electoral college votes in solid states -- to 196 today; whereas, Mitt Romney's gone from 135 to 156.
This race is very much up for grabs. The battlefield is a little bit broader than it was in April."
Rove then explains that it's unreasonable to suggest Obama has actually grown his lead in some of these states since 2008 -- a point well-taken.
After all, Obama is less popular than in 2008, Romney has better organization than McCain, and the GOP has an enthusiasm edge. The only swing state where I can actually imagine Obama doing better than in 2008 is Ohio (and unfortunately for Romney, that matters more than any other, except Florida).
There's been a lot of media scorn for critics of polling, but as I noted yesterday, you can believe that a) Obama is leading in these states and that b) some of the samples are ridiculous.
Who really believes, for example, that Democratic turnout will be +9% in Florida, and that only 27% of the voting electorate in the state will be Republican? Yet context like that is rarely added when these polls make headlines.
So yes, gripes about the margin of these polls are often legit, even though the direction in Obama's favor is often correct.
It should be mentioned, by the way, that Rove helps lead an independent group that backs Mitt Romney.