There are a pile of new pre-GOP convention polls out today and one notable poll from yesterday where the LA Times for the first time in this election season had Bush leading Kerry.
Outside the Beltway (link in title) has the full rundown of the polls from Fox, LA Times, MSNBC, USA Today and a dog-bites-man result from the WaPo.
The national polls matter very little because of the Electoral College, therefore state-by-state information is what counts. The LA Times poll today shows Bush opening leads in Ohio, Missouri and Wisconsin. That last one is most important: Wisconsin is the ONLY state that Al Gore won where Bush has had a lead since Kerry clinched the Democratic nomination. This is crucial because (1) recent polls indicate a decent-sized Kerry lead in Florida, (2) most polls show W. Virginia and New Hampshire regressing to Kerry, (3) polls in the midwest have shown Bush gaining some strength. Ultimate outcome, if Bush holds Ohio and flips Wisconsin, Michigan and either Minnesota or Iowa he can win without winning Florida.
Two caveats: (a) the state polls do not survey military voters and Florida has many active duty military voters; (b) the LA Times state polls were of REGISTERED voters, not LIKELY voters and RV polls are less accurate than LV polls.
An excerpt from the LA Times poll story:
The surveys also show that voters in all three states pick Bush over Kerry when asked which man is most likely to develop a plan to succeed in Iraq and who would be more qualified to serve as commander in chief. Voters in all three states also gave Bush a big lead when asked which would best protect the nation from terrorism.
One other point: BlogoSferics notes that the LA Times polls have notoriously oversampled Democrats, therefore these results may be worse than they seem at first look.