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Obama vs. Romney: Your guide to poll-watching

Between now and the presidential election in November, there’ll be hundreds of polls weighing Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama. Here’s some advice on how to sort through the numbers.

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“We’d remind you that even though you'll hear about nationwide head-to-head polls, you should remember that the election will be decided in the electoral college, and that a handful of battleground states will determine which way the race swings,” write Jason Linkins and Elyse Siegel in their Huffington Post “Speculatron Weekly Roundup.”

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New Hampshire is one of those key swing states whose electoral votes Obama will want to retain,” they write. “Similarly, when you're looking at Obama's approval ratings, remember that while the nationwide result tells a general picture, the approval ratings in places like Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, and Pennsylvania tell you so much more.”

So, over coming months, read polls regularly but carefully and skeptically.

And now, just because we know you love them so much, here are some of the latest poll droppings…..

In its first daily tracking poll of registered voters, Gallup this past week has Romney at 47 percent, Obama at 45 percent with independents breaking toward Romney by 45-39 percent.

On the other hand, a Pew poll gives Obama the lead, 49 to 45, and a Quinnipiac survey has Obama up 46-42.

In what the Washington Post calls a “likeability gap,” Obama is clearly ahead of Romney: 56-35 percent in the most recent Washington Post-ABC News national poll and 48-33 percent in a NBC-Wall Street Journal survey.

Then, of course, there’s the gender gap.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll Tuesday gives Obama a 14-point lead on Romney among women likely to vote in November's general election, 51 percent to 37 percent.

Also, notes Reuters, “Despite Republicans' efforts to portray themselves as the party of the family, Obama even had a big edge on family values among women, with 51 percent picking him as better on that issue compared with 36 percent for Romney."

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