After the first presidential debate Gallup and Newsweek came up with somewhat different national poll results, but they reflected the same trend: Kerry gained between 7 and 9 points in both surveys. But five new polls released late yesterday and today are mucking up the waters again, with a range of results from The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Pew Research Center, the American Research Group and Zogby.
On one side of the spectrum is the Pew poll, which gives a 7-point lead to Bush. On the other is American Research Group, giving a 3-point lead to Kerry. The others fall somewhere in between, but don't clump in a way that would indicate that either the Pew or the ARG poll is an outlier.
The polls are slightly more conclusive when it comes to identifying whether Kerry has made gains: None of the seven polls show Kerry having lost support since the debate, though how much he gained ranges from zero to nine points.
The following are the 3-way race results of all seven polls conducted since the debate, in the order of greatest Kerry lead to greatest Bush lead, and followed by the number of points that Kerry has gained since each poll's last survey:
ARG -- (K47--B44), Kerry gains 2
Newsweek -- (K47--B45) Kerry gains 7
New York Times -- (K47--B47) Kerry gains 9
Zogby (Likely Voters) -- (K43--B46) no change
Gallup -- (K47--B49) Kerry gains 9
Wash Post/ABC -- (K45--B50) Kerry gains 1
Pew Research Center -- (K41--B48) Kerry gains 1
Averaging all seven gives Bush a lead of less than 2 points. And on average, Kerry has made a 4-point gain in each poll. Beyond that, you'll have to draw your own conclusions.