Barack Obama is ahead in the polls. Then Mitt Romney is. The president is leading among women. Then the likely Republican nominee is. Romney's favorable rating is in the dumps. Presto! It's above water. The volatility of the 2012 presidential race is a boon for pollsters and pundits, who every day, it seems, have new data to dissect and a new shift to explain.
The reasons for the movement in the polls can seem obvious. With Romney no longer being sniped at daily by fellow Republicans—and with him keeping his distance from reporters and no longer appearing at crazy-town debates—it's no surprise his favorability numbers have crept upward.