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Polling and its ups and downs

This week began when a national Washington Post/ABC poll (conducted March 7-10) revealed that President Obama's approval rating had dropped from 50% to 46% -- and it cited rising gas prices as the culprit.

Then a New York Times/CBS survey (conducted March 7-11) found the president's job rating declined to 41%, which seemed to cement this narrative: Despite more positive economic news and the bruising GOP primary campaign, something was happening to Obama's numbers.

But yesterday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll (conducted March 8-11) showed that Obama's approval rating was 50% -- the same as last week's NBC/WSJ poll (Feb. 29-March 3).

Then came a Bloomberg poll (March 8-11) showing the president's approval at 48%, as well as him tied against Mitt Romney, 47%-47%.

And now fresh off the presses is a brand-new Pew poll (March 7-11) that has Obama's approval rating at 50% and with him leading Romney by 12 points, 54%-42%.

When you average these polls, plus our NBC/WSJ survey, Obama's job rating is 47.5% -- hardly conclusive that gas prices or anything else have taken a toll on the president's numbers. For now at least...