Romney Actually Leading Based on Today’s ABC/Washington Post Poll

I’m hesitant to do this with every poll but after the below monstrosity from ABC/Washington Post, it was worth the time to rework the poll with a more reasonable election turnout.  The largest bone of contention is that the party identification had a Democrat advantage of 9 percentage points more Democrats surveyed than Republicans which in shorthand is D +9. This exceeds the best-in-a generation turnout advantage Obama had in 2008 which was 7 percentage points more Democrats or D +7.  But what if that absurd disparity in turnout was a more reasonable turnout of D +3 which is also the historic average over the last 7 Presidential elections?

First I will map out the poll as reported by ABC and the Washington Post

The party ID and vote totals according to ABC/Washington Post:

Democrat Republican Independent Other Total
Washington Post/ABC Party ID D +9 35 26 33 6 100
% of: Democrat Vote Republican Vote Independent Vote Other Vote
Barack Obama 91 7 42 24.5
Mitt Romney 8 93 48 53.0
Party ID * % vote Party ID * % vote Party ID * % vote Party ID * % vote
Obama Vote 31.85 1.82 13.86 1.47 49
Romney Vote 2.8 24.18 15.84 3.18 46

We see in the final column on the right, we end up with the exact vote split of 49 to 46 favoring Obama according to ABC/Washington Post. The only issue with the above calculation is the “Other” category for support which breaks for Romney 53 to 24.5. I had to back into those #s since they are not provided. If someone sees the actual breakdown I’d be happy to adjust the above calculations. The differences can only be a couple tenths of a percent from what I have  and it won’t affect the outcome but I wanted to point that out up front.

Now what happens if we leave fantasy land where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 9 percentage points and we simply go with the historical average of D +3?

Below I map out the exact same poll but with a more reasonable party ID based on today’s electorate.

Democrat Republican Independent Other Total
Washington Post/ABC Party ID D +3 32 29 33 6 100
% of: Democrat Vote Republican Vote Independent Vote Other Vote
Barack Obama 91 7 42 24.5
Mitt Romney 8 93 48 53.0
Party ID * % vote Party ID * % vote Party ID * % vote Party ID * % vote
Obama Vote 29.12 2.03 13.86 1.47 46.48
Romney Vote 2.56 26.97 15.84 3.18 48.55

Now we see the lead has flip-flopped and coincidentally, if we use rounded numbers, the vote totals are the exact opposite of the ABC/Washington Post results and Mitt Romney is leading 49 to 46. But I included the decimal places because you can see the real lead is only 2.07-points and the rounding misleads on the overall margin.

This is why voter registration, enthusiasm and turnout are all essential to any successful campaign. Mitt Romney is almost certainly leading in this election but if Democrats meet or exceed their advantage at the ballot box like they achieved in 2008, they will almost certainly win the election. Thankfully as we have shown countless times, as in the take down of the ABC/Washington Post poll below, all the evidence points to a dramatically different turnout on election day in favor of Republicans relative to 2008.


  1. Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink | Reply

    After rounding, it would be 49-47, like Ras and Gallup.

    • Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink | Reply

      The ex-math teacher in me wants to wrap your knuckles with a ruler. 46.48 does NOT round to 47. Very very very illegal to use the 8 to round up the 4 giving you 46.5. And then use the “rounded up 5” to round up 46 to 47. Big no no in mathematics. Bad, bad, bad.

  2. No Tribe
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink | Reply

    The ABC TV recap is pretty favorable to Romney:

  3. No Tribe
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hey, the FIU poll has an online event talking about the results at 10 am est if you are around:

    Cubans going for Obama in Florida, “Obama is ahead of Romney 51-44 percent among Hispanics, a relatively narrow lead that could spell trouble for a Democratic campaign that’s counting on minority support as non-Hispanic white voters flock to the Republican ticket in droves.”

    Stream is already live:

  4. housebroken dad
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m more worried about tomorrow’s moderator, Mrs “This ticket is a death wish” Candy Crowley than some bias stupid lamestream media poll:

  5. Eric
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    I do think that a D+3 model is very unrealistic as well. I expect somewhere between D+1 and R+4.

    The reason for that is based on the Rasmussen party ID numbers. I’ve got to lengths explaining this on race42012, but in short the Wisconsin election results verify that Rasmussen’s numbers are correct.

    The Wisconsin recall election had a turnout of R+1, compared with D+1 in 2010 and D+6 in 2008. Rasmussen’s numbers were very accurate in 2008 and 2010. They also showed a 2-point shift from 2010 to 2012, which was mirrored in the 2012 Wisconsin results (D+1 to R+1).

    Additionally, Rasmussen has shown a further 1 point shift from even June towards the Republicans in partisan affiliation. That points toward a national advantage of around R+2.

    R+2 is a reasonable turnout model for 2012. I would accept as reasonable anything between R+4 and D+1. Anything beyond that is absurd.

    • No Tribe
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink | Reply

      Here’s what I expect. That you are right or that Nate Silver and the Wa Post are right. Either what we are seeing statistically is in fact a harbinger of the truth and Romney is going to win with a Independent landslide and a R-D wash, or that people en masse have abandoned the Republican party for Independent, and Obama has Democrats fearing for their life.

      I think it’s the former too.

      • Eric
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        It’s not really speculation to suggest that it should be around R+2. We don’t have to rely on polls. We have real, recent election results in 2012 from Wisconsin. Turnout was higher in 2012 than it was in 2010, but not as high as 2008 turnout.

        Rasmussen’s numbers suggested a 7 point shift from 2008 to 2010. That occurred in the 2010 elections.

        A five point shift occurred in Wisconsin from 2008 to 2010. Wisconsin is a more stable state politically with a bit lower volatility in party IDs. Minnesota is similar to Wisconsin in this manner, so only a five point shift occurred in 2010, while larger ones (than 7 points) occurred in other places.

        Then, Rasmussen suggested a shift of 2 points from October 2010 to May 2012. The REAL results from Wisconsin in June 2012 measured a further 2 point shift (D+1 to R+1 in Wisconsin). Those are real results just 4 months ago in a high turnout election.

        None of this is theory or speculation. Those are the facts.

        The speculation is that Rasmussen has detected a further 1 point shift towards Republican from even June 2012. The 9 point shift from October 2008 to June 2012 was verified by the Wisconsin results. Rasmussen says that it’s now a 10 point shift. We’ll see if that’s true in November.

        Those relying on turnout models favoring Democrats are relying on fantasy.

    • Dave Ped
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink | Reply

      Eric – I absolutely agree with your assessment. I went back to all elections 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and YTD 2012 and looked at the Ras Party ID and I took the “average” for that year and compared it to the “actual” and R outperformed that particular years “average” Ras ID by 2 points on average. This was true for every election, even mid terms so Rasmussen party ID has been accurate. The average YTD Ras party ID for 2012 is R +2.57 and in every election the actual results R outperformed the average for each year by 1.89. So if this election is like the previous 4 elections, the actual party ID will be R +4.46. I don’t think this is something that can change quickly overnight, it builds slowly if you look at the history. What if the national actual results are R +4.46? What would the state level polls look like? This is to the right of 2004 which was even D/R. Independents are breaking R/R way pretty large too. Also, the actual 2010 results for ideology, it was Conservative 42%, Moderate 38%, Liberal 20%, this was a major shift from 2008 which was Conservative 34%, Moderate 44%, Liberal 22%

      • Eric
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        Every objective measurement such as absentee ballot requests, party registration numbers, and actual election results in Wisconsin point to 2012 being to the right of even 2004 and 2010. Bush lost independents in 2004. Romney leads among independents in 2012.

        Analysis taking the difference between 2004 and 2008 and applying that to 2012 is just wrong. 2004 was not a huge Republican year. It was a small Republican year. 2008 was a huge Democratic year. Averaging the 2 gives you a small Democratic year, and that’s just incorrect.

        2008 was more Democratic than 2006, and 2012 will be more Republican than 2010.

        This election will not even be close. There’s a reason Suffolk pulled out of Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina. Suffolk is not a Republican pollster.

        I can’t wait for election day.

    • Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink | Reply

      Here is a post you may be interested in where I discuss this exact issue:

      • Dave Ped
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Keith – this is one of the best sites ever. I have been reading it since i found it months ago. Gives you what is really happening on the ground. I think I read here more than Drudge!!

      • Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Thanks Dave. I really appreciate the compliment.

      • Medicine Man
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Not to blow smoke, but I agree. I got here first in the morning, then Drudge.

      • Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Thanks Medicine Man. I guess my insomnia pays off for you guys 🙂 BTW, it looks like we have another good poll for Romney in Pennsylvania. It’s getting teased on twitter and it’s a local polling outfit that has had consistently good poll for Obama so this switch change is great for Romney.

  6. damien
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    all you have to do with this one is use sense…it was 3…romney cleans obama’s clock, libya blows up… its 9….just use sense and say nope

  7. Rdm
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink | Reply

    Heck, if you adjust the sample to a 2008 turnout model … Romney STILL pulls ahead of Obama.

  8. mdr1972
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    I was called by one of the polling firms yesterday. I consider myself and Independent. I do lean towards the Republicans as I am more conservative than they are. I would never vote for a Democrat under any circumstance. I live in Virginia.

  9. damien
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink | Reply

    whats stunning..even if they jack it to D9…obama still doesnt break 50!!!

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