Ohio Tied if 407,000 White Voters Don’t Show Up — Gravis Marketing

I need to get on with my day of college football but this poll was too funny to just ignore. We already blogged today that Ohio isn’t the deficit for Romney polling and media would lead you to believe.  Now we have polls aggressively adjusting the racial composition of the polls to favor Obama.

Polls are tied despite heavy over sampling of non-Whites

Earlier this morning the comical SurveyUSA poll of Florida found a 16 percentage point drop in actual White votes (a Romney demo) yet Obama was only up 1%. Now Gravis Marketing surveys Ohio and finds a 7 percentage point drop in the expected White turnout and President Obama is tied at 47 with 6% Undecided.  Still well below 50% and with Undecideds likely breaking at least 2/3 for the challenger, he’d lose 49 to 51.

Ohio demographics

The racial composition of the Ohio vote in 2008 was: White (83%), Black (11%), Hispanic (4%), Asian (1%), Other (1%)
The racial composition of the Gravis poll is: White: (76%), Black (12%), Hispanic (6%), Asian (1%), Other (5%).
Did 407,000 Whites voters leave Ohio while 232,000 “Other” voters suddenly move to Ohio?  That is what a 7pp drop in White voters and 4pp increase in the “Other” category would mean based on Ohio’s 2008 vote. Something tells me that didn’t happen.

Most polls don’t re-weight by party ID but they do by race

Remember how much the media and polling firms mocked the critics over party ID complaints?  The said they don’t weight by party ID so the criticism is wholly without merit.  They admit they do weight by race though so these laughable demographic compositions are things the polling firm consciously CHOSE.  That is two straight firms, creating voter samples completely unrealistic anywhere beyond David Axelrod’s wildest dreams and yet President Obama can no better than a statistical tie … and that’s before we factor in Undecideds who break heavily for challengers.

Party ID

The party ID in this poll is D +9 (Dem 41, Rep 32, Ind 27).  This exceeds what we have been using for the 2008 party ID of D +8 (Dem 39, Rep 31, Ind 27).  But as @NumbersMuncher proved out, the real 2008 disparity was D +5 (Dem 37.5, Rep 32.5, Ind 30) while in 2004 it was R +5 (Dem 35, Rep 40, Ind 25). Far too many Democrats, but in this instance we see it is too many non-Whites and too few Whites.

The missing White vote

When the racial composition is correct, the Democrat over-sampling in polls like today’s D +9 means they are over-sampling White Democrats which hides the decline in support for Obama among White voters.  Now the polling outfits are fabricating racial demographics favorable to Obama with no reasonable justification and still only find Obama tied.  This is bad, bad, bad for the President. Importantly, the 2008 election racial demographics fail to account for 1.7 million White voters who stayed home in that election but appear to be more than enthusiastic this time around. In 2008 that was over 95,000 Ohio voters with a proclivity towards voting Republican.

If Gravis also gave us the preferences of these racial groups (I asked for them) we could easily rerun the numbers, but alas no such details are given like too many polling groups who don’t want pesky bloggers to blow their biased polls out of the water.


  1. Kent Ostby
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I suspect that most of the change here is “Did not state” which is probably white.

    Still it’s dumb polling techniques.

  2. EpiphoneKnight
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting. The lefties mock Gravis as being an “extreme” right wing polling group.

    • Posted October 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Apparently Gravis does polling for Alan Grayson in Florida who is an extreme left-winger. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

      • EpiphoneKnight
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Interesting. Maybe they’re upset at the outcomes?

    • EpiphoneKnight
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Gravis is not marked with (R) on RealClearPolitics as it would be if they considered it to be right-leaning. (But to be fair they don’t list NBC/ABC/CBS/CNN as (D) either)

  3. William Jefferson Jr.
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Is Suffolk polling Ohio? They seemed to be ahead of the curve in VA, NC, and FL. Would love to see what they think is happening in Ohio.

  4. Michel Daoud
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t understand Gravis Marketing at all. The guy who runs the polls is a conservative leaning independent (from what I can tell), so naturally the liberals hate Gravis.

    But what makes no sense is that Gravis always seems to be a bit of an outlier (for instance just about every Ohio poll shows Obama up, except for Gravis)…but when looking at the party ID breakdown, Gravis seemed to over sample Democrats by a huge margin. As a Conservative, I am very worried about Ohio…wish Romney could pull ahead!!

  5. Ron
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I can understand the motivation. A tied result in OH prolongs the doubt and brings in revenue. Pollsters want a close race with voters breathlessly awaiting every report.

    • Michel Daoud
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Good point, I never considered this. I hope you’re right. If Romney wins Ohio, I’ll be doing backflips on Election night.

  6. JoeThePimpernel
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The reason most of the polls are pretending that Ubama is in the lead is so that the MSM can instigate “the election was stolen” race riots when he loses.

    • anonBrian
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Right now I think it’s because they want people to tune in for the latest polls. A horse race generates higher TV ratings then a runaway victory. I bet that a week to 10 days out Romney will “suddenly” breakout into a lead, in Ohio in particular and a few other states because the only way they get viewers in the future is if they are perceived to have the correct information.

    • ed
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Lets not get carried away with the conspiracy stuff guys. Just a bad poll that is easily picked apart.

  7. Posted October 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have to laugh, because the other day, we did get a unscrewed poll. Kimball found a 13 percent lead for Romney in Virginia. No one, RCP, HuffPo… Covered it. Totally legit, phone, weighted to party if and all.

  8. Posted October 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    When in a couple of days you see two national polls included in the RCP average that are D+8 and D+9 (2008 = D+7), a Florida poll that is D+9 (2008 = D+3) and an Ohio poll that is D+9 (when 2008 was reported at D+8 but was actually D+5 and Obama’s margin in 2012 early voting is down 13%), it is clear they are not trying to reflect reality. Those with long term aspirations in the field will abandon the cause and start running up the Romney numbers in the final week or two, the rest will keep beating the drum until the end. The funny thing is, while we political junkies obsess over them, people who are either persuadable or deciding whether or not to stay home do not follow polls (and struggle to come up with even basic information about either side). The reason that the Nate Silvers, Ben Smiths, Ezra Kleins and Chuck Todds peddle this garbage is that they are hoping to depress the GOP activists and given that is their goal, the early voting numbers show they have clearly failed.

    • John
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

      That, or bringing up ‘binders of women’ and Big Bird. The sign of a campaign that is floundering, to say the least.

  9. EpiphoneKnight
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Anyone have the party ID on the IBD tracking that shows O up by 3? It had Mitt by 10 with independents but still had O up by 3 nationally, so they seem to be assuming FAR more Dems than repubs and idies combined…. again.

  10. MikeP
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    In theory these polls are not weighted by party ID, so they are not just polling who people are voting for, but what the party ID will be on election night. However, they do have to weigh some electorate demographics. It’s the assumptions of demographics that present challenges for pollsters.
    IBM/TIPP claims to be the most accurate pollsters in 2008 and 2004 and while this is true, it was only true during the final poll (at least for 2008). In late Oct ( roughly 9 days away for the election) they had McCain down by only 3 (while other polls showed McCain down by double digits). My guess is that IBM/TIPP underestimates voter enthusiasm, while other polls overestimate voter enthusiam (perhaps like Gallup). It seems pretty clear that Romney has a moderate to significant enthusiasm advantage. My guess is that Romney has a slight national advantage of .5 to 1.5 points. On top of this, Romney may receive another .5 to 1 pt boost from undecideds at election day.
    Counter to popular thought, I think Romney will to do relatively better in the electoral college then in the popular vote. The reason why Obama has done relatively better in the electoral college than in the popular vote, is too to his large advertising advantage in the swing states. Romney, on the other hand, held back and has waited till the last weeks of the campaign to use his ammo. Since the total fundraising of the two candidates has been close, I would not be surprised to see Romney having an advertising advantage during the last two weeks of the campaign and actually skew the swing states slightly to his side.

  11. Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    PPP has Obama up by 1 in Ohio. (PPP is a dem pollster). The polling world seriously makes little sense two weeks out.

    Right pollster Gravis has obama up, PPP shows small margins, Rashas tie ballgame and NBC says Obama up 100 with zero votes for Romney

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