Franklin & Marshall Wastes Your Time With a Registered Voter Poll

It is one freaking week before the election, why is Franklin & Marshall releasing a poll where they have the likely voter data, but only provide breakdowns of the registered voter segment? WASTE. OF. TIME.

Obama leads +4 in Pennsylvania and Romney leads +16 with Independents. That’s about all you need to know. Everything else wastes your time so I stopped breaking down the poll after Independents. Hooray for Franklin & Marshall!

Franklin & Marshall have regularly polled the Pennsylvania Presidential contests and always with interesting results. President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 4-points among likely voters, 49 to 45. There are a few odd numbers within this result though. First President Obama has a 4-point lead among registered voters as well as likely voters which seems a little since Democrats polls as much as 4-points above the typical like likely voter result. Additionally, the likely voter screen was extremely strict shaving off 36% of the registered voters. This would normally bode well for Republicans yet there was no change in the result.


Mitt Romney leads by 16-points among Independents, 48 to 32. Curiously although both sides lock down their bases Mitt Romney trails overall by 4 despite that enormous margin with Independents.


  1. Pete
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:19 am | Permalink | Reply


  2. Blackcloud
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    The party breakdown raises eyebrows, too: 50D/37R/13I. D+13 hasn’t happened in PA in a long time. That might be accurate for the total voting population, but that’s not what’s showing up Tuesday.

    • edtitan77
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:04 am | Permalink | Reply

      Folks are also saying it has too many Whites. Either way not a good poll for Chicago. A poll heavy on White Democrats and you can only eke out 4pts?

      • Guest
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        I would have thought White Democrats were precisely the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of stereotypical Pennsylvania voters. Obama’s bitter clingers, for example, comprised many of those.

  3. Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    Quinnipac tweeting their FL and VA polls will show it “basically tied” but ohio will still have Obama up 5.

    Although in their story, they seem to be trying to distance themselves from the Ohio numbers.

    • Mike D.
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:46 am | Permalink | Reply


    • edtitan77
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:02 am | Permalink | Reply

      So the race moved in FL and VA as per Quinn the past month and stayed flat in Ohio? Um ok.

      I wonder how math challenged Joe Scarbourogh will play this in the morning, “the race is over Obama leads by 5!”

      • Ben
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        Proficient on the Scarborough angle. After rolling off a bit of Sandy news he trumpeted the Quinn Ohio numbers and said there is no way Romney can pull out Ohio. Obviously Mika spent yesterday in the dumps and had a talk with Joe about him ruining their ratings.

  4. Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:30 am | Permalink | Reply

    That’s not a waste of time. Professional malpractice to be sure, but it’s another indicator no matter what they could do with likely voters it behooved them to publish the RVs ROFLMAO

  5. No Tribe
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:34 am | Permalink | Reply

    Look at it this way. VA/FL/CO go Romney. Obama has to win 5 out of these 6 states in NV, IA, MN, MI, PA, OH. Is that going to happen?

    • No Tribe
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:37 am | Permalink | Reply

      Forgot Wisconsin too. Something like that. The odds are obviously turning against Obama. It’s gonna be fun watching a week of desperation from his campaign. And you know Christie is going to say Vote for Romney at some point here.

    • Bob San Diego
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:40 am | Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think it will happen, but if Obama won OH and IA he’d win the rest of those northern states.

      He’s probably going to win Nevada anyway (why, I can’t possibly explain).

      • edtitan77
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:59 am | Permalink

        Unions, Ex-Californians and Las Vegas

      • Bob San Diego
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:22 am | Permalink

        And they’re all out of work.

  6. Bob San Diego
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting that in 2008 *and* 2010 the Republicans had 37% of the vote. Dems had 44 and 40 respectively. Seems the indy vote (and Dem switchovers) is the big deal rather than Rep turnout in PA.

  7. AC
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    Watching TV this evening I am getting nervous about the election. The mainstream media seems to be spinning this Hurricane Sandy story in Obama’s favor, and things will only get worse tomorrow when Obama visits Chris Christie in New Jersey.

    • edtitan77
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:58 am | Permalink | Reply

      Any nitwit moved by Obamas handling of Sandy was inclined to vote for him anyway.

      If we had a legitimate 4th estate the obvious question would be to contrast his response now to Benghazi.

    • EpiphoneKnight
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:17 am | Permalink | Reply

      MSM has been spinning things in favor of Obama since he was in the Senate. Nothing new there.

  8. edtitan77
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t know if this has been pointed out anywhere but if you take the latest Survey USA Ohio poll and do a weighted average of what they say the early voting and Election Day breakout will be, 56O to 40R in early voting and 50R to 41O Election Day using 2008 Election totals (5.6M) and ballots returned officially (1M). I come up with a Romney lead of about 200k votes.

    • M.Remmerde
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:19 am | Permalink | Reply

      Ed, you’re exactly right. The big hole in SurveyUSA’s poll there is they are getting way more people claiming they’ve already voted than is proven by actual Ohio county-level absentee/early vote counts. Someone forgot to tell SurveyUSA that people will lie to pollsters.

  9. valleyforge
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    Their previous poll (Sept) had Obama up 11 RV / 9 LV so Romney is closing well. The internals are mostly garbage. 15% Dems for Romney, 12% Reps for Obama? Seniors going for Obama by 5?

    The best news for Romney other than the Independents lead is that he narrowly leads in the Southeast (Philly suburbs) 47-45. Outside Philly Obama only leads in Alleghany county (Pittsburgh) and the Northeast (Scranton). This is the map of a narrowly losing Democratic campaign. See Toomey-Sestak Senate race in 2010 (Sestak actually won the Philly suburbs though):

  10. Evan3457
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 3:13 am | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s something buried at the bottom of this poll…

    “Did you vote for Barack Obama, John McCain, or some other candidate in 2008?
    55% Obama
    41% McCain”

    Let’s see here….this poll samples voters who favored Obama by 14% in 2008…but he only won the state by 10%…and it shows Obama with a 4% lead in this poll…so let’s see here…carry the two…square root of pi…log of -1…

    …this poll shows the race in Pennsylvania is all tied up, as near as I can figure it.

  11. Bob San Diego
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 3:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    So, if FL is “in the bag,” why is Romney spending all day there Wednesday?

    • Commonsenseobserver
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 3:43 am | Permalink | Reply

      To keep it there? 😀

    • Ron
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 3:52 am | Permalink | Reply

      Because he’s not taking anything for granted. It’s all about FL, OH, VA. WI and CO for the final push. The rest–PA, MI, MN, NH–is icing on the cake. All are in play.

      • Bob San Diego
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        I guess it just seems hypocritical to say we think Obama is in trouble because he’s defending PA/MN/MI when Romney is still involved in FL with the same type of lead.

      • Posted October 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        difference Bob is that Florida is and has been a swing state…PA/MI/MN are not. Would be eqivalent to Romney having to defend Utah/Idaho and Mississippi

    • lotmini
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink | Reply

      notice too how RR has handled every state. Suffolk pulled out of NC, VA, FL well bfore RR mentioned moving staff from NC. RR is being very cautious about leaving a state they feel great about, and even slower about new front. Military 101. never split ur forces if u face a superior foe. RR keeps treating everything like they are slightly behind, knowing they are pulling ahead.

  12. zang
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    New Quinnipac polls. This has been the most Obama skewed pollster this cycle. They show considerable tightening in fl and va vs their prior polls, but ohio hasn’t budged.

  13. Guest
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    Well, Mitt is still quite weak in some areas. I think Medicare & Social Security have been hidden issues.

    I doubt Obamacare is very popular in PA, or MN and MI, which is why Mitt ought to hit it again. Medicare cuts, taxes, fuzzy math, backroom deals. We all know insurance companies and big pharma basically wrote the bill.

  14. PeterJ
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 4:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    In an article linked from the RCP site on TNR, Nate Cohn (the other Nate), makes an argument as to why Romney cannot win PA.

    Basically it boils down to extra black votes in the Philly area in 2008 vs 2004 and not being able to best Bush’s performance in the Philly suburbs, and then not being able to find enough votes elsewhere to compensate and overcome a 300,000 vote deficit (calculated as margin Bush lost by + additional 160,000 extra black votes Obama got in 2008).

    But his assumption of Romney not bettering Bush’s performance in the Philly burbs and elsewhere ignores the critical difference of the economy which along with gains in coal country might indeed make up the difference (and I think it is reasonable to assume black voters will be highly motivated to vote even if other democrats are not). White voters in the Philly burbs and elsewhere who are not hard core union voters would have to be voting for reasons other than their pocketbooks to vote for O again. Also Cohn’s analysis did not discuss the path mentioned by a poster here that enabled Corbett and Toomey to win in 2010. Did they garner large numbers of those black votes or did black voters stay home then? If so then maybe Cohn has a point.

    The real questions though, as discussed here recently at length, are that if Cohn’s analysis is correct, then why is Obama spending resources in PA to counter Romney so as “not to take anything for granted”, and why does Cohn feel it necessary to even discuss the matter if Obama has PA in the bag?

    • edtitan77
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 6:17 am | Permalink | Reply

      He ignores increased White turnout from ’08 and he scoffs at the idea that more affluent Whites as Barone pointed out a week ago are moving towards Romney. Both factors are enough to move the needle.

      Also while Black turnout will be there Obama may fall back to more traditional Democrat performance among the group. So instead of 97-2 it maybe 88-12. In a close election it could move needle.

      • MikeN
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        In this state it is more like 106-2.

  15. Songandaprayer
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 5:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    New CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University polls released early on Wednesday show President Obama and Mitt Romney running neck-and-neck in Florida and Virginia, while Obama maintains his 5-point lead in Ohio, a state considered critical to both candidates.
    In Florida, Obama leads Romney by a single point, 48 percent to 47 percent. The president holds a similar lead in Virginia, 49 percent to 47 percent. Both results are well within the margin of error for each poll of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
    Romney runs stronger in these two states than he did in previous CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac polls, but he has yet to overtake the president. In Florida, Obama held a dominant, 9-point lead in late September, prior to the pivotal first presidential debate. Romney has also narrowed Obama’s advantage in Virginia: A poll conducted just after that first debate showed Obama leading by 5 points.
    Meanwhile, Obama continues to lead in Ohio, 50 percent to 45 percent, unchanged from a CBS News/Quinnipiac University poll conducted a week ago (The Times did not sponsor last week’s survey). His lead is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

    • Guest
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink | Reply

      If they think Obama is leading in Florida, they’re daydreaming.

    • John
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink | Reply

      Regarding Ohio, read this piece in Weekly Standard blog: CBS/Quinn has the 2nd largest Obama bias only to NBC. Their sample is likely highly skewed toward D. I notice that many of the Obama farvorable polls in recent days are stressing the “within the margin of error” in their summaries whereas that didn’t seem to be the case before. The back-peddling begins…

  16. Posted October 31, 2012 at 5:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    I am so glad I came here tonight! I Know Mitt and Paul are going to win, but the MSM is still masturbating so much over Obama and I can’t find the Quinnipiac internals and it is driving me nuts! If anyone has it please post it. I need to put it on my site.

    • John
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink | Reply

      CBS/NYT/Quinn party breakdowns below. Not much to get concerned about IMO:

      Florida: D37 R30 I29 (D+7) Laughable!
      Ohio: D37 R29 I30 (D+8) Laughable!
      Virgina: D35 R27 I35 (D+8) Laughable!

      Full survey here:

      • Kevin Paradine
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        Makes you wonder how they are going to explain this after the election. We had a nonexistent 8 point tilt to the Democrats…why?

      • Jim S.
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Epic, if states like those were getting D+7/8 turnouts we’d be looking at something like AT LEAST a D+10 national electorate.

      • Evan3457
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        To amplify, the exit polls in the three states in 2008 represent Obama’s absolute ceiling, as he’s not doing better with just about ANY demographic group this time around, and they are:

        Florida: D+3 (37/34/29, slightly off, those levels create a 51.4-47.1 Obama win, when the actual result was Obama 51.0-48.2, need something like 36/35/29 to get to the correct margin, which was about D+3)
        Ohio: D+8 (39/31/30, although the exit poll was wrong in Ohio, because those ratios, and the levels of support for each group don’t produce a 51.5-46.9 win which is what Obama won in 2008, the actual subgroup percents were more like 37.2/32.4/30.5, or D+5)
        Virginia D+6 (39/33/27, might actually have been D+7, because that’s what’s needed to produce the actual 52.6-46.3 Obama got in VA in 2008)

        So the idea that he’s bettering his turnout from 2008 by 5% in Florida, and 3% in Ohio, and 1% in Virginia…well, let’s just say that’s unlikely in the extreme.

  17. Posted October 31, 2012 at 5:29 am | Permalink | Reply

    2 polls showing romney within margin of error with obama in MICHIGAN

    Glengariff Group Michigan 2012 Presidential Survey

    Obama 47.7%, Romney 45%

    Poll: Romney closes gap on Obama in Michigan

  18. Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    New Poll Shows Romney With Momentum In Pennsylvania

  19. Guest
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    They are just polling Isengard.

  20. Loach
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    From a Dick Morris SuperPAC fundraising email I received yesterday:

    Pennsylvania is the ripest of the three states.
    Pollster John McLaughlin has Romney ahead 48-46. His sample has 46 percent Democrats and 39 percent Republicans, a +7 Democrat sample. In the 2004 election, Pennsylvania’s actual voters were +3 Democrat, and in 2008, they were +7 Democrat. (These numbers are based on exit polls.) So McLaughlin’s sample may actually understate the Romney vote, since it is unlikely that Pennsylvania – or any state – will see a replication of the highly Democratic 2008 turnout.
    And, in the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race, Republican Tom Smith is leading Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey by 2 points, according to McLaughlin, and 1 point, according to Rasmussen.
    And why shouldn’t Pennsylvania go Republican?
    In 2010, it elected a Republican governor, U.S. Senator, five Congressmen and put GOP majorities in charge of both houses of its legislature.
    Focus on Pennsylvania! Its 20 electoral votes are even better than the 18 found in Ohio. (The old shibboleth that no Republican can win without Ohio comes from the time when the Buckeye State had 25 electoral votes. Seven of them moved south and now it has only 18.)

  21. MikeN
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink | Reply

    Does Pennsylvania have early voting? That would explain the lack of change between registered and likely voters.

  22. Bob San Diego
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    I wrote an e-mail to the F&M folks.

    I said:” Your poll seems to suggest a Democratic advantage in turnout of 50% to 37% for the Republicans with 13% independents.

    How confident are you that will be the actual turnout in Pennsylvania, seeing in 2008 the advantage was 44-37 for the Democrats, and in 2010 it was Democrats 40%-37%?

    If you project a different turnout, how would that affect your topline number (Obama +4%)?”

    And they said:

    Mr. XXXXXX:

    The poll does not suggest turnout of 50% democrats to 37% republicans. That is the breakdown of registered voters in the sample which corresponds precisely to the split among republicans and democrats in Pennsylvania.

    The likely voter sample suggests higher proportional turnout among republicans than democrats leading to an estimated six-point advantage among registered democrats.

    Berwood A. Yost, Director
    Floyd Institute for Public Policy
    Center for Opinion Research
    Franklin & Marshall College

    • Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink | Reply

      Yes they accurately state the difference between party registration and party identification.

      • Bob San Diego
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        So while D+6 is probably a little high, it’s not really outrageous, is it? (D+3 in 2004).

  23. Bob San Diego
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    I guess what I’m asking is I don’t understand why you think this poll is way out of whack.

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