Early voting is creating a unique problem for polling organizations this year in that the results will skew in favor of the party with the higher early turnout, in this case the Democrats. This built in early voting bias to polls greatly diminishing the polls actual value since you know up front one party’s partisans are over-sampled. Since Democrats tend to vote early, you see the Democrat candidate typically leading by wide margins in early voting according to many polls. When it comes to polling results, all voters who said they already voted make it through the likely voter screen and end up in the final results. This means a sizable pro-Democrat segment of those polled are guaranteed to make it through the likely voter screen. This inherently over-samples Democrats which practically guarantees a favorable result for Democrats. This is how a poll consistently shows Democrat turnout levels at or greater than the best in a generation turnout Democrats enjoyed in 2008 despite mountains of evidence saying otherwise. Of course, Marist has magnificently achieved these outrageous party IDs well before early voting which just goes to prove the old axiom: foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of feeble minds.
Final thoughts on Marist before moving on to the states: I’d argue Marist has been the absolute worst polling outfit this election cycle. Completely in the tank with Pro-Democrat turnout models arriving at unrealistic results in nearly every survey. The race for much of the last month has been a dead heat across the Battlegrounds with Romney arguably pulling slightly ahead. But I saw a statistic this morning that in the dozens of Battleground state polling done by Marist for NBC and the WSJ Mitt Romney led in only one of those polls. If true and Romney wins the election, no one should ever pay for, read or blog a Marist poll again. A truly disgraceful showing. But this is nothing new for Marist. As I reminded readers two weeks ago thanks to Jay Cost at The Weekly Standard, Marist has a fairly bad track record of over-sampling Democrats. Immediately before the 2010 mid-terms they released a national survey claiming that among likely voters the country was split right down the middle 46 to 46 voting between the Democrats and Republicans up for Congress (~60% of the way down). As history showed, the election results were quite different from what Marist was seeing. Republicans won the popular vote 52 to 45 netting 63 seats in the House of Representatives. As the Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone wrote “you could argue that this is the best Republican showing ever.” Marist? Nice knowing you.
President Obama leads by 3-points, 49 to46 with 2% voting third-party and 3% Undecided
Party ID is D +5 (Dem 34, Rep 29, Ind 35). This compares to 2008 of D +6 (Dem 39, Rep 33, Ind 29) and 2004 of R +3 (Dem 35, Rep 38, Ind 27) in 2004. A very aggressive turnout in favor of the President comparable to his 2008 performance which seems highly unlikely. Same party ID as their survey a week ago. Another early vote phenomenon favoring Democrats. According to NBC’s First Read, “25 percent say they have already voted or will do so before Election Day, and those voters are breaking to Obama by a 59 percent to 39 percent clip.” This is consistent with yesterday’s Marquette Law School poll (that somehow I missed — totally hiding behind the Hurricane Sandy excuse for as long as I can btw) showed Obama leads among early voters, 56-36%. Survey too many Democrats and you get a Democrat leading, not much more to it. At the same time, IF Team Obama mobilizes his ground troops to repeat the 2008 turnout advantage, congratulations on your re-election. I simply believe the overwhelming evidence that shows 2008 was the exception and not the rule for party turnout.
President Obama leads by 2-points, 49 to47 with 1% voting third-party and 3% Undecided
The party ID is D +1 (Dem 27, Rep 26, Ind 47). In 2008 it was D +2 (Dem 29, Rep 27, Ind 45) and in 2004 it was R+7 (Dem 25, Rep 32, Ind 44). This still strongly shades toward Democrats but quite honestly anything is possible for New Hampshire in my book. I never know how to read this electorate and I’m always pleasantly surprised when the GOP does well in the state. It’s just my deep blue New England bias that always makes this state so surprising to me. Objectively though this is a turnout result strongly favors Democrats and Obama only leads by 2 so all-in-all not the worst poll for Romney.
President Obama leads by 6-points, 50 to44 with 2% voting third-party and 4% Undecided
It cracks me up how quickly the Obama surrogates disclaim these large Iowa leads. Obviously they are worried about over-confidence but when both sides say a poll is way-off, it’s not worth spending time simply saying “we agree.”
The party ID is D +3 (Dem 34, Rep 31, Ind 34). This compares to 2008 of D +1 (Dem 34, Rep 33, Ind 33) and 2004 R +2 (Dem 34, Rep 36, Ind 30). A highly unlikely scenario considering every metric between voter registration, early voting proclivity and enthusiasm dramatically favors Republicans versus the 2008 comparison. This is a state with aggressive early voting and Democrats dominating so this is again one of the ways where you end up with screwy party IDs that greatly diminish the polls overall value as indicative of state sentiment. According to the First Read write-up, “In Iowa, according to the poll, 45 percent of respondents say they have already voted early or plan to do so, and Obama is winning those voters by nearly 30 points, 62 percent to 35 percent.”