The Internal Polls That Made Mitt Romney Think He’d Win

Turns out the bad polling was the internal Romney polls not the publicly available polls:

It’s no secret that the Romney campaign believed it was headed for victory on Election Day. A handful of outlets have reported that Team Romney’s internal polling showed North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia moving safely into his column and that it put him ahead in a few other swing states. When combined with Ohio, where the internal polling had him close, Romney was on track to secure all the electoral votes he needed to win the White House.

The numbers include internal polls conducted on Saturday, November 3, and Sunday, November 4, for Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, and New Hampshire. According to Newhouse, the campaign polled daily, then combined the results into two-day averages. The numbers for each day along with the averages are displayed in the chart below, followed by the actual result in each state:

Together, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Iowa go most of the way toward explaining why the Romney campaign believed it was so well-positioned. When combined with North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia—the trio of states the Romney campaign assumed were largely in the bag—Romney would bank 267 electoral votes, only three shy of the magic number. Furthermore, according to Newhouse, the campaign’s final internal polls had Romney down a mere two points in Ohio—a state that would have put him comfortably over the top—and Team Romney generally believed it had momentum in the final few days of the race.

Fascinating stuff.

17 Comments

  1. Posted November 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    i have to agree with the writer…it is interesting that even down 2 pts in Ohio, a must win state for the white house and down far more in PA, MN, WI, etc that they thought they could make up those deficits on election day. Seemed like a tall order all the way around. To me seeing these internals would have told me that my candidate was headed for a painfully tight loss. I cannot imagine how they honestly thought that a GOTV system even if it was epic could make up 2-5 points in some states….I think Romney’s camp and alot of us got caught up in the bubble of thinking Obama was such a failure, so unpopular that there was no way he could win. That his people were just staying home and there would be a wave. But even in these internals we all heard so much about there is no evidence of a wave at all.

    Very interesting election. What republicans feel for was the same thing that Democrats did in 2004….anyone but Bush/Obama would win. And the voters disagreed.

  2. MikeN
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    With all that said, noone has explained to me the logic of Obama’s campaign visits. If they thought they had narrow leads in Florida, and Virginia, why weren’t they campaigning there? Their behavior suggested they thought Florida and Virginia were lost. What were they doing in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and buying ads in Michigan? Shouldn’t they have been pushing harder into states like Arizona?

    • Posted November 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think their behavior suggests that they thought that Florida and Virginia were very close and unnecessary to win. It’s like playing prevent defense. If you’re up by 10 with 5 minutes to go, you don’t start throwing 30 yard passes and running trick plays: the gain isn’t worth the risk. Up by 2 in Ohio with a week to go, you’re way, way better off making sure that lead holds up than you are going to a toss-up state like Florida: that just maximizes the risk you’ll lose both. Losing both is the only bad scenario; losing one is fine.

      Florida and Virginia weren’t necessary for Obama. They were nice, but unnecessary. It’s pure, cold-blooded spreadsheet math. Here are the exact number of electoral votes we need; here are the best places to get them; go make sure you do. Don’t get distracted by shiny baubles. It’s a spreadsheet, so the numbers can change, and the focus can shift states if it becomes easier to get them in a new place; and with so much money to throw around, you can afford to spend some in marginal states. But ultimately, you secure the votes you need, and everything else is gravy.

      I think targetting battleground states at the last minute will always be a sign that the candidate is losing. There’s no reward for winning by extra votes, whereas there is a big reward for getting some votes you weren’t supposed to.

      • MikeN
        Posted December 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the thing. On Election Day, Joe Trippi received message from the Obama campaign that Florida and Virginia look good, but Ohio is scary. So the state they were targeting was the one they feared losing the most. Going after Florida and Virginia in that position is a good move. As you say, there is a big reward for getting votes you weren’t supposed to.

  3. John Smith
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It appears that undecideds broke for Obama, probably due to Sandy

    This together with the backstabbing by moronic RINO Social Conservatives handed the election to the Democrats

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The exits say Sandy rally didnt play a role. BY all ccounts and hindsigts this race ended nearly the same way it began in June. In all honest ROmney moved the needle greatly but in the end OBama had the race locked all along. Only way ROmney won was a massive republican turnout, which obviously so did not turn out

  4. Posted November 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Echoing what Shane Kovac said at the top of the comment thread, my eyes nearly burst out of my head when I saw that Romney’s internals had him down 2 points in Ohio. By what manner of mathematical infarction could they still have been confident in a win? Two points in Ohio is 100,000 net ballots. Minimum. There’s simply no way that a GOTV ground campaign could have made up that difference. Not to put on a tinfoil hat and to go full black helicopter, but if this report is accurate it actually raises the issue whether Team Romney had been infiltrated at high levels by Democrats. Seriously. If you’re a Republican nominee and your own polling has you down two points in Ohio then you need to be camped out in Ohio until the polls close on Election Day proper. What were they doing in Wisconsin that final week? Why the hell were they in Minnesota? Absurd.

    Of course the other giant screaming neon elephant in the room is that of not picking Rob Portman for veep. And sorry, but this isn’t merely a hindsight observation. Portman only two years ago received 2.2 million votes in Ohio. Ultimately the election result would have been the same, granted, since Obama also won Fla., VA, CO, etc., but tapping a mere representative from 10-vote WI (a blowout loss) when available was a statewide office holder from 18-vote Ohio (a 2-point loss) even in real time spoke volumes about the overall strategic and tactical depth of the Romney campaign. The writing was on the wall; I for one, however, quite sadly, was too blinded by hope to see it.

    • MikeN
      Posted December 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      If it came down to just Ohio, you’d have a point, but the Ryan pick was worth it. No link to George Bush, as Portman is.
      Plus, Wisconsin is in play even more, as Ryan ran 30 points better than Obama and other Democrats, and had at least 15% of Wisconsin in his district at some point, making the race a tie there instead of the down 7 at the recall in June.
      Then, the Democrats were already running against Ryan, but now Republicans have Ryan to push back directly. Portman was a safe pick, Ryan was an aggressive pick to change the tenor of the campaign.

    • MikeN
      Posted December 2, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Also, McCain campaign made up more ground in Ohio in 2008. So 2 points in Ohio is something I would expect is within the ability of the state party.

  5. Kevin Paradine
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink | Reply

    A clear answer…

    For why Romney’s polls were so godawfully off.

    • Dave
      Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I worked with a “Julia” once. She was a web designer at a large well known semi conductor company. The guys on the team just stayed away from her because of her attitude. But for those who had to work with her they kept a calendar of her cycle in Outlook to know when absolutely to steer clear. Those single mothers like Julia, I’ve got to say, in my experience, have no business raising childeren alone as they can barely raise themsleves alone.

  6. Zang
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It looks like Romney’s internal poll for Ohio was far closer to the actual result than many of the publicly released polls.

  7. AJ
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Romney was conifdent because they had hit the early voting metrics they needed in ohio, co, fl etc. They asssumed no more dems would be flooding to the polls

  8. Dave
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Most if not all. of the republican party’s problems reaching voters begins with the issues presented in articles like this one. This is from the foxnews website which I’ve always contended is not nearly as partisan as their TV counterpart. Still, it’s Fox and not MSNBC but you would never know it by the the way it’s written.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/02/geithner-democrat-fiscal-plan-in-detailed-and-balanced/

    Democrats are portrayed as offering “detailed”, and “balanced” solutions while republicans are seen “scoffing” at such plans. This is the first problem with current republicans..how they’re portrayed. Here we see democrats offering solutions and republicans soffing at them with no constructive counter. I didn’t see the show so I don’t know exactly what was said but I can’t imagine Bohner didn’t offer a detailed plan of his own or something similar which was given no mention in this article from Fox. And if that’s all Boehner said then that’s also a problem. No mention was given as to why republicans are against this proposal. Thus republicans are portrayed as do-nothing angry white men protecting the interests of the rich while democrats are portrayed as problem solvers. No wonder republicans can’t get public opinion on their side. Boehner’s reason presented for being against the plan is that the president would “spend it”. That’s it. Most people don’t have an aversion to spending especiallyt when it hits emotional buttons such as homelessness, “the unemployed”, “struggling homeowners.” I would venture to guess these are but a small fraction of what the bill actually spend the most on but you don’t see that reported. Just the things they know press people’s buttons. IN most people minds spending is a necesarry and fun side of life. They even go into debt to spend so a little debt can’t be that bad. That’s how most peopl;e think about spending and that’s what republicans are fighting.

    If the republican’s don’t want to lose this battle to democrats in the court of public opinion, they’re going to need a stronger case for why they’re against this plan. Why are they against the spending? Why are they against helping the special interests? If they fail to articulate the why in a way that doesn’t come across as simply obstructionism from angry white men who represent the interest of the rich and not the greater electorate, then they will continue to lose and the party will continue to lose. Somewhere somehow the repubublcans need to start addressing the question of why they’re against democrats in a way that resonates with people in a pragmatic, solution-oriented, caring and compassiolnate way because that’s the behavior the majority of people want to see in the leaders in goverrnment.

    Taking his cues from the election, I thought Bohener was on to something earlier in the week when he kept repeating that he was ready to work with the president etc.etc. That was all good talk and the kind of positive talk the republicans need to articulate as they lay out a reasonable explanation for their position. This “going nowhere” talk is counterproductive to that. So I’m not sure they’ve learned a damn thing. What they need is somethijng like..”we appreciate the president’s proposal and are considering it carefully but we have serious reservations about the level of spending the president proposes as this can cripple the economy in the long run and make it harder for people to find jobs as more and more businesses send them overseas etc, etc. )

    We have yet to hear this second part though from respublicans at least presented in news articles and on the nightly news where most people get their news from. The public believes that the democratoc message is consistent with their compassionate actions towards public policty thus thekir inclination to trust more. Their message is congruent with the preferences of voters. Republicans cannot continue to counter this with “scoffing” and cries of “going nowhere.” How lame is that? Republicans need to find leaders (message specialists) that can articulate in a rational, consturctive way why the presidents plan is bad and why their conservative approach is better and it needs to be done in a way people can relate to with issues and attitudes they care about and want to see in their leaders. Just “scoffing” at proposals because spending is bad will not cut it in the court of public opinion. Not by a long shot.

    • edtitan77
      Posted December 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

      They have a problem with messaging. I’d say something like this to the American people:” It’s not that we want to protect the wealthy from increased taxes, if we believed this was the thing to close the deficit and grow the economy we’d do it in a heartbeat. The problem is we believe this is an opening salvo on the Dems part to increase taxes for EVERYONE. They have proposed no spending cuts and the increased revenues from the higher wealthy tax cannot pay for our current spending and Obamacare. so they’ll have to raise taxes on the middle class to fund their pet projects.”

      Done.

      As it stands now the GOP looks like they are going to the mat for wealthy people on some unproven economic theory that lower taxes for the wealthy creates jobs. If they keep this up Obama will eat their lunch once again.

      • Posted December 3, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        the republicans have to budge but they cant be seen as waffling and caving into every demand of Obama. They will need to come out publicaly and state we are willing accept raising the top rate from 36 to 37.5% along with closing of loopholes and capping deductions that will bring in XYZ billions or trillions over the next ABC years. In return we specifcially ask President Obama for his detail list of cuts he is willing to make THIS YEAR that will offset these revenue generators.

        They have to make this public. They have to give in on allowing the rate to go up some and closing and capping deductions…but they have to junk yard dog down the President on CUTS for THIS YEAR not 10-20 years out.

  9. edtitan77
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Being behind by 2 points in Ohio, which has early voting is not a position of strength. Going by their own internals Romney simply was not in any position to win at best he would end up with 267. He wasn’t in striking distance in any of the remaining states. Also on Election Night Peter Hamby reported that he seen internals from the Romney camp that showed him down by 5pts. So I wonder if these internals are even accurate.

    The Romney camp made a big mistake playing to win in the fall, with the advent of early voting and rise of stupid voters it’s best to attack, counterattack early and often. It’s also best to operate off of the least favorable electoral demographic makeup instead of being so arrogant to think the electorate will simply be what you want. Axelrod had been telegraphing what he thought the electorate would look like for months. It turned out to be the electorate that showed up. What kind of strategy is it to simply ignore or dismiss your opponent’s view of the world?

27 Trackbacks

  1. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud – especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  2. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud – especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  3. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud – especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  4. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud – especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  5. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  6. By Ron Devito on December 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Non-Romney Voter Survey Says: “History Has Repeated. Bold Colors, no Pale Pastels.”…

    Almost immediately after Obama was reelected, a statistic was released to the effect that Romney got 2.3 million less votes than McCain got in 2008. That number has since been called into question and ultimately discredited. Cacophony of Opinions……

  7. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  8. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  9. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  10. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  11. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  12. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  13. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  14. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  15. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  16. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  17. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  18. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  19. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  20. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  21. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  22. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud – especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  23. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  24. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud – especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  25. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  26. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

  27. […] Battleground Watch says Romney relied on flawed internal polling. Others cite massive voter fraud — especially with touchscreen machines sans a paper ballot backup and still others cite anti-Mormon sentiment. […]

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