Tag Archives: 2008 vs 2012

If Rasmussen is Correct (and he has been in the last two Presidential elections)

Then we’re looking at the Scott Walker recall night all over again.

Rasmussen Reports’s Party Affiliation for October is R +5.8.  Below is Rasmussen’s month-end party ID for each October in Presidential years. We compared that with the exit polling party ID provided by the Winston Group:

Year Rasmussen Actual
2004 D +1.5 (Dem 38.7, Rep 37.2) D +0 (Dem 38, Rep 38)
2008 D +7.1 (Dem 40.3, Rep 33.3) D +7 (Dem 40, Rep 33)
2012 R +5.8 (Dem 33.3, Rep 39.1) ?????

In the two prior Presidential election years Rasmussen essentially called the party identification and accurately captured the ground swell in favor of Democrats in 2008. Not coincidentally Rasmussen called the 2004 election within 1% and hit the bullseye in the 2008 election.  I don’t know exactly the why behind Rasmussen’s methodology but his affiliation has been consistently R +whatever but he’s been running his polls at D +whatever. I’m assuming D +2 so if we get R +2 (I refuse to even consider R +6) then it is blowout city.

And if that happens we could see a rerun of two of our favorite clips from the Scott Walker recall, delusional Democrats in disbelief and MSNBC anchors live re-enactment of the movie Scanners.

Florida Early Vote Results … More Bad News for Obama

It bears reminding in every early vote update, Barack Obama had incredible advantages in 2008 that propelled him to victory.  In state after state that lead is not only diminished this year but strong GOP gains often mitigate Obama’s entire final election day margin.  Florida is only the latest example.  Obama won Florida in 2008 by 236,148 votes:

Colorado: State of the race, early voting and polls — By David Ramos

Here is a guest post by one of our readers:

Readers expressed concern on the state of the presidential race in Colorado – particularly after reading a Denver Post article suggesting Obama is leading in early voting despite Republicans voting in greater numbers than their Democratic counterparts. To address those concerns, below is an overview on polling and voting dynamics in Colorado.

Though Colorado’s demographics have changed the past few years, especially with the influx of people from the west coast moving into the state. Most have resettled in the Denver suburbs located in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties. Changes in voting patterns in those two counties began to change in 2004. Despite those changes, Bush 43 comfortably won those counties in 2004 albeit by a narrower margin compared to 2000. The bulk of Democratic votes in the state come from Denver, Boulder, and Adams counties, and Pueblo county in the southern part of the state. To win statewide, both parties rely on the independent (unaffiliated) voters to provide the margin of victory.

Through Friday morning, early voting in Colorado has the Republicans with a narrow lead:

Total number of ballots cast – 1,462,163

Republicans voting – 547,150
Democrats voting –  509,091
Unaffiliated (independent) voting – 390,875
Third party voting – 15,047

In three swing counties considered crucial to the Romney campaign, there is evidence suggesting he’s likely to be ahead:

Jefferson County – Republican ballots lead Democrats by 6,160.
Larimer County – Republican ballots lead Democrats by 4,624.
Arapahoe County – Republican ballots lead Democrats by 3,209.

These numbers do not include those absentee and mail-in ballots that have been returned. The total number of registered voters is approximately 3.6 million.

Colorado, as a whole is a difficult state to gauge. While voters may be willing to vote Republican at one level, they’re willing to turn around and vote Democratic at another. Floyd Ciruli, who polled for Gary Hart, said this is what makes Colorado voters unpredictable, and polling them especially difficult. In 2004, while it was clear Colorado voters were willing to re-elect Bush 43, voters turned around voted in the Democrats into the majority in the state legislature. While many national polls suggested Colorado was tied at 48, Ciruli said Bush 43 was never in danger of losing the state – he would win by a narrower margin (which he did 52-48).

Other examples of an unpredictable Colorado electorate are:

In 2002, when incumbent Republican US Senator Wayne Allard was running for re-election, many pollsters (national and local) considered Allard to be roadkill. Allard won re-election by a comfortable 5-point margin.
In 1996, polling indicated Clinton would carry the state. When Dole carried the state, it was considered to be quite a surprise.
In 1992, Perot had siphoned away votes from Bush 41 to allow Clinton to carry the state with only 43% of the vote. Bush 41 was expected to carry the state by a razor thin margin.

In 2004, the Kerry campaign and the DNC began to organize large voter registration drives, in conjunction with ACORN, to develop a more friendly voter base in hopes of carrying the state. Despite the effort, they were unable to register enough Democratic voters to flip the state. If 2004 taught the Democrats anything, it was to begin the voter drives earlier and have them more often. In 2008, the Obama campaign and the DNC, again with help from ACORN, organized the voter drives, registering large numbers of voters (I want to say around 100,000 new voters, but am unsure of the total) particularly in the Denver metro area.

In 2008, Obama established a 40-33 lead in early voting over McCain. The lead was evaporated by the end of the early voting period. The McCain campaign, however, was poorly organized in Colorado. Voter contact (phone, in-person, robo-call) was quite limited, TV and radio advertising was less than half than Bush 43 levels in 2004. Even direct mail was substantially less than Obama. The campaign stops weren’t many – may be five or six total. You knew McCain was going lose. While Obama was better organized, McCain lost Colorado by being an uncompetitive candidate. Independents were willing to give Obama a chance, voting for him by a 9-point margin. Moreover, enough Republican voters stayed home to cement McCain’s loss.

With the changing demographics in Colorado, Ciruli indicated that for Republicans to be successful, they need to keep the margins close in Democratic and swing areas (minding the gap), win a simple majority of independents, and run their vote totals up elsewhere in the state – particularly in the Republican strongholds of Colorado Springs (El Paso County) and Grand Junction (Mesa County) must be carried by at least a 65-35 margin. Colorado is largely a conservative state outside the Denver metro area. For Democrats to be successful, Ciruli said they need to carry the solid Democratic areas by large margins, run even on independents, and hope they have enough total votes at the end.

In 2008, Obama won independents 54-46. In the Colorado Springs and Grand Junction areas, McCain won 55-45. In the Democratic and swing areas, McCain did little to keep those margins close. Clearly, McCain’s poor effort gave Colorado to the Obama column.

Seeing how Bush 43 ran his 2000 and 2004 campaigns, the Romney team built their campaign in the state along similar lines. That is, identify and develop their reliable voter base, then expand upon it. While polling suggested Colorado was slightly leaning Obama or even, the reality was/is it’s not the case. The independents in Colorado are deeply dissatisfied with Obama. Those that voted for Obama see him as a bait-and-switch politician. Though initially hesitant of Romney, the first debate at DU (University of Denver) was more than enough to convince them to vote for Romney. Whether it’s enough to flip it back to the Republican column, the early voting numbers and strong rallies suggest it may.

I hope this gives you a flavor of how things are unfolding in Colorado.

— David Ramos

In Iowa, Disappointment with Obama Runs Deep

These are not the articles President Obama wants to read:

In Iowa, a rural state of outsized political importance, retired nurse Pauline McAreavy is among thousands eager to vote against President Barack Obama after four years of disappointment. McAreavy holds a personal grudge against the president that dates back to 2008, when she hosted Obama’s supporters for three weeks in the Midwestern state that nurtured his improbable White House dreams. She never got a thank you note for her small role in helping land Obama in the White House, but McAreavy’s antagonism goes deeper, the product of broken promises and accumulated disillusion with the “hope” promised by the man who has billed himself an “adopted son” of Iowa. “Obama gave us this ‘no red, no blue state’ America,” said McAreavy, 78. “I was fooled, I kick myself everyday,” she said. “I said: ‘In four years I’ll get you buddy — and I’m going to.'”

Breaking up with Obama

McAreavy is among many voters in midwestern Iowa — which kicks off the presidential nominating contests every four years — who have abandoned their allegiance to Obama’s platform. Their lack of support, revealed in two dozen interviews with Iowa County residents, is at the heart of the president’s challenge in seeking a second term in what has become a very tightly contested White House race. Sweeping in front of her house in Williamsburg, McAreavy recalled how she had thought Obama would bring a politically divided country together and that electing the first African American president of the United States would be “wonderful” for this country. “He didn’t, he tore us more apart. I did feel maybe the world didn’t like America, but the world hates us more now than they did before!” she said.

One way street with 2008 voters

Many voters who chose Obama last time around are quick to vent frustration over the discrepancy between what they had hoped from a historic Obama presidency and what actually transpired. Almost no McCain voters, meanwhile, seem ready to cast a ballot for the Democrat. Even if Obama wins the state of Iowa and the entire election this year, the victory will be narrow and will lack the sweet taste of 2008. Back then, Obama got 54 percent of vote in Iowa against 44 percent for McCain. But in this race, no poll gives him more than 51 percent, and Romney is only two points behind, on average.

Despondent Democrats

[T]he president’s supporters — and there are still legions of them — are gloomy. Many cite Republican control of the House of Representatives and its sizeable contingent in the Senate as extenuating circumstances. All search for excuses. “Every election it’s the lesser of two evils,” said Williamsburg librarian Carol Uhlmann, a 72-year-old registered Democrat…Inside the Williamsburg Public Library, a woman playing with a young girl has already decided not to vote for Obama, like she did four years ago. “I’m going to go with the change,” said the woman, who would only give her first name Ann.

Embracing Romney

[D]isenchantment with Obama is not the only factor explaining Romney’s impressive climb up the polls, as the Republican steadily builds his base of support while softening his public image. Romney was not the first choice for Sarah, an 89-year-old Lutheran, because he is of Mormon faith. But she has grown accustomed to the him thanks to repeated campaign appearances that are a tradition in Iowa, which likes to see its candidates up close, shake their hands and look them in the eyes. Sarah said she became especially comfortable after seeing Romney’s large family — he has five sons — on television. And she is far from being alone. National polls by the Washington, DC-based Pew Center show that Romney’s favorability ratings jumped from just 37 percent in July to 50 percent in October.

Youth vote

Even young people, among Obama’s most ardent supporters in 2008, appear disillusioned. Sam Tracy, who delivers beer in Marengo, said he plans to abstain from voting, disgusted by the political impasse in Washington. In 2008, the registered Independent proudly cast a vote for Obama in an election that made the history books. “Based on what we were coming from, there was a lot of enthusiasm for Obama, but now that he’s in office, the shine has worn off,” Tracy said.

Thoughts on Yesterday’s CNN/ORC International Poll With Obama Leading by 4 in Ohio

A spate of polls came out yesterday that I left alone for various reasons but the CNN/ORC International poll with Obama leading by 4-points created special consternation among Romney supporters and readers of this blog.  The reasons behind the concern were party ID and the Independent vote.

The party ID was not outrageous. The split was D +3 (Dem 35, Rep 32, Ind 33) when we are usually dealing with Ohio polls at D +8, D +7 and even D +10. As a matter of fact at the same time as the CNN release, American Research Group released an Ohio poll showing Obama leading by 2-points with a party ID split of D +9. In 2008 Ohio turnout was reported as D +8 although this has been disproven in favor of the real split of D +5. The 2004 party ID was R +5 so the fact that this poll ends up somewhere in the middle says we’re at least in an acceptable range. The other factor causing concern among the pro-Romney factions was that Obama was leading in this poll among Independents by 5-points, 49 to 44.  On those two factors alone this should have been a great poll for team Obama since anomalies in those two areas are the most cited reasons to dismiss the regularly erroneous polls we have seen this cycle.

I tried to contact CNN (OK, I tweeted their political director) for the racial make-up of the poll since they conveniently failed to include that in the cross-tabs and this is another prime area for abuse by the polling outfits.  But alas, my tweet went unanswered. Thankfully incredible readers in my comment sections went to great lengths identifying many other credible sources debunking multiple oddities in this ostensibly credible poll.

I’ll state up-front, this poll does not concern me in the slightest over Romney’s prospects in the state. I try to be as objective as possible when running the numbers and my opinions on who is winning are whatever the #s tell me they should be and Ohio is actually looking pretty decent for Romney.  Yes, I said Ohio is looking pretty decent for Romney.

Independents

Thanks to Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher), we know that in the seventeen most recent polls in Ohio, only three have Obama leading with Independents and two of those are these same CNN/ORC polls. In the fourteen other polls, Romney’s lead with independents is +11.4. CNN/ORC looks to be the outlier, not the norm by any means.  In that same ARG poll cited above Romney actually had a 21-point lead among Independents. This essentially means Obama is not leading with Independents despite whatever the outlier CNN/ORC says.  When Ohio’s ballots are counted, each side will lock down their base and the differential in partisan turnout will be minimal. Whoever wins Independents will win Ohio. Obama carried Independents in Ohio by 8 percentage points in 2008 and today he is losing Independents by 10+ points.  This is an 18-point swing among the voting group who will decide the state.

Early voting

Early voting is over-represented in the CNN poll. According to @Adrian_Gray in the poll 2/5 of Ohio likely voters have already cast their ballot. County election offices say only 1/5 have voted. Both cannot be right. Extrapolating the CNN poll statewide, Obama leads 59-38 among the 1.4 million that voted early. Romney leads 51-44 among 4.4 million have yet to vote. The math is pretty straightforward where the overwhelming remaining voters support Romney and should overwhelm any early vote advantage CNN found.

2012 is not 2008

Obama’s 2008 early voting secret weapon is gone. He won Ohio in 2008 due to an overwhelming early vote advantage.  On election day more votes were cast for John McCain than Barack Obama but so many votes banked away for Obama that it wasn’t enough. Today, according to the same Adrian Gray: “220,000 fewer Democrats have voted early in Ohio compared with 2008. And 30,000 more Republicans have cast their ballots compared with four years ago. That is a 250,000-vote net increase for a state Obama won by 260,000 votes in 2008”

Undecideds break for the challenger

On average Obama’s support level is always stuck around 47% in the Battleground states.  His current Real Clear Politics average in Ohio thanks in no small party to this CNN poll and the ARG poll stands at 48%.  We have shown across multiple elections against an incumbent President Undecideds break between 66-80% for the challenger. This means there is not a lot of votes left for Obama beyond his base and already accounted for Independents.

Between the reversal of the Independent voting block, the neutralizing of Obama’s early vote advantage and Undecideds always breaking 66-80% for the challenger Obama is looking really bad in Ohio.  And everyone today admits whomever wins Ohio wins the election.  To those who are unnecessarily concerned. rest easy.  Things are looking far better for Romney than is being represented.  The networks need ratings and horse-races increase ratings.  Four years ago at this time the race was over yet you could still see stories about McCain’s momentum.  It was just to keep people tuned in because that’s what pays the bills.  They did the same thing for Dukakis and Dole down the stretch when those races were blow-outs.

This race is far from over and 11 days is an eternity in politics, but every sign says Romney has the initiative and Obama is only responding to whatever Romney does. Obama’s fire-wall keeps getting moved back while Romney keeps pressing forward.  You can’t call a race until the last ballot is cast but I’m fairly optimistic on Romney’s prospects in Ohio at this point.  And I’m a pessimist by nature.

Did Democrats Massacre Republicans on First Day of Early Voting in Nevada? Maybe Not

Update: An earlier version of this post contained erroneous data.  The corrected version is below.

Nevada had its first returns of early voting posted last night and the headline numbers looked very good for Democrats.  Here was the headline and post from Nevada expert Jon Ralston:

Democrats massacre Republicans on first day of early voting in urban areas

The numbers show a 26 percent edge in Clark County and 10 percent in Washoe County. That’s about a 10,000-vote lead in Washoe and Clark combined.
The Clark numbers: 55-29, or 18,388-9,588 (Actual registration: 46-31)
The Washoe numbers: 48-38, or 4,604-3,619 (Actual registration: 38-38)
Yes, it’s only one day. But if it continues like this, Nov. 6 is going to be a very bleak day for Republicans in this state.

I’m not the biggest fan of reading too much into early voting especially on only one day’s data. There is an inherent uncertainty in what the submissions actually mean (how many voters crossed over parties with their vote?) and the sample sizes are really small.  This makes drawing conclusions not much better than just plain old guess work until a critical mass of votes have accumulated. But a lot was missing from Ralston’s report that tells a very different story, namely a comparison with 2008. It is impressive to have a 10,000 vote lead on day 1 of early voting in a state won by 121k votes in 2008. And Clark County is the motherload of votes in Nevada accounting for 67% of the state’s votes between the two major candidates in 2008.   Barack Obama won Clark County by 124k votes, accounting for his entire margin of victory.  So it would be very instructive to see what Clark County looked like in 2008.  Our commenter Paul provided the daily vote total for Clark in the last election:

The Democrats started with a large lead and steadily built on that lead throughout the early voting achieving an aggregate advantage over Republicans by election day of 86,607, approximately 70% of their final margin.

What is harder to see is that Republicans steadily closed the gap with Democrats throughout the early voting days before nearly catching the Democrats on the final day.  On day 1 their vote total was 37% of the Democrats vote and by the final day their vote was 89% of the Democrats vote:

10/18/2008 10/19/2008 10/20/2008 10/21/2008 10/22/2008 10/23/2008 10/24/2008 10/25/2008 10/26/2008 10/27/2008 10/28/2008 10/29/2008 10/30/2008 10/31/2008
Rep % of Dem Vote 37% 45% 56% 51% 54% 56% 61% 59% 58% 68% 69% 72% 68% 68%

The rate of change over those days was a 2.4% increase on average in favor of the Republicans closing the gap with Democrats but unfortunately they were starting from a very low base (37%…yuk).

Day 1 of 2012 was very different despite the misleading reports like Ralston’s above.  It is true that Democrats enjoyed a whopping 55 to 29% lead among ballots returned or voted on Day 1 — a 26 percentage point (pp) margin.  But in 2008 the Democrats enjoyed a 62 to 23 advantage — a 39pp margin.  So the GOP is outperforming by 13 points.  Extrapolating from one day’s data is inherently risky and unreliable but the inferences Ralston is drawing are completely without merit. For fun we are going to construct a 2012 early voting turnout based on the first day’s data and restricting ourselves to the trends in the 2008 results.

In 2008 looking at every day subsequent to the first, the Democrat turnout averages 15,224. With Democrat turnout in the subsequent days averaging 97% of the day 1 result we insert that as a constant going into election day. We then take the Republican turnout and increase it at a rate of 2.4% every day, consistent with the 2008 results.

The final aggregate lead for Democrats is 81,786, nearly 5000 below the 86,607 lead in 2008. This is again with conservative assumptions using the 2008 GOP ground game which was nothing like today’s operation. Obama won Nevada by 121k and based on these assumptions Republicans would eat into that lead by 5k votes, a 4% reduction. That’s not an enormous amount on Day 1 but it is marked improvement for a state party that has struggled over the last few years.  Obviously Team Nevada, the Romney campaign and Senator Heller’s campaign deserve the credit for the improvement but the main point is this was by no means a massacre as reported.

Based on the 2.4% rate of change we see by the Friday before the elections, Republicans would nearly catch up to the Democrats vote total on the Friday before the election, substantially better than their 65-70% average in the final days of 2008.  The key here, again, is minding the gap.

The rest of the state trends heavily Republican with the exception of Washoe County which is a battleground County that President Obama carried in 2008.  The Republican gains in Clark County are even more pronounced in Washoe County where Republicans reduced a 34pp gap in 2008 into a 10pp gap. Republicans increase in turnout in that County was 3x the increase of Democrats on Day 1. Yesterday was no reason for either party to pop bottles of champagne or even start putting it on ice.  The aggregate turnout numbers show both parties are very active on the ground this year achieving a 32% increase in overall turnout. The Democrats are enjoying their typical early vote advantage but a great change is happening this year as it appears Republicans are more than up to the challenge of “minding the gap” even in Democrat bastion Clark County.

Reporter Finds First Five Students at Columbus, OH Obama Rally Are Romney Supporters

This is rich (h/t @mattmargolis):

The cheering midst of a rally featuring President Barack Obama and a largely college-age crowd of 15,000 on the Oval at Ohio State University would not seem a likely place to encounter those not in the president’s corner. Yet, the first five students approached at random by a Dispatch reporter on Oct. 9 turned out to support Republican Mitt Romney and his aspirations of replacing Obama in the White House.

It’s not 2008 any more:

The must-vote adoration and enthusiasm for Obama isn’t what it once was among 18- to 29-year-old Millennials in central Ohio, a must-win area in a must-win state for presidential hopefuls. This is not 2008, when two-thirds of the youth vote broke big for Democrat Obama and his message of change amid the accompanying offer of making history by electing the first black president. This is 2012, with Obama running on a recession-riddled record. Job prospects are iffy for even educated young Ohioans. Some fear their generation is in danger of failing to match or better their parents’ now-dinged lifestyles.

Columbus and demographics

Millennials, an increasingly diverse and growing group representing 16 percent of Ohio’s population, are coveted by both Obama and Romney, with both making college campuses a frequent stop. And the biggest of them all, Ohio State and its 56,387 main-campus students, rests in the heart of Franklin County, which cast 50 percent of the presidential vote in a 20-county swath of central Ohio four years ago. Obama chose OSU, in fact, to kick off his re-election campaign at a May 5 rally…Franklin County typically is vital turf in presidential elections, with successful Democrats such as Obama relying on six-figure wins to overcome the GOP votes cast by the reliably Republican counties dominating central Ohio.

About that enthusiasm gap — Youth vote

But, courting and turning out the votes of youth, who are less reliable in going to the polls than older voters are, is proving more difficult this time around — a trend that could work against Obama’s re-election chances. National polls suggest Obama still enjoys a near 20 percentage-point advantage over Romney among young adults, but their enthusiasm has waned, leaving them less likely to vote than in 2008. Polling late last month by the Pew Research Center found young voters, who have cast a majority of their votes for Democrats in the past three presidential elections, are significantly less engaged than in 2008. Sixty-three percent of young registered voters plan to cast ballots this year, compared with 72 percent four years ago. And 61 percent call themselves “highly engaged” this year, down from 75 p ercent in 2008.

Herb Asher, a professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State, said youthful excitement over Obama has been tempered by the “real world and reality” of governing during tough times…Asher expects Obama to be a favorite again with Millennials in central Ohio but adds a footnote: “The real question is not so much the level or loyalty of support but turnout. … The youth vote is an integral part of his strategy and extremely important here.”

Election Night Surprise: Why Minnesota Will Turn Red on November 6

Minnesota has crept into the news cycle recently with senior campaign surrogates stumping in the state and campaign dollars flowing to a state once thought out of reach for Republicans this cycle. I received a lot of push-back over my conclusion regarding Minnesota’s competitiveness based on Rochester, Minnesota being a top 10 ad market this week. Upon closer inspection, however, the evidence keeps piling up that the Land of 10,000 Lakes should be on everyone’s radar for an election night surprise.

The latest is a poll released yesterday from SurveyUSA gives President Obama a 10-point lead over Mitt Romney, 50 to 40.  Romney leads by 3-points among Independents 45 to 42 with 4% are voting 3rd party and 6% are Undecided.  Shouldn’t a 10-point lead definitely mean it is not a Battleground? If you believe that, you must be new to this blog.  A 10-point lead would largely be safe at this juncture if the poll were an honest representation of Minnesota today (and remember other polls have it as close as 4). But this SurveyUSA poll is far from a fair representation of the Minnesota electorate.  Before I get too deep into this flawed poll I give SurveyUSA credit for making all of the data available unlike too many other polling firms.   This allows critics to make their own judgements on what is lying beneath the top-line numbers and justify their criticism with facts and figures and not just flippant calls of bias.

Party ID

The biggest issue with the poll is the Party ID.  I understand polling firm do not weight their polls by party ID, but when they re-weight their polls based on age, race, etc and the outcome of respondents is a party ID disparity that defies all logic and reason, that means something is deeply wrong with the sample group they gleaned their answers from.   This poll specifically has a disgraceful disparity between Democrats and Republicans surveyed. The Party ID is D +10 (Dem 37, Rep 27, Ind 30).  This compares to 2008 of D +4 (Dem 40, Rep 36, Ind 25) and 2004 of D + 3 (Dem 38, Rep 35, Ind 27).  First and foremost we see a Democrat advantage in the sampling 2.5x greater than that the 2008 peak of hopey-changey.  This is ludicrous for many of the enthusiasm reasons often cited:

Basically, for the above reasons there is a dramatically increased probability Republicans will vote with greater propensity in 2012 than they did in 2008 while the inverse is true for Democrats.  But that is only one of the reasons this poll and party ID are ludicrous.

The Changing Minnesota

Minnesota is no ordinary state politically. The most important thing to know about Minnesota is the state is rapidly changing in favor of Republicans and has been for years.  Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics did the seminal work in this regard. His state-by-state analysis of voting trends shows that over the last 8 elections the performance of Republican candidates in Minnesota has steadily gotten closer to the candidate’s national performance. That is, when a Republican Presidential candidate got 50.1% of the vote in 1980, you could expect them to get 43% in Minnesota.  In 2008, the under-performance versus the national shrunk to 1%, meaning had John McCain received 51% of the national vote, he could have expected to get 50% of the vote in Minnesota.

If we apply only the most superficial analysis of Minnesota today and we see Mitt Romney leading  in the national average by only a few points, let alone as much as 7-points, it would seem more than likely he would carry Minnesota based solely that lead and the 30-year trend in Republicans favor shown above.

Party ID Recent History

This brings me back to the Party ID issue. In 2008 Minnesota’s political affiliation change was unlike most of America. Between 2004 and 2008 we saw Battleground States experience wide swings in their party ID as citizens bought into the magnetic story of Barack Obama.  States like Ohio saw its Party ID swing 13-points in favor of Democrats; Nevada swung 12-points in favor of Democrats; North Carolina swung 12-points in favor of Democrats; Virginia swung 10-points; New Hampshire 9-points; and on and on all towards the Democrats.  Minnesota’s party affiliation, however, only swung 1-point towards the Democrats.  This was smaller than every party affiliation move among even the most remote of contested state.  This lack of change during the Democrat tidal wave of 2008 is a major component of hidden Republican strength demonstrated in the chart above.  Minnesota is, and has been, a state trending steadily Republican even in the face of the incredible Democrat wave seen in 2008.

Republicans have surged in local politics

But more than just a macro statistical argument, Republicans have made dramatic strides at the ballot box. Over the last four years Minnesota caught the 2010 midterm wave for the GOP and flipped both houses of its state legislature, and in dramatic fashion:

  • Republicans gained a State Senate majority of 55/45 which was a dramatic shift from the 31/69 disparity previously (based on percentages not actual seats)
  • Republicans also gained a State House e majority of 54/46 which was also a dramatic shift from the 35/65 split previously (based on percentages not actual seats)
  • At the Federal level, Republicans picked up one seat balancing out the Congressional delegation at 4 for each party

Despite all of these substantial moves in favor of the Republican party, polls like SurveyUSA’s D +10 turnout still show up and is the basis for people to argue Minnesota is out of reach this election.

But what if Minnesota is not D +10 or anywhere near that?

Below I breakdown the exact same SurveyUSA poll.  First, as they have it with D +10.  Second with the 2008 party ID of D +4 and then prospectively with an even party breakdown for all of the reasons outlined above.  I use with the same number of Independents for the 2012 estimate that SurveyUSA found in their poll although I suspect Independents will be even higher on election day. Pollsters, campaigns, or individuals can make their own assumptions, these are just mine.

This following needs to be clear up front:

  • Party ID does not equal 100% in the SurveyUSA poll so I make Other 6%. Also, the “Other” category in the survey was unusually high at 6% but instead of eliminating that I shaved 3% from the two major parties for 2008 and 2012 est. Also the Other voters overwhelmingly supported 3rd party candidates in the poll so their impact on this analysis is small.
  • The vote total also does not equal 100% because of Undecideds which are also 6%. Due to space constraints I put Undecideds and Other on the same line which can look, when reading from left-to-right, like there are 106% of voters.  But this is not Cook County, it is just labeled that way so you know where the numbers come from.  “Other” turns out to be +1% for each candidate and Undecideds are expected to break at least 2/3 for the challenger which is +2 for Obama and +4 for Romney. Note: adding in Undecideds to the SurveyUSA poll gives the candidates final totals of Obama 52 and Romney 44.

Calculating the vote

  • The vote totals are calculated through the following formula: (Rep Party ID x Rep Party support %) + (Dem Party ID x Dem Party support %) + (Ind Party ID x Ind Party support %) + (Other Party ID x Other Party support %) + (Undecided x Expected %) = vote total
  • For example, with  President Obama in the SurveyUSA Party ID section this breaks down as (27 x .06) + (37 x .93) + (30 x .42) + (6 x .17) + (6 x .33) = 51.7 or 52

Scenario 1: Survey USA Party ID 27 37 30 6 [6] Vote Total
Republicans % Democrats % Independents % Other % Undecided %
Obama 6 93 42 17 33  51.7
Romney 89 4 45 17 66  44.0
Scenario 2: 2008 Party ID 33 37 25 6 [6]
Republicans % Democrats % Independents %  Other % Undecided %
Obama 6 93 42 17 33  49.9
Romney 89 4 45 17 66  47.1
Scenario 3: 2012 Party ID est. 32 32 30 6  [6]
Republicans % Democrats % Independents % Other %  Undecided %
Obama 6 93 42 17 33 47.3
Romney 89 4 45 17 66 48.2

Our three scenarios produce the following results:

  • Party ID  D +10: Obama wins by 8
  • Party ID D +4: Obama wins by 3
  • Party ID even: Romney wins by 1

The point of running these scenarios is the initial read of an Obama 10-point lead based on a D +10 party affiliation is folly. With Undecideds factored in that lead drop to 8 even in this unrealistic scenario. If there is no party affiliation shift from 2008 despite the overwhelming evidence provided, Romney is only down 2.8 points with an unconsolidated base (think a visit might help?) as well as conservative estimates on Undecideds.  If, however, Republicans have burnished their brand and the enthusiasm issue is as meaningful as polling would indicate, the decades-long steady rise in Republican performance in Minnesota should deliver a victory for Romney on November 6.  Enhancing every one of these scenarios is the prospect of a decided national popular vote victory for Romney evidenced by the national tracking polls from Gallup and Rasmussen Reports. If that happens, deep purple Minnesota will turn red on election night.

ABC/Washington Post Poll Makes In-Kind Contribution to Obama Re-Election Efforts

Not to be outdone by the ludicrous NBC/WSJ/Marist Battleground State polls from last week, ABC/Washington Post reveal their national poll today showing President Obama with a 3-point lead 49 to 46. Mitt Romney leads among Independents by 6 points (48 to 42) and locks down his base more so than Obama — Reps support Romney 93 to 7 while Dems support Obama 91 to 8.  Yet Romney trails by 3.  How?  Incredibly, they polled 9% more Democrats than Republicans.  This is not a new phenomenon as I outlined in mid-September in the post “Obama’s National Lead Based Entirely on Over-Sampling Democrats.”  Today’s ABC/Washington Post poll is the crowning achievement this cycle in unrealistic national polls only 3 weeks out from the election.  But these types of advocacy “polling games” are nothing new.

The party identification in the survey is D +9 (Dem 35, Rep 26, Ind 33). This compares to 2008 when party ID was D +7 (Dem 39, Rep 32, Ind 29) and 2004 when party ID split evenly (Dem 37, Rep 37, Ind 26).  Making matters even worse, in their poll just over two weeks ago that survey had a party ID of D +3 (Dem 33, Rep 30, Ind 33).  Did the public tune in to Barack Obama’s debate performance and just have a groundswell of love for Democrat passivity and listlessness and embrace the Donkey Party? According to the Washington Post, pre-Debate the race was 48 to 46 in favor of Obama.  Post-debate the race is 49 to 46 in favor of Obama.  Must have been an uneventful debate right?  Here is over-the-top liberal Democrat Andrew Sullivan’s blog yesterday on post debate polls:

If anyone thought that the feisty Biden debate undid the massive damage the president did to himself in the first debate, the news isn’t great. Biden does seem to have reversed the speed of Obama’s free-fall but not the decline itself. Romney’s debate obliteration of Obama – something that, in my view, irreparably damages a sitting president – does not seem to be a bounce, but a resilient jump. It’s not going away by itself. That is: not a bounce.

Sullivan also provides a devastating chart showing the post-debate Romney surge in polls (red line) and Obama free fall (blue line):

But today the Washington Post and ABC see fit to publish a poll with Democrat affiliation 9 percentage points greater than Republicans. This blog has hammered the issue of party ID time and again. Basically there is a zero percent change the Democrat’s advantage at the polls in 2012 will be superior to their advantage in 2008. Here is what I wrote on October 1st when critiquing the large disparities in party identification:

In 2008 seven percent more Democrats than Republicans identified themselves as such on election day, well above the historic average of 3%. This was a big change from 2004 when party identification was evenly split between the Democrats and Republicans. But there were many reasons for the strong Democrat turnout that do not exist today. The top of the ticket was a historic candidate (first Black President), America had war and Bush fatigue, the financial meltdown created an anti-Republican wave, and his opponent wasn’t the strongest (good biography, bad and underfunded candidate). These factors led to a strong Democrat self-identification advantage at the voting booth in 2008. But in the 2012 election, none of the advantages outlined above are there for Obama and many of those factors are now largely working against the President: 8%+ unemployment for three years, sub-2% GDP, 23 million unemployed, Arab Spring blowing up and casting the historic vote in 2008 is yesterday’s news. Additionally the Romney campaign ground game has exceeded the McCain campaign across many metrics as much as 10- to 15-fold. Despite the stark changes in each of these factors, polling outfits thus far have consistently sampled an election turnout often greater than candidate Obama’s 2008 best-in-a-generation advantage.

Over the last month we have seen:

Interestingly many of these above trends actually show up in the ABC/Washington Post poll.  President Obama’s support among Non-Whites is a surprisingly low 73%.  His support is typically closer to 80% so this drop of is a major red flag in the President’s re-election efforts.  But this is where the Democrat over-sampling comes in to save the President.  I went to great lengths to demonstrate that these polls that over-sample Democrats are not simply over-sampling generic Democrats, these polls very specifically over-sample White Democrats.  And in this survey we see Barack Obama’s support among White voters at 43%, the same level he achieved in 2008. If that percentage was accurate Obama would almost certainly be re-elected.  Unfortunately for him that support level is not accurate based on the unrealistic disparity in party identification and the over-sampling of Democrats masks what is far more likely support for Obama among Whites closer to 36 or 37% as I explained in the previous post here.

Despite the mountain of evidence above completely undermining the unrealistic voter turnout models presented by ABC, the Washington Post and others, major news organizations pass off these unserious polls as credible when neither sense nor reason supports such claims.  Today’s disaster is only the latest example of major news organizations weakening the public’s trust by publishing fantastical polls whose sole purpose is to advocate for one candidate over the other.

Republicans Rising in Colorado

Selena Zito is an excellent conservative columnist and when sees citing our favorite political analyst, you know you’re in for some good political junky info.  Here she is talking about the GOP rise in Colorado with Real Clear Politics’ Sean Trende:

LAIRD, Colo. This small Great Plains town is the terminus of a journey across the Rocky Mountain State on U.S. 34, greeting travelers from Nebraska and bidding farewell to Coloradoans. On either side of the highway stand two slightly oversized “Romney for President” signs. This highway and U.S. 36, passing through Jefferson and Arapahoe counties, give way to a state not at all like the one often envisioned, politically or economically, from afar. The 479 miles of rural, suburban and patches of urban Colorado reveal many Democrats with an interesting lack of enthusiasm for President Barack Obama, despite all of the built-in support and demographic advantages at his fingertips.

Jefferson and Arapaho Counties

Exactly 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency. And that win may well come down to Colorado — specifically, Jefferson and Arapahoe counties. Both are at the center of the 7th Congressional District race between incumbent Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat, and challenger Joe Coors, a Republican. If businessman Coors has a good night on Nov. 6, so will Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, likely not only in Colorado but nationwide.

The Colorado bellwether

Colorado is looking like a state that is the national average, perhaps a tick or two rightward, according to Sean Trende, a savvy number-cruncher and Princeton-trained political scientist for the website RealClearPolitics. “So if Romney is winning Colorado, it probably means he is headed for a decent night,” Trende said of the relatively new electoral trend of a Western state signaling a presidential win. If Romney wins here comfortably, that probably means a national win on the scale of George Bush in 2004, or even Obama in 2008, Trende said. Right now, he said, Colorado’s numbers look pretty good for Romney: “We have him up a half-point in the RCP Average, with the president down to about 47 percent of the vote. That’s not a great position for the president to be in.”

The Colorado map

The Democrats’ traditional map in Colorado looks like a “C,” Trende explained, “starting with ‘Old Mexico’ in the south, swinging through the ski areas in the west, and then coming into Boulder, Denver and the suburbs. “The latter are the key battleground in the state. If Romney runs well in Jefferson and Arapahoe counties, it is over. If Coors is running strong against Perlmutter, the state won’t be close.”

House race to watch

The House race at the center of the presidential election has Coors up 45-36, with 55 percent of the district favoring repeal of ObamaCare. Still, Coors is being hit with ads by Perlmutter, by the Democrats’ House Majority PAC and by AFSCME, the government-workers union.

Romney’s strength

Colorado is the face of the new West and a new political power. Known for its picturesque mountains and ski resorts, it also is home to enormous energy resources — gas, oil, coal — as well as to aerospace-manufacturing and health-care businesses. Jobs associated with the oil and gas boom are natural votes for Romney. And, although he lags behind with Colorado’s many Hispanic voters, interviews with young people across the state showed strong support for him.

Obama’s enthusiasm problem

Interview after interview here also revealed that Obama’s problem among Colorado Democrats who voted for him in 2008 is enthusiasm: About one-third will “probably still vote for him” (a line heard over and over), one-third will go for Romney and the final third will just stay home.

Romney represents

U.S. 34 begins hundreds of miles west of here and, for part of its way, has Rocky Mountain National Park as a stunning backdrop — making it the highest paved highway in the country. It peaks at an elevation of 12,183 feet, so high up that snow keeps it closed in the park for much of the year; long wooden poles line its switchbacks, so summer road crews know where to go for the annual snow-clearing. All along its twisting route — as on Colorado’s other rural byways, in its neighborhoods and Main Street shop windows, and even adorning some pretty beat-up cars — you see plenty of Romney-Ryan campaign signs.

Obama.com: New Paradigm in Non-White Voter Participation Propels Obama IPO

The Gallup organization’s long awaited switch to the more accurate “Likely Voter” screen from the “Registered Voter” screen created a lot of fanfare but for many of the wrong reasons. President Obama whose job approval had been mired below 50% (awful for an incumbent this late in the game) received a 5-point bump to 53% in Gallup’s latest survey. This is hugely important because “a president usually pulls in a vote share roughly equal to his job approval rating.” This led to laudatory headlines like: “Obama’s First Term Approval Ratings Now Equal Clinton and Reagan.”  You can just feel that Reagan ’84 landslide coming for Obama can’t you?  Unfortunately for President Obama and his supporters, Alan Abramowitz at the Huffington Post dug into the numbers and found some unusual changes to the racial make-up of the poll the occurred during this switch:

Evidence from Gallup’s weekly presidential approval results indicates that the racial makeup of its tracking poll changed dramatically between the final week of September and first week of October — a change that coincides with the beginning of Gallup’s reporting of likely voter results in the presidential election. Although Gallup does not report the racial composition of its tracking poll sample in its weekly presidential approval results, we can estimate the racial makeup of the sample by extrapolating from the reported approval rating of the president among whites, nonwhites and all adults. The estimated nonwhite percentage of the sample for the past five weeks was as follows:

Gallup: % of Non-White Voters Surveyed

Changes in poll re-weighting like the above are what drive sharp criticisms from Republicans who, absent reasonable justifications by the polling organizations for such moves, allege bias when incompetence or unseriousness may be the more accurate aspersion. The race alterations specifically to Gallup’s polling assumptions have two fatal flaws: first, they fail to account for the missing White vote from 2008 and second, the steep increase in non-White participation maps out to a chart only a late-90s “dot com” CEO could love.

The Missing White Voter

The near-constant focus on the rise in non-White percentage of the electoral make-up ignores the fact that 1.7 million White voters stayed home in 2008. I addressed this issue at length in “The Reality of 2012 Voter Turnout: The White Voter” where we saw that in the 2008 election a -1.1% election-over-election drop in White participation led to an electorate make-up comprising record high levels of non-Whites totaling 23.7%. This drop in White participation was due various reasons — apathy towards Obama’s opponent, disinterest in expected loss, bad campaign message etc. The thrust of the argument was that while Obama campaign officials argue aggressively for polls with a racial composition at meaningfully greater minority levels than the 2008 historic turnout, there is another side of that coin and it works heavily against the turnout models of both the Obama campaign and of the vast majority of polls being published.

Gallup today, however, proceeds to publish a survey the Obama campaign could wish for only in their wildest dreams. In their survey, the non-White percentage of the electorate comprised 30.6% of the entire poll — a 6.6% increase over the record 2008 level (and 4.9% jump week-over-week).  This increase comes in the face of steep drops in enthusiasm among Hispanics and Asians as well as a reduced (albeit small) drop in enthusiasm/support among Blacks. The decreased enthusiasm invariably translates into a decreased propensity to vote.  In 2008 Obama had countless advantages — historic candidate, bad economy/financial crises, Bush fatigue, and an ill-financed opponent — that not only do not exist today but actively work against him — bad economy, chronic unemployment even worse among minorities, well-funded opponent and energized voters antagonistic towards Obama. Yet Gallup finds minority interest, voter registration and enthusiasm dramatically superior to 2008 when every measurable aspect is worse?  Impossible, unrealistic and unworthy of a serious organization.

The Non-White “hockey stick”

But ignoring the missing White  vote is not the only problem with Gallup’s implausibly high 30.6% non-White voter participation. How does Gallup’s 30.6% non-White participation fit in with recent historical trends?

Below we have the non-White percentage of vote in each Presidential election since 1988 according to the Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, May 2010.  From left-to-right there is a steady increase in minority participation especially since 1992.

Non-White % of Vote 1988 - 2008

The change in Non-White participation election-over-election beginning in 1992 has averaged a 1.7 percentage point (ppt) increase over those five elections which includes 2008’s historic jump of 2.9ppt over the 2004 level.

Gallup’s assumption today, however, is that in 2012 the non-White percentage will jump 6.9ppt over 2008’s historic level despite all of the disadvantages previously outlined.

1998 “Dot Com” CEOs would be proud of whichever salesman sold that “hockey-stick” 2012 change in non-White voter participation to the Gallup organization. The absurdity of the dramatic increase in non-White participation in the Likely Voter screen is compounded because of this demographic’s historic reticence to participate anywhere near near such levels. Gallup better get that “Obama.com” IPO sold before November 6 because underneath this absurd racial make-up is a dwindling support for Obama among White voters likely to doom his re-election chances.  And if Obama has any more debates like his last, he’ll make the Facebook IPO look like the homerun of the century.

Although the sharp increase in Non-White participation helps goose up Obama’s job approval today to a stellar 53% (52.5% actually) it only achieves this because the non-White demographic approves of President Obama at a 77% level in the Gallup survey, largely consistent with historical trends and independent surveys. The White demographic approves of President Obama only at a 41% level — bad, and possibly fatal. Because the above outlined changes are wholly unjustifiable, all they serve to do is mask the reality that President Obama’s job approval remains below 50% which imperils any incumbent’s re-election. If we adjust the non-White participation to more acceptable levels (76/24 White/non-white split used in nearly every national poll), Obama’s job approval drops back below the 50% threshold his campaign is desperate to avoid.

Gallup does a great disservice to polling with changes like those outlined above. Although the racial re-weightings are nearly impossible to justify I’m sure Gallup has their reasons. If nothing else they should buoy the Obama supporters  because otherwise Obama supporters may become even less enthusiastic come election day and not even show up.

Early Vote Continues to Trend Republican

I was holding off putting a post together on early voting trends since the numbers are often small and at times indeterminate of actual party support.  But the trends are fairly consistent across the states where early voting is measured and every one is good for Team Romney.  The Washington Post takes a look at four states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa and North Carolina and pieced together available data that I will supplement where appropriate:

Obama dominated early voting in key states four years ago, giving him a big advantage over Republican John McCain before Election Day even arrived. In Colorado, Florida, Iowa and North Carolina, Obama built up such big leads among early voters that he won each state despite losing the Election Day vote, according to voting data compiled by The Associated Press.

Early voting for the presidential election has started in more than 30 states — much of it by mail, though some in person — and some important numbers are starting to dribble in. No votes will be counted until Nov. 6. However, North Carolina, Florida and Iowa report the party affiliation of people who have cast ballots. Other states will follow.

North Carolina

Among the 29,400 voters who have cast absentee ballots in North Carolina, 54 percent are registered Republicans and 28 percent are Democrats, according to the United States Elections Project at George Mason University. It’s a small sample — more than 2.6 million people voted before Election Day in North Carolina in 2008. And these are all mail ballots, which have historically favored Republicans; in-person voting starts Oct. 18 in North Carolina. Nevertheless, Republicans are encouraged because McCain lost the state’s early vote by 11 percentage points.

Florida

Florida’s sample is even smaller — only 14,500 votes so far — but it too favors Republicans over Democrats, 53 percent to 32 percent. In 2008, nearly 4.6 million voters in Florida cast ballots before Election Day.

Iowa

Democrats have a big lead in Iowa — as they did in the past two presidential elections. About 60 percent of the 127,100 voters who have cast absentee ballots so far were registered Democrats. Twenty-two percent were Republicans and 18 percent were unaffiliated, according to the United States Elections Project.

Note: Thanks to the stellar information from Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign operative Adrian Gray, we find out Romney is trending ahead of Bush’s 2004 pace when he carried the state. Also Democrats always have huge early leads but in 2010 the GOP reduced that lead to low single digits by election day which state officials expect to be repeated in 2012.

Ohio

In Ohio, a perennial battleground state, Democrats have an edge over Republicans among people who have requested absentee ballots, though relatively few completed ballots have been submitted. Among the 691,000 people who have requested absentee ballots in 49 of the state’s 88 counties, 30 percent are Democrats and 24 percent are Republicans. Forty-six percent are unaffiliated voters, according to data collected by the AP.

Note: Thanks to a regular battelgroundwatch.com commenter, the most accurate information on Ohio is kept here.  And we see what was a Democrat advantage of 14 percent in 2008 is a 6 percent advantage today…minding the gap.

Early voting heats up late

About 35 percent of voters are expected to cast ballots before Election Day, either by mail or in person, a small increase over four years ago, according to Michael McDonald, an early voting expert at George Mason University. McDonald tallies voting statistics for the United States Elections Project. “Most of the early vote doesn’t happen until the last week of the election,” McDonald said.

About that Crumbling 2008 Coalition of Support for Obama — Seniors, Youth, Hispanics

Over the weekend Chuck Todd pointed out what regular readers of this blog have known all along: President Obama’s 2008 coalition is both less supportive and less enthusiastic than they were in 2008. In a Politico Battleground poll today the same enthusiasm trends shine through.  What is even worse for Obama about these figures, is they are all before the disastrous debate performance:

Well, it’s simply an enthusiasm gap. And we’re seeing it across the board. Look at here in this first one. 79% of Republicans call themselves extremely interested in this election. On a scale of one to ten, that means they said they’re a nine or a ten on interest in the election. 73% of Democrats.

Look at four years ago. It was a 13 point gap in favor of the Democrats. Let me go through some various voting groups. This is an important voting group. Seniors are an important voting group to Mitt Romney now. He leads them by about 10 points in our NBC Wall Street Journal poll. Look at this in engagement in the election. Four years ago was 81%, pretty higher. Even higher this time at 87%. And Romney’s doing better among seniors than McCain did.

Let me go to an important voting group for the president, young voters. Look at this engagement level: 52% now they call themselves, voters 18 to 34, call themselves extremely interested in this election. Four years ago it was 72%. That 20 gap. The president wins young voters by huge margins. He’s winning them by some 20-plus points. [ed.- but down from 34 pts in 2008] But if you don’t have this kind of enthusiasm, they’re not going to show up to the polls.

And then let me give you this last one here, because this is, I think, the most important one. And that’s Hispanics. The President’s winning Hispanics by 50 points. He hit the 70% mark. However, look at this in terms of interest in the election. 59% now, it was 77%. What does that mean? President got 65%, I believe, of Hispanics four years ago.

So even though he’s going to get more Hispanics, if less of them turn out, it’s a net zero. And yet, you look at Republican enthusiasm, up, senior enthusiasm, up. It’s a huge problem. And by the way, all of this, pre-debate.

How to Lose Florida: GOP 2008 Flashback

With all of the great Super Saturday numbers making news today, a couple people reminded me that Florida more so than most states is quite a different landscape for both Romney and Obama relative to 2008.  If you will recall Obama only won Florida by 236k votes or just 3% which was well off his national margin of 7%.

What was interesting about Florida in 2008 was its popular GOP Governor was supposed to be a huge asset and he allegedly had a wonderful relationship with John McCain making it all the more likely the GOP would enjoy decided structural advantages over Obama in the Sunshine State.  But that Governor was Charlie Crist and there was always something just not right about Crist that didn’t sit well with the the grass roots. First, he stabbed in the back his prior long-time friend Rudy Giuliani in the GOP primary whom he had previously promised to endorse. His endorsement for McCain on the eve of the primary effectively ended Rudy’s campaign (Giuliani had staked his entire ill-fated campaign on a good showing in Florida) and turned the race over to McCain.

What’s lesser know is how Charlie Crist was horse-trading his endorsement for a VP nod on the McCain ticket.  But when he was passed over for Sarah Palin, Crist pulled all his support for McCain and let the state party apparatus flounder which greatly impeded McCain throughout the remainder of the campaign. It was for these reasons the famous Florida photo of the Crist-Obama post-inauguration embrace was such a powder keg locally. Everyone in the state knew Crist actively undermined McCain once he didn’t get the VP slot.  This was part and parcel of the active recruitment by the grassroots — not hapless Sen. John Cornyn who wanted Crist — for a person to take down Crist in the 2010 Senate race.  Everyone knew Crist was a scoundrel of the highest order — though little different from the political class of the day currently getting drummed out each cycle.  And of course, today Crist has left the GOP, spoke at the Democrat Convention and is expected to run as a Democrat for Governor or similar in an upcoming election (my bet says he doesn’t make it out of the Dem primary).

But let’s take a look at exactly what hurdles Crist erected in front of the McCain campaign in 2008 that greatly assisted Obama:

These are all just off the top of my head or from the great work by Christian Camara.

Today, we have a GOP governor who will rally with the candidate and isn’t actively undermining the candidate. At the same time, the GOP is enjoying a net gain in Florida voter registrations greater than Obama’s entire margin of victory in 2008.

2012 is not 2008 and by nearly every metric the GOP is dramatically outpacing its 2008 performance.  When you combine that with an enthusiasm for Romney, antipathy for Obama and an extremely well-funded campaign, Florida looks ever more like the next state to fall for Team Romney.

Born and Raised In Nevada

Former professional basketball player Greg Anthony has a soft spot in his heart for Nevada. When he voted for Barack Obama, he thought he’d be a centrist. After four years though, he’s heard enough excuses. He’s supporting Mitt Romney because we can’t afford four more years like the last.

The Battle for Jacksonville

Previously I blogged Duval County, the home of Jacksonville, but never just this important city in Northern Florida.  It is one of the few competitive area is the state not along the I-4 corridor.  Size-wise the city is the largest in the US but its population density doesn’t match the traditional “big cities.”  At the same time the area retains a better diversity than  other urban areas thanks to its beach proximity and downtown feel.  From a journalistic standpoint there is some subtle comedy in the piece.  The Obama supporters are either campaign staffers or obviously phony “Republicans” while the Romney supporters are all 2008 Obama voters. I guess they tried to get a balance but couldn’t find “man on the street” Obama supporters. Here is the Associated Press look at the Battle for Jacksonville:

Eric Allen was 18 and voting in his first presidential election when he chose Barack Obama over John McCain. Four years older now and looking for a job, he is just the kind of voter Republican Mitt Romney needs to win — and win big — in northeast Florida’s Duval County and take the most coveted of the toss-up states. “I voted for him last time just to see the change,” Allen says of Obama, “and there was no change.”

2008 surprise

The Obama campaign targeted the Jacksonville area with surprising success in 2008, nearly equaling Republican John McCain in Duval County votes as Obama carried the state. Whether Obama can do as well again may determine if he takes Florida a second time — and with it a second term. In GOP regions of swing states, Republicans must turn out in huge numbers to overcome Democratic advantages elsewhere. Republican-friendly regions like southeast Ohio and southwest Virginia share northeast Florida’s mission of overwhelming Democrats at the polls.

Must win for Romney

For both campaigns, Florida is one of the keys to winning the White House. It’s even more important for Romney, whose paths to Electoral College victory are few without the state’s 29 votes. Even though each side has already spent $60 million on TV and radio ads, Republicans are expected to spend even more than Democrats in the campaign’s final weeks. Polling shows a tight race in Florida with Obama slightly ahead in some surveys, making the Democrat’s turnout in Duval County essential to his overall strategy.

Democrat resurgence in Jacksonville

Sprawling and traditionally conservative, the Jacksonville area went for Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980. After that, Democrats all but conceded Duval County, with its Southern feel and strong military presence. Obama, however, persuaded enough moderate Republicans, conservative Democrats and independents to give his message of hope and change a chance to cancel out the usual Republican advantage there. The Democratic campaign was more competitive in 2008 in part because it built excitement in Duval County’s large black community with voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote efforts to support the nation’s first black presidential candidate on a major party ticket. Duval County has more than 516,000 registered voters out of a total population of about 871,000. The percentage of black residents, 29.8, is nearly double the statewide figure. The campaign will have to keep the same enthusiasm among black voters to keep Duval competitive.

Republicans counterattack

Republicans are trying to put more resources toward restoring the overwhelming turnout they’ve enjoyed for almost a generation. “We have to drive up the score here so that we can make sure that we make up ground in other areas,” Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus said in Jacksonville in August. “We’re going to have a plan in this county to not just win, but to try to win as big as possible. Winning here isn’t enough. You have to do great in places you’re strong.” The Romney campaign didn’t wait for the former Massachusetts governor to secure the nomination to set up a presence in the city. Unlike McCain, who was far outspent, they’re matching the huge resources Obama is pumping into the area, said Brett Doster, a Florida-based political consultant who is advising the campaign and ran George W. Bush’s 2004 Florida campaign. Along with a stronger ground game — Doster says it’s bigger and better organized than when Bush carried Duval County by 61,000 votes — the Romney campaign believes it will be able to win back Republicans who supported Obama.

Lost that lovin feeling

Lynn Fernandez, a shoe repair shop owner and a Republican who voted for Obama four years ago. Now she’s voting for Romney. While she blamed Congress for lack of progress in Washington, she’s taking it out on the president and hoping, not so optimistically, that a change can break Washington gridlock. “Whoever gets in there is still going to have a difficult time because we’re in such a mess. No matter how hard a president fights, he still has to fight the Senate and Congress,” said Fernandez, 58. “I voted for Obama last time. Not that he didn’t try. We’ve dug ourselves in such a big hole it’s going to be a long time before we get out of it no matter who gets in there.” Larry Mordecai Jr., a 49-year-old Republican who until recently worked in the mortgage industry, said he was proud to vote for Obama in 2008 because the country was divided and he liked Obama’s enthusiasm. He thought he would be an inspirational president. While he hasn’t completely made up his mind, Mordecai is leaning toward Romney and wants to watch the debates before making a decision. “I’m highly disappointed. It’s going to take a lot of convincing on President Obama’s part to really sway me in that direction,” Mordecai said. “I’m not enthusiastic about either party and most of that would have to do with my lack of confidence in Congress.”

Note, there is one other voter quoted in the piece who is labeled a Republican that supported Obama in 2008 and is doing so again this time.  I will wager any sum of money that person is flat out lying and is a staunch Democrat.  This is much like the many fake Republicans in Obama ads that have been busted time and again.

About That Crumbling 2008 Coalition of Support for Obama — Hispanics

I made a number of blog posts on demographics and the Hispanic vote when this blog began a few months ago.  My main thrust was a) The Obama campaign misrepresents which demographics’ vote won them the 2008 election, and 2) Hispanics enthusiasm is way down from 2008 so even if they support Obama by greater numbers, that support may not show up on election day.

The first point remains as true as ever, but it is the second point that gets curiouser by the day. The brunt of my time is spent blogging Battleground polls but occasionally I’ll delve into a national poll or two. The national polls regularly reveal the trend the Obama campaign had been gunning for — Hispanics prefer Obama by a greater margin nationally than they did in 2008.  This is good news for Obama and his “coalition of the ascendent” argument for why he will win re-election. State polls often don’t provide demographic preferences so I haven’t spent time combing through the numbers since they’re rarely there to begin win.  But one of Jim Geraghty’s confidential sources has looked at these numbers and points out many intriguing surprises:

Conventional wisdom holds that Mitt Romney is faring so badly with Hispanic voters that he cannot possibly win. A recent CNN/ORC poll of Hispanics nationally finds President Obama has the support of 70 percent Hispanic voters compared to 26 percent for Mitt Romney. By comparison, John McCain got 31 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008. National polls can be deceiving because they survey Hispanics from populous states like California and New York, who are overwhelmingly Democratic voters. Let’s look at the polls of Hispanics in the key battleground states of Florida, Nevada, and Colorado.

Florida

  • PPP Florida Poll this week shows Romney with 47% of Hispanics and Obama with 49%.
  • In 2008, Obama took 57% of the vote compared to McCain’s 42%.

Nevada

  • WSJ/NBC/Marist Nevada Poll this week shows Romney with 36% of Hispanics and Obama with 62%.
  • In 2008, Obama took 76% of the vote compared to McCain’s 22%.

Colorado

  • ARG Colorado Poll this week shows Romney with 38% of Hispanics and Obama with 53%.
  • In 2008, Obama took 61% of the vote compared to McCain’s 38%.

Why the improvement?

Team Romney has made some very smart adjustments in both the tone and substance of Romney’s stance on immigration, which is a gateway issue for Hispanics

  • Romney announced that he would allow undocumented “Dreamers” who were offered a two-year deferral on deportation by Obama to stay in the country if he becomes President
  • he would seek a permanent legislative solution for these undocumented young achievers who pursue higher education or serve in the military

Hispanics — who have experienced sharply higher rates of joblessness under Obama than the general population — are increasingly receptive to Romney’s core message of promoting upward mobility and creating 12 million jobs through pro-growth policies

  • a new Latino Decisions national poll has Romney at 33 percent among Hispanics, a seven point increase from a month ago.

The bottom line: Obama is not where he was with Hispanic voters in 2008 and Romney is steadily improving on McCain’s showing, which will be critical in carrying these battleground states. Mitt’s strong debate performance the other night will no doubt boost his numbers among independent Hispanics voters. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Mitt Romney will do at least as well as George W. Bush did among Hispanics in 2000 (35% of the vote nationally), and he will win a majority of Hispanics in Florida.

The Hope of 2008 Doesn’t Resonate the Same

Jon Ward takes a unique look at the changes from the aura that was candidate Obama to the rain-soaked reality that is President Obama:

President Barack Obama stood under a driving rain here on Friday afternoon, a black trench coat draped over his lanky frame, and looked out at the thousands of supporters, ticking off his accomplishments. He mentioned health care reform, ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, increasing fuel efficiency standards, and infrastructure investments. “You made this happen,” Obama told the crowd of an estimated 9,000 people on the football field at Cleveland State University. “But if that progress is going to continue, you’ve got to step up,” Obama added. It was an odd thing to say to people who had been standing in what was often a downpour for as long as four hours, many of whom were drenched to the bone and shivering. And the president seemed to realize the potential for his remark to come across as insensitive. “And I know I’m preaching to the choir here because you all are standing in the rain,” he said. “But a little rain never hurt anybody. Some of these policies from the other side could hurt a whole lot of folks.”

Hope is just a memory

During Obama’s speech, the pace of the downpour increased, bringing back memories of his rain-soaked speech the day before the 2008 election. But the circumstances then and now are quite different. Four years ago Obama was an inspiration, an upstart who had outclassed and outfoxed a veteran U.S. senator and war hero, and stood on the verge of a historic and overwhelming victory. Now, Obama, 51, is a gray-haired incumbent who maintains fervent support among some Democrats, but who has disappointed many others, not to mention independents or even Republicans who voted for a Democrat in the belief he would change the way politics works.

Hint of desperation

And despite a positive jobs report out Friday morning…he is on his heels for the first time in over a month. The urgency in Obama’s remarks, especially in Leesburg, accentuated the degree to which he has realized -– after his atrocious debate performance on Wednesday night in Denver -– that his reelection is not going to be an uncontested layup. Polls, which showed Obama opening up a lead in September, have begun to tighten. Obama on Friday seemed almost alarmed at the opening he had given to his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, in the wake of the debate where Romney was almost universally declared the clear winner. In Leesburg, Obama said there has been “too much progress” under his administration for him to be defeated. A loss to Romney, he said, would hurt the country. “I can’t allow that to happen. I won’t allow that to happen,” Obama said.

Not everyone is a fan

The positive vibes appeared to dissipate a bit later when Obama stopped at a downtown market, and asked the proprietor at Rolston Poultry how business was going. “Terrible since you got here,” said the man, who was not identified by name in the press pool report. When reached by phone, the man said he did not want to give his name, and told The Huffington Post that he had “nothing to say.”

Florida Democrats for Mitt Romney

The cross-over supporters are getting motivated. They see which way the wind is blowing:

Roger Wishner, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives from Sunrise, is one of four co-chairmen of the newly formed Florida Democrats for Mitt Romney. Wishner, who is also a former city commissioner and mayor, said in a telephone interview he’s supporting the Republican presidential candidate because it’s time for a change – the same reason he supported Democrat Barack Obama in 2008.

He said it’s the first time he’s ever backed a Republican. “I’m deeply concerned about the direction of the country…. I’m worried and I think that we need to go in a different direction,” he said, citing concerns about the economy and Israel’s security.

In 2008, he said, he supported Obama, and was present when the Democratic candidate held a mass rally at the Sunrise arena now known as the BB&T Center. “I wanted to see a new direction. I wanted to see the country succeed. That’s why I wanted a change then,” said Wishner. He said he doesn’t think supporting Romney will hurt his standing among fellow Democrats. “This is not an issue of party, and it shouldn’t be an issue of party,” he said. “The problem is when you basically are so locked into a political ideology that you must support that individual because they happen to have a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ or an ‘I’ next to their name,” he said.

He was elected to the Sunrise commission in 1987, served four years in the Legislature and returned to the commission in 2007. He was elevated to the mayor’s chair to fill a vacancy and lost a 2010 election for the job.

Obama Enthusiasm Down 10pts, Romney Enthusiasm Up 10pts

I have hammered this point countless times when enumerating reason after reason why the turnout results in polling is unrealistic and not reflective of today’s electorate. Obama had a record advantage in 2008 and the enthusiasm among his troops is meaningfully lower today while the enthusiasm among his opponent’s troops is equally higher.  According to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, the two camps are approximately even in enthusiasm:

President Obama may win re-election, but if he does it appears it will be without the legions of fervent supporters and big enthusiasm that propelled him to victory four years ago. In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, Mitt Romney’s supporters are about as enthusiastic about supporting him in November as are those who back Obama. This is a stark contrast from the Post-ABC poll earlier this month, as well as throughout 2008, when Obama had huge leads over Sen. John McCain in this area.

In the new poll, 51 percent of  voters who support Obama are “very enthusiastic” about supporting him, as are 48 percent of Romney backers who are very enthused. Romney came close to Obama on enthusiasm once before, closing the gap to six percentage points in August.  Compared with four years ago, Obama’s supporters are less enthusiastic, while Romney’s are clearly more so than were McCain’s. Obama’s level of intense enthusiasm is down 10 percentage points from late September 2008, when 61 percent were “very enthusiastic.” Strong enthusiasm for Romney is 10 points higher than it was for McCain at the same point in the campaign.

The four-year drop-off in Obama enthusiasm has been most stark among ideological moderates. More than six in 10 moderate Obama voters were “very enthusiastic” about supporting him In a Post-ABC poll at this point in the 2008 campaign. Today, just 42 percent of Obama’s moderate voters are highly enthusiastic. Liberals, by contrast, are just as enthusiastic about Obama now (65 percent very enthusiastic) as four years ago (61 percent). For Romney, the improvements over McCain are among conservatives, older voters and among evangelicals. For instance, a 56 percent majority of white evangelical Protestants are “very enthusiastic” about voting for Romney, up from 36 percent who were jazzed about McCain. The spike among this group may come as a surprise, given that evangelical Christians were among Romney’s weaker groups in the Republican primaries this year.

About that Enthusiasm Gap … We’re not in 2008 any more Dorothy

Gallup has another survey out today in conjunction with USA Today.  While there are plenty of interesting take-aways from the survey questions, what struck me most was the enthusiasm gap and who is up versus who is down this year.

The poll of 1,446 adults, taken Monday through Thursday, has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

Republicans have opened a big enthusiasm gap: 64% say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting, compared to 48% of Democrats. In general, though, the results show an electorate that is less excited and less engaged than in recent presidential elections.

Democrats are less enthusiastic about voting than in 2008, although Republicans are a bit more enthusiastic. Fewer Democrats and Republicans say they have given a lot of thought to the election than they did in the falls of 2008 and 2004.

Polls of “adults” over-sample Democrat support which makes the subsequent take-aways all the more damning.  I’m going to repeat them for those who missed it the first time:

Democrats are less enthusiastic about voting than in 2008

and

Republicans are a bit more enthusiastic.

Paraphrasing Inigo Montoya: You keep using those 2008 turnout models. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

Hugh Hewitt Takes on the Pollsters

Radio host and conservative columnist Hugh Hewitt has done fantastic work this season interviewing pollsters and asking the tough questions looking for answers how allegedly reliable polls have such unrealistic internal make-ups.   In his Townhall column he lays out numerous arguments to challenge the data including two objective data points that make the Ohio sampling more obviously incorrect:

There are plenty of data points to encourage Republicans, and these are genuine data points as opposed to the junk food offered up by Quinnipiac and Marist, which derived their predictions from samples that included enormous Democratic voter margins in key states, pro-Democratic turnout margins that were even greater than those achieved in Obama’s blowout year of 2008..

Two data points that warm GOP hearts and undermine the junk polls: (1) Absentee requests in Ohio by Democrats are trailing their 2008 totals –often by a lot in key Democratic counties like Cuyahoga County; and (2) overall voter registration for Democrats in the Buckeye State is down dramatically from 2008.

These two bits of info undermine the credibility of the Obama booster polls, as did the interviews I conducted with key leadership from both polls and with other informed observers.

In addition to doing the media’s job actually finding the data to challenge the assumptions, Hewitt has used his radio shows to go right to the sources on polling and how we should interpret the data.  After numerous interviews Hewitt provides five major takeaways:

  • The pro-Obama pollsters don’t have answers as to why their skewed samples are trustworthy beyond the fact that they think their approach to randomness is a guarantee of fairness, and they seem to resent greatly that the questions are even asked. Like [Convicted fraud Bernie] Madoff would have resented questions about his stunning rate of return.
  • Barone notes that percentage turnout by party in a presidential year hasn’t been much greater for the president’s party than it was in the preceding off-year, which makes samples outstripping even the 2008 model of Democratic participation “inherently suspicious.”.
  • Cost notes that Romney is winning the independent vote in every poll, which also makes big Obama leads suspect.
  • And my conversation with Mr. Shepard, whose employer National Journal has a reputation for the best non-partisan work inside the Beltway, didn’t find any academic, disinterested support for the proposition that party identification cannot be weighted because of the inherent instability of the marker.
  • The biggest unanswered question of all: If party ID is so subject to change that it should not be weighted according to an estimate of turnout, why ask about it at all? And if it is for the purpose of detecting big moves, as Mr. Shepard argued, why not report that “big move” in the stories that depend upon the polling?

There are a number of reasons polling organizations could offer for their curious sampling but they offer no defense of these results other than it is consistent with the prior election which fails to take into account that admitted notion that party identification changes every election and the current samplings do not reflect the reality of today’s electorate.

About That Crumbling 2008 Coalition of Support for Obama — African-Americans

Yesterday we pointed out how support among both the Jewish community and youth vote are down substantially from their 2008 levels.  Now we get a look at the African-American community from the Economist regarding the often rocky relationship between Obama and this group and how it may impact turnout in 2012.  For both sides who either want to reflexively gripe about or use as a baseline the genuinely  incredible level of support in the Black community for Obama in 2008, take a moment to think about what it would be like if you were a minority in a country and experienced usually subtle but occasionally overt racism every day for 20 or 30 or 50 years and you finally get a chance to cast a ballot for someone of your race.  You would most likely crawl a mile over broken glass to cast that vote similar to the way Blacks voted in 2008.  With that historic vote cast, though, many demons are exorcised and 2012 doesn’t exactly have that same meaning. This group is still overwhelmingly Democrat, but the outsized turnout and support level likely can’t match the last election. That is my entire point when I talk about reduced turnout rates among Blacks expected at the voting booth this November:

It is hardly a secret that black voters love the president (though they may love his wife even more), but the relationship has not always been smooth. If Mr Obama is unique among American presidents, his biography makes him an outlier among black Americans too. He was descended not from slaves, but from an immigrant African father and a white mother. His mother raised him in Hawaii (just 2% black) and Indonesia. In 2007 Hillary Clinton had much higher favourable ratings among blacks than Mr Obama did. Many of Mr Obama’s earliest prominent supporters were white and Jewish, and indeed he has faced consistent criticism, first as a candidate and then as president, for being too aloof from the black community. As president, when Mr Obama has made his race an issue, he has often used it to challenge blacks in ways that a white politician could not. Last autumn he told the congressional black caucus (CBC) to “stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.” Three years earlier, Candidate Obama delivered a Father’s Day speech at a black church in Chicago, telling black fathers that they needed to “realise that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child. It’s the courage to raise one.” A couple of weeks later an open microphone picked up Jesse Jackson, a civil-rights icon who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1984, saying he wanted to “cut [Mr Obama’s] nuts off” for “talking down to black people”

[P]ressure from the black community has not entirely faded, and with good reason. The economic downturn has hit black Americans particularly hard. A Pew Research Centre study found that in 2009 the median wealth of a white household was 20 times higher than that of a black one: the largest gap since the federal government began tracking wealth data by race in 1984. The median wealth of black households had fallen by 53% over the preceding four years, compared with just 16% for white households. In August 2012 the unemployment rate for blacks was 14.1%. That was down from a high of 16.7% in August 2011, but it still far exceeded the national average of 8.1%.

Both the current and a former head of the CBC have mused that stubborn unemployment, combined with Mr Obama’s perceived aloofness to the high rates of black unemployment, may cause some black voters to stay at home on November 6th. (emphasis added)

About That Crumbling 2008 Coalition of Support for Obama — Jewish and Youth Vote

One of the key tenets to the argument that polls surveying Democrat turnout higher than the 2008 levels is every poll shows some combination of either reduced enthusiasm or reduced support for Obama versus his 2008 performance on election day. This poll from the American Jewish Committee (hat-tip commenter perdogg) shows Obama with a substantial lead among Jewish voters 65 to 24.  Great for the President, right?  Unfortunately, that 41-point margin is substantially less than the 57-point margin (78 to 21) Obama had in 2008.

This type of drop among Obama’s 2008 coalition is not limited to Jewish voters.  I haven’t focused as much on national polls, but other groups like the youth vote are also leaving the President’s side.  In the CBS/New York Times national poll from Sep 14, Obama was leading among 18-29 year-olds 53 to 45, only an 8-point margin. His margin in 2008 was 34-point (66 to 32). As we have point out numerous times, in 2008 Obama did not meaningfully increase the youth turnout.  He did, however, meaningfully persuade them to vote for him. Now their enthusiasm is dampened and their preferences have changed.

Dynamics like the ones above will make it nearly impossible for Obama to repeat, let alone exceed, his 2008 turnout advantage in the 2012 election.  These are among the many reasons we find the polls over-sampling Democrats by wide margins to be unrealistic surveys and not accurate reflections of voter preferences today.

A new American Jewish Committee poll found 65 percent of Jews nationwide planning to vote for US President Barack Obama versus 24 percent for Mitt Romney, with another 10 percent undecided. The poll, conducted Sept. 6-17 among 1,040 Jewish voters nationwide, found Obama doing better than Romney among Jews of all religious backgrounds with the exception of Orthodox Jews, who favored the Republican nominee. Taking into account the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, the poll’s overall finding regarding the state of the Jewish vote is similar to other recent polling from Gallup and elsewhere.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 65
Mitt Romney 24
Undecided 10

The Great Party ID Debate Continued

I’m flattered so many people picked up on my post regarding polls oversampling Democrats accounting for Obama’s entire lead .  Adding to the discussion, The Winston Group has a great post on national party ID in every election (including mid-terms) since 1984:

Exit polls are a unique set of numbers, as they are the only major dataset that is directly weighted to election results. That unique quality gives them the reputation of being the “official record” of what happened in an election. When evaluating a poll, it’s important to take partisan breakdown into account. A survey that dramatically overstates the number of Republicans or Democrats likely to turn out may not give an accurate read on public opinion among the true electorate (emphasis added). For example, the margin between Democrats and Republicans was at its largest since 1984 during the 2008 election. That year, the number of Democrats was larger than the number of Republicans by 7 points — quite a change from 2004 when things were even. The partisan breakdown in Midterm election years is always different from presidential elections, but we include them in our national data here for historical reference.

The Winston Group goes on to discuss the changes in party ideology on election day between liberal, conservative and moderate with liberals always hovering near 20%, conservatives hovering near 34% before spiking to 42% in 2010 and moderates generally around 45-47% before falling off to 38% with the spike in conservative self-identification.

The above figures in the graph are the backbone of my critique of polling today. The weak economy, documented decreased enthusiasm among key Obama groups (Hispanics and youth vote) plus increased Republican enthusiasm all strongly argue that weightings of increased Obama turnout relative to 2008 are unjustifiable.  The entire argument is that polls oversampling Democrats by 7-10% are unrealistic in today’s environment when at Obama apex of enthusiasm his advantage was only D +7. Even in Hugh Hewitt’s interview with Lee Miringoff, director of the Maris Institute for Public Opinion, Dr. Miringoff never tried to defend the oversampling of Democrats, only that the figures used were within the margin of error if you use 2008 as a baseline. That is for consistency sake and not accuracy sake which is why the current polling is simply neither reflective of today’s electorate nor accurate for November’s outcome.

Obama’s National Lead Based Entirely on Over-Sampling Democrats

I went to great lengths to debunk the over-sampling of Democrats in polling used across polling outfits.  As a brief reminder, they use the prior election as their base model (7 percentage points more Democrats than Republicans) for consistency sake but not for accuracy sake.  Only Rasmussen Reports aggressively surveys the public to get a sense of current party affiliation and weights his polls accordingly.  This is why, despite hysterical protests from the Left, Rasmussen consistently calls the Presidential races better than his competitors. One of the commenters, greymarch, mentioned some good work by @NumbersMuncher showed the +3.1% lead for Obama in the current (September 15) Real Clear Politics average of national polls was based on polls where Democrats were being oversampled by on average +6.1%. Now we have this disparity in graphic detail:

As you can see the X-Axis is the % over-sampling either way: movement to the left is Republican over-sampling while movement to the right is Democrat over-sampling. The Y-Axis is the attendant Obama lead which loosely correlates to how greatly Democrats are over-sampled. The real take-away which I have mentioned the times I blog national polls is that many of those national polls are HORRIBLE for Obama, namely the ABC/Washington Post and CBS/New York Times polls where you have large Democrat over-samplings but rather small leads for Obama. This means if Obama doesn’t meet or beat his stellar 2008 turnout advantage he’s in for a drubbing on election day.

These over-samplings serve a few purposes but mainly drive down enthusiasm for Republicans while assisting the Obama campaign with “bandwagon” supporters who simply like being on the winning team (they’re real and they count). If pollsters in conjunction with the Obama campaign create a negative feedback loop for Republicans such that the marginal voter doesn’t show up (definitely a well documented top priority for the Obama campaign) and assist with the bandwagon voter — a small but meaningful voter in close elections — then Obama can create the perfect storm he needs to eek out a close victory following one of the worst four-year performances for any President in modern times (Carter is the only arguable comparable).

That is the what and why pollsters are doing the massive Democrat over-sampling this election cycle.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As mentioned in the comments section, Rasmussen Premium subscribers know that Rasmussen Reports polls are weighted D +1, not not D -2 (or R+2 however you like it) like the original chart posted.  @NumbersMucher has a chart reflecting this corrected information and the chart above reflects the corrected data.

Signs of Trouble for Obama in Iowa

Two interesting pieces emerged today following Obama’s 3-day odyssey in Iowa.  First an analyses of voter registration in Iowa demonstrating an embedded weakness for Obama in 2012 and the second, an on-the-ground report of the politically troubling flip-side to Obama photo-ops during his barnstorming.

At Examiner.com an analysis of filing records reveals voter registration in Iowa has swung like a pendulum over the last 3 election cycles.

  • In 2004 voter registration was fairly even at Rep: 31%, Dem 31%, Ind: 38%.  This resulted in a Bush victory by 1%.
  • In 2008 during a genuine wave of Democrat enthusiasm registration titled heavily in favor of Obama, Rep: 30%, Dem: 35%, Ind: 36% resulting in an Obama 10% win.
  • In 2012, Republicans have beaten back the tide and more than reversed Obama’s advantage with registrations currently Rep: 33%, Dem: 32%, Ind: 35%. The aggregate #s are even worse for Obama with Republicans at their highest highs (620,584) in this comparison and Democrats at their lowest lows (598,995) in registrations.

Despite the Republican registration advantage, Independents in the state (659,838) will determine the ultimate outcome.  There is not a lot of data on how Independents are breaking in Iowa right now but Romney was leading by 11 percentage points in the recent Purple Strategies survey portending really bad news for Obama in the Hawkeye State.

In the second Iowa story of the day, Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics looks underneath the goodwill and pomp generated by the President’s 3-days in Iowa and found a nagging weaknesses that may flip the Hawkeye state back into the Republican column this Fall:

[D]espite the meticulously scripted events and adoring crowds during the president’s three-day visit, there were small signs along the way of trouble in the heartland.

Day 1, Des Moines: he Obama campaign was thrilled with the resulting photo-op: Regular-guy president buys a round of Budweisers for a dozen or so fairgoers, who break into a cheeky cheer (“four more beers!”) in support of his re-election…the third-generation owner of the 65-year-old institution known as the Bud Tent, was less than thrilled with the visit…in a tough economic environment the security requirements of the presidential stop, which included a full Secret Service sweep of the area, meant the beer tent had to be shut down for nearly two hours during its busiest time of day, Cunningham complained. He claimed that Obama’s appearance cost him some $25,000 in revenue, which he described wryly as making a “campaign contribution against my will.” “I wouldn’t have voted for him before,” Cunningham told the Des Moines Register. “I won’t again.”

Day 2, central Iowa: Obama visited a wind farm. Again, the campaign was thrilled with the picture-perfect optics of the event. But shortly after Obama’s caravan departed the owner of the farm and his son Jarret let it be known that although the president was “gracious, personable, and very respectful” neither man will be voting for him in November. “It is important to not get caught up in the president’s glamorous re-election words and remember President Obama’s first term record and rhetoric does not represent Middle America, entrepreneurs, small business owners and farmers,” Jarret Heil said in a statement to the media.

Day 3, Davenport: the national press corps was surprised to find Ross Murty, the co-owner of the Village Corner Deli, which catered the event, wearing a black T-shirt with big, bold white letters that read, “Government didn’t build my business. I did” — a dig at Obama’s now-infamous remark in Virginia last month about small businesses.

If Obama’s three-day trek across Iowa proved that he could still rekindle a spark from 2008, the unscripted moments of his journey also proved that the Hawkeye State, like much of the rest of the country, is deeply divided over the president’s re-election.

Romney Introduces Ryan as “The Next President …” so did Obama in 2008

Lefties  in the media are already jumping on Mitt Romney’s gaffe of introducing his Vice President running-mate as the “next President …”  Well, turns out that mistake is fairly common as Barack Obama made the same mistake in 2008 for his introduction of Joe Biden:

Obama Misspeaks, Calls Biden ‘The Next President’; Biden Calls Obama ‘Barack America’

ABC News’ Sara Just reports: Journalists who were awake until the wee hours waiting for confirmation that Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., was indeed Barack Obama’s running mate, cannot be blamed if their hearing is a little fuzzy today.

But after today’s Obama-Biden speeches to a massive crowd in Springfield, Ill., many reporters are rolling back the tape and asking each other, “Did he really say that?”

When introducing his running mate, Obama said, “So let me introduce to you the next president – the next vice president of the US of America, Joe Biden.”

And then when it was Biden’s turn to speak, the Delaware senator called the presumptive Democratic nominee “Barack America” instead of Barack Obama.

“My friends, I don’t have to tell you, this election year the choice is clear. One man stands ready to deliver change we desperately need. A man I’m proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next president of the United States, Barack America,” Biden said, per ABC News’ Sunlen Miller.

Obama Leads Big in Three National Polls … Or Does He?

I tend to avoid the national polls since I started this blog to discuss the Battleground states. And not national polls, in my opinion, can distract from where this race will actually be decided — which is in a handful of Battleground states. While very smart people make compelling arguments that national polls are normally a better “tell” than battleground state polls, there is very little normal about the 2012 election. We’ve posted a couple of times how a) various allegedly credible pollsters can have both consistent as well as egregious biases in their results., and b) polling voter screens often have built in Democrat biases even without nefarious intent. That is why while polls are fun to watch, I don’t get too excited one way or the other until we get closer to election day and many of these inaccuracies are sifted out.

With that in mind, many pro-Romney people have been gnashing their teeth over the spate of national polls over the last couple of days showing Obama with a sizable if not commanding lead. Has Obama’s unprecedented early ad spend of relentless negativity actually impacted the race or are all THREE polls outliers versus the Gallup and Rasmussen polls that have shown the race consistently knotted up? Quick tangent on Rasmussen Reports — his polling has called the last few elections more accurate than any pollster pretty much nailing the last two Presidential election outcomes within 1 percentage point of the actual results.  Any time a Lefty dismissed Rasmussen as a “Republican,” they do so at their own peril.  Either he is accurate or he is not.  And the overwhelming evidence shows he is the most accurate Presidential pollster anywhere.

But today pro-Romney people are concerned that Fox News (Obama 49, Romney 40), CNN/ORC International (52 to 45), and Reuters/Ipsos (49 to 42) all have Obama with sizable leads in national polling. Three independent pollsters, including “fair and balanced” Fox news can’t all be wrong by roughly the same amount could they? The answer is they absolutely could be independently and consistently wrong if they use the same sampling bias.

Let’s break them down 1-by-1:

First, the Fox News poll data reveals they surveyed registered voters. That alone is with approximately 2-points in favor of the Democrats. In the 2010 mid-terms the registered voter surveys revealed a pro-Democrat bias versus likely voters by four-points but in a Presidential election year, this disparity can be expected to shrink. Note among “extremely interested” voters (i.e. people nearly guaranteed to vote), the race was a dead heat 48 – 48. Second the party ID was Democrat 44, Republican 35, Independent 20 or D +9.  In 2008 during a huge Democrat wave year (Bush fatigue, war fatigue, financial crises, recession, unappealing Republican alternative, Republican brand damage, etc.) the party ID of voters gave Democrats an advantage between D +7 or 8. This followed 2004 when the party ID on election was perfectly split between the major parties. Now following 4 years of Obama, an anemic economy, relentlessly high unemployment, the Tea Party revolution, increased party registrations, better alternative candidate, Republican brand revitalized and a host of other pro-GOP factors there is a near zero percent chance that Obama meets or exceeds his 2008 voter turnout advantage.  Yet, this poll and many others reflect a November turnout far in favor of Democrats than they can reasonably expect.  My personal guess is that on election day party ID will favor the Democrats by 2 percentage points of D +2. Suddenly an Obama headline lead of 9 points in this poll quickly shrinks to somewhere between 2-3 percentage points — well within the margin of error and consistent with Gallup and/or Rasmussen

The CNN/ORC International poll also uses Registered Voters (as a subset of the even less accurate survey of “adults”). That shaves approximately 2-points from the Democrats to begin with (as discussed above).  Second, any survey of “adults” has averaged a 7-point advantage for Democrats versus likely voters screen (per Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight blog, New York Times: “surveys conducted among likely voters are about 7 points more favorable to the Republican than those conducted among all adults, whether registered to vote or not…there is evidence that likely voter polls are more accurate, especially in Congressional elections.”).  This renders the rest of the “adults” survey largely meaningless. But for the Registered voter screen, a breakdown of party ID would have been extremely helpful.  Unfortunately CNN provides no such data, but you can back into a fair guess of the split based on a question orf self-identified “Republicans” and “Independents leaning Republican” in question 23 of the survey.  This reveals a Republican ID of 45%, leaving 55% Democrats or Independent leaning Democrats.  CNN provides no further information so you have no idea the percentage of leaners this includes (i.e. a way to separate out out actual Independents) but in an already curious survey fraught with issues, this is only the latest.  Anyway, the 45 – 55 split results in a D +10 advantage, again far above the D +7-8 in 2008 and exceedingly higher than my estimate of a D +2 advantage in November 2012. With so much wrong in this survey, its meaningless to even guess what an adjusted outcome would be in this poll.

Finally, the Reuters/Ipsos poll uses the same methodology as CNN/ORC and surveys over 1000 “adults” and then provides race-horse results of registered voters showing Obama with a 7-point lead. This is consistent with Ipsos methodology as explained here.  Beginning with acknowledged inaccurate survey samples weakens confidence in the poll out of the gate but at least Reuters/Ipsos provides a voter ID screen (final page: Demographics).  This came out Democrat 32, republican 28 and Independent 40 or D +4.  When pressed, the advantage shrunk to D +2.  These are fair representations if slightly high for Democrats on the first screen. But if only 1 of 3 polls has Obama with a 3-5 point lead while the other two have Obama with a slim or non-existent edge, I’m not going to get too worried.

Once likely voter screen become the staple of all polling services (next month) huge outlier polls like these three will be a long distant memory.  For now, I’m going to readily ignore them and so should you.

Obama +6 in Wisconsin (If He Exceeds 2008 Turnout Advantage) — Quinnipiac/New York Times

So the Badger State has undertaken a political metamorphosis since 2008 with Republicans gaining controls of every branch of state government in 2010. Additionally, every seat was re-litigated thanks to expensive and contentious recall elections that divided the state, and republicans still retained control (even the flip of the state Senate has flipped back). Yet, despite the dramatically changing landscape, the fact that Romney is competing in Wisconsin complete with a “plug ‘ play” ground game flipping every Governor Scott Walker recall headquarters to Romney Victory centers the day after the recall, Quinnipiac/New York Times survey Wisconsin as if the 2012 turnout will exceed the 2008 Democrat wave. Sweet.

The party ID in this survey was Democrat 34, Republican 27, Independent/Other 39 or D +7. In 2008 the party ID split was D +6 (39-33-29) and in 2004 the party ID was R +3 (35-38-27). As you can see, the over-sampling of Democrats continues with a party split greater than it was in 2008 and not remotely close to 2004 which is the election everyone is comparing 2012 to. Independents are 10 percentage points higher than either previous election which may be a trend but is a curious over-sampling as well.

That said, in yet another survey that expects Barack Obama’s 2012 turnout advantage to exceed his historic 2008 wave (contrary to every piece of actual evidence today), the President holds a 6-point lead over Mitt Romney 51 – 45 in Wisconsin:

For President Percent
Barack Obama 51
Mitt Romney 45
Undecided/Other 4

Can’t wait to see what the polling of the DNC looks like come October.