Tag Archives: Independents

Senator Sharon Angle Agrees With Nate Silver: Barack Obama has an 84% Chance of Winning

Nate Silver has his usual spin on outrageously absurd election outcome odds:

President Obama is now better than a 4-in-5 favorite to win the Electoral College, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast. His chances of winning it increased to 83.7 percent on Friday, his highest figure since the Denver debate and improved from 80.8 percent on Thursday.

He shows a bunch of polls from a murder’s row of bad polling where Obama is leading and maps out three arguments where they could be wrong.  After arguing and dismissing the first two he concludes:

That leaves only the final source of polling error, which is the potential that the polls might simply have been wrong all along because of statistical bias.

You don’t say!

The FiveThirtyEight forecast accounts for this possibility…I do not mean to imply that the polls are biased in Mr. Obama’s favor. But there is the chance that they could be biased in either direction…My argument, rather, is this: we’ve about reached the point where if Mr. Romney wins, it can only be because the polls have been biased against him. Almost all of the chance that Mr. Romney has in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, about 16 percent to win the Electoral College, reflects this possibility.

Silver makes such pronouncements with outlandish statistical weights as if it is nearly unbelievable that the poll results could be wrong.  One of the main purposes of this blog was to look at the exact same polls, analyze the internal data and test whether the poll data match up with the poll results.  We found that time after time after time the results unequivocally do not match up with the internal data.  Thanks to Sean Davis, we are reminded this was the identical situation only 2 years ago is probably the highest profile race where a deeply unpopular Senate Majority leader was behind in nearly every poll yet still won.

Out of 14 polls between October 1 and election day, Sharon Angle led in 12 of those polls.  Her average lead on election day according to Real Clear Politics was +2.6.  She lost by -5.6 points — an 8.2 point swing.  The polls were not just wrong, but WAY wrong.  Could anyone analyzing the internals of these polls see this?  Why yes they could. But even in the highest profile contest of the cycle, almost no one did such an analysis. The few who did, Democrat pollster Mark Mellman, Republican pollster Glen Bolger and liberal reporter/columnist Jon Ralston, all consistently said the polls were wrong — and each was largely ignored until proven correct on election day.  Why did they know this?  Because they looked at the data in the polls and said the internal information does not reflect the top-line results and the Nevada electorate on election day will not reflect what these polls are indicating. They were right and the polls were wrong … by A LOT.

Today we have an identical dichotomy where the stat gurus like Nate Silver say Obama has an 84% chance of winning because that is what the top-line poll numbers tell him.  Nate Silver called the Nevada Senate race incorrectly because the poll data was wrong.  His accuracy is predicated on accurate polls.  Mountains of evidence says today’s Presidential polls are equally as wrong as the Nevada Senate polls.

Critics of the polls on the Right, like myself, of whom even Silver concedes offer “intellectually coherent” critiques say the results on November 6 will be very different. Maybe Nate Silver is correct and Barack Obama will be re-elected President on November 6.  But any analysis of the data in those same state polls he relies on says the voting preference of Independents, the increased turnout of Republicans, the decreased turnout of Democrats, the change in favor of Republicans in early voting, Romney’s favorability on the election’s top issue (economy) and numerous other factors will result in President Romney on November 6.  United States Senator Sharon Angle from Nevada may disagree.

Inside the Romney Campaign on Ohio

Byron York goes behind the scenes with Team Romney to get their sense of where things stand in Ohio and offers some intriguing insights:

Ohio is its own unique campaign

On one hand, Ohioans have seen a different campaign from Americans in most other states.  People in Ohio have been subjected to an unprecedented amount of campaigning, both from the candidates in person and especially in the form campaign advertising.  And its been going on quite a while.  So it is to be expected that there might be some differences between polls in Ohio and polls nationally, which also reflect areas with far less active campaigning.

Ohio polls will align National polls

On the other hand, Team Romney believes there is a fairly close relationship between the national polls and the polls in Ohio. Romney aides are highly skeptical of any results from Ohio that are several points out of line with the national polls.  For example, if Romney is up two nationally, they would find it very hard to believe a poll that shows him down by five in Ohio — to them, that seven-point gap just seems too big. Further, they believe that the national and state numbers ultimately move together, and that if national numbers move, the state numbers will eventually move, too.  They concede that intense campaigning in individual states can change perhaps two or three points, but they believe there is still a fundamental relationship between national and state poll numbers.  They discount the possibility of conflicting popular vote/Electoral College results as extremely remote.

Independents will decide the outcome

Finally, of course, there is the question of who is really ahead in Ohio.  Going back over the last 15 polls in the RealClearPolitics average of polls for the state, Obama led in 12 and three were tied.  None showed Romney leading, so it’s safe to say Obama is leading in Ohio.  Yet Team Romney views the race as closer than the 2.3 percent Obama margin in the RealClearPolitics average would indicate.  And not only is it closer than 2.3 percent, they say, there is also the issue of Romney’s lead among independents in several polls.  In past Ohio elections, they argue, the candidate who won independents also won the election. Obama, John Kasich, Ted Strickland, Rob Portman — they’re all winning candidates who fit that pattern.  So watch the independents, Team Romney argues, in hopes the race will eventually line up their way.

Ohio in Focus

Ohio is where all the action is right now and Maggie Haberman at Politico has the five factors that may swing the Buckeye State for Romney:

[T]here are five key ingredients required for a Romney win in a state that presents the GOP nominee’s easiest and surest path to the White House. Much as the contest between President George W. Bush and challenger John Kerry hinged on specific factors in Ohio, the 2012 contest boils down to some very basic old-fashioned Ohio politics. Below are POLITICO’S five things that, according to longtime operatives familiar with the state, must happen for Romney to capture Ohio:

1. Win the Columbus media market

It reaches 19 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and Obama was the first Democrat in decades to carry the Columbus media market when he won in 2008. Obama won this area by just under 3 points in 2008…Obama and John McCain split the state’s two other large media markets in 2008 — Cleveland went for Obama and Cincinnati for McCain. But Columbus is the main battleground region now, and it shows. The central Ohio area has seen well more than 20,000 so far, according to media trackers — far outpacing the number that aired in the 2004 presidential race. Romney is now on par with Obama in terms of ad spending in the state, but was heavily outgunned for a long time. Romney also needed to reach parity with Obama on the airwaves not just in terms of raw dollars spent, but amount of ads. In the meantime, both Romney and Paul Ryan plan to appear in the state more than 15 times combined before election day.

2. Take back GOP-leaning suburban voters

It’s not enough for Romney to be on air heavily — he also needs to tweak his sales pitch. The GOP nominee has had to adjust his ad strategy so that it’s a softer sell for women and suburban voters, including those who tend to lean Republican in a state where there’s no party registration and who Obama captured in 2008 to strong effect. In North Canton, Ohio on Friday night, Romney’s pitch to women was part of his standard stump, but was clear nonetheless. Romney talked about school choice and education, an issue that tests well with suburban women, many of whom were on hand to hear the GOP nominee speak. A striking fact of the 2012 cycle has been the absence of Ann Romney in heavy rotation in advertising. Mrs. Romney appears at the end of the ads in the disclaimer photo alongside her husband, but she has not been a central focus (though she has stumped in swing states frequently for her husband). [A]n important bellwether to watch is Stark County, just south of the Cleveland area. It’s gone for the winner in every presidential election the last six times, except for one — the 2004 Bush-Kerry race, when the Democrat won it by less than two points.

3. Go for the coal

Romney’s campaign is betting that the electorate will look more like 2004 than 2008 — so it’s natural that the goal would be to shoot for Bush’s margins of eight years ago. [F]ocus on the coal industry in southeast Ohio, where the Obama administration’s policies are often described as the “war on coal.”

4. Independents’ day

Winning independents is something Romney needs to do everywhere, but in Ohio the indie factor is even more crucial — he must have a very strong showing with them. The silver lining for the Romney campaign, which it cites often, is that recent polling shows them winning independents in basically every survey, even ones where he isn’t winning overall. Obama had an edge with this group in 2008, but it’s more of a battle this time.

5. The great ‘Let it Go Bankrupt’ issue

If there is any issue that Democrats believe helps them above all, it’s the auto bailout. And if there is any issue that Romney’s campaign is clearly defensive over, it’s the auto bailout. Many Ohioans work in the auto industry and benefited from the Obama administration’s decision to bail out the auto industry — something Romney was against (though Romney states he was for a managed bankruptcy). Both of the campaigns are using the issue to their benefit. Just look at their statements recently — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, an uber-surrogate for Romney this cycle, has accused Obama of making false claims about the bailout during one of the presidential debates. Portman penned an op-ed piece on the topic this week in a local Ohio paper. And the Romney campaign has gone to great lengths to highlight the case of Delphi, an auto parts plant that shuttered amid the bailout (the Obama campaign disputes the details).

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.

Ohio Early Voting in One Tweet

From our old friend Adrian Gray:

This doesn’t even touch the 15-18 point swing in the Independent vote from 2008 to today among other metrics breaking Romney’s way.

CNN/Time Poll Has Turnout at Democrats +9 in Ohio and Obama Leading

The new CNN/Time poll.  What are we going to do with it? The top-line of the poll says Obama leads by 5, 49 to 44 but everything underneath says that poll has little basis in reality.

Independents

In 2008 candidate Obama won Ohio by 5 percentage point while winning Independents by 8 points.  In today’s CNN/Time poll, Mitt Romney leads with Independents by an incredible 13-points but is down overall by 5-points.  That is simply not plausible.

Party ID

The party ID in this poll was D +9 (Dem 37, Rep 28, Ind 29). This compares to D +8 in 2008 (Dem 39, Rep 31, Ind 30) and R +5 in 2004 (Dem 35, Rep 40, Ind 25).  There is no chance the Democrat turnout advantage will exceed Obama’s 2008 best in a generation turnout which we write as D +8 based on the CNN party ID generally used.  This is even though the actual 2008 party ID was really only D +5 making this D +9 that much more unrealistic.

Early voting and the likely voter screen

Early voting is creating a unique problem for polling organizations this year. Since Democrats tend to vote early, you see the Democrat candidate typically leading by wide margins in early voting. According to the CNN survey “respondents who say they have already voted, Obama holds a two-to-one lead over Romney, 60% to 30%.”  So we know upfront in early voting there is an overwhelming number of Democrats.

When it comes to polls, all voters who said they already voted make it through the likely voter screen and end up in the final results. Approximately 17 percent of the respondents were early voters while 83% had yet to vote. This means a 17% segment of those polled are guaranteed to make it through the likely voter screen and we know that group supported President Obama by a 2-to-1 margin. This inherently over-samples Democrats which practically guarantees a favorable result for Democrats. The problem with early voting and polling ahead of election day is the results will skew in favor of the party with the higher early turnout, in this case the Democrats.  That’s one of the ways you end up with a party ID of D +9 when there is no chance of that turnout occurring on election day.

It was nice of CNN and Time to spend the money to run a poll of all-important Ohio, but I think this poll did little more give false hope to Democrats who are likely in for a rude awakening on election night thanks to unrealistic polls like this one.

Obama +5 in Minnesota — Rasmussen

Romney keeping Minnesota on the radar! I don’t have the full breakdown but thanks to @NumbersMuncher we know Romney leads with Independents by a whopping 17 points and the party ID is aggressively Democrat in a state strongly reversing its Democrat roots in favor of Republicans.  The party ID is D+6.  This compares to D+4 in 2008 and D+3 in 2004.

Here was my earlier explanation for why we should expect Minnesota party identification to trend Republican in this election:

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.

The details from Rasmussen:

President Obama earns just over 50% of the vote in Minnesota.  A new telephone survey of Likely Minnesota Voters finds Barack Obama with 51% support to 46% for Mitt Romney.  One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, while another one percent (1%) is undecided. Minnesota is Leans Obama in the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projections. The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Minnesota was conducted on October 21, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 51
Mitt Romney 46
Other 1
Undecided 1

Obama +5 in Ohio with a Party ID of D +9 — CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac

You can’t have everything and I guess this poll result is better than the laughable Quinnipiac poll last month showing President Obama with a 10 point lead with the same party breakdown. At least Quinnipiac is consistent in their auditioning for a job in Obama’s second term. They threw me off last week when they put out some fairly sampled polls, but here we are right back to last month’s monstrosity of an Ohio poll over-sampling Democrats by 9%, higher than the 8% margin they enjoyed in 2008. Party ID is D +9 (Dem 35, Rep 26, Ind 34). This compares to D +8 in 2008 (Dem 39, Rep 31, Ind 30) and R +5 in 2004 (Dem 35, Rep 40, Ind 25). As I wrote last month, “This is for a state that less than 12-months ago went to the polls in a very pro-Union turnout and also voted to REPEAL Obamacare by a margin of 66 to 34.” Considering we have the same party ID as last month, this poll is really really bad for the President.  He’s down 7 with Independents, he’s down 7 among men, and his month-over-month comparisons (below) are horrible. Democrats won’t enjoy near the advantage they had in 2008 and this poll claims Ohio is even more Democrat this time around which simply isn’t true.

The early vote issue

Obama leads among early voters 54 to 39 and 20% of those surveyed said they were early voters. The rise of early voting seems to be skewing results in favor of Democrats which was deftly explained by Adrian Gray previously. If Democrats have a propensity to vote early and early voters are polled, more Democrats will get through the likely voter screen and shade results towards Democrats. This is a problem polling forms are going to have to work towards re-calibrating polls reflecting this unintended Democrat over-sampling. It is not a bias in the polling it is just a flaw in polling methods today failing to appropriately take into account this new phenomenon.

Highlights compared to last month:

  • Independents support Romney by 7-points, up from a 1-point lead last month
  • Both sides lock down their base (93%) with nominal/insignificant crossover (5% Romney, 6% Obama)
  • Republicans are decidedly more enthusiastic about voting 52 to 40 — similar to the 10-point gap last month
  • Men support Romney by 7-points, 51 to 44 — similar to the 8-point gap last month
  • Women support Obama by 15-points, 55 to 40 — down from a 25-point gap
  • Youth vote supports Obama by 25-points, 59 to 34 — down from 35-points
  • Seniors support Romney by 7-points, 51 to 44 — reversing an Obama 1-point lead
  • Obama Job Approval good at 50/47
  • The candidates split on who would do better on the economy 48 a piece

Is Obama’s Ohio Firewall Really Just a Maginot Line?

@NumbersMuncher (real name Josh Jordan) has the best read of the morning over at National Review’s “The Corner” where he dismantles the argument that Obama has any advantage in Ohio. The entire piece is a must read:

First, he breaks down the party ID in Ohio from 2008 of D +8 is wrong; the real spread was D +5.

Last cycle was a wave election and Barack Obama took Ohio by 4.6 percent, 51.5 to 46.9. The exit polls showed a split of 39 percent Democrats, 31 percent Republicans, and 30 percent independents. If that had been the actual turnout, according to exit polls’ measurement of how members of each party said they voted, Obama would have won 52.8 to 45.6, for a 7.2 percent margin victory, substantially bigger than the margin by which he actually won. This means that the exit polls were off a little, which is unsurprising since they are, after all, just polls. But we have actual vote totals to compare these polls to. If you use the exit-poll numbers for reported voting by party and then look at what kind of a turnout by party you’d need to get to the actual state vote tally, you come out with this breakdown: 37.5 percent Democrats, 32.5 percent Republicans, and 30 percent Independents (that gives you a vote of 51.6 percent for Obama and 46.9 percent for McCain — pretty close to actual results). So while the 2008 exit polls show an eight-point Democrat advantage, in reality it was likely closer to five percent.

Independents have swung 16-points in favor of Romney versus Obama’s 2008 performance.

In 2008 Obama beat John McCain by 8 percent among independents in Ohio. Of the seven current RCP polls that give independent numbers, Romney is up by an average of 8.7 percent.

Turnout in 2012 will not meet 2008 levels

Of the seven current RCP polls in Ohio, the average Democratic advantage in party ID is 5.5 percent. That is, if we assume 2008 advantage was D+5, as explained above, then the average poll in Ohio right now assumes a 2008-level turnout. While anything is possible on November 6, there are not many people on either side thinking Obama can match his 2008 turnout advantage.

Early voting favors Republicans versus 2008

[F]rom CNN today: “Four years ago, Democrats made up about 42 percent of the early and absentee vote while Republicans made up 22 percent. Through Wednesday, however, the margin has narrowed: Democrats account for 36 percent of the early and absentee vote while Republicans make up for 29 percent.” The current polls have been seriously inflated for Democrats because they’re reporting Obama with 30+ percent leads in early voting (which is then automatically counted in “likely voter” samples), which seems to be vastly overestimating the Democratic advantage among these voters. As CNN explains, Romney is making huge gains from 2008.

Conclusion

Obama won in 2008 largely because of a healthy lead among independents and a highly enthusiastic base’s turning out votes. Right now Romney is leading big with independents, has a more enthusiastic base, and is drawing crowds in Ohio that rival Obama’s. While he is down 2.5 points in the polls, the average poll is assuming 2008 turnout which is unlikely to repeat itself this year. Adding the fact that early voting is trending more Republican than in 2008, there is a lot of reason for optimism that this race is much closer than the current polls suggest. Not bad for a candidate who was declared dead in the state just a few weeks ago.

Just an outstanding deconstruction of the media/Obama spin on his Ohio firewall

Quick Hits

Lots of good stuff out there that doesn’t fit neatly in this blog or merit a full post so I thought it was time for another one of these:

Calif. official whose agency under-reported unemployment stats was Obama campaign donor.

Volunteer to get out the vote in Florida tonight: Join the FreedomWorks Grassroots team for a comprehensive look at the best techniques for getting out the vote.

Ben over at Ace of Spades volunteered for the Romney using the election day task force link in the sidebar. They sent him an online training course that took 10 minutes. He provides tons of info in you’re so inclined.

Things on the ground in New Hampshire are looking up. First hand report over at the Powerline Blog. (h/t Housebroken Dad)

Attempts to diminish GOP early voting gains in Ohio are being met with rightful derision by Moe Lane. (h/t Medicine Man)

@NUmbersMuncher has a great post at Natiponal Review’s The Corner regarding the Romney lead with Independents in EVERY national poll, typically averaging +8.3%. (h/t No Tribe)

PPP is scrambling to rehabilitate its reputation with a few reasonable polls down the stretch since election “look backs” always focus on the later polls released in the cycle.

Battleground State Polls: Romney +1 in Florida vs Obama +3 in Colorado, +4 in Ohio, +3 in Virginia — Purple Strategies

The latest from Purple Strategies is up and as always, tons of data for poll junkies.  We’ve blogged their last three releases and this one is a good result for Obama.  The only caveat is Purple strategies uses 12 states as their battlegrounds and 2 are pretty solidly Obama states (Minnesota and New Mexico).  So this will skew the top-line numbers a little Obama ‘s way.  Regardless, Romney-Ryan was leading in the previous survey and now they are trailing.  And the individual state breakdowns are also good news for Team Obama:

  • Obama holds a 5-point lead across the 12 Purple States (49% to 44%), reversing a 1-point lead for Romney-Ryan 1 month ago
  • President Obama now leads among independents across the 12 Purple states
  • This important sizable 5-point spread unsurprisingly mirrors his overall advantage
  • This is the first time lead for Obama among independents across the 12 Purple States in 7 months
  • Silver lining for Romney: 14% of voters say they are either undecided (6%) or open to changing their mind (8%)

Colorado (Obama +3):

  • Obama currently leads 48% to 45%, the same margin he had in the last poll
  • His vote total is down a point, as is Romney’s
  • The gender gap is smaller in this state than elsewhere. Obama leads among men by 1 point, and among women by 5 – a gap of just 4 points

Florida (Romney +1):

  • Romney holds on to a slim 48% to 47% lead in the state, which has tracked toward Obama over the last few months
  • The change is driven by independents, among whom President Obama has a 10-point margin, 52% to 42%

Ohio (Obama +4):

  • Ohio has been one of the more volatile states in our polling, with the lead changing hands almost monthly
  • Obama now leads the state 48% to 44%, despite continuing to trail among independents by 10 points
  • Obama’s strength lies in a more consolidated base, with 90% of Democrats supporting him, compared to 82% of Republicans favoring Romney

Virginia (Obama +3):

  • Virginia remains a key state for both campaigns, and has swung between the two candidates in Purple Strategies polling
  •  Today, Obama leads 46% to 43%, a reversal of Romney’s 3-point lead last month

The economy

  • 34% say the economy is getting better, 5-point improvement from August
  • Forty percent (40%) say it is getting worse (25% staying the same)

Voter perception of performance on the economy is the single greatest predictor of the vote:

  • Among those who say the economy is improving, Obama leads 94% to 4%
  • Among those who say it is getting worse, Romney leads, 86% to 8%
  • The improved (though still low) perception of the economy plays an important explanatory role in the improved performance seen for President Obama across the Purple Poll

Job Approval

  • At 47% job approval, Obama’s rating is as high as it has ever been in the PurplePoll (tied with June and April)
  • Obama continues to struggle to reach 50%, a level which would indicate stronger electoral position
  • Romney still has an opportunity to gain ground

 

Battleground State Polls: Romney-Ryan Ohio +3, Virginia +3, Florida +1, Colorado -3 — Purple Strategies

The latest Purple Strategies poll has plenty to chew on again.  We’ve blogged their last two polls and they consistently show a tight race with voters’ views edging slightly Romney’s way for the first time.  Today’s results include the Ryan bounce putting Romney into the lead for the first time in this poll and shaking up the volatile Battleground state polling that is a hallmark of Purple Strategies. Romney leads in Ohio +3, Virginia +3, Florida +1 and trails in Colorado -3. Highlights in this poll include:

  • Romney-Ryan lead Obama-Biden by 1 percentage point 47 to 46, up 3 from last month’s survey
  • Romney-Ryan lead with independents by 11%, up from a 5-point lead last month

Battleground state breakdowns:

  • Ohio: Super volatile Ohio now has Romney-Ryan with a 2-point lead 46 to 44
  • Previous three polls in Ohio resulted in: Obama +3 (July), Romney +3 (June), Obama +5 (April)
  • Virginia: Romney-Ryan lead by three 48 to 45, up 5 points
  • Florida: Romney-Ryan lead by one point 48 to 47, down 2 points
  • Colorado: Obama-Biden lead by three 49 to 46, up 2 points

Job approval and favorability

  • Obama’s job approval remains really bad at 43% approve versus 51% disapprove — that’s major November loss type ratings
  • State-by-state job approval (net +/-): Ohio (-10), Virginia (-10), Florida (-10), Colorado (-3)
  • Ryan is the most liked of all the candidates with a positive favorability ratio of 45 Favorable/39 Unfavorable (Independents like him 46/37)
  • Joe Biden’s favorability ratio is 41% favorable versus 48% unfavorable
  • Top of the ticket favorability shows a bump for Romney at 45/48 (or -3) up from his -8 last month; Obama favorability is 47/49 or -2

Big picture issues

  • Direction of the economy: Getting better 29%, Getting worse 44%, Staying the same 25%, Not sure 2%
  • Best plan for the economy: Romney-Ryan lead by 3 percentage points 46 to 43
  • Will bring real change to Washington: Romney-Ryan lead by 6 percentage points 46 to 40 — stealing Obama’s thunder/theme
  • Will protect medicare: Obama-Biden lead by 8 percentage points 48 to 40
  • Note: On protecting medicare, Florida has the campaigns virtually tied at 45 to 44 for Obama-Biden

Battleground State Impact: Paul Ryan’s Appeal to Independents in Pennsylvania

Obama surrogates in the media regularly spout presumptuous conclusions against the Romney campaign following any meaningful news event. In this article alone, despite the fact that the Ryan Budget would not impact any medicare for people 55 and older, this author repeats the Democrats’ lie without the slightest bit of scrutiny. Additionally, even prior to the invigorating Paul Ryan announcement, plenty of people at MSNBC (among others) repeatedly write-off Pennsylvania as a safe Democrat state.  Do you know who does not like the state is a safe win for Obama? Pennsylvania Democrats, that’s who.

As Democrats eagerly leapt to cast Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick as an extremist, at least one Pennsylvania Democrat warned Saturday that Paul Ryan’s appeal shouldn’t be underestimated. T.J. Rooney, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Democrats who was at the helm in 2008, called on his party to avoid belittling Ryan and take him as a threat. “Democrats need to worry more about what we need to do to win, to reinvent the intensity to the extent we can of four years ago.”

In Pennsylvania, a blue-leaning state Romney would love to make competitive, the choice of conservative Ryan as a running mate may sway the undecided independents that Democrats are counting on him turning off. Rooney said Ryan will turn off many seniors in Pennsylvania for his proposal to shift Medicare to a voucher-like system. But the 8 or so percent of undecided voters that could swing the election “may find his views not as disturbing as others,” he said. Ryan, he said, has advanced some controversial ideas that are unpopular with many seniors. But, he said, those are “not a death knell for independents.”

But in a campaign cycle that already feels exhaustive, that’s focused almost exclusively on the past, be it Romney’s business record or Obama’s first term, voters are eager for someone to tell them how to move the country forward. As founder of the embattled “Ryan budget” proposal — passed in the Republican House, but killed in the Democratic-led Senate — that would change Medicare payments, slash funding for safety-net programs and slice taxes for the wealthiest Americans, Ryan sets the stage for a substantial debate on the philosophical differences between the two parties.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, a Democrat, said Ryan comes across as reasonable, courageous and energetic and may give Romney a quick boost in the polls. But in Pennsylvania, a state with one of the nation’s highest percentages of senior citizens, Ryan’s position on Medicare won’t sit well.

Democrats Losing Voter Registrations in Battleground States

Throughout 2008 the Obama campaign and Democrats touted their incredible voter registration advantage.  What’s funny is you don’t hear them tout this advantage any longer.  Why? Because, according to a Bloomberg News study, more and more of those voters in Battleground states have lost that lovin’ feeling:

Independent voters are growing in numbers at the expense of Democrats in battleground states most likely to determine this year’s presidential election, a Bloomberg News analysis shows.  The collective total of independents grew by about 443,000 in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and North Carolina since the 2008 election, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from state election officials. During the same time, Democrats saw a net decline of about 480,000 in those six states, while Republicans added roughly 38,000 voters in them, the analysis shows.

As we saw in today’s ABC poll, Romney has a 14-point advantage among Independents and Independents determine which way the wind is blowing

In 2006, independents backed Democrats by an 18-percentage- point margin nationwide in House races, handing the party control of the chamber for the first time in 12 years. In 2010, they backed Republicans over Democrats in House races by a 19- point margin, as Republicans regained the chamber’s majority.

Democrats still lead in registrations

The registration advantage in the six battleground states reviewed — all of which Obama won in 2008 — is split between Democrats and independents. The states account for 69 electoral votes, with 270 needed to win the White House. Democrats are the top party in Florida, Nevada and North Carolina, while independents hold that position in Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire. Ohio and Virginia, two other battlegrounds consistently identified by Democratic and Republican strategists, don’t report registration statistics by party identification.

Turnout is still key

Higher voter registration doesn’t necessarily translate to higher turnout. In the 1996 presidential election, registration went up and turnout down, while the opposite happened four years later with higher turnout amid lower registration, according to American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate in Washington.

Not all registration figures are the same

The registration statistics also should be treated with some skepticism, the center says, because some states do a better job than others of purging the names of people who have died or moved away. In Florida, the state is in the process of removing noncitizens from state voter rolls even after the U.S. Justice Department cautioned the program may violate federal law. The state, led by Republican Governor Rick Scott, has removed at least 107 alleged noncitizens from its voting rolls after identifying about 180,000 questionable registrations in its database of 11.2 million voters. State officials asked county election supervisors in April to review a list of 2,700 potential noncitizens and remove ineligible voters.

Obama’s Problem: Losing Independents

The Presidential election will not simply be decided by the Battleground states, but by the Independents in those states.  It appears Obama is having serious trouble convincing them he’s the right man to create jobs in this economy:

A majority of independents said that Obama’s policies have made it harder for Americans to gain employment, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Friday. Fifty-two percent of independents said they agreed with the idea that the president has not helped create more jobs in America, an argument central to Romney’s campaign.

Obama appears to have trouble convincing some members of his own party that his administration has been good for jobs: 29 percent of Democrats said they agreed with the claim that he has not been a job creator. With the unemployment rate at 8.1 percent, the Obama campaign maintains that 4.2 million private-sector jobs have been created since he entered office in January 2009, although roughly as many have been lost.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, argues that the Obama administration’s healthcare reform has been bad for the economy, a view that now resonates with a majority of people. Among registered voters, 57 percent said that they believe the healthcare overhaul has damaged the economy while 43 percent said the 2010 legislation has been good for the economy.

Romney Leads in Ohio and Florida — 2012 Purple Poll

Consistent with the theme of this blog, the folks over at Purple Strategies, identified 12 “purple” states they believe will decide this year’s election: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Although with today’s Michigan poll showing Romney leading 46-45, maybe they need to add one more “purple” state.

That said, today Purple Strategies released a comprehensive poll of “purple states” revealing a number of hugely important insights. Although the headline result shows a +2 point lead for President Obama, a look at the included “purple” states sees both Minnesota and Pennsylvania included among their survey.  While I very much would like Minnesota to be a Battleground and knowledgeable Democrats argue persuasively that Pennsylvania is “in play,” the reality is right now Barack Obama has an averaged double digit lead in both states so today they are likely Blue states within the Battleground context.  Their inclusion in these polls dramatically swings the aggregate polling numbers far in favor of Obama meaning his +2 point lead is not as comforting to his campaign as you might think.  Mitt Romney can comfortably win the election without either of these states while Barack Obama cannot. At the same time, without the combination of Ohio and Florida, the difficulty in Obama’s path to victory increases dramatically.  He could lose one, but not both.  This is why my headline focuses on Romney’s lead in those two Battleground states.

As for the treasure trove of data, here goes:

  • Barack Obama leads across the 12 purple states 48 – 46 with 7% undecided, this is down from a 4 point lead in April
  • Obama leads in Colorado (+2, up 1pt from April) and Virginia (+3, up 1); Romney almost certainly needs to win one of these to clear 270
  • Romney leads in Ohio (+3 from down -5 in April) and Florida (+4, up 2)
  • Romney’s aggregate vote total is his highest since they began tracking in September of 2011
  • Obama leads Romney among women by 9 points, down from 11 in April
  • In no state or region is Obama above 50% in preference or in job approval

NOTE: Purple Strategies does individual polling only for the four states mentioned: Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Virginia.  It would have been incredibly helpful to see the individual state performance if for no other reason than to back out Minnesota and Pennsylvania. The other “purple” states were clustered together into four regional 3-state groupings.  Three of the regions were within the margin of error and one region that included Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa showed a commanding lead for Obama at 54-38. If you back out that one region, Romney probably leads the other 9 swing states in aggregate by 3.

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Demographic Watch: Everyone (and None are Good for Obama … Really)

While nearly every post in this blog will be about the Battleground States, when I see something uniquely impacting the election outcome  or on slow Battleground state news days (like today), it’s helpful to see what’s going on underneath some of the national poll numbers. The incomparable Charlie Cook digs down deep into six full weeks of Gallup tracking data and unearths more than a few takeaways that should send shivers down the spines of the over-confident campaign in the Windy City:

Gallup has now finished its first six full weeks of tracking surveys for the 2012 presidential campaign, interviewing 20,565 registered voters. Yes, you guessed it: President Obama and Mitt Romney are tied, 46 percent to 46 percent.  On the surface, the race looks tight. But voter enthusiasm numbers are a headache for the president’s reelection team (emphasis added). This week, Gallup released six full weeks of results. The first half of these were interviews between April 11 and May 6; the second half were from May 7 through May 27.

2008 versus 2012

Although polling was consistent between genders across the two time frames sampled (Romney +8 among men, Obama +7/8 among women), things begin to unravel for the President when you compare these results to his 2008 margins.:

[I]n 2008, the exit polls showed that Obama edged Sen. John McCain by 1 point among men, 49 percent to 48 percent. Among women, he beat McCain by a whopping 13 points, 56 percent to 43 percent.

This is a -9 point swing with men and a -5/6 point swing among women. Those are horrific margin erosions to the President’s re-elect chances.

Independents split down the middle; Romney edged Obama by 1 point in the front half, 43 percent to 42 percent, and by 2 points in the second, 43 percent to 41 percent… [In] 2008 Obama carried the independent vote by 8 percentage points, 52 percent to 44 percent, and the overall election by 7 points.

A -9/10 point swing among Independents. Ouch!

African Americans too?  Yep

Obama is winning the African-American vote by gargantuan proportions: 90 percent to 5 percent in the first half of the survey and 88 percent to 6 percent in the second, not far off his 2008 showing (95 percent to 4 percent).

Wait, “not far”?  I love Charlie Cook but come on. This is a -6 point swing among African Americans.  That is HUGE.

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