Yet more American opinion poll musing – if you’re bored shitless, just delete :-)

Posted: October 21, 2012 in Political musings
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Opinion polls

Down the end of this docco – well, a bit more than halfway thru –  are the actual current USA polls, without anyone cherry picking them, and the dates on which they were taken.

It should be noted that the second Presidential debate was on the 16th. The clear controversy is the difference between the Rasmussen and Gallup Polls, (the latter which has been criticised because of its sampling type and as a result of having a track record of being incorrectly inflative to the GOP) and the IBD and HC/UConn and ABC polls. The last four, being entirely pre-second debate can probably be discounted.

If we discount the Gallup poll change by 50% down to +3 (which of course is arguable, but also less of a discount than indicated by its previous performance – it over-estimated McCain by +9% at one point last time) and make it Romney +3, and then average the results for the top four polls, then the result is Romney +2 and Obama +3.

And I am GUESSING this is about right. I predicted about a 1% increase for Obama over his low point int he aftermath of the Debate #1 debacle. I expect to see the trend continue after a win for Obama on Monday night, but that is pure star-gazing.

But in my opinion, something else is happening too. As always happens in tight races, both sides are shoring up support in their stronger areas. Thus a state like NC for example, where Bush won very easily, and in which Obama squeaked home last time, is, in my opinion, not really “leaning” Romney but should be thoroughly placed in his camp. However, that doesn’t really help him win, because he’s piling up votes in a state which he really should win easily anyway. Similarly, Obama is comfortably ahead in Michigan, but so he damn well should be, since he bought into the car industry and also won it by 16% last time.

The fact that a state like Virginia is a dead heat at the moment should be very concerning for the GOP. I think it will go to Romney, but given it’s importance, and given Bush won it by 8.1 and 8.2%, and Obama by 6.3% (which is around his current fall in the polls) it should surely be comfortably trending towards Romney now. But it isn’t.

The fight in the battleground states is much tighter than it is in the homebase states. One word of wisdom – back in the Democratic primaries before 2008, Obama beat Clinton by concentrating his support in the key battleground states, and conceding states that didn’t matter. Democrat investment in Ohio – which should, by national polling, be long gone from the Obama camp – shows they are doing it again.

Rasmussen Tracking         10/17 – 10/19                  Romney +1
Gallup Tracking                 10/13 – 10/19                  Romney +6
IBD/TIPP Tracking         10/14 – 10/19                   Obama  +3
Hartford Courant/UConn   10/11 – 10/16             Obama  +3

ABC News/Wash Post 1    0/10 – 10/13                    Obama +3
Politico/GWU/Battleground    10/7 – 10/11         Obama +1
Monmouth/SurveyUSA/Braun 10/8 – 10/10      Romney +1
FOX News    10/7 – 10/9                                                Romney +1

In short, I believe Obama is just one good debate away from being home again. Whereas I believe Romney is one GREAT debate – plus some problems for Obama plus a better organisation on the ground (which he doesn’t have) plus getting lucky in every battleground state in the country … from being home.

The odds, whatever GOP operatives and supporters would have us believe, are still very pro-Obama. Tonight. Tomorrow? Who knows.

I’ll say this too. I think the GOP will be delighted to have hurt Obama, to have defended many seats around the country, to be “back in the game”, and in the process to have got rid of the uncomfortable and disliked Romney. A few more years to knock the edges of Ryan (or someone similar) and they think they’ll be back in for a generation. And they well may be right.

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Comments
  1. Richard Ember says:

    I think you overplay the importance of the debates. Unless somebody says something really crass.

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    • My reasoning is that Romney was nowhere until he did surprisingly well in the first … Obama was in deep trouble till he did very well in the second.

      I actually think it is not so much the debates themselves, I think it is the ensuing commentary by the chattering classes, and in the “water cooler” conversations. That, I think, is very significant in creating an impression of who has the all important “mo”.

      For the record I think the third debate will be much less aggressive than the second, primarily because it is in a round table format not patrolling the floor. I also expect Obama to look the more impressive, essentially because he is better informed. Romney will try to pin him again on Benghazi and fail. He will also try to turn the debate back to “America’s influence abroad depends on a strong economy at home, so let’s talk about the economy shall we?” but Obama will be prepped for that.

      I expect Obama to play the “we got Bin Laden” card but I am not sure how it will play. I also expect a deliberate play for the Jewish vote. Polls in Florida, where the debate takes place, of course, will be watched very closely in the five days or so after Monday.

      My take on the current state of affairs is that the task is still too difficult for Romney, but things have definitely tightened. Both sides are doing ok against their own bases in solid red and blue states – I suspect Romney’s national performance is being overstated by a percentage point or two because a bigger proportion of his gain has been in states he was going to win easily anyway. (The same effect historically overstates support for the Labour Party in the UK in British elections.)

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