Monday, September 10, 2012

Today's Poll Numbers

It was a big day for presidential horse race polling. And after all of it I'm still not convinced Obama's pulling out a decisive advantage at this point, but I'm honestly concerned that trends could be favoring the Democrats in Ohio, and perhaps some of the other swing states --- and that's taking into consideration the horrible media bias in both polling and reporting. And note I say could be.

Earlier this evening, Scott Pelley on CBS Evening News reported that Obama's up 6 points in Ohio. This would be the Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT swing states poll. I think it was 50 to 44 over Romney, but the survey's not posted yet at any of the websites. If that's correct (and I'll post the numbers when they're up), the findings would be within one point of the Public Policy Poll out today on Ohio, which has Obama up by 5 points in the Buckeye State. I don't trust either polling outfits, so there's that. And Ed Morrissey fisked PPP in any case, noting how the internals were off, with Democrats oversampled and independents undersampled: "PPP puts Obama up 5 in Ohio":
Ohio looks deadlocked if one considers the modeling used, and even perhaps edging toward Romney when looking at the independents. I’d wait on hitting panic buttons here until seeing something with a better likely-voter model.
And see William Bigelow at Big Government as well, "Despite Media Hype, No Bounce for Obama in Swing States":
Politico’s “Unnamed Sources” say Ohio is lost for Mitt Romney. Like hell it is. They say Obama got a serious bounce from the DNC. Like hell he did.

Whatever bounce Obama got was in the blue states. In the swing states, it’s still way too close to call. Today’s Rasmussen poll results show that in the eleven swing states, including Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, which total 145 electoral votes, it’s Obama 46% and Romney 45%. In 2008, Obama won these states 53% to 46%. So how does the MSM try to spin the evidence so Obama looks like he’s unbeatable? Let’s look at Ohio, for example. Politico reported (using uncredited sources, of course), that Ohio is lost for Romney:
“Two officials intimately involved in the GOP campaign said Ohio leans clearly in Obama’s favor now.”
I didn’t know Axelrod and Plouffe were working for Romney, but hey, they’ll go where the money is.

But, as usual, Politico was relying on Obama-leaning polls to support their narrative; yesterday the PPP poll (which is always weighted toward Obama because of PPP’s affiliation with the SEIU) showed Obama up by five in Ohio. Hmmm. According to the Gravis marketing poll taken last Tuesday, Romney was up three in Ohio. Who’s telling the truth? ....


Every race in the swing states is close right now, and the unconscionable skewing of the polls by the MSM shouldn’t discourage Republicans. The MSM has lied before, they are lying now, and they will lie in the future. The Obama campaign has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Romney, they have the power of incumbency, and Romney simply is not going away. And all of this is before Romney has even attacked Obama in ads and the debates.

Hey, Dems, this show ain’t even close to over; we’re just getting warmed up.
For all that, I'm not going to just wave my hand and wish away the numbers. If the election were held today Romney would lose. So it's going to take some hard campaigning, winning debates for the GOP ticket, and reasonably fair media coverage down the final stretch (fingers crossed).

Still, I think progressives are foolish for preemptively spiking the football the way they have been. Martin Longman at Booman Tribune is especially cocky about a Democrat victory. There's no cost to being wrong, of course. Progressives will just claim the GOP stole the election anyway, so better to demoralize folks now.

But I'm not one to call it quits in any event, and I'm not sure exactly which conservatives are throwing in the towel, for all the hand-wringing. John Hinderaker simply backed off his predictions for a big Romney win, and the left immediately pounced. Really. Has anyone actually caved?

My hunch is that while Obama indeed pulled out a bit of a bounce (and props to Nate Silver, who I promised a shout out if his predictions proved correct), the race will settle back down to a rough dead heat over the next couple of weeks --- and then perhaps the October debates might have some impact on the campaign. See Stephen Hayes, at the Weekly Standard, for more along those lines, "Two More Months":
One day after the Democratic convention ended here, and a week after the Republican convention wrapped up in Tampa, and American politics is basically all tied up. Here’s the top line on Real Clear Politics 60 days before November 6: The RCP average for the presidential race shows a dead heat (Obama +0.7 percentage points), the Senate is 46-46 with 8 tossups, and the generic congressional ballot is tied....
Keep reading.

And see also Robert Stacy McCain, at American Spectator, "Omens of Doom?":
Sixty-four days remain in the 2012 presidential campaign. Election Day is nine weeks from tomorrow, both party conventions are now in the rearview mirror, and Mitt Romney's uphill battle to unseat President Obama has reached its most crucial phase. Everything that happened before today was merely prelude to this, the heart of the fall campaign season, and no "expert" can confidently predict today what the final result will be on November 6.

These basic facts are important to establish at the outset of any discussion of the current state of the race, because there are many influential people who would like you to believe that the outcome of the election has somehow already been determined, and that they have clairvoyant insight on what that outcome will be. But why bring Nate Silver into this?

Silver is the poll-analyzing guru of the New York Times, whose reputation as a wizard was developed in crunching baseball statistics before being applied to political campaigns. On Saturday afternoon, Silver published an analysis which asserted that Obama now has a nearly 80 percent chance of winning the election, with 317 Electoral College votes and 52 percent of the popular vote. All of which is very interesting -- and very important, if true.

However, baseball isn't politics, and public-opinion polls are not batting averages or on-base percentages or any other such metric of past performance. Readers of Michael Lewis's bestseller Moneyball may appreciate this distinction, especially if they have any extensive experience in following polls and election campaigns....

 To put it as bluntly as possible, the economy sucks, and the attempt by Democrats to exculpate Obama for this situation -- to place the blame on Republicans, or to say that the economy would suck even worse if Romney were elected -- is perhaps more difficult than Nate Silver's statistics suggest. If somebody were to offer you 4-to-1 odds on that proposition, how much would you bet? Mitt Romney's campaign reportedly raised $100 million last month, and the Obama campaign's embarrassed silence about its own August fundraising suggests that Democratic donors are less confident than the wizard of the New York Times.
And for good measure, check Bryan Preston as well, at PJ Media, "Seriously, Don't Panic About the Latest Polls."

It's going to be a hard fought campaign down to the wire. Neither side should get complacent, although I agree that Team Romney needs to clarify its message and hammer President Obama on his big-government radicalism. We've never had a president like this, and the point hasn't been driven home to the average man-on-the-street. No one else can do it. Romney has to get more personal and less managerial, lest he end up being the Michael Dukakis of 2012.