I certainly agree with Alana that the Republicans are in a tough spot. But I’m not sure how valid any of these polls about public opinion on the issue are. Unlike when the choice is either A or B, as those are the only two candidates in an election, polls on public issues depend crucially on exactly how they are worded. And even when worded in a neutral manner (not an easy thing to achieve even when the pollster is trying to be honest), I’m not sure they mean that much in terms of political consequences down the road.
No matter what the Republicans do, the permanent Obama campaign—sorry, I mean the mainstream media—will hammer them. So they might as well do what’s right.
Democrats have been setting their narrative for a possible Obama loss early the last several days, as reports of “conservative voting machines” circulated throughout the liberal blogosphere. I first heard about the conspiracy for Romney’s victory on Sunday night while on a panel with several New York City liberals. They assured me that because Mitt Romney’s son owns stock in companies that manufacture voting machines used in Ohio, the groundwork has been laid for a fraudulent Romney victory there. Surprisingly, one of the best sources for debunking the story comes from NPR:
This conspiracy centers on voting machines in Ohio, a key battleground in this election. A couple of Ohio counties use voting machines made by a company called Hart InterCivic. According to the rumor, Tagg Romney owns part of Hart. So, goes the story, Tagg Romney could fix the election.
It turns out there is no direct financial interest, but there’s an appearance of a tenuous connection. Tagg Romney’s private equity firm, Solamere Capital, is invested in another private equity firm called H.I.G. Capital. A little over a year ago, H.I.G. invested heavily in Hart and took over its board.
But according to a letter Hart’s CEO, Phillip Braithwaite, sent to elections officials around the country, “Solamere has absolutely no interest in the specific H.I.G. fund that has invested in Hart InterCivic.” Also according to this letter, Solamere is just one of 350 institutional investors in H.I.G. “Hart InterCivic has never had any contact of any kind with Solamere.”
Politico reports on a new AFL-CIO (I know, I know) poll, which finds Obama up five percentage points with union voters compared to 2008. Alexander Burns writes: “If Obama wins reelection tonight, much of the postgame will focus on his suport (sic) among nonwhite voters, but his edge in the Electoral College has also long depended on overperforming with Ohio whites. The union vote is a big, big part of that — not only in Ohio, but also in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere.”
From the poll:
By a 41-point margin, Ohio union members are voting for President Obama (70%) over Mitt Romney (29%) in the presidential race. The early vote among Ohio union members tilts even more heavily in President Obama’s favor (79% to 21%).
Obama’s support among Ohio union members has increased by five percentage points since 2008. Our Election Night and post-election polling in 2008 showed Obama winning 65% of the Ohio union vote, so even accounting for each poll’s margin of error, Obama currently is performing at least as well among Ohio members, if not better, than he did in 2008.
With the poll-obsessed talk of the past six months, those who raise questions about problems with them are often subjected to scorn and derision on the grounds that they are simply objecting to surveys whose results they don’t like.
The objection is beside the point; who else but someone who is unhappy with a poll’s result would bother to raise the hood and look at the engine and see where it might be busted?
The leading objection raised this year is to polls whose findings suggest a more Democratic turnout in states than is likely to be the case. I go into that in a column today in the New York Post.
A stunning tale today in the Salt Lake Tribune, however, reveals the dirty little secret of polls paid for by the media. The results are, in effect, owned by the media, and the media can insist that they be rejiggered.
The Tribune published a poll done by the respected Mason-Dixon firm that showed a 10-point lead for the county’s Republican candidate for mayor. The poll was released on Thursday. Later, editors for the paper objected to the results on the grounds that the poll had an insufficient number of Democrats in its sample:
Via Politicker, the Obama campaign is just oozing confidence heading into the home stretch:
In a conference call this afternoon, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign had one central message for their supporters when Election Day arrives tomorrow: They should “keep calm,” even if they hear snippets of information favoring Republican Mitt Romney. …
The fear, she explained, was early numbers leaking before voters have finished going to the polls, creating unnecessary panic and pessimism among Democrats.
“Keep calm and tweet on,” Ms. Cutter said. “So, no matter what you hear tomorrow about turnout in Republican counties or exit polls, particularly early in the day, please remember and remind your readers that, because of early votes, we’re where we need to be to win….I don’t think there’s going to be official exits until the end of the day, but if things leak out that aren’t validated or weighted, please stay calm.”
Breitbart flags this tweet from The Hotline’s Josh Kraushaar, which suggests good news for Mitt Romney in the Ohio early voting numbers:
Obama won Ohio in 2008 thanks to his strong early vote advantage. Whatever ground he loses to Romney in early voting, he’ll need to make up for with higher Election Day turnout. According to the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman, this could be a problem for Obama, based on the turnout trends since 2008:
The Daily Mail‘s Toby Harnden reports on the Romney campaign’s internal poll numbers, which apparently show him with a slight edge in Ohio, New Hampshire and Iowa; tied with Obama in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania; and trailing in Nevada:
Mitt Romney is ahead by a single percentage point in Ohio – the swing state that could well decide the election – according to internal polling data provided to MailOnline by a Republican party source.
Internal campaign polling completed on Sunday night by campaign pollster Neil Newhouse has Romney three points up in New Hampshire, two points up in Iowa and dead level in Wisconsin. Most startlingly, the figures show Romney and Obama deadlocked in Pennsylvania.
If the Romney campaign’s internal numbers are correct – and nearly all independent pollsters have come up with a picture much more favourable for Obama – then the former Massachusetts governor will almost certainly be elected 45th U.S. President.
Rasmussen’s latest (and last) finds Romney and Obama tied in Ohio:
The pivotal presidential state of Ohio remains all tied up on the eve of Election Day.
The final Election 2012 Rasmussen Reports survey of Likely Ohio Voters shows Mitt Romney and President Obama each earning 49% support. One percent (1%) favors some other candidate in the race, and another one percent (1%) is undecided. …
The race in Ohio was tied late last week after Romney posted a slight 50% to 48% advantage a few days earlier. The candidates have been within two percentage points of one another or less in every survey in Ohio since May.
Forty percent (40%) of likely voters in the Buckeye State have already voted. Obama leads 60% to 37% among these voters.
Last week’s Pew poll found that President Obama is trailing Mitt Romney among early voters — a group he won by a large margin in 2008 — and the latest party identification breakdown of early voters from the United States Election Project and Politico support that:
In Colorado, Republicans have cast 38 percent of the early vote to 35 percent for Democrats and 27 percent for unaffiliated voters. Four years ago, the numbers were reversed: Democrats cast 38 percent, Republicans 36 percent and independents 26 percent.
In Iowa, 43 percent of the early vote this year has been cast by Democrats, 32 percent by Republicans and 24 percent by no party or other. In 2008, the numbers were 47 (D) 29 (R) 24 (NP).
While Nevada doesn’t provide comparative statewide early vote data between 2008 and 2012, a similar pattern emerges in the two counties where the bulk of the state vote will be cast – the Democratic percentage of early votes is down slightly and there’s an uptick in the GOP percentage.
Today’s WSJ/NBC/Marist poll shows President Obama with a six-point lead in Iowa, but Mitt Romney within striking distance in New Hampshire and Wisconsin:
In Iowa, Obama is ahead by six points among likely voters, 50 percent to 44 percent, which is down from his eight-point lead earlier this month.
In Wisconsin, the president edges Romney by three points, 49 percent to 46 percent, which is within the survey’s margin of error. That’s also down from Obama’s six-point lead earlier this month.
And in New Hampshire, Obama gets support from 49 percent of likely voters, while Romney gets 47 percent. In September, before the debates began, Obama held a seven-point advantage in the state, 51 percent to 44 percent.
Today’s Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Romney leading Obama by one-point with just one week to go. Notice that WaPo can barely bring itself to say Romney has a lead (however slight) in its write-up:
For the third consecutive day of the Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll, a single — statistically insignificant — percentage point separates the two presidential contenders: 49 percent of likely voters back Republican Mitt Romney, and 48 percent support President Obama.
The parity in the contest shows up elsewhere as well: the two candidates are just two points apart when it comes to dealing with taxes, and they are three points apart on health care policy. The poll’s margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the sample of 1,278 likely voters.
Today’s WaPo/ABC national tracking poll shows Mitt Romney leading President Obama, 50 percent to 47 percent (a “statistically insignificant” margin as WaPo makes sure to note at the top of its story). Still, it’s the first time Romney hit the 50-percent mark in this poll, and a sign Romney’s momentum isn’t fading:
As Romney hits 50, the president stands at 47 percent, his lowest tally in Post-ABC polling since before the national party conventions. A three-point edge gives Romney his first apparent advantage in the national popular vote, but it is not one that is statistically significant with a conventional level of 95 percent confidence.
However, Romney does now boast a statistically — and substantively — important lead on the economy, which has long been the central issue of the race. When it comes to handling the nation’s struggling economy, 52 percent of likely voters say they trust Romney more, while 43 percent say they have more faith in the president.
Mitt Romney gained three points since last week in the Politico/GWU battleground tracking poll, but the bigger news is that he’s leading President Obama by two points — the first time he’s been on top in this poll since early May:
A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll of 1,000 likely voters — taken from Sunday through Thursday of last week — shows Romney ahead of Obama by two points, 49 to 47 percent. That represents a three-point swing in the GOP nominee’s direction from a week ago but is still within the margin of error. Obama led 49 percent to 48 percent the week before. …
Across the 10 states identified by POLITICO as competitive, Romney leads 50 to 48 percent. …
Two weeks from Election Day, the GOP nominee also continues to maintain a potentially pivotal advantage in intensity among his supporters. Seventy-two percent of those who support Obama say they are “extremely likely” to vote, compared to 80 percent who back Romney. Among this group, Romney leads Obama by 7 points, 52 to 45 percent.
The intensity gap is just one of Obama’s problems. He’s also losing ground with women voters:
This Pew Research Center poll was conducted the weekend after the first debate, but the overview was just released today. It found that Mitt Romney has significantly cut into President Obama’s 15-point lead on foreign policy, and now trails by just four points:
The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7, 2012 among 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters, finds that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney run about even on most foreign policy issues. On the question of who can do a better job making wise decisions about foreign policy, 47% of voters favor Obama and 43% Romney. This represents a substantial gain for Romney, who trailed Obama by 15 points on foreign policy issues in September.
Some of Obama’s slide may have to do with the Benghazi attack. While respondents were split how the administration handled the attack, a plurality of independents disapproved. The more closely respondents followed the news, the more likely they were to disagree with the administration’s response:
Today’s Gallup seven-day tracking poll shows Mitt Romney with a solid lead against President Obama among likely voters. At NRO, Charles C.W. Cooke reports on why this poll is historically meaningful:
Mitt Romney is up six points on Gallup’s seven-day likely-voter tracker, 51–45. Romney is also winning the seven-day registered-voters poll, 48–46. These statistics are there to be broken, but it is worth pointing out for the record that, in the history of Gallup, no presidential candidate has ever been over 50 percent in mid-October and gone on to lose.
The post-debate polls taken last night seemed to more or less line up with the conventional wisdom forming on social media: President Obama won a narrow victory over Mitt Romney, helped late by escaping the Libya question—thought to be his Achilles’ heel—when Romney dropped the ball.
But that Libya exchange—in which moderator Candy Crowley intervened on Obama’s behalf and only afterwards seemed to realize that she had been wrong on the facts—also revealed the flip side of Romney’s lack of focus on Benghazi: his fluency and preparation for questions on the economy, and Romney’s continuing bet that the economy will overshadow the other issues in voters’ minds. Polls back this up, and the post-debate polls seemed to as well. While both the CNN and CBS polls gave Obama a hard-fought win on points, respondents to both polls gave Romney the win on the economy by wide margins. CBS reports:
Today’s Politico/GWU poll has Mitt Romney trailing President Obama by one point nationally, but leading by two points in the swing states. In even better news for the Romney campaign, Mitt’s nearly closed the likability gap with Obama:
Even as the head-to-head number held stubbornly steady for the past month, Romney improved his likability numbers. A slim majority, 51 percent, now views Romney favorably as a person, while 44 percent view him unfavorably.
The former Massachusetts governor had been underwater on this measure. In mid-September, 49 percent of respondents viewed him unfavorably. Going into the first presidential debate in Denver on Oct. 3, the electorate was evenly split 47 percent to 47 percent on what to make of Mitt. …
Obama’s enduring personal popularity has been a key reason for his political resiliency. But Obama and Romney are now essentially tied on likability: 53 percent of those surveyed have a positive impression of Obama personally, and 45 percent do not. The same number view both Romney and Obama strongly favorably as view them strongly unfavorably.
Mitt Romney’s 7-point lead in the TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon poll is the latest sign of a Florida surge:
The survey conducted this week found 51 percent of likely Florida voters supporting Romney, 44 percent backing Obama and 4 percent undecided. That’s a major shift from a month ago when the same poll showed Obama leading 48 percent to 47 percent — and a direct result of what Obama himself called a “bad night” at the first debate.
The debate prompted 5 percent of previously undecided voters and 2 percent of Obama backers to move to Romney. Another 2 percent of Obama supporters said they are now undecided because of the debate.
President Obama’s supporters have been consoling themselves in the aftermath of his disastrous performance at the presidential debate in Denver by repeating over and over again that debates don’t really matter. If that didn’t work, they would say that the verdict of the people would differ from that of the pundits, although the unanimous opinion of even the left-wing crew at MSNBC and the wishy-washy liberal/establishment types on CNN should have worried them more than anything that was said on Fox News. But today we received the first answers to the question of whether public opinion will be altered to any degree by the debate, and the answers are not what Democrats wanted to hear.
The poll of likely voters in three key swing states taken yesterday by We Ask America shows a remarkable swing in favor of Mitt Romney. Previous surveys by this firm as well as virtually every other pollster in Florida, Virginia and Ohio had shown Obama holding on to a firm lead. But according to the latest numbers, Romney has forged ahead in all three states. The Republican leads Obama by a margin of 49-46 percent in Florida, 48-45 percent in Virginia and 47-46 percent in Ohio. All three results are significant and very good news for the Republicans, but none more so than that in Ohio. Romney’s rebound after a tough few weeks in which his leads in Florida and Virginia had been turned into deficits is clear. Obama’s growing strength in Ohio had been moving it from a swing state to one that was starting to be considered to be firmly in the president’s column. Romney’s post-debate bounce has put it back into play on Real Clear Politics’ Electoral College map.
The last National Journal poll two weeks ago showed Obama leading by seven points, so this dead-heat seems to mark a significant shift:
Obama and Romney each pulled in 47 percent support in the poll among likely voters. It is among the narrowest margins of several presidential surveys published ahead of the debate this week. Other polls have shown the president with a slim lead. In this survey, while the race is tied among likely voters, Obama has a 5-point lead, 49 percent to 44 percent, among registered voters.
The survey was conducted Sept. 27-30 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
Romney led in the poll among independents, 49 percent to 41 percent, with both candidates winning more than 90 percent support from their respective parties. The survey had Obama winning 81 percent of the nonwhite vote and Romney carrying 55 percent of white voters.