The presidential polls

The Real Clear Politics average has Romney up by 1.5. That’s not as dramatic as the widely discussed Pew poll which has Romney up by four after being eight behind. But it’s still a definite improvement in Romney’s fortunes. A couple of weeks ago the polls on average had Obama up by a few points, as you can see by scrolling down in the table entitled “Polling Data.” Back then,—in fact, during all of September—virtually every poll had Obama ahead. Now virtually every poll has Romney ahead. (The Financial Times, linked at Drudge tonight, is making a big deal out of Romney’s lead in the RCP average, pointing out that Romney is now “ahead in the RealClearPolitics aggregate of national polls for the first time this year.”)

As for the states and the electoral vote (with 270 needed to win the presidency), Obama has the edge, but not by much. RCP shows 217 electoral votes definite, likely, or leaning Obama, and 181 electoral votes definite, likely, or leaning Romney, with 140 electoral votes counted as Toss Ups. Those 140 votes are distributed in 11 Toss Up states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. I find that a very dramatic list.

What about specific states? Let’s take the all-important Ohio. The current RCP average in Ohio has Obama up by 0.8 percent, a virtual tie. But in September, Obama was substantially ahead in that state. If we look at individual polls going backward from the end of September to mid-September, Obama led by 8, 4, 9, 1, 8, 10, 4, 7, 5, 3. That adds up to 59, which divided by 10 produces an average Obama lead of 5.9 percent in Ohio in the second half of September. And now he leads by only 0.8. He’s dropped by 5.1 points—from a substantial advantage of almost six points to a virtual tie. I would say that that is a very significant change in the state considered virtually the must-win state for both candidates.

* * *

11:36 p.m.: What about humongous Florida, with 29 electoral votes?

The current RCP average, based on four polls taken since the beginning of the month, is a flat-out tie between the two candidates.

But the second half of September was a different picture. I count 12 polls between September 15 and September 30, averaging out to a 3.0 Obama lead. So Obama has lost ground from a three point lead last month to a dead tie today. Nothing earthshaking, but a definite move in Romney’s direction in the biggest Toss Up state.

- end of initial entry -

October 11

James R. writes:

You wrote that you found the list of toss-up states “a very dramatic lis.t”

What I note is that the majority of the states on the list were formerly tending Republican. I think we’re seeing the early results of the short-sighted and facile Republican electoral triumphalism. What I mean is, if you recall some of the electoral analysis of the likely effects of Census reapportionment preceding the last couple of Census cycles, Republican and conservative analysts/pundits were all saying “Haha, look, ‘our’ states are gaining electoral college votes, and ‘their’ states are losing them! This means the future is OURS!”

But what they neglected was looking at the kind of voters “their” states were gaining: often, the “best” of them were, for example, refugees fleeing what California or other formerly red but now blue states had become, but bringing with them the voting patterns that made those states the wrecks they are today. Then we get into the other demographic shifts that hardly favor, um, conservatism or traditional America.

To me, these triumphal analyses reminded me of nothing so much as all the talk in the ’80s by the same claque of a Republican ”lock” on the Electoral College, because ”we” have California. That worked out for them the same way this is. Of course, they learned nothing from that experience.

LA replies:

Very good analysis. I think you read me right. I couldn’t quite articulate to myself why I felt the list was dramatic. And I think you’re right that part of the reason is: Will former red states such as North Carolina and Virginia that went for Obama in 2008 switch back to the Republicans (a last hurrah of redness?) in 2012?

James R. continues:

Even NPR says it, though they say it in their own way:

Democrats have since not just picked but blown apart that lock—despite the fact that much recent population growth has been in Republican red states such as Georgia and Texas.

They have managed to make inroads in former GOP strongholds such as the South and the Rocky Mountain West, thanks to the growth of Hispanics, as well as the increasing numbers of educated professionals in suburbs of such states as Colorado and Virginia.

Democrats also have become dominant in the Northeast and along the Pacific Coast.

“The first and most important place to start is California,” says Ayres, the GOP consultant.

Republicans used to carry California—back in the days when the party nominated Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both Californians. But Republicans haven’t prevailed there since 1988.

Four years ago, the nation’s largest state gave Obama 61 percent of its popular vote in 2008—and its 55 electoral votes.

“Throw in New York and Illinois, where Republicans did well for a very long time, and you have three huge states that have become solidly Democratic,” Ayres says.

October 13

A reader writes:

I agree that it is too early for the GOP to be predicting victory. However, in addition to closing the gap in key swing states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan have all had recent polls showing Romney behind by much less than you’d expect. I don’t know if he’ll win any of them since they’ve been pretty reliable blue states, but they could represent a strong shift in his direction that might continue if he does well in the other debates. [LA the latest Rasmussen poll in Michigan, as I pointed out in another entry, has Obama 7 ahead, which has increased Obama’s lead in the RCP average to 4.4.]

Andrew B. writes:

Republicans took up the “Southern Strategy” of bringing conservative Democratic whites down South into the Republican party alongside the traditional Republicans of Appalachia, allowing them to win states like Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. To this they more recently added the whites of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

However, the policies espoused by this new Republican party alienated its original white base up north. This has cost the party its birthplace in Wisconsin, as well as Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Oregon, and Connecticut. Outside of blowouts in 1972, 1980, and 1984, Republicans have lost most of the states which used to be reliably Republican.

The party also decided to support mass Hispanic and Third World immigration to the U.S., which has slowly turned Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and California Democratic, and will soon turn Arizona and Georgia and Texas.

The outlines of the end are already evident—a rump party wildly popular in the interior south, the lower great plains, and the interior mountain West—West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah—basically an alliance of Southern Baptists and Mormons and the Scots-Irish. But a rump that will soon struggle to break 120 votes in the electoral college. [LA replies: that’s the Path to National Suicide in action. America decided that its highest principle as a country was to overcome racial discrimination, and therefore began allowing the mass immigration of nonwhites, and now the country is destined to a future of, among other things, Democratic Party rule, racial socialism, and increasing poverty and social conflict.]]

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 10, 2012 09:35 PM | Send

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