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.
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.
James R. writes:
You wrote that you found the list of toss-up states “a very dramatic lis.t”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: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.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 10, 2012 09:35 PM | Send