Romney ahead in RCP electoral votes for first time

I’m shocked. I just went to Real Clear Politics to check out the current electoral vote RCP average, and Romney is leading Obama 206 to 201. For the previous several days, Obama had been leading Romney by 201 to 191. The additional 15 points comes from North Carolina, which RCP has moved from Toss Up to Leans Romney, on the basis of a Rasmussen poll taken in that state yesterday showing Romney leading by six. The Rasmussen poll seems to have slightly upped Romney’s average lead to 5.6, which evidently is what has put North Carolina into the Leans Romney column.

I said I was shocked because just before turning to RCP I had been at Drudge and it had no mention of the sensational fact that RCP has put Romney ahead in electoral votes for the first time in this campaign. A month or two ago he was behind by something like 120 or 140.

At the same time, reader Andrew B. keeps telling me that the polls, including the RCP averages of all polls, are profoundly flawed and do not mean anything.

- end of initial entry -

Kristor writes:

Rush said this morning that the Obama campaign has pulled out of North Carolina and Virginia, and are focusing on New Hampshire and Iowa.

Who’d a thunk it?

Andrew B. writes:

I didn’t say polls don’t meaning anything. I said that we are seeing some that are deeply flawed like Gallup and Pew.

Most of the polls are very consistent with a two to three point lead for Obama nationally [LA replies: Earlier today the national RCP average showed Romney leading by 0.7 points], which would conform to most of the nationwide trends in state level polling which shows Obama underperforming 2008 by five percent, and Romney overperforming McCain by the same amount. At that level of support, Romney would win North Carolina and Florida and Nebraska’s 2nd District, where he currently leads; Virginia would be the tipping point state with perhaps a very slight Romney lead of about 0.5 percent; and Obama would win the rest, getting 290 electoral votes. Obama presently leads in all the other battleground states, and Romney has not led in Nevada, Iowa, or Wisconsin at any time this cycle, and had just a handful of polls showing him up in Ohio and Colorado.

Romney had a 3-2-1 strategy of winning the three southern states, two of the midwestern states, and one Western state from Obama. It appears right now that he will instead pull off a 2-1-0 or a 3-1-0.

I’m going to project that the vote total is going to end up around 140 million this cycle, with Obama getting around 70 to 71 million, Romney 68.5 to 69 million, and the rest of about 1.5 to two million going to third parties.

At the end of the day, Romney has failed to sell himself to moderate northern whites in Ohio, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Iowa (all states that are 80 percent white) and has not given Hispanics and moderate whites in New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada a reason to vote for him, so that these Western states continue to slip away from the Republican party. The Republican Party is becoming isolated and insular in the interior south, interior Great Plains, upper mountain West, and Alaska—a party of Southern Baptists, Borderlands English and Scots-Irish, wheat farmers and oilmen, libertarian frontier mountain men, and Mormons: a grand coalition of everyone who is of an independent spirit in religion and culture, but anti-cosmopolitan and determinedly isolated and inward looking. This may be a fine collection of people, but it is also a distinct minority of the country, and one that is not readily allied with any other major group—Catholics, Jews, various racial minorities, union workers, the college and post-graduate educated (SWPL’s), or urban dwellers.

Alienating changes in the political positions of the Republican party since 2006 are directly at fault for this, and Republicans would do well to go back to President Bush’s successful campaigns in 2000 and 2004 and figure out what he did right that they failed to follow up on. Instead, they are making the same mistake this year that they did in 1948 and 1996, mistaking an off-year wave election for some sort of dramatic shift in the politics of the American populace. Modern post-war Republicans have never figured out how to build on an off year wave election like Democrats did in 1958, 1974, and 2006, and turn that energy and posturing into an all around victory two years later.

John G. writes:

The RCP poll averages could be considered flawed, because they include polls that can be shown to oversample Democrats (for example, CNN typically oversamples by around seven, approximating the 2008 electorate that no one expects to be repeated, and even had Democrats as 50.5 percent of voters in a poll conducted two or three months ago). Rasmussen and Gallup are the only polls I trust, and even Gallup sometimes flirts with questionable (and Democrat-favoring) methodology, which makes it odd that Gallup currently has Romney doing much better than Rasmussen. The campaigns do their own polling, which they rarely release, that is more detailed and accurate than anything we get.

A smaller polling company pulled out of Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia last week, stating that Romney had all three locked up. According to some reports (quoting unnamed sources from the two campaigns), Obama has given up on North Carolina and Florida, and is very concerned about Virginia and Ohio. Early voting in Ohio, which should sharply favor Obama, is evenly split. Some reports also have Romney pulling away in Colorado.

Without Colorado, Romney has 266 and needs any other remaining state. With Colorado, the election is over.

John G. continues:

It’s also noteworthy that New Jersey was recently changed from likely Obama to only leaning. Keep an eye on New Jersey, Oregon, and Minnesota. All are leaning Obama, but could switch to toss-up (assuming any legitimate pollster is working there). I predict at least one ends up in Romney’s column.

October 19

Sage McLaughlin writes:

Andrew B. might not want to own the statement that the polls don’t mean anything, but if they are as “deeply flawed” and flatly incorrect as he says they are, then that’s the very definition of a poll that doesn’t mean anything. Maybe the situation is as terrible for Romney as he makes it out to be, and maybe his strategy has been as big a failure as he says, but basically nobody else thinks so and neither campaign (and neither candidate) is behaving as though that’s what their internal polling data say.

I’ve said from the beginning that the daily “horse race” poll-watching engaged in by pundits is pointless, and is designed more to influence the outcome than it is to describe what’s really happening. Still, the trend in key states (and in the national numbers generally) has been largely positive for Romney, and I am not convinced by Andrew B.’s doom and gloom just yet.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 18, 2012 01:37 PM | Send

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