Monday, October 22, 2012

President Obama Trails By 7 Or Leads By 6: Where Does The Race Stand With 15 Days To Go?

For my Republican friends, here's your morning, warm political milk: Gallup yesterday had the President trailing Governor Romney by 7 points among likely voters and 3 points among registered voters.  If Gallup is right, Governor Romney will be President, as 7 point national leads don't collapse in two weeks.

Not to pour too much cold water on my Republican friends' Gallup-fueled hopes, but you should know that Gallup had George W. Bush 13 points ahead on October 27, 2000 among likely voters and was among the worst polls in predicting the final margin in 2008.

For my Democratic readers, here's your morning, warm political milk: yesterday's Investors Business Daily tracking poll had the President leading the Governor 48-42 or up 6.  If the IBD/TIPP poll is right, President Obama will be re-elected.

While I find it credible that President Obama would be at 48 points, I don't believe that Governor Romney is as low as 42.

And for anyone who is still undecided, I offer you Sunday's NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that had the race tied at 47 among Likely Voters, though the President leads 49-44 among registered voters.  I would also offer you the Public Policy Polling number of 48-48 and the Reuters-Ipsos tracking poll that had the President at 46 and Governor Romney at 45.

So, if you are undecided, you can still make a difference by making up your mind, but you are down to 15 days to do so.

Out of that jumble, where do I think the race stands?  My review of the polling and their internals, where available, leads me to conclude this race is all about turnout. Gallup and Investors Daily are likely both wrong, since both paint this race as substantially controlled by either the President or the Governor.  They are outliers among the polls, and my all knowing gut says they are wrong too.

For six months, the race has been structurally 47-47, with independents capturing 2 per cent of the vote.  That leaves 4% undecided.  And the average of national polls, as of yesterday, confirms this view of where the race still stands

Every vote may well count, as this race looks like 2004 or even 2000. While not probable, it is also possible that the winner in 2012 may lose the national popular vote or that third party candidates in Virginia and Colorado tilt those states to either President Obama or Governor Romney and so the election.

It is also possible that 2012 might become the second election out of the last 4 where the electoral college winner lost the popular vote. In 2000 Gore won 500,000 more votes but Democrats swallowed the bitter pill of defeat. Perhaps, if the President wins an electoral college majority but loses the popular vote, bipartisan agreement might emerge to abolish the electoral college and that would be a long overdue, positive change.

The Presidency in 2012 comes down to TURNOUT. Who votes in 12 or less states will decide. And hopefully the candidate with the most votes will win.

1 comment:

  1. John,

    You know as well as I do that if Romney is elected, it will be a disaster for the renewables industry and the environment. There has been too much misleading information on their side and too much political cowardice on our side. Joe Romm recently fingered Axelrod as the problem with Obama saying anything about climate, as we all wish he would. I can only assume two things: one, that they think the population is too stupid and divided to be able to handle the truth, or two, they think they can't stop climate change and are willing to let civilization roll off a cliff. It's kind of like the "Frontline" episode that related how the CFTC's warnings of a looming financial crisis were squelched by the financial titans in the Clinton White House. No one wants to upset the apple cart ($$$$$$$$), no matter who gets hurt. You tell me.