Sunday, May 13, 2012

Not Much to Say - Obama Still Winning

A few people have asked me why I haven't been blogging much in the past few days. The main reason is that there isn't much to say ... and that's good news for the President.

There have been lots of polls out but they don't tell us very much that is new ... at least it isn't new if you've been reading here for the last couple of months. Here's a new poll. The President is winning in Maine. Here's one that shows Romney winning in Georgia. And here's one that shows Obama winning in Michigan. There are no surprises here.

Obama is winning right now. If you look at the trend estimates by state, you see that Obama is leading by smaller or larger margins in all the "battleground" states. Here's a listing of Obama's lead (or deficit) in's current trend estimates nationally and for all the states for which they have multiple polls:

National - 1.2
AZ - (0.5)
FL - 1.2
IA - 10.0
MI - 4.0
MO - (3.0)
MT - (9.0)
NV - 8.2
NH - 8.8
NC - 2.6
OH - 3.8
PA - 7.6
VA - 4.5
WI - 5.7

The only states Obama is losing in this group are states that Obama lost in 2008. But let's look at this from a more conservative angle. Sean Trende recently pointed out that most of these state polls are looking at registered voters rather than likely voters. There is very good reason for pollsters to do this because it is exceedingly difficult to get an accurate read this far out from the election on what the likely voter pool will be. But Trende correctly points out that likely voter pools are usually more favorable to Republicans than registered voter pools and that, on average, the shift from one to the other means about a 3-4-point shift in the Republican direction. So, let's take state polls above (the national polling does include more likely voter polls) and shift all of them 3.5 points in Romney's direction:

AZ - (4.0)
FL - (2.7)
IA - 6.5
MI - 0.5
MO - (6.5)
MT - (12.5)
NV - 4.7
NH - 5.3
NC - (0.9)
OH - 0.3
PA - 4.1
VA - 1.0
WI - 2.2

So who wins in this scenario? Obama. And he's still got a little bit of room to spare. "Really?" you say. Yes, really. In fact, he's at 303 electoral votes. "Well that Ohio result is so close it scares me. What if we give Ohio to Romney? Does Obama still win?" you say. Yes. Obama still wins. "Well, I've noticed Colorado isn't listed there" you say. "You're just cooking the books by giving Colorado to Obama!" Well, I would predict Obama wins Colorado right now (and I don't think it'd be that close) but okay, let's give Colorado to Romney. What happens now? Obama still wins ... with 276 electoral votes. You can play around with the math on this here but I'm telling you ... Romney's path to 270 is VERY narrow right now.

Recently, my aunt attended a lecture and the lecturer (a political scientist) said the election will come down to "FLOHPA," the key states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and whichever candidate wins 2 of the 3 will win. My aunt was quite alarmed because she thinks Obama is in trouble in Florida. But guess what? The old "FLOHPA is decisive" argument is not necessarily true. 1) I just showed you how Obama can lose Ohio and Florida AND lose Colorado and still win. 2) For the love of all that is holy, let's take Pennsylvania out of the "swing" state column (see my earlier rant on this). Obama is either winning Pennsylvania or he's losing VERY badly. But the election is NOT turning on Pennsylvania.

My broader point for today is this. Take the state polling into account and then shift everything 3.5 points in Romney's direction ... and Obama is still in the driver's seat. I'm not saying the election is over and I'm not saying Obama is running away with it. But Obama is winning right now and nothing happened this week (no, not even the gay marriage stuff) to change that.

1 comment:

Recovering political scientist said...

You are awesome (for a political scientist)