Friday, August 3, 2012


A couple of days ago, Quinnipiac released polls in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania showing Obama with leads of 6, 6, and 11 points respectively among likely voters.

Yesterday, Pew Research Center released a national poll showing Obama with a whopping 10-point lead with Romney's unfavorables ticking up to 52%.

This morning, the monthly jobs report held moderately good news for Obama ... a gain of 163,000 jobs in July. We've said previously that averaging job gains of even 125,000 a month would probably be good enough for the President to get reelected.

Finally, Nate Silver's model has Obama's probability of winning ticking up a bit over 70% and that has not yet factored in the decent jobs report.

So, is there real movement in the race here or just statistical noise? Let's break down each piece of news here. The Quinnipiac polls are probably the most positive indicator in all this as they are a good pollster and the Ohio and Florida numbers are surprisingly strong for Obama (please don't get me started on Pennsylvania again). Quinnipiac has moved to a likely voter screen here though and, while that normally gives a slight bump to the Republicans, it could do almost anything depending on how they are screening likely voters. So, it is entirely possible there is no movement here at all and Obama's lead in Ohio and Florida in these polls is just a function of a bad likely voter screen. Similarly, it could be statistical noise though these polls had very large sample sizes (over 1,000 likely voters in each state).

The Pew poll shows a very large lead for Obama that is out of step with other polls. Pew has had a significant house effect towards Obama for some time now so the "lead" would need to be discounted some just for that reason alone. Nate Silver discussed this at length last night.

The jobs numbers are decent for Obama but not incredible. The new numbers basically stem the erosion of confidence in my view rather than boosting Obama. This is good news for Obama no doubt but it is not a "game-changer."

Taking all that together, I think it is fair to say it has been a good couple of days for Obama but "no movement" is a good day for him right now. He doesn't need the dynamic of the race to change. I am not sure we're seeing actual movement in any numbers here. We'll know more in a week or two but count me as one who believes the breaking news here is ... nothing, nothing is happening.

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