Thursday, October 11, 2012

Romney's Swing State Problem

I'm going to sound like a broken record but here are the "swing-state" poll numbers released in the last 12 hours according to Taegan Goddard:

Colorado: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac)
Florida: Obama 47%, Romney 46% (NBC/WSJ/Marist)
Michigan: Obama 49%, Romney 42% (Detroit News)
Michigan: Obama 46%, Romney 44% (Gravis)
Nevada: Obama 47%, Romney 45% (Suffolk)
Ohio: Obama 51%, Romney 45% (NBC/WSJ/Marist)
Ohio: Obama 47%, Romney 46% (Pulse Opinion Research)
Pennsylvania: Obama 47%, Romney 45% (Pulse Opinion Research)
Virginia: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (NBC/WSJ/Marist)
Virginia: Obama 51%, Romney 46% (CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac)
Virginia: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Pulse Opinion Research)
Wisconsin: Obama 50%, Romney 47% (CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac)
Wisconsin: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (Pulse Opinion Research)

I put "swing-state" in air quotes because Michigan and Pennsylvania are not swing states but I won't get started on that rant again. These are just the states that Goddard lists.

Some of these pollsters are better than others and I won't bother with that discussion right now other than to say, look at where Obama is in polls that call cell-phones. For purposes of our discussion here, let's assume these polls are all equally valid.

Who is likely to win the election today if these polls are accurate? Mitt Romney is ahead in exactly 2 of these 13 polls and he's tied in one more. If we average the polls in states where there is more than one poll, Obama wins every state listed here except Colorado. Now, many of these states (like Florida) would be close. But guess what? Florida has always been close. And guess what else? Let's give Florida to Romney along with Colorado. Now who wins? The President.

Everyone is talking about how the first debate "wiped out" everything that happened between the convention and the debates when Obama built a bit of a cushion. I don't believe that's exactly correct but let's say it is. Now who wins? The President.

Yesterday, the President said, "What’s important is the fundamentals of what this race is about haven’t changed." He's absolutely right.

UPDATE: Greg Sargent snagged an interview with Geoff Garin, arguably the top Democratic pollster in the country and got Garin to outline why Obama is doing so much better in swing states like Ohio than he's doing nationally:
Geoff Garin, the pollster for the Obama-allied Priorities USA, tells me that his polling shows that views of Romney are more fixed in the battlegrounds than nationally. “In the swing states, voters are much more apt and able to quote back the main case against Romney,” he tells me.

Garin adds that his polling has tested voter reaction to various arguments against Romney, such as the idea that his economic policies would favor the wealthy or burden the middle class. He says voter agreement with those suggestions is “higher where the advertising has occurred,” and adds: “All the swing state advertising has had a measurable and lasting impact.”

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