Of Polls and PolsPosted: September 26, 2012
For weeks, Republicans in Ohio have been watching with worry that the state’s vital 18 electoral votes were trending away from Mitt Romney. The anxiety has been similar in Florida, where Republicans are concerned that President Obama is gaining the upper hand in the fight for the state’s 29 electoral votes.
Those fears are affirmed in the findings of the latest Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls of likely voters in both states, which show that Mr. Obama has widened his lead over Mr. Romney and is outperforming him on nearly every major campaign issue, even though about half said they were disappointed in Mr. Obama’s presidency.
The polls, along with interviews with supporters and advisers in the nation’s two largest battleground states, lay bare an increasingly urgent challenge facing Mr. Romney as he prepares for his next chance to move the race in his favor, at the first debate with Mr. Obama next week.
Mr. Romney’s burden is no longer to win over undecided voters, but also to woo back the voters who seem to be growing a little comfortable with the idea of a second term for Mr. Obama.
Women in Ohio prefer Barack Obama to Mitt Romney by a margin of 25 points, according to a new poll. In Pennsylvania, it’s 21 points and in Florida, another swing state, women gave the president a 19-point edge.
It appears the so-called war on women has taken its toll. In Ohio, Romney is actually winning with men by 8 points, but the gap among women is so wide that Obama leads the state by 10 points, according to the Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll of likely voters.
In other bad news for Romney, those polled gave Obama the edge on the economy.
But Romney appears to be in deeper trouble in Ohio than elsewhere, an alarming development for Republicans who know that the candidate’s White House chances begin and end with the kind of middle-class voters who reside in places such as Akron, Cincinnati and Zanesville.
So why exactly is Romney trailing?
Two surveys released in recent days, one from the Ohio Newspaper Association and another from The Washington Post, crystallized the challenge facing Romney as he embarks on his second straight day of campaigning in the Buckeye State.
The topline numbers — Obama led by 5 points among likely voters in the Ohio poll, and a startling 8 points in the Post poll — only tell part of the story.
Romney’s favorable rating is underwater. Almost two-thirds of voters approve of Obama’s decision to bail out the auto industry, a staple of Ohio’s manufacturing economy. The president leads Romney by a wide margin on the question of who would do more to help the middle class.
Republicans–in an attempt to overcome their deep-seated need to live in the land of surreality–are calling the pols skewed and untrue. Rush Limbaugh is calling it a liberal media conspiracy to depress Republicans. (Warning: the links go to the sources.)
RUSH: The purpose of the people right now, most of them doing these polls, they’re trying to make news, not reflect it, they’re advancing an agenda. They’re all Democrats. They’re all liberals. They just have different jobs. The polls are the replacement refs. They see certain things. They don’t see other things. They don’t call certain things, and other things go by. In this case, what they’re trying to do is exactly what they’ve done in your case: frustrate you, make you pull your hair out, say, what the hell’s happening to the country? They want you thinking the country’s lost. They want you thinking your side’s lost. They want you thinking it’s over for what you believe. And that makes you stay home and not vote. That’s what they’re hoping. That’s why you have to fight it every day, Stephanie.
CALLER: I do; I do. And it’s so frustrating. You know, I wish somebody could say, “Hey, this is what’s gonna happen on Election Day.”
RUSH: Well, I know, I would love to be able to tell you, but see, nobody knows. Nobody knows. Not even the pollsters will predict that their poll is right, right now.
Notice that Rush conveniently ignores the FOX news poll that shows the same results. But, Fox is playing the same game. It’s a “Democratic” Skew and not the response of the electorate to the Romney Ryan agenda and incompetency.
Conservatives and the Romney campaign may say that the swing state polls which shows a widening lead for Obama are out of whack, but the trend is unmistakable. A month ago in must-win Ohio, Romney trailed in the Quinnipiac University poll commissioned by the New York Times and CBS News by 6 points. It’s now 10 points.
Polls may not be predictive, but even a poll that doesn’t reflect the actual condition of the electorate can still show you the trend line. And right now, there aren’t any indications that Romney is closing the gap. Romney may be closer than a double-digit deficit, but he’s sure not where he needs to be.
Romney’s attack slogan on President Obama has been “Obama isn’t working,” but it’s clear that Romney’s strategy hasn’t been working.
Romney’s even lost seniors. He only has a clear advantage with one group. That would be White Men. So what does the Quinnipiac Poll indicate?
Gov. Mitt Romney had a bad week in the media and it shows in these key swing states,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “The furor over his 47 percent remark almost certainly is a major factor in the roughly double-digit leads President Barack Obama has in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The debates may be Romney’s best chance to reverse the trend in his favor.”
“The wide difference between the two candidates is not just a result of Romney’s bad week. In Ohio and Florida votes are basically split down the middle on whether the county and they and their families are worse or better off than they were four years ago. If voters don’t think they are worse off, it is difficult to see them throwing out an incumbent whose personal ratings with voters remains quite high,” Brown added.
“The president’s strength results from the fact that for the first time in the entire campaign, he is seen as better able to fix the economy than is Romney, the issue that has been the Republican’s calling card since the general election campaign began. And the economy remains the overwhelming choice as the most important issue to voters’ presidential choice.”
TP just published a list of six prominent reactionaries that think the media are manipulating the polls. Republicans appear to be delusional. Dave Wiegel is calling them “Poll sample Truthers”. They simply refuse to believe reality.
Nicknamed “poll sample truthers” by Dave Weigel, the skeptics are falling over each other to explain how the numbers are lying:
Erickson, Editor-in-Chief of RedState.com and CNN political contributor, accuses the media of a “confirmation bias” that makes them conform their data to what they want: “The polls are confirming what the press thinks and that they have a larger than 2008 Democratic turnout is of no consequence to them.”
The Republican pollster explains the poll conspiracy: “The Democrats want to convince [these anti-Obama voters] falsely that Romney will lose to discourage them from voting. So they lobby the pollsters to weight their surveys to emulate the 2008 Democrat-heavy models. They are lobbying them now to affect early voting. IVR [Interactive Voice Response] polls are heavily weighted. You can weight to whatever result you want.”
Radio host Hugh Hewitt thinks the CBS/Quinnipiac/NYT poll is “junk”, choosing instead to focus on Rasmussen and Gallup’s daily polls, which have Obama leading by a smaller margin. These polls, he says, amounts to “lots of evidence this morning that their campaign is in terrific shape.”
Tea Party icon Dick Morris insists if the election were held today Romney would win by “4 or 5 points,” carrying Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania — leading Sean Hannity to exclaim, “Oh, come on!” Morris later declares, “The polling this year is the worst it’s ever been.”
The question is will Republican just blame Romney for this when they eventually wake up to reality or will they see that entire swatches of the voting populace reject their agenda?