Did the Polls Over-Count Dems?

Did the pre-election polls over-count Dems?  We’ll know in a few hours if 2012 more closely resembles 2004 or 2008:

From “I’m Calling It for Mitt,” Kimberley Strassel, WSJ:

“Many of the battleground polls assume the electorate will look somewhat like 2008, when Democrats had a seven-point partisan voting advantage over Republicans. This is inconceivable. The Obama turnout machine will be good, and probably bring out Democrats at about the party’s historic average; they will make up 37% to 38% of the electorate. The difference is that the GOP turnout machine, fueled by voter intensity, will likely equal (as it did in 2004) or even exceed that Democratic turnout. If that is the case, this election turns on independent voters, who are now behind Mr. Romney by a comfortable margin.

“My final prediction is that at a minimum, Mr. Romney wins 289 electoral votes, a tally that includes Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. If it is a big night, he also picks up Pennsylvania and maybe Minnesota.”

No, No, We Don’t Hate the Kenyan Muslim Communist, We’re Just Disappointed in Him

From “Obama’s new challenge:  Disappointment,” Jonathan Allen, Politico:

“Yet what emerged from Tampa was a subtle, clever shift in GOP messaging, a much more dangerous strategy for Obama than the kitchen-sink attacks that preceded the gathering.  Republicans posed — rhetorically — as Obama 2008 voters, lamenting his unfulfilled expectations as if they had been with him all along instead of trying to block him at every turn.

Both sides recognize the power of the disappointment theme:  that the hope Obama offered for mending the economy, transforming the political process and even saving the earth has faded.

“Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod described the convention Friday as an exercise in ‘base’ management, with little crossover appeal.  But the disappointment argument is aimed directly at the decisive 6 percent to 8 percent of voters, mostly independents, who were willing to give Obama a chance four years ago.

“‘Given how the GOP entered the convention on the heels of [Missouri Senate candidate Todd] Akin and the platform discussion, I think they did a very good job of keeping the ‘crazy’ out of the convention.  All the prime-time speakers were reassuring and appeared moderate on social issues,’ Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg said.  ‘In fact, it was a pretty boring convention, in a good way for the GOP.’

“[New Mexico Governor Susana] Martinez told a killer anecdote about her conversion from Democrat to Republican over dinner with her husband and GOP friends.  ‘I’ll be damned — we’re Republicans!’

“The subliminal message to moderate voters?  ‘I’ll be damned — we’re Romney-ans!’”  Emphasis added.

I think that last part is a major stretch.  Even party faithful don’t think of themselves as Romney-ans.

And being disappointed doesn’t also make you stupid.

Is Ryan “Political Malpractice”?

From “Paul Ryan VP pick shakes up Mitt Romney battle plan,” John F. Harris and Mike Allen, Politico:

“Many outside Republican strategists, however, are already fretting that the pick will likely turn out to be political malpractice—turning off independents and older voters, who depend especially on programs that are targeted by Ryan’s budget plan that would cut entitlements.

“For now, Romney’s bold move is a gamble that in its own way is as breathtaking as the ultimately self-defeating one John McCain made four years ago with Sarah Palin.”

I don’t think Palin cost McCain the election.  But I think Ryan may well do that for Mitt — some other veep picks wouldn’t have hurt, and basically would have let Mitt win or lose on his own, but, on balance, Ryan hurts.

 

 

 

Obama Up by Ten in New Pew Poll

The Pew Research Center Poll released today finds President Obama up by 10 over Mitt, 51 to 41%.  It’s registered voters, though, not likely voters, so not as reliable.

Mittens’ favorables continue to be upside down, with 52% having an unfavorable view of him and 37% favorable.  The polling was done before Mitt’s triumphant trip abroad.

Obama is at the favorable number considered the bare minimum to be re-elected — 50%, with 45% unfavorable.

Mitt isn’t succeeding at narrowing the gender gap:  56% of women favor Obama, with 37% for Mitt.

Obama gets voters under 30 (58% to 34%), while Mitt gets those 65 and up (49% to 45%).

Independent voters — you know, the folks who actually decide these things — are almost evenly divided, with 45% for Obama and 43% for Mitt.

Support for Tax Increase on Highest Earners

A new Pew Poll shows that 44% believe that raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000 would help the economy, compared to 22% who believe it would hurt, with  24% saying it wouldn’t make a difference, and 11% saying they don’t know.

As you’d expect, Democrats more strongly favored the tax increase, with 64% saying it would help, only 11% saying it would hurt, 15% saying it wouldn’t make a difference, and 9% saying they don’t know.

Only 27% of Republicans say the tax increase would help, 41% say it would hurt, 24% say it wouldn’t make a difference, and 9% say they don’t know.

Independents fall in between, with 41% saying it would help, 18% saying it would hurt, 30% saying it wouldn’t make a difference, and 10% saying they don’t know.

 

Today in The Times, On This Blog Back in February

Last February 29, I posted “Tea Party Excess in the States Will Help President Obama Win.”  I wrote in part:

“People who thought they were voting for smaller, more efficient government [in the states in 2010] found that once these candidates were sworn in, it was all abortion , all the time. … Angry voters showing up to fix things in their state houses will help President Obama stay in the White House.  I believe there will be reverse coattails in 2012.”

Today, the New York Times has a front-page story saying the same thing — “Concern in G.O.P. over State Focus on Social Issues,” by Michael Cooper:

“Some Republican strategists and officials, reluctant to be identified because they do not want to publicly antagonize the party’s base, fear that the attention these divisive social issues are receiving at the state level could harm the party’s chances in November, when its hopes of winning back the White House will most likely rest with independent voters in a handful of swing states. … One seasoned strategist called the problem potentially huge.”

The 15% Who Will Decide the Election

Forget the 1%, forget the 99%, focus on the 15%.  Your future is in their hands.

Of those who say they are Independents, about 60% lean toward one of the parties.  The remaining 40% are true “swing voters,” and they are only about 15% of voters.  They will decide who wins in November.

President Obama won 57% of these swing voters last time.  A new poll from Global Strategy Group shows that he currently leads Mitt among them, 44 to 38%.*

What’s especially interesting is that these voters see themselves as closer to Mitt ideologically, but they like Obama better.

Asked to place themselves on a scale of one to nine, with one as liberal, nine as conservative, and five as moderate, the swing voters’ average was 5.2, while they put Mitt at 6.1 and Obama at 3.9.  This would seem to bode well for Mitt.

But 57% of them gave Obama a favorable rating, compared to only 41% for Mitt.

Voting is ultimately an emotional decision.  If Mitt can’t get his favorables up, he will lose.

* “Obama leads among ‘swing’ indies,” James Hohmann, Politico

 

Mitt’s Already Lost

In 2010, the gender gap that had plagued the GOP for about 30 years disappeared.  Women and men voted about the same.  But I believe that in 2012, the gender gap will be back, and with a vengeance.

In a presidential election, voters who are not part of either party’s base, look not just at the candidates themselves, but at whether the far left or the far right looks scarier for that particular cycle.  It’s about where the pendulum has swung since the last election and moving it back toward the middle.

For women, the far right will look scarier.  Even if they don’t mind Mitt personally, he will lose votes because of the baggage his base brings on birth control and abortion rights.  They have stirred the pot too much since 2010 both at the state and national level, and the atavistic rhetoric during the presidential primary has only exacerbated the outrage and sense of backsliding, the visceral sense that the GOP is bad for women.

The far left won’t look very scary because we’ve already had one term of President Obama, and we don’t have a hammer and sickle on our flag.  The mansions on the Upper East Side haven’t been broken up into apartments for “the people,” and the estates in the Hamptons haven’t been turned into summer camps for workers.

There are five segments in the electorate.  There are the two segments who always vote R or D.  For them, campaigns are more about entertainment than edification, since their minds are made up.  There are the two segments who “lean” R or D, some of whom register in that party and some of whom register as Independents.  Then there are the people who truly are Independents, who don’t lean consistently and who pretty much start at square one for each presidential race.

Mitt is going to lose many women who lean R and  many women who are true Independents, and therefore he will lose the election.

It’s seven months till the voting, but for me, the election was over at the debate when George Stephanopoulus asked Mitt if he thought states could ban birth control.  From the look on Mitt’s face, I think he knew it too.

As the White House Goes, So Goes Congress

In his column for Sunday, George Will concedes that the GOP may well not win the White House in 2012.  He urges conservatives to focus on keeping the House and taking the Senate.

But if the big win that Will foresees for Obama occurs, it will be impossible for the GOP to gain control of Congress.  The same forces that doom the GOP presidential nominee will poison those down ballot from him.

Voters are not going to reject just Mitt or Santorum as individuals, although they will certainly do that, but GOP extremism and out-of-touchness as a whole, on issues like birth control, where the current Republicans in Congress seem to be doing their utmost to alienate and infuriate moderates and independents.

George, appealing to 20% of the electorate isn’t going to win you any branch of government.