Sunday, September 16, 2012

Taking a Poll of the Polls

If you've been paying as much attention to the latest presidential polls as I have, you probably need a hobby.  You'll also notice that virtually all of them - with the exception of Rasmussen - have Barack Obama ahead nationally among likely voters. And if you break down the Rasmussen poll, when lean voters are included, Obama has a one point lead over Romney.  Real Clear Politics shows Obama ahead by an average of 3.1 points.  Indeed, when you add up all the lean states for Obama and the toss-ups that show him slightly ahead, RCP predicts him to win 332 electoral votes on November 6th.

As delighted as I am at the good news, there are two things that I must point out:

1. A good number of the states that most polls show as leaning towards Obama are barely leaning, and at least two of the toss-ups show him ahead by a point or less.  Virginia, Colorado and Ohio are well within the margin of error, and Wisconsin is anyone's guess.  And then there's Florida, which has flip-flopped more times than a Mitt Romney stance in the last few months.  It is quite conceivable that all of these states could go red come election day.  If that happens get used to saying President Gordon Gekko.

2. There are still seven weeks to go before the election.  Anything can happen between now and then.  The turmoil in the Middle East could erupt into a full-blown disaster and let's not forget Europe. That isn't being pessimistic; it's just being realistic.  Being up by 3 points only counts on election day.

While it's encouraging to know that Romney has a tougher path to get to 270 electoral votes, it's not out of the question.  Stranger things have happened. I seem to recall an awful lot of Kerry supporters feeling good about being up on Bush a month or two before the '04 election. I wouldn't go popping any corks on that champagne just yet.

I have said from the beginning that this election will be very close.  The winner will probably receive between 274 and 288 electoral votes.  That means no landslide, no mandate and yes, sadly, more of the same gridlock that has paralyzed Washington for the last two years.

And that's not very encouraging at all.


Link: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/general_election_romney_vs_obama-1171.html


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