Is the race between Romney and Obama really tied?
By Dave Andrusko
As we’ve discussed many times in this space, unless you know the composition of the audience that a pollster surveys, you can’t know if the results are a fair representation of reality or just a reflection of an unrepresentative sample. So what does the new the Washington Post and ABC News survey reveal, other than what the Post tells us early on in its story: “President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney remain in a deadlocked contest, tied at 47 percent among registered voters and basically where they stood in late May”? Two things, primarily.
First, that the sample has to be skewed to allow the President to remain even. Ed Morrissey explains that once again the Post winds up with far more Democrats in its sample than there is reason to believe will be voting this November. (“D/R/I” refers to Democrats/Republicans/ Independents.)
“Readers have to trek around a bit to find it, but the D/R/I in this sample is 33/24/36. In 2008, the split was 39/32/29, and in the 2010 midterms it was 35/35/30, both figures from CNN’s exit polls. In this case, we have a split that’s wider than the Democratic wave election of 2008, and it can only produce a tie for Obama among registered voters. That doesn’t sound very promising for Obama, unless one believes that we’re about to see a massive wave election for Democrats that will outdo the 2008 election.”
Just so we’re clear. Even though no one, but no one, would argue that Democrats are better positioned today than they were in 2008, the number of Democrats in this new poll is larger (9 points) than the exit polls showed voted in 2008, a runaway Democratic year (7 points). If you used the most recent election—2010—just as many self-identified Republicans as self-identified Democrats voted.
Second, even though the Obama campaign has relentlessly hammered pro-life former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his role in Bain Capital, there is no discernible effect, even though Obama’s team has expended gobs of money.
In the Post/ABC News poll, half said it made no difference, 24% believed it’s a reason to oppose Romney and 23% believed it’s a reason to support him.
Monday’s USA Today/Gallup swing state poll showed Obama statistically tied with Romney, which is exactly the same result the survey showed in June. This, even though “the president’s team has handily outspent Romney and his allied super PACs, pouring in $91 million into eight swing states in an early spending barrage intended to make Romney seem an unacceptable challenger,” according to the National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar. He concludes
“The polling shows that voters have made up their minds about Obama, with many of the undecided voters still learning about Romney. They’ve gotten their first impressions from the early Obama television ads, but Romney will have his chance to tout his positives with the August convention and upcoming debates. There’s a reason why the Obama campaign is trying to disqualify Romney early on. Because if they don’t score an early knockout, it becomes harder to win over the late deciders as the election approaches.”
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