Two Presidential Polls Split on who is ahead

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama and Pro-Life Mitt Romney

Just as the case yesterday, there are conflicting presidential polls. Rasmussen Reports has pro-life Mitt Romney up three points over pro-abortion Barack Obama—48% to 45%. By contrast the New York Times/CBS News poll has Mr. Obama up by three—49% to 46%. Both are of “likely voters,” considered more predictive. Let’s briefly talk about each.

Rasmussen Report (which was one of the two pollsters whose advance numbers were closest to the actual presidential results in 2008) provides what it calls the Presidential Approval Index—the difference between those who strongly approve and those who strongly disapprove of a President’s performance.

“Currently, 28% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way Obama is performing as president,” according to Rasmussen Reports. “Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove, giving him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14.” That is an excellent measure of intensity—in this case, intensity of opposition to Mr. Obama.

In addition, 48% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president’s job performance while 52% at least somewhat disapprove.

With respect to the Times/CBS poll, the first thing that jumps out—beyond the three point Obama advantage—is that Romney leads among Independents 50% to 41%. That is difficult to square with a three point margin for the President.

President Obama enjoys a 53%-41% advantage among women voters, according to the poll. Mr. Romney is ahead 52%-44% among men.  Keep in mind those numbers have fluctuated; in particular the “gender gap” is shrinking.

The recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found that Obama enjoys only a five point advantage among women who are likely voters. Mr. Romney lead among men by three points in that same poll.

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