Gallup finds enormous shift in party affiliation, Romney the beneficiary

By Dave Andrusko

In the reporting trade, it’s called “burying the lead”—talking about what is most important in the story not at the beginning but often waaay into the story. I’m not sure how you would categorize this lead out from Gallup:

“PRINCETON, NJ — The composition of the electorate for the 2012 presidential election is looking quite similar to what it was in 2008 as well as 2004, according to an analysis of the demographics of Gallup’s likely voter sample since Oct. 1. Thus, key elements of President Obama’s electoral coalition, such as racial minorities, women, young adults, and postgraduates will likely turn out at rates similar to those in 2008.”

In this case the implication of sentence two is that President Obama is putting the band back together—“racial minorities, women, young adults, and postgraduates,” specifically—for 2012. Good news, right?

What you wouldn’t immediately know from the sentence one is the huge implication of the allusion to 2004. What do I mean? Writing on the blog of the Weekly Standard, Jeffrey H. Anderson nails it in his first paragraph:

“Newly released figures from Gallup show that the demographics of the American electorate (age, race, sex, etc.) have changed very little since 2008 except in one way:  Party affiliation has swung dramatically toward the Republican party, and away from the Democratic party, during President Obama’s term. Gallup’s tallies on the composition of the electorate show that, among likely voters, Democrats held a 10-point advantage over Republicans in party affiliation in 2008 — 39 to 29 percent.  Four year later, Gallup’s tallies show that, among likely voters, Republicans hold a 1-point advantage over Democrats in party affiliation — 36 to 35 percent.  That’s an 11-point swing in just four years.”

WHAT? Instead of having a huge lead (10 points), Democrats now trail Republicans in party affiliation by one point. Let’s cut to the chase.

First, Romney is well ahead among Independents. If we assume most Democrats vote for Obama and most Republicans vote for Romney, this is not a pretty picture for the President.

Second, all those polls—poll after poll after poll—that survey many more Democrats than Republicans are simply wrong.

What a way to end a week!