Romney increases advantage among Independent voters in new Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll

By Dave Andrusko
http://twitter.com/daveha

“After spending the summer defining and discrediting Romney in key states and nationally, the Obama campaign now finds itself facing an opponent who, in just 90 minutes, erased much of the image that David Axelrod and David Plouffe created in a series of negative ads over the summer.”
              —  Stuart Rothenberg, “Reverting to the Norm: The Race Narrows.”

Pro-Life Mitt Romney

The tweet appeared just before today’s update of  the Washington Post/ABC News trailing poll came online: “In 5 minutes, life as you know it will change. Or close. The WaPo-ABC  tracking poll is almost here….The Fix.” (“The Fix” is a political column overseen by the Washington Post’s ‘s Chris Cillizza.)

I understand that the tweet was just a tease to get people to read the update, but….Whoa! Would that mean that the poll’s Thursday finding (that pro-life Mitt Romney was ahead of pro-abortion President Barack Obama by three points) had substantially changed?

Suddenly the Post was posting its update at noon, rather than five in the afternoon, which led me to surmise that things had not gotten worse for the candidate the newspaper had just predictably endorsed for President.

Sure enough, there was a tiny change: Romney was now up 49 to 48%. The bulk of the story was about how both campaigns were contacting supporters like mad.

But the real news, of course, is found in the latter part of this sentence: “Romney continues to hold the advantage when it comes to handling the economy, benefit from a campaign-high 60 percent support from white voters and has a bulging, 20-point advantage among political independents.”

Far more important than the one point overall change in Obama’s favor is that there had been a two point increase for Romney among Independents! “Bulging” advantage  is not an exaggeration when Romney is 20 points ahead.

This takes on added impact in light of the composition of the survey: 34% Democrats, 30% Republican, and 32% Independent. As I’ve written many times, if almost all Democrats say they will vote for Obama and almost all (in fact slightly more) Republicans say they will vote for Romney, how can Romney be behind when he enjoys a tremendous advantage among almost exactly one-third of the survey (32%)?

NRL News Today will be updating the numbers again later in the day, so here’s a quick summary of what we know so far:

  • As mentioned Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll has Romney up one
  • Romney is ahead by three points (50% to 47%) in Rasmussen’s daily survey.
  • Romney is ahead by three in Gallup (50% to 47%), although that could change later in the day.
  • How about ”swing”  or “battleground states”? Rasmussen concludes that Romney is cumulatively ahead 50% to 46% in the eleven swing states. “Romney leads by two in New Hampshire, three in Virginia and four in Colorado. He’s ahead by five in Florida and six in North Carolina. Obama leads by two in Nevada and Wisconsin, five in Pennsylvania  and seven in Michigan.  The candidates are tied in Iowa and Ohio,” Rasmussen reports.

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