CBS/NYT poll shows dead heat between Obama, Romney at 46%

posted at 8:41 am on April 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

So much for that eight-point lead in the secretly-weighted CNN poll, eh?  CBS gives us a sneak peek at their first general-election poll of the season, in partnership with the New York Times, and finds a dead heat in the mid-40s:

Mitt Romney has closed the gap with President Obama among registered voters, a CBS News/New York Times poll released Wednesday found, putting the former Massachusetts governor in a dead heat with the president for the White House.

Mr. Obama and Romney each received support from 46 percent of registered voters when asked who they would vote for if the election were held today. In March, a CBS News/New York Times survey found that Mr. Obama held a slight advantage over Romney of 47 percent to 44 percent.

Normally, I’d take a poll from a media outlet and thoroughly vet the internals before posting an analysis.  CBS didn’t provide the internals of their new poll, however, so we’ll have to make do with their review of the data.  The topline results match what most other pollsters are finding, within the margin of error.  In fact, it matches what CNN found in their poll of general-population adults — at least before they turned a 48/47 result for Obama into a 53/41 without any explanation whatsoever.

The key here is that Obama is only drawing 46% as the incumbent and the unchallenged Democratic contender in the race.  Romney only gets to 46% too, but as the internals show, there is still plenty of upside from the end of the primary fight:

Following the end of Santorum’s bid for the presidency, Republican primary voters have rallied behind Romney, with 54 percent saying they want him to lead Republicans into the fall campaign season. That’s a significant difference from March, when only 30 percent wanted him to be the nominee.

Gingrich was preferred among 20 percent of Republican primary voters; Paul received support from 12 percent. Nine percent picked “someone else.” When asked if Santorum should have suspended his campaign, 63 percent of those polled said yes; 30 percent said no.

Still, many Republicans expressed lukewarm feelings toward Romney, with 40 percent of primary voters having reservations about him compared with 33 percent saying they supported him “enthusiastically.” In January, the last time a CBS News/New York Times survey asked primary voters about Romney, 28 percent said they supported him enthusiastically and 38 percent had reservations.

We’re at 46/46 without having hit a real “honeymoon” stage for Romney after the practical end of the Republican fight.  That’s bad news for Team Obama, especially while facing a slowing economy and rising gas prices, and having nothing to offer but Buffett Rules and nostalgia.

We do have the internals for the Reuters/Ipsos poll from yesterday, and they’re pretty much nonsense.  The poll shows Obama up four over Romney, 47/43, but that’s with a stated D/R/I of 47/38/15.  That’s only predictive if one believes that Democrats will gain eight points over their 2008 turnout, and have two points more of a lead over Republicans than that election provided, according to CNN’s exit polls.  Without counting the leaners, the D/R/I is still an odd 29/22/49.

In either case, having a lead within the MoE on a skew of this proportion should also have the White House worried.  But there is one key indicator that looks even worse for Obama, which is his approval ratings.  They peg Obama approval at 49/49, which is attributable largely to the sample skew, and is hardly impressive.  But his approval among independents is a disastrous 37/57, down from 42/54 in March and 45/44 in January.  He’s crashing and burning in the middle, where Obama won the 2008 election.


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But his approval among independents is a disastrous 37/57, down from 42/54 in March and 45/44 in January.

That’s going to sting. When the center collapses on you, there is no way to win. It is the independents that decide the election.

Right now both parties have all of their voters solidly in their own respective camps. It was 90/6 for both parties for their respective candidates in one poll earlier this week, I think. The cratering of the non-aligned vote is going to absolutely doom Obama.

crosspatch on April 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM

“Romney +5 in VA (Roanoke College poll)
Obama +5 on FL (PPP poll)
Romney +2 in NC (Rasmussen poll)
Obama +8 in OH (Rasmussen poll)
Obama +4 in MI (EPIC-MRA poll)
Romney +9 in MO (Rasmussen poll)
Obama +13 in CO (PPP poll)
Obama +8 in NV (PPP poll)
Romney +11 in AZ (Rasmussen poll)”

Romney is toast if he’s that weak in the swing states.

gumbyandpokey on April 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM

He’s not that weak in the swing states.

You left PA off your list. Romney’s polling well here. You also leave WI and IA off your list–which show him within striking distance in WI and ahead of Obama in IA. Another swing state off your list is NH–which views him pretty much as a favorite son. In all three states–PA, WI and IA–Obama polls below 50%–which means undecideds will probably break for the challenger and not the incumbent. So Obama is not looking particularly strong at this stage.(There are no poll numbers for NH.)

In FL Romney’s within striking distance–not bad for this early in the game, especially when we’re talking about registered voters and not likely voters in the single poll taken so far to measure the state. A likely voter poll would easily shave off a few points of Obama’s narrow lead, especially if the economy continues down its present negative trajectory. So while FL is always a worry–Romney’s not in bad shape considering the bruising primary he’s just come through.

I’m not arguing Romney’s ahead, I’m arguing he’s not toast, that the race is early, that how the economy fares will matter hugely in coming months, that the challenger is in a healthy position considering what he’s just come through, and that the race will tighten up as we get closer and closer to the finish line. It was never a slam dunk–but neither is Romney toast as you suggest.

writeblock on April 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Don’t believe it.

Mittens is the huge underdog.

The Donk/Alinsky/MSM Hate Machine hasn’t even gotten out of the driveway yet.

Hell is coming…

Bruno Strozek on April 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM

I’m not arguing Romney’s ahead, I’m arguing he’s not toast, that the race is early, that how the economy fares will matter hugely in coming months, that the challenger is in a healthy position considering what he’s just come through, and that the race will tighten up as we get closer and closer to the finish line. It was never a slam dunk–but neither is Romney toast as you suggest.

writeblock on April 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Well said. Anyone who thinks they can predict how this election will turn out already is just projecting their own biases onto the general electorate.

Over the coming months, the trajectory of the economy and gas prices (the two can be related but are not synonymous), and how fund raising and ground-game organizing goes for both candidates will have a significant impact on the final election results. Plus, you know, the actual campaigning, especially after Labor Day when most voters traditionally start paying attention.

HTL on April 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Grassroots conservatives’ time and money would be better spent on the House and Senate races, because…

Mitt Romney: In Your Heart, You Know He’s A Loser

It makes sense if we take the economic critique proffered by anti-inflationists like Ron Paul and Gerald Celente seriously: would you want to be President if we’re on the brink of another Great Depression? As the American dollar is destroyed, and the buying power of the average American is about to become the equivalent of a consumer in, say, Zimbabwe, is it really in the GOP’s interest to take the White House this year?
[...]
Ron Paul isn’t the only one conjuring visions of America as Greece-times-ten, and it doesn’t take much imagination to see how the march to austerity will be met here in this country, where Americans’ sense of entitlement is almost as well-developed as their taste for vulgarity. What happens when the bread-and-circuses stop, and Americans are forced to confront the grim reality of being broke?
[...]
If voters are in the mood to punish the Democrats somehow, and if they can’t in good conscience do it on the presidential level, then isn’t it more likely they’ll take it out on the rest of the ticket? If Republicans can retain control of the House, that may be enough to keep them from regretting their loss at the top of the ticket. Another wave of victories on the state and local level will perhaps be enough to satiate them, at least for the moment, until they get another crack at the White House. Then they can sit back and blame the President for everything, as the crisis unfolds, while cat-calling from the sidelines: a perfect set-up for career politicians who have no principles, no sense of duty to the country, and no compunctions about defrauding their supporters. With Congress in their hot little hands, they can obstruct the President’s domestic agenda and heckle him into getting more aggressive on the overseas front – a perfect vantage point from which to observe the rapidly accelerating decline of the American empire.

Rae on April 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Rae on April 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

.
Lets go with Ron Paul- Sure.

Listen up- and tell all your nutter friends- THERE AIN’T ANYBODY ELSE IN THE BULL PEN to go against Ocommie – shoulda maybe started the search a little earlier in the hopes of getting a viable-better ABR.

40-50 years of “social” progress has brought us to this point, Dem AND Rep- Not Romney. You want another pinhead DC politician to save the day ? guess what – its THEIR fault.
.
The private sector demands success- requires results.
Let try something different in a president who isn’t owned by DC or cares about their precious little “political career”

FlaMurph on April 18, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Grassroots conservatives’ time and money would be better spent on the House and Senate races, because…
Mitt Romney: In Your Heart, You Know He’s A Loser

Rae on April 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

It’s over, he’e the candidate. Support him or get out of the way.

V7_Sport on April 18, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Obama’s real numbers must really be sh!t if the New York Times can’t manipulate the poll to better than a dead heat.

Dark Star on April 18, 2012 at 1:49 PM

It’s over, he’e the candidate. Support him or get out of the way.

V7_Sport on April 18, 2012 at 1:38 PM

::stepping aside::

You must agree though that he’s a loser, and it’s more important to have a majority in CONgress to stop Obama (in the event he ever bothers with them since, you know, we’re ruled by EOs and unelected bureaucracies now).

If not, then have fun wasting your finite time on Earth and throwing your money away on the loser prog in the Red jersey.

Rae on April 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

::stepping aside::

You must agree though that he’s a loser, and it’s more important to have a majority in CONgress to stop Obama (in the event he ever bothers with them since, you know, we’re ruled by EOs and unelected bureaucracies now).

If not, then have fun wasting your finite time on Earth and throwing your money away on the loser prog in the Red jersey.

Rae on April 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

First, we won’t lose the majority in Congress this year. Not after this cycle redistricting. It’ll take a huge democrat wave of 1932 proportions (probably bigger) or the dems will need a few elections before they can get the majority back. Too many gerrymandered districts and safe incumbents.

Second, the more important thing in the next few years will be to get a majority of federalist judges in the SCOTUS. Without that no temporary congressional majority will save this country.

That’s why it’s so important for Romney to win.

joana on April 18, 2012 at 2:09 PM

joana on April 18, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Judges. Please! All of the judges Rs nominate are police statists.
Some of us want both economic and civil liberties, and under the bifactional ruling party, we have ended up with neither.

Rae on April 18, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Re.Rae

::stepping aside::

Then you have no right to call yourself a conservative or even a patriot.

You must agree though that he’s a loser

No, I don’t. I would much rather have him than some crackpot who blames the USA for 1400 years of islamic terrorism and who’s legion of 9/11 truther paranoiacs and bedwetting Israel haters who only know how to win internet polls.

and it’s more important to have a majority in CONgress to stop Obama

I’ll be working for both.

If not, then have fun wasting your finite time on Earth and throwing your money away on the loser prog in the Red jersey.

Better to flush it on the latest moneybomb.

V7_Sport on April 18, 2012 at 2:56 PM

If I were the incumbent with single digit leads among registered voters in key swing states, I’d be very nervous. That’s not much of a deficit for any challenger to make up the last minute when races normally tighten up anyway. I’d also be nervous about having made freedom of religion an issue. The bishops have given notice they’ll continue to play hardball. Bad news indeed since Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are full of indignant Catholics.

writeblock on April 18, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Then you have no right to call yourself a conservative or even a patriot.

LOL…

No, I don’t. I would much rather have him than some crackpot who blames the USA for 1400 years of islamic terrorism and who’s legion of 9/11 truther paranoiacs and bedwetting Israel haters who only know how to win internet polls.

LOL… Yer killin’ me. You sure do like to eat up that neo-Trotskyite propaganda!

I do have a question though: How do you feel about Bushbama’s wars “building” Islamic theocracies all over the ME and Africa?

On topic, Obamney will win and, once again, Americans will lose. We’ll get lots more of the same borrowing, spending and printing, big government, bailouts and other forms of corporatism, a metastasizing police state, and endless war.

Go Team!

Rae on April 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

If not, then have fun wasting your finite time on Earth
Rae on April 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Yeah! How dare they?!? They should do something useful instead like spending all their finite time on Earth trolling Republican websites!11!!!1 Eleventy!!11!!

whatcat on April 18, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Re. Rae

Yer killin’ me. You sure do like to eat up that neo-Trotskyite propaganda!

Trotskyite? Go have someone explain what that means to you.

How do you feel about Bushbama’s wars “building” Islamic theocracies all over the ME and Africa?

Not great, What’s the alternative? Yeah, I know, toss the Israelis to the wolves and run like hell. I think we are better than that.

On topic, Obamney will win and, once again, Americans will lose.

You are in a cult. Get deprogramming or you may find yourself selling flowers for the next dear leader… Maybe after Ron Retires you can run Alex Jones or Jesse Ventura. They will save us from the corporatism, the reptilian shape-shfters, the NWO and the Joooooos!

V7_Sport on April 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM

They will save us from the corporatism, the reptilian shape-shfters, the NWO and the Joooooos!
V7_Sport on April 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Trotsky was one of them thar Joooos, y’know!!11!!!!

whatcat on April 18, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Crosstab of Illinois likely voters who have been dead for at least 2 weeks shows Obama 98%, Romney 0%, Others 2%.

slp on April 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Judges. Please! All of the judges Rs nominate are police statists.
Some of us want both economic and civil liberties, and under the bifactional ruling party, we have ended up with neither.

Rae on April 18, 2012 at 2:20 PM

You’re aware that Ron Paul actually supported the confirmation of those guys, right? Who exactly are the judges you believe are “police statists”?

I think you need to drop down that childish Rothbardian patine. Nobody cares. The idea that everybody who isn’t a nutjob favors some sort of police state or foreign military intervention and that both parties are equal is just nonsense that makes you sound like an uninformed 14 years old who discovered DailyPaul last Summer.

joana on April 18, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Apparently there’s still 46% of this country who STILL have their heads up their COLLECTIVE butts!!!!!

Colatteral Damage on April 18, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Apparently a new poll has come out in CO showing Obama at a mere 45% approval. Meanwhile a Franklin and Marshall veteran pollster was interviewed today and stated Obama’s numbers in PA were weak and that the GOP could well win PA’s 20 electoral votes in 2012:

http://www.kunc.org/post/poll-shows-hickenlooper-popular-metro-area-obama-below-50

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=50928

writeblock on April 18, 2012 at 9:45 PM

One other note: Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review points out the latest Pew poll shows Obama with the start of a Catholic problem. In just one month the president went from a 9pt lead among Catholics to a 5pt deficit, a huge swing of 14pts.

writeblock on April 18, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Crosstab of Illinois likely voters who have been dead for at least 2 weeks shows Obama 98%, Romney 0%, Others 2%.

slp on April 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Hussein now has Dick Clark’s vote locked.

cableguy615 on April 19, 2012 at 6:44 PM

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