Politico/GWU poll shows Romney, Obama in virtual tie

posted at 9:21 am on August 13, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

For the next few days, we’re likely to see polling on the presidential race that captures a moment caught in amber — before Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan to be his running mate.  The first of these BR (Before Ryan) polls comes from Politico, with its Battleground poll conducted by George Washington University.  The poll shows almost no change since its last iteration in May, but it does have a curious outcome in one key demo:

The poll, conducted in the days leading up to the Ryan announcement on Saturday, finds that despite the unprecedented millions of dollars being poured into the contest and the non-stop attacks from each side, the top line numbers are essentially unchanged from a previous Battleground poll in early May.

Obama takes 48 percent of likely voters in the new poll, compared with 47 percent for Romney – a statistical tie and well within the margin of error. In May, the numbers were flipped: Romney was at 48 percent and Obama was at 47 percent. The poll found 5 percent of voters are undecided.

“The overall sort of broader scope of the ballot is that there’s been little to no movement,” said Republican pollster Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group, who helped conduct the bipartisan poll.

The intro paragraph fails to note that it’s been mostly Obama who has poured money into contest.  Romney’s fundraising has been focused mainly on general-election spending, which left the summer months to Obama.  Despite a 3-1 spending edge, the race is pretty much at status quo ante.

Or perhaps worse:

Both candidates also maintained their previous advantages among specific demographic groups. Romney leads among independent voters by 10 points, 47 percent to 37 percent, the same margin he had in May. And Obama continues his advantage among female voters by 15 points – also similar to his May margin.

Er, how exactly can this race be tied when Romney leads indies by 10 points?  Obama won in 2008′s Democratic wave election (D+7) by seven points, and Obama won independents by eight points, 52-44, according to the 2008 exit poll.  Obama also won women by 13 points, 56-43.  How can he still within a virtual tie with Romney if he’s only gained two points among women but lost 18 points in the gap among independents?

The answer is exactly where you’d think it was — in the sample.  The Politico/GWU poll has a D/R/I of 36/29/34 for another D+7 election model.  If one thinks that the 2012 election will be similar to the 2008 model, that makes sense — but no one outside of DNC headquarters and MSNBC think that will be the case.  Even more odd, a follow-up question asks whether respondents vote strictly or mainly along party lines, or more evenly split it.  That presents a functional D/R/I of 39/36/20 [see update], which makes me wonder exactly where GWU surveyed for its poll.

If Romney goes into the election with a ten-point advantage among independents, this election won’t be close.

Update: Originally I had the functional split at 49/36/20, but I had it wrong; it should be 39/36/20, which defeats the point I was making.  That’s a reasonable split between Dems and Reps.


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MGardner on August 13, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Some of the advances were short coverings. But agree the market is overbought.

bayview on August 13, 2012 at 10:49 AM

You are assuming every black who showed up will show up again.

michaelthomas on August 13, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Yes, my elections prediction model is conservative and I am assuming that the percentage participation of Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics will be the same as in the 2008 elections on the national level as well on the states level….

Of course a decrease of blacks partcipation in this elections compared to 2008 would mean much bigger troubles for Obama.

mnjg on August 13, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Except for the fact the electorate is quite a fickle beast. Today’s fashion fad, for example, might be tomorrow’s, “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that thing!”

Ya never know.

Liam on August 13, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Exactly. Most (white) Obama voters were just joining a fad. Most (white) Obama supporters think they are part of a fad. That’s why the polls keep showing Obama barely ahead.

It sounds silly, but voters will change sides on the same fancies that inspired their vote for class president in highschool.

michaelthomas on August 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Obama carried California by 23 points, he carried Oregon and Washington by 17 points and New York by 26 points. I don’t think Romney really has any hope of carrying those states so I am not looking for anything “Nixonian” here. But Romney DOES have a chance of picking up states that Obama won by 10 points or less. These would be states such as: NH, PA, VA, NC, FL, CO, MN, IA, IN, OH.

If Team Romney can concentrate on those 10 states and win them, it’s over for Obama. There are some campaign themes that transcend party politics. Obama has shown his administration to be liars, corrupt, and incompetent. Those are attributes that decent Americans of every political stripe distance themselves from regardless of policy differences.

crosspatch on August 13, 2012 at 10:55 AM

I live in Illinois, and it will be interesting which way this state swings. I know everyone has written it off as definitely Obama, but I’m not so sure – just look at the last statewide elections we had – 2010.

Our governor, Pat Quinn – D, won only four counties in Illinois. Cook (Chicago and suburbs), St. Clair, Alexander and Jackson. In the senate race for Barack Obama’s old senate seat, Mark Kirk won all counties except three – Cook, St. Clair, and Alexander.

Cook is definitely going to go for Obama. However, how energized are the voters there going to be? The rest of state, I would say, leans right, and after so many years of D control in Springfield, I think people are getting sick and tired of the shenanigans of what is going on in this state and the fiscal basketcase this state has become.

If R turnout is huge in the rest of the state, it can overwhelm the Chicago population advantage.

I’m not holding my breath, but it could happen. Remember, from the 70′s on to the 00′s, this state did not elect a D governor until Rod Blagojevich, and for a time in the late 80′s/early 90′s the statehouse was controlled by Republicans.

italianguy626 on August 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM

For whatever reason, the public personally loves Obama, and nothing can change that.

gumbyandpokey on August 13, 2012 at 10:22 AM

You’re right. Your persistent and monotonously predictable concern-trolling about Obama’s popularity has worked. I am so disspirited now that I give up. I won’t be voting in November because you have convinced me that Obama, despite his arrogance, vanity, stupidity, racism, economic illiteracy and ignorance, is just too likeable to defeat.

I mean, that’s what your purpose is, right? That’s what you’ve been instructed by your DNC seminar masters to do, right? To pollute conservative blogs with this B.S. and try to disspirit voters from even participating in November, because you know your sociopathic punk of a President has no accomplishments and a disgraceful record to run on.

Well, go back to your professor at Organizing for America and tell them it’s not working. We’ll be crawling over jagged broken glass and pouring lemon juice in the open wounds for the chance to run your America-hating scumbag of a dictator out of office in 10 weeks, and your precious, coy little concern-trolling isn’t going to persuade one of us to stay home.

Right Mover on August 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Right Mover on August 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM

DITTO!!!!

itsspideyman on August 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Obama has shown his administration to be liars, corrupt, and incompetent. Those are attributes that decent Americans of every political stripe distance themselves from regardless of policy differences.

crosspatch on August 13, 2012 at 10:55 AM

DITTO!!!

itsspideyman on August 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM

CBS Bob Schieffer, third Pres debate, Oct. 22, Boca Raton…

In other words…..

Schieffer: “How’s your day Mr. President? Governor, you strangled that woman on her deathbed.”

Red Creek on August 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM

That represents 106% of the population, which I suppose is an error.

vegconservative on August 13, 2012 at 9:28 AM

..insert obligatory, waggish comment about dead people and pets voting.

The War Planner on August 13, 2012 at 11:40 AM

For whatever reason, the public personally loves Obama, and nothing can change that.

gumbyandpokey on August 13, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Lovable loser?

NoDonkey on August 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM

For whatever reason, the public personally loves Obama, and nothing can change that.

daveyandgoliath on August 13, 2012 at 10:22 AM

You’re not even an Unusually Good Liar; even in “polls” that heavily oversample Democrats, O’bama’s favorability is just barely above 50%.

http://pollingreport.com/obama_fav.htm

Please try again.

G-

Del Dolemonte on August 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM

I live in Illinois, and it will be interesting which way this state swings. I know everyone has written it off as definitely Obama, but I’m not so sure – just look at the last statewide elections we had – 2010.

Our governor, Pat Quinn – D, won only four counties in Illinois. Cook (Chicago and suburbs), St. Clair, Alexander and Jackson. In the senate race for Barack Obama’s old senate seat, Mark Kirk won all counties except three – Cook, St. Clair, and Alexander.

Cook is definitely going to go for Obama. However, how energized are the voters there going to be? The rest of state, I would say, leans right, and after so many years of D control in Springfield, I think people are getting sick and tired of the shenanigans of what is going on in this state and the fiscal basketcase this state has become.

If R turnout is huge in the rest of the state, it can overwhelm the Chicago population advantage.

I’m not holding my breath, but it could happen. Remember, from the 70′s on to the 00′s, this state did not elect a D governor until Rod Blagojevich, and for a time in the late 80′s/early 90′s the statehouse was controlled by Republicans.

italianguy626 on August 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM

So Jackson County is Illinois’ bellwether?

I wish I could believe Illinois’ GOP got its act back together after acting like ‘Rats in the 1990s. It would be so satisfying if you did to Obama what Tennesseeans did to Algore back in 2000.

Steve Eggleston on August 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Lovable loser?

NoDonkey on August 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM

1. Gumby projects
2. If true about people loving him it has a lot do with our affirmative action mentality in this country.

CW on August 13, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Also if 15% of Whites voters who voted for Obama in 2008 switch and vote for Romney in 2012 in the battleground then Romney would win the following battleground states: Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

mnjg on August 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM

..just curious. Did you arrive at this figure in a vacuum or did you also factor in any degradation of turnout/voting for other demographics like Blacks, Jews, Asians, etc.?

There’s been some pretty good cases made that the totals on those areas were pretty much high-water marks for The Pantload which culminated in the perfect storm election for him in 2008.

The War Planner on August 13, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Are these the same orgs that endorsed McClellan in 1864 and said Carter was way ahead in 1984 ? [well maybe their ancestors]

democratsarefools on August 13, 2012 at 10:40 AM

..you know, of course, that Carter lost in 1980?

The War Planner on August 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

“2. If true about people loving him it has a lot do with our affirmative action mentality in this country.”

Don’t know if it will hold this year, but it was cool to vote for the black guy in 08. The whole notion of a “Bradley effect” is 100% wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. People like him more because he’s black.

gumbyandpokey on August 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM

So, it turns out it’s a good D/R split in this poll and Romney still loses. What a surprise.

gumbyandpokey on August 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

So, it turns out it’s a good D/R split in this poll and Romney still loses. What a surprise.

gumbyandpokey on August 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

The answer is exactly where you’d think it was — in the sample. The Politico/GWU poll has a D/R/I of 36/29/34 for another D+7 election model.

Huh?

CW on August 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Politico/GWU poll shows Romney, Obama in virtual tie

Pretty accurate because they’re exactly the same.

air_up_there on August 13, 2012 at 12:30 PM

The answer is exactly where you’d think it was — in the sample. The Politico/GWU poll has a D/R/I of 36/29/34 for another D+7 election model. If one thinks that the 2012 election will be similar to the 2008 model, that makes sense — but no one outside of DNC headquarters and MSNBC think that will be the case. Even more odd, a follow-up question asks whether respondents vote strictly or mainly along party lines, or more evenly split it. That presents a functional D/R/I of 39/36/20 [see update], which makes me wonder exactly where GWU surveyed for its poll.

In TX, Dems tend to vote straight ticket. Repubs tend to vote R at the top of the ticket, and either not vote or ticket split on the down ballot. This means IMO that the D/R is still exaggerated at +3.

bophame on August 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM

So, it turns out it’s a good D/R split in this poll

daveyandgoliath on August 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

“Time for your afternoon nap, dear!”

D+7 -

Del Dolemonte on August 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM

So, it turns out it’s a good D/R split in this poll and Romney still loses. What a surprise.

gumbyandpokey on August 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

The answer is exactly where you’d think it was — in the sample. The Politico/GWU poll has a D/R/I of 36/29/34 for another D+7 election model.

Huh?

CW on August 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM

The apparent incongruity is broken by something I’ve seen only in the Politico/GWU/Battleground series – “strong” party ID. I know, I said it on the first page of comments, but there is a 10-point difference this time around – 30% “strong Ds” and 20% “strong Rs”. The same split back in May – 28% “strong Ds” / 24% “strong Rs”.

Who here (besides the trolls, that is) believes that 30% of the likely voters are hard-core ‘Rats while only 20% are hard-core Pubbies? Can I offer you a bridge?

Steve Eggleston on August 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM

You’re right. Your persistent and monotonously predictable concern-trolling about Obama’s popularity has worked. I am so disspirited now that I give up. I won’t be voting in November because you have convinced me that Obama, despite his arrogance, vanity, stupidity, racism, economic illiteracy and ignorance, is just too likeable to defeat.

I mean, that’s what your purpose is, right? That’s what you’ve been instructed by your DNC seminar masters to do, right? To pollute conservative blogs with this B.S. and try to disspirit voters from even participating in November, because you know your sociopathic punk of a President has no accomplishments and a disgraceful record to run on.

Well, go back to your professor at Organizing for America and tell them it’s not working. We’ll be crawling over jagged broken glass and pouring lemon juice in the open wounds for the chance to run your America-hating scumbag of a dictator out of office in 10 weeks, and your precious, coy little concern-trolling isn’t going to persuade one of us to stay home.

Right Mover on August 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM

*Stands up and applauds*

magicbeans on August 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM

No, 39/36 is NOT a reasonable split. Reps should be up by 2.

mitchellvii on August 13, 2012 at 1:00 PM

..just curious. Did you arrive at this figure in a vacuum or did you also factor in any degradation of turnout/voting for other demographics like Blacks, Jews, Asians, etc.?

There’s been some pretty good cases made that the totals on those areas were pretty much high-water marks for The Pantload which culminated in the perfect storm election for him in 2008.

The War Planner on August 13, 2012 at 11:52 AM

I am assuming the same percentage participation per Race as in the 2008 elections and that makes my estimation a little cautious and conservative…

To be more exact with my prediction model Romney is going to win the following battleground states if the following percentage of White voters who voted for Obama in 2008 switch and vote for Romney in 2012:

Florida (10% White Voters switch)
Ohio (11% White Voters switch)
Virginia (13% White Voters switch)
North Carolina (7% White Voters switch)
Indiana (3% White Voters switch)
Colorado (13% White Voters switch)
Iowa (10% White Voters switch)
New Hampshire (13% White Voters switch)
Wisconsin (17% White Voters switch)
Minnesota (15% White Voters switch)
Neveda (22% White Voters switch)
Michigan (21% White Voters switch)
Pennsylvania (23% White Voters switch)

I think that 15% to 18% White voters switch from Obama in 2008 to Romney in 2012 is very possible and I think it is likely. However it may be very difficult for more than 20% of White voters switch from Obama in 2008 to Romney in 2012 but we shall see….

mnjg on August 13, 2012 at 1:09 PM

The answer to the “how do you generally vote” question cannot just be used as a proxy for party affiliation. In this poll, the party affiliation question result is D/R/I 36/29/34, i.e. D+7. The fact that this translates into a self-reported 39/36 D/R voting pattern is irrelevant, as it is a datapoint that has no context.

HTL on August 13, 2012 at 1:25 PM

So Jackson County is Illinois’ bellwether?

I wish I could believe Illinois’ GOP got its act back together after acting like ‘Rats in the 1990s. It would be so satisfying if you did to Obama what Tennesseeans did to Algore back in 2000.

I don’t know about Jackson county, but Kirk did better in Cook and the other counties Quinn won than Brady – the Republican running for governor – so that had something to do with it, too.

The one thing they were able to do was paint Brady as a hard-right social conservative, scaring those who were afraid Brady would take away their abortions and cut off their government checks, which hurt him in the more liberal areas of the state. They tried to do the same to Kirk, but couldn’t, especially since the Dem candidate – Gioulianis – family bank was linked to some hanky-panky with the Chicago mob.

italianguy626 on August 13, 2012 at 1:39 PM

The apparent incongruity is broken by something I’ve seen only in the Politico/GWU/Battleground series – “strong” party ID. I know, I said it on the first page of comments, but there is a 10-point difference this time around – 30% “strong Ds” and 20% “strong Rs”. The same split back in May – 28% “strong Ds” / 24% “strong Rs”.

Who here (besides the trolls, that is) believes that 30% of the likely voters are hard-core ‘Rats while only 20% are hard-core Pubbies? Can I offer you a bridge?

Steve Eggleston on August 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Good point Steve, which I was going to make until I saw your comment.

Update: Originally I had the functional split at 49/36/20, but I had it wrong; it should be 39/36/20, which defeats the point I was making. That’s a reasonable split between Dems and Reps.

Ed, see page 13 of the poll. Isn’t the breakdown D44 R40? I think that with the enthusiasm gap in favor of the Republicans, a realistic poll should give the edge to Republicans or at the very least sample Republicans and Democrats evenly. I think Mitt is now up by 5 on his way to a 10 point victory.

Basilsbest on August 13, 2012 at 1:45 PM

ED,

Hot airs super pollster interpreter.

YAWN ANOTHER POLL.

Call security. Ed’s on a tear.

gerrym51 on August 13, 2012 at 1:49 PM

For this to happen means that 25% of the White Voters who voted for Obama in 2008 has to switch and vote for Romney in 2012. This is a very difficult thing to happen. A much more likely scenario is that 15% of the White Voters who voted for Obama in 2008 switch and vote for Romney in 2012 and if this happens then Romney wins nationally 50.5% to Obama 48.5% and 1% others…

Also if 15% of Whites voters who voted for Obama in 2008 switch and vote for Romney in 2012 in the battleground then Romney would win the following battleground states: Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

mnjg on August 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM

The important takeaway is how many of those voters you speak of won’t vote for Obama because they feel guilty, or have been told they should.

First Minority President – check.

Got that out of the way, now where was I?

Tenwheeler on August 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Ed, see page 13 of the poll. Isn’t the breakdown D44 R40? I think that with the enthusiasm gap in favor of the Republicans, a realistic poll should give the edge to Republicans or at the very least sample Republicans and Democrats evenly. I think Mitt is now up by 5 on his way to a 10 point victory.

Basilsbest on August 13, 2012 at 1:45 PM

With leaners, it is.

Steve Eggleston on August 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM

The important takeaway is how many of those voters you speak of won’t vote for Obama because they feel guilty, or have been told they should.

First Minority President – check.

Got that out of the way, now where was I?

Tenwheeler on August 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM

The “white guilt” played an important role in 2008 when higher than usual number of Whites voted for the democrat nominee. These “white guilt” voters were mostly concentrated in the suburbs…However after 43 months of Obama utter failure as a President most of them are not going to vote for him in 2012 and most of them are going to vote for Romney…

mnjg on August 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Last weeks polls had obama way ahead. this weeks poll is a tie.

polls,polls,polls.

gerrym51 on August 13, 2012 at 2:38 PM

If Romney goes into the election with a ten-point advantage among independents, this election won’t be close.

It won’t be. The RR coast to coast line will be stopping in DC come November!

MJBrutus on August 13, 2012 at 8:19 PM

For whatever reason, the public personally likes to tell pollsters that they loves Obama, and nothing can change that.

gumbyandpokey on August 13, 2012 at 10:22 AM

I expect a strong Bradly effect this time around.

MJBrutus on August 13, 2012 at 8:23 PM

“That presents a functional D/R/I of 39/36/20…That’s a reasonable split between Dems and Reps.”

But an awful split between the party faithful and the Indis.

The 2008 split had a D/R/I of 39/32/29.

The 2010 split went to 35/35/30.

Dems have been re-registering Indi since then.

The minimum share of Indis is that shown in 2010 – 30%.

The Battleground poll appears to be undercounting Indis by about 1/3.

Given Romney’s massive lead among Indis, this weighting has likely turned a Romney lead into an Obama lead.

Bart DePalma on August 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM

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