PPP: Golly, this VA race is close despite the electorate being 43% Democrat

posted at 10:41 am on November 1, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I saw this poll late last night, long after getting back from walking with my granddaughters on Halloween, trick or treating in their neighborhood.  At first, I thought this new poll from PPP in Virginia was a trick, but by this morning, I considered it more of a treat:

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Virginia, conducted on behalf of Health Care for America Now, finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 49-46. PPP has conducted 5 Virginia polls during the month of October and found Obama leading in every single one, by an average margin of 2.8 points.

Key findings from the survey include:

-Obama is winning big with women (56/39), African Americans (86/11), and voters under 45 (53/41). Romney’s strong groups are men (56/40), seniors (52/45), and white voters (56/39). ….

-Obama continues to have a strong advantage over Romney on the key issues of who voters think will stand up more for the middle class (51/45) and who they think will do more to protect Medicare (50/45). We have consistently found Obama with the edge on these measures in swing states, and it goes a long way toward explaining why he’s the favorite in most of them.

So Obama edges Romney in a virtual tie, only getting to 49% in a state that relies heavily on the federal government for its economy.  The sample here must be overwhelmingly Republican, right?  Not exactly.  The D/R/I on this poll is — wait for it — 43/36/22.  Forty-three percent of the respondents were Democrats … and Obama only gets to 49%.

Let’s remind people of what Virginia’s electorate looked like in the 2008 presidential (39/33/27) and 2009 gubernatorial (33/37/30) elections.  Is there any data out there indicating that Democrats in Virginia are about to outperform the 2009 election by almost a third — ten points?  Or that independents have either decided to stay home or shift in large numbers to the Democratic Party?  Even the flawed CBS/NYT/Q-poll released yesterday showed Republican enthusiasm seven points higher than that of Democrats in Virginia.

If an incumbent Obama can’t get to 50% in a poll where 43% of the respondents are Democrats in a state where the federal government provides as much of the economy as it does in Virginia, I’d say Obama won’t win the state on Tuesday.

Update: So far, the early voting seems to be showing a tilt away from Obama, if not toward Romney.


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Fox & Friends yesterday morning, Larry Sabato (U of VA) saw his Crystal Ball finding that the Dems would probably maintain control in the Senate! Not good news at all, since he’s been a pretty good prognosticator every election cycle.

Bob in VA on November 1, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Sabato was just as clueless as any of his profession about the 2010 election outcome. I could be wrong but I don’t think that Kaine is going to get as many split ticket votes as he seems to think he will be getting. For one thing, I thought he was a crappy Governor who basically abandoned his job to do the bidding of the DNC and rat-eared wonder.

That being said, Allen has not been particularly effective in tying Kaine and Obama together. Which is a shame because Kaine supports the worst parts of Obamacare and he did indeed lead the charge for gutting the military.

Happy Nomad on November 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM

I don’t see Obama winning VA. I live just outside of Blacksburg (Blacksburg is to VA what Berkeley is to CA) and I’m seeing more Romney/Ryan signs and stickers than Obama/Biden by far. Not to mention the feeling around here. Dems are imploding.

roopster217 on November 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM

According to my unscientific methodology (scanning for yard signs and bumper stickers), I see a lot more Romney support than Obama support. The trend seems to indicate, at least in this part of Northern Virginia, that Democrats in general have had their time in the sun, and the Republicans are back.

I just don’t see Obama winning this state.

Selkirk on November 1, 2012 at 11:22 AM

I’m in the Tidewater area, and I’m just not seeing Obama enthusiasm in the blue neighborhoods here. I was in Norfolk yesterday and saw very few Obama yard signs or bumper stickers. On the flip side, in my (conservative) part of Tidewater, R/R signs proliferate. (My fav is the Free America, Fire Obama one.)

That said, I have to be back in Norfolk next Wednesday, and I’m thinking that after the Romney win, I might want to scrape off my R/R bumper sticker before I venture there. Those crazy libs might not be enthusiastic, but I can easily see them becoming malicious the morning after.

CJ on November 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Sabato is a moron. Releying on poll averages is fool’s gold.

rik on November 1, 2012 at 11:49 AM

That said, I have to be back in Norfolk next Wednesday, and I’m thinking that after the Romney win, I might want to scrape off my R/R bumper sticker before I venture there. Those crazy libs might not be enthusiastic, but I can easily see them becoming malicious the morning after.

CJ on November 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM

You might not make it to Norfolk on Wednesday what with all the talk about the riots that are going to break out if the rat-eared wonder loses. Seriously, first time I have ever heard reporters questioning the likelihood that Dems will destroy stuff if their guy doesn’t win- like some angry group of Islamic thugs reacting to a video. It is almost as if the MSM is inviting Obama supporters to riot.

Happy Nomad on November 1, 2012 at 11:52 AM

I wonder if PPP realizes that the Democratic constituency known as ‘Dead People’ have been purged from the VA voting rolls?

With early voting for Obama down, he is left with the people dedicated to show up to the polls and physically vote on election day… that demo is not enthused this time around because he isn’t new, his performance sucks, and even with more federal jobs he is playing around with them in ways that unsettles those with such jobs. Incompetence is not a confidence builder.

Meanwhile Romney has the people who will walk over hot coals and then drag themselves over shattered glass to vote for him.

Mitt Romney has stopped his biggest problem: Mitt Romney.

Barack Obama has yet to stop his biggest problem: Barack Obama.

ajacksonian on November 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM

So, is the PPP poll suppose to be accurate or just give a boast to the spirits of the people who hire them? I’m trying to figure this out.

Cindy Munford on November 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM

PPP interviewed 600 likely Virginia voters

Since they don’t say how many people they had to call to get 600 likely voters, we have no idea how tight their likely voter screen is.

Loose screens favor D’s just like Registered Only polls do.

Smart poll analysis has to include checking likely voter screens just like it has to include partisan breakdown checks.

ChrisL on November 1, 2012 at 12:10 PM

I fear I will explode before Tuesday. My ballot is sitting on the shelf in its pink envelope, ready to be delivered to the precinct on Tuesday. I can hardly wait.

Bob's Kid on November 1, 2012 at 12:12 PM

So, is the PPP poll suppose to be accurate or just give a boast to the spirits of the people who hire them? I’m trying to figure this out.

Cindy Munford on November 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM

They are owned by SEIU. They are propagandists paid to tell a story.

eyedoc on November 1, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Releying on poll averages is fool’s gold.

rik on November 1, 2012 at 11:49 AM

I keep telling Nate Silver this but for some reason he refuses to listen.

eyedoc on November 1, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Troll baiting is good for site traffic, you know.

I, for one, am experiencing poll (and troll) overload. This race is tight, the polls keep going back and forth, and you’d go insane trying to keep up.

There’s only one poll that really matters, and that is the actual election. So until next Tuesday, I’m just going to tune out all this noise.

UltimateBob on November 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM

I don’t pay much attention to the polls. Whatever they say is not going to make me change my mind about anything. I have to admire the tenacity of the people who are willing to explain, in detail, over and over to Gumby why he’s wrong. I would not have the patience for that.

Night Owl on November 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I don’t pay much attention to the polls. Whatever they say is not going to make me change my mind about anything. I have to admire the tenacity of the people who are willing to explain, in detail, over and over to Gumby why he’s wrong. I would not have the patience for that.

Night Owl on November 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

It’s to your credit that you don’t – why bother arguing with someone like gumbyandpokey who has a personal agenda, and is never going to listen to anyone else no matter how reasonable that person may be?

Anti-Control on November 1, 2012 at 12:28 PM

If we are looking at facts, and not liberal or conservative fantasies, this much is clear:

1. Romney is winning Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado.
2. Obama is winning Nevada, MN, and Michigan.
3. If Democratic turnout is D+5 or better, Obama will win Ohio, NH, Iowa, PA, and WI, and Obama will win the election.
4. If Democratic turnout is D+4 or worse, Romney will win enough EC votes out of Ohio, NH, PA, and WI to get to 270 and win the election.

It really is that simple.

milcus on November 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

eyedoc on November 1, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Ahhh, I had no idea. It seems silly to even mention their results unless the premise is discrepancy.

Cindy Munford on November 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

I have a good friend who has done GOTV for Republicans in Fairfax County for over 30 years. He told me McCain would lose even before the polls went south for him, because of what he was seeing in fairfax. I just talked to him last weekend and he said Romney will win Virginia, he will either tie or beat Obama in Fairfax and that’s the whole ball of wax. He said “all the squishy Republicans” who voted for Obama in 2008 are voting for Romney, the people who work for the defense contractors are PISSED and married women are backlashing hard against the Abortionpalooza of the Obama camapign. He also said Bob McDonnell really built a great organization and it is in full swing for Romney all over the state.

rockmom on November 1, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Ed, the sample for this poll is overwhelmingly Democratic because this was a push poll conducted by PPP on behalf of the Democratic organization HCAN. Partisan push polls are always partisan no matter what organization conducts them simply because of the questions they ask respondents. That said, PPP is a joke when they conduct their regular polls.

Bravesbill on November 1, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Lol! The PPP is what keeps Libs from jumping off Buildings! A D+20 something sample is such a laughable thing, it went past the point of ridiculous, quite some time ago! It’s just childish.
Addendum on the fight against the Obama Enemy media: http://paratisiusa.blogspot.com/2012/09/an-open-letter-to-those-who-should-know.html?spref=tw

God Bless America!

paratisi on November 1, 2012 at 1:09 PM

If we are looking at facts, and not liberal or conservative fantasies, this much is clear:

1. Romney is winning Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado.
2. Obama is winning Nevada, MN, and Michigan.
3. If Democratic turnout is D+5 or better, Obama will win Ohio, NH, Iowa, PA, and WI, and Obama will win the election.
4. If Democratic turnout is D+4 or worse, Romney will win enough EC votes out of Ohio, NH, PA, and WI to get to 270 and win the election.

It really is that simple.

milcus on November 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

This is it exactly. And who in their right mind thinks this is going to be even as good as D+4 for Obama?

oldroy on November 1, 2012 at 1:19 PM

the polls showing obama with a lead in ohio and virginia and other “toss up” states are all accurate.

they all show obama winning if-and-only-if he gets a bigger turnout than he did in 2008, because he needs a bigger turnout than 2008 because the gop has more enthusiasm than 2008 and independents are going gop in 2012 unlike 2008.

if obama does better than 2008, than he will win.

this is not likely.

obama will get fewer jews, fewer catholics, fewer independents, fewer seniors, fewer veterans and active military, fewer blacks and fewer married women and fewer white males.

there are not enough people of voting age to make up these losses from 2008.

not even ballot stuffing and double voting.

only electronic fraud which steals a romney vote and converts it into an obama vote can accomplish this.

just saying.

reliapundit on November 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM

I don’t pay much attention to the polls. Whatever they say is not going to make me change my mind about anything. I have to admire the tenacity of the people who are willing to explain, in detail, over and over to Gumby why he’s wrong. I would not have the patience for that.

Night Owl on November 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

It isn’t about Gumby. It’s about making sure that the fence-sitters know that the tripe about Obama being ahead is not even remotely true. Turnout x splits = result. Just because even a well-meaning poll gets D+9 on the phone, doesn’t mean a thing in relation to turnout. And if your sample, even well intentioned, doesn’t match the turnout on election day, it skews the splits. The results of the polls are accurate. Using them to predict anything but the splits is not accurate. Separate polling is done to predict turnout – and that looks fantastic for Romney and the Senate Republicans. Modelling splits any way you want, Gender gap modelling, party affiliation crossover plus indies, on and on and on and on – it all favors Romney.

Do the math. It’s over. And it’s got to be depressing to be a Democrat right now – I would either cross-over, or just stay home rather than vote for Obama in a bitter loss.

oldroy on November 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM

What gives this week? The samples seem to be skewing wildly for Obama as the finish line approaches?

DrW on November 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Listening to late night Rush last night; he said that the skews to 0bama were laying the groundwork for the armies of lawyers who are coming in saying “WE WUZ ROBBED!!!!!!1111eleventy” the day after the election, should the “unthinkable” happen and Romney win.

That this is all foundational to calling the whole legitimacy of the Romney win into question, like they did the last time they ran to the Supremes.

For my part, I can’t think of any other reason they would be acting so delusional.

rah1420 on November 1, 2012 at 1:38 PM

4. If Democratic turnout is D+4 or worse, Romney will win enough EC votes out of Ohio, NH, PA, and WI to get to 270 and win the election.

milcus on November 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

I may be wrong, but I don’t think these states award electors proportionally. I think it’s all or nothing in these states.

Mitoch55 on November 1, 2012 at 1:39 PM

And if your sample, even well intentioned, doesn’t match the turnout on election day, it skews the splits. The results of the polls are accurate. Using them to predict anything but the splits is not accurate. Separate polling is done to predict turnout – and that looks fantastic for Romney and the Senate Republicans.

oldroy on November 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM

This should be on a fridge magnet and on everybody’s fridge !!!

jimver on November 1, 2012 at 1:54 PM

The Dem pollster Peter Hart said today that Obama would need “massive” Hispanic turnout to even have a chance of winning the election. Not to win, just to have a chance to win. Judging by the early voting numbers and lack of enthusiasm for Bammy it ain’t happening, but don’t take anything for granted, get out and vote.

eyedoc on November 1, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Ras has Romney up 3 in Ohio today, and up 1 in Iowa.

eyedoc on November 1, 2012 at 1:55 PM

I may be wrong, but I don’t think these states award electors proportionally. I think it’s all or nothing in these states.

Mitoch55 on November 1, 2012 at 1:39 PM

You are correct.

jimver on November 1, 2012 at 1:56 PM

If we are looking at facts, and not liberal or conservative fantasies, this much is clear:

1. Romney is winning Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado.
2. Obama is winning Nevada, MN, and Michigan.
3. If Democratic turnout is D+5 or better, Obama will win Ohio, NH, Iowa, PA, and WI, and Obama will win the election.
4. If Democratic turnout is D+4 or worse, Romney will win enough EC votes out of Ohio, NH, PA, and WI to get to 270 and win the election.

It really is that simple.

milcus on November 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

This is it exactly. And who in their right mind thinks this is going to be even as good as D+4 for Obama?

oldroy on November 1, 2012 at 1:19 PM

gumby. Oh, wait, you said in their right mind…

IamDA on November 1, 2012 at 6:40 PM

I was doing some canvassing for the Republicans, in some of the neighborhoods in northern Virginia (Winchester, VA) over the weekend. The support for the Romney ticket was overwhelming(of the homes that I stopped by, support was about 2.5 to 1, Romney over Obama – which is not entirely shocking, given that I live in a strong conservative area.)

But what was really shocking was the number of former Obama voters who were now Romney supporters. It was about 5% of the households that I visited. There is a lot of anger out there – there are a lot of former Obama supporters who think that they have been sold a bill of goods. One particularly angry guy I met, who has never voted for a Republican in his life, will be pulling the lever for Romney next week.

On a national basis, if Obama was to have 5% of his support from 2008 switch sides, he is toast. If the polls are honestly conducted, they would pick up on this.

SubmarineDoc on November 1, 2012 at 8:45 PM

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