Independents swinging back to Romney?
posted at 2:47 pm on November 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
A few days ago, right after the initial response to Hurricane Sandy, polls started showing independents shifting towards Barack Obama to the extent that some polls showed Obama and Mitt Romney splitting that demographic. Josh Jordan at NRO sees the trend shifting back to status quo ante in the latest polls, now that the public has absorbed Sandy’s impact:
The days after Hurricane Sandy brought a small bump in President Obama’s numbers against Governor Romney and in job approval. This was easily explained by the positive television coverage Obama received about his initial statements on relief efforts and with his flyover of New Jersey with Chris Christie.
But the underlying reason for Obama’s small bounce was his movement among independents. In all of the tracking polls, Romney saw his lead with independents shrink from double digits to just about even. On Saturday, the Washington Posttracking poll showed a tie, and Rasmussen dropped to just a three-point advantage for Romney. For the most part each candidate has held their base steadily, but Romney’s lead with independents had explained how he could remain tied or leading with polls showing high Democratic turnout.
Over the last few days the independents have been returning back to Romney, however, indicating that the final vote Tuesday might revert back to polling from the days just before Sandy made landfall. Rasmussen has seen Romney’s lead with independents jump from three points to fifteen. The Washington Post tracking poll moved from a tie with independents on Saturday to a three-point lead for Romney on Sunday.
In the national non-tracking polls, Romney has continued to enjoy leads with independents as well. The Pew poll taken in the days after Sandy has Romney up three among independents while the NBC/WSJ poll released yesterday that showed Obama up one point overall has Romney up seven with independents. A CNN national poll released last night has a tied race, but Romney is up 22 points with independents.
I suspect that Sandy, like most national crises, produced a short-lived rally-’round-the-leader bump. That would have dissipated anyway, but it’s very possible that Bloomberg’s bizarre handling of the NYC marathon and the lack of aid getting to Staten Island residents — which are both mostly local and state issues — may have worn some of the gloss off of the perception of leadership in the crisis response by now. And the more bad news that comes out of New York, the more that erosion will accelerate today and tomorrow.