These days, even a D+9 sample can’t buy Barack Obama a lead in the Washington Post/ABC poll. Instead, Mitt Romney has a one-point edge, 47/46, but more tellingly a four-point margin among independents:
The Republican National Convention opens this week with President Obama and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney running evenly, with voters more focused on Obama’s handling of the nation’s flagging economy than on some issues dominating the political debate in recent weeks.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Romney at 47 percent among registered voters and Obama at 46 percent — barely changed from the deadlocked contest in early July. …
Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate also did not fundamentally reshape the race, although the GOP’s conservative base has grown more enthusiastic about the ticket — but no more so about the chances of beating Obama in November.
This is the first time that Obama has lost the lead since a brief polling burst for Romney in January, before he’d won the Republican nomination. In the very next poll, Obama soared above 50%, but has been on a straight-line descent ever since. Romney’s line of ascent is less pronounced but still steady since then:
Don’t forget that Team Obama spent $120 million this summer trying to toxify Romney, too.
As mentioned, this poll has a D+9 sample, with Republicans ridiculously undersampled at 22%. The 2008 election had a split of D+7, 39/32,29, and the 2010 midterms had a split of 35/35/30. The likelihood of getting a D+9 turnout in this election is nil, as is the likelihood of an electorate that is comprised of 22% Republicans. Even if we saw it, Obama would still only get 46% of the vote as an incumbent, hardly a gratifying position for Team Obama.
There is even more bad news in the internals. Until Ryan joined the ticket, Romney had a deficit among the definitely-decided voters, a small one of 3-5 points. That has disappeared, and now Romney gets 82% certainty to Obama’s 84%. Romney’s running ten points better than John McCain did at this point — as Obama is over his own 2008 performance.
Even worse, the gender gap on which Obama is counting is not materializing. The only two issues on which he reaches 50% against Romney are “social issues” (52/38) and “women’s issues” (51/35), but that’s not translating into an electoral advantage. The pollster memo which accompanies the ABC story shows unmarried women breaking sharply for Obama (57/32), but married women favoring Romney by 15 points (55/40). The split among single and married men is similar, with Obama up 10 points among singles (51/41) but down 24 points among marrieds (35/59). That translates overall to just a six-point lead for Obama among women, 49/43, while Romney takes a nine-point lead among men, 51/42.
As if that wasn’t bad enough news, Obama’s draw among younger voters has substantially decreased as well. He only leads the under-40 vote by 13 points, 51/38. Obama loses the seniors by eight, 43/51. For the first time in a while, the Republican leads in the college-graduate demo too, 49/47, although that’s obviously a virtual tie. Obama has dominated among college graduates until now.
Why all the bad news? This election will be about the economy and jobs, taxes, and the federal budget. Here are the comparison numbers for Obama and Romney on those issues in the D+9 sample among registered voters:
- Economy: Romney 50/43
- Deficit: Romney 51/38
- Taxes: Romney 48/43
Romney even has an edge on Medicare, 45/42, which shows just how unpopular ObamaCare is. Obama gets an overall edge on health care, 47/45, and on education, 45/42, but these are usually huge Democrat issues. Obama has dissipated the traditional Democratic Party advantages, and left himself no shelter on jobs, the economy, and deficit control.
In a rational sample, this wouldn’t even be close.
Update: Nick Jacob points out that the sample data relates to the general-population sample; the registered voter sample (in which Romney leads) is D+7, still at a ridiculous 32/25/36:
— Nick Jacob (@nicktjacob) August 27, 2012
@edmorrissey That’s among all adults, where Obama leads 49/42. At the link, it shows registered voters 32 (D), 25 (R), 36 (I). D+7.
— Nick Jacob (@nicktjacob) August 27, 2012
As Nick says, the sample still isn’t representative or predictive.