Democracy Corps poll shows Romney up 15 among independents

Via Suitably Flip and RCP, the latest poll from James Carville’s Democracy Corps should have the sirens wailing over at Team Obama.  The topline numbers show Barack Obama with a two-point lead over Mitt Romney, 49/47, down from a 4-point lead in July.  The new sample is D+6 at 38/32/28, only a slight change from July’s D+5 at 38/33/25, a margin-of-error change from one poll to the next (which is true of the topline change, from 50/46, as well).  However, there are a couple of big red flags in the data that hint at a much different race than what the toplines represent.

First, take a look at the independent vote for the race, which in this format is the fourth column:

That’s a 15-point lead for Romney among independents, 53.4/38.0.  Fifteen points.  Just to remind everyone, in the D+7 turnout of 2008 in a Democratic wave election, Obama won independents by eight points, 52/44, on his way to a seven-point victory overall.  That’s a 23-point shift in this key demographic, way outside the margin of error, and it’s hard to square that with a two-point Obama lead now.

Nor is that the only problem in the demos.  Take a look at the gender gap, which Obama won by a combined 14 points in 2008.  Romney wins men by 3.5 points now (Obama edged John McCain by one in 2008), and Obama only leads by 6.7 points among women, 51.7/45.0.  That’s a combined gender gap of 3.2 points, a drop of ten points in this measure from 2008.

If Obama loses independents outside of the margin of error and only gets a gender gap within the MoE, he’s toast.

Update: The split with women was 51.7/45.0, not 41.0.  I’ve fixed it above.

Update II: I screwed up the first edit by saying that the gap among women was 9 points; I had that right originally, but rewrote the passage and introduced a new error.  This video clip seems to apply best: