Politico: Looks like a draw on early voting

Sometimes it’s worth revisiting a story just to look at the media treatment it receives.  After more than a month of media narratives about the advantage Democrats are getting in the early vote, Gallup’s poll from yesterday (analyzed by Guy in the Green Room) showed just the opposite — that Romney had a solid lead among those who have already cast ballots, and a lead among those who plan to vote on Election Day.  How did Politico report this today? By calling it a draw:

Neither candidate has an edge among early voters nationally, the Gallup survey found. One-third of Barack Obama backers plan to vote early, as do 34 percent of Romney supporters. So far, 15 percent of Obama voters have shown up at the polls, compared to 17 percent of Romney voters.

For the record, here’s the actual breakdown from Gallup’s survey of over 3300 likely voters:

The poll has a 3-point margin of error.  That puts Romney’s six-point lead at the very edge of that band, so one could possibly consider this a draw … but it’s a strange way to characterize a six-point lead in a race with much closer margins reported as actual leads.  The bigger story from this is that Romney has a six-point lead in both those who have already voted and those who plan to vote in the polls, while Obama can only work out a tie for those who want to vote early in the rapidly-disappearing time frame between the two.

Guy also notes that it’s possible that Romney’s big lead came from early voting in states where he’d win anyway, but that’s equally possible for Obama’s support, too.  The campaigns have focused on early-vote efforts in the battleground states where they matter the most, though, which tends to give the impression that the metric here is probably more focused on places like Ohio, Florida, and other battleground states.

This, by the way, is the outcome of nominating a candidate with excellent organizational skills, as well as having a party with actual resources in place for the election.  Obama won early voting by 15 points in 2008, while Republicans floundered for donations and resources.  Mitt Romney and Reince Priebus have constructed a robust organization to compete with Obama on the ground level — and the Gallup poll shows the results.  Assuming their numbers are solid, that’s a 21-point flip in the gap in early voting, a drop of nine points for Obama’s support in early voting from 2008, with Republicans usually better at getting out to the polls on Election Day.

If that’s a draw, well, I think we’ll take it.


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