No, Obama isn’t “leading” in swing states

June 8, 2012

Jay Cost explains:

1. The president is under 50 percent in most swing state polling averages. It’s not an ironclad rule that Obama cannot rise in the polls, but common sense suggests that it will be tough. He’s been the president for three years – if you’re not inclined to vote for him now, what will five months of a campaign do?

It’s worth noting as well that most of these polls show the president getting roughly his job approval, which is all we should expect him to receive in the general election (maybe a little less). And his job approval rating has consistently been under 50 percent for two-and-a-half years.

2. Most polls are of registered voters. This matters because the actual electorate will only be a subset of registered voters, and will probably be more inclined to vote for the GOP. So, these polls probably overstate Obama’s “lead,” such as it is.

The two major exceptions to this are Rasmussen, which is already using a likely voter screen, and PPP, which uses an idiosyncratic screen of “voters” (basically surveying people who voted in previous elections). Nobody else uses this screen; PPP switches to “likely voters” later in the cycle and until then its polls should be taken with a grain of salt.

To appreciate just how important the use of registered voters is, consider that the aforementioned Franklin & Marshall College poll in Pennsylvania found 50 percent of its sample identifying as Democratic. In 2008 – the best year for Democrats in over a decade – only 44 percent of the Pennsylvania electorate called itself Democratic.

And combine this point with the last point to consider that, in a poll that is 50 percent Democratic, Obama is only pulling in 48 percent! Is it really fair to say that he’s “leading” in the Keystone state?

3. There is no “blue wall.” This is a common point pundits will make – the list of states that have not voted Republican since 1988 amounts to a “blue wall” for the president. Nonsense. It’s better to say that these states have Democratic tilts, some of them pretty minimal.

Take Pennsylvania, for instance. The Keystone State usually votes about 3 points more Democratic than the rest of the country. So, if Romney wins the nationwide vote by 3 points, then he will stand a very good chance of winning Pennsylvania. This is why the frame from the Babington article is wrong. Yes, the GOP has lost Pennsylvania every time since 1988, but it has not won a national presidential election by 3 points since then. That is a distinct possibility this year, meaning that Pennsylvania is up for grabs.

Cost’s electoral map looks like this:

15 Responses to No, Obama isn’t “leading” in swing states

  1. anonymous un-RINO on June 8, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Yeah, Cost is a delusional RINO.

    I need to see if he wants to lay some cash down on his dopey RINO predictions, too. I’m liking the Oregon thing. But Nevada and New Mexico would be appetizing, too.

    I’d offer Cost a reverse trifecta on those 4 states. Any Willardian win takes the big pot.

    And they’re all “toss up”, so you can go for it and clean up, Jay. 😉

    • Ryan M. on June 8, 2012 at 7:24 am

      Whatcha think of the delusional RINO Rand Paul?

      • anonymous un-RINO on June 8, 2012 at 7:31 am

        You got it backwards. You’re the RINO, bud.

        And yes, you RINOs all think the Pauls are delusional.

        • Ryan M. on June 8, 2012 at 7:56 am

          I see you have nothing to say to address it, eh?

          • anonymous un-RINO on June 8, 2012 at 8:19 am

            I see you’re still a butthurt RINO, eh?

    • Jim,MtnViewCA,USA on June 8, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Agree, Oregon seems like a stretch. Don’t know enough about NV or NM to make an intelligent comment.
      Still, I’m sensing a “disturbance in the force”. In spite of all the MSM help, Obama is doing well in theory but failing consistently in practice. Witness: WI election, city elections in CA, Dem senators denouncing national security leaks, a Repub elected in Brooklyn for the first time since, well, forever, very visible Dem leaders (Booker, Rendell) deploring the attacks on Bain, BClinton’s “gaffes”, ….
      Plus there’s been a bunch of grassroots, Tea Party-style energy unleashed in primaries for IN Senator, TX Senator and so on.

      It may not be necessary for Mitt to have coattails.
      Maybe the coattails will pull Mitt.

      • anonymous un-RINO on June 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

        All true, except the Tea Party influence that you’re seeing in all those local elections has nothing to do with Willard, the lying progressive crapweasel. That Wisconsin exit poll was dead on. They went for Walker by 7, and would have gone for Obambi over Willard by 7.

        Obambi as a failure doesn’t imply Willard as a success. It doesn’t work that way, much as the RINOs leg tingles tell them it should.

        Once the RINOs sent up this crapweasel, this was the situation foretold, that he’d be tied or losing right now. Nobody likes a crapweasel.

      • MikeN on June 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

        I’d say Oregon is the most likely among New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota. This state is vote by mail and quite ripe for fraud. Lost in the Florida hoopla is that Bush almost won the state in 2000. Romney has shown himself quite able to steal, perhaps he can use his ground troops to steal votes from liberals.
        Those liberal vote for Obama parties, and have your people in the crowd carrying the bags for attendees to place their envelopes.

  2. Bill O' on June 8, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Another gauge of PPP’s accuracy is – if I m not mistaken – they had Wisconsin as a dead heat on the eve of the election. THe were the outlier and as demonstrated on the June 5th, for good reason. So yeah, big grain of salt. As an aside, I never thought I’d enjoy hearing former President Clinton speak but now I can’t wait to hear the daily dig.

  3. ATTILA on June 8, 2012 at 8:14 am

    anonymous un-RINO is becoming as unhinged as bunu/acroso/invalid/etc.

    • anonymous un-RINO on June 8, 2012 at 8:18 am

      Another butthurt RINO heard from.

  4. we conservatives on June 8, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Watch anonymous crank dance!

    It won’t be long before the blowhard runs away.

  5. anonymous un-RINO on June 8, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Yeah, I need to be stalwart like you, the butthurt RINO sockpuppet. 😉

  6. kellsbells on June 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I like the new digs, Poli! I’m a girl so naturally I go off on tangents…What were we talking about here? Swingers? Oh, swing states! My bad. What does yellow signify? I’m confused….

  7. Ramon Cutter on August 3, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Appreciate you sharing, great article.Really looking forward to read more. Great.