Sunday, September 30, 2012

PPP shows tightening in Ohio race, Obama leads 49-45%, Party ID shifted 3 pts to GOP (D+5)

PPP just released what feels like their 3rd Ohio poll in a week. This time, they're finding a tightening in the head-to-head match-up, as well as a tightening in the partisan identification numbers:
It's a mistake to think based on recent polling in Ohio that the race there is over. Obama is not popular in the state, with 48% of voters approving of him to 49% who disapprove. Among voters who remain undecided there just 13% think he's doing a good job to 65% who give him poor marks. That doesn't mean those folks will move to Romney en masse because they don't particularly like him either (a 26/37 favorability rating) but it does mean there's potential for the race there to get within tossup range over the final five weeks.

 PPP finds Ohio likely voters self-identifying as 41% Democrat, 36% Republican, 23% Independent, or D+5. In PPP's last Ohio poll from September 18, Ohio party ID was D+8 (and Obama led 50-44%). What would PPP's poll look like under a 2010 turnout senario?:

Another Ohio poll shows Romney collapse, trails Obama 51-42%

The Columbus Dispatch Ohio poll finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by near double digits, 51-42%.  The mail-in poll was taken over the course of ten days (Sept 19-29) and appears to confirm the results of another awful poll from earlier this week. It also confirms the consensus finding amongst pollsters that the Ohio electorate is going to look remarkably similar to the 2008 electorate (D+8). The partisan identification for the likely voters in this particular Ohio poll is 43% Democrat, 35% Republican, and 20% Other (D+8).

Here's the Columbus Dispatch poll, re-weighted to match 2008 CNN exit poll findings on party identification in Ohio:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Re-weighting the PPP Michigan poll

The hope of carrying his home state of Michigan is another dream PPP crushed for Mitt Romney with the release of their NRDC Action Fund paid-for poll. Mitt Romney is losing the state by 9 points, 51-42%. That is somewhat of an improvement over John McCain's 16.4 point thumping in 2008. Michigan is similar to Ohio in that PPP finds Democrats in their likely voter sample outnumbering Republicans by 11% (41D/30R/29I). That is remarkably similar to the electorate that turned out to vote in 2008, which was D+12 (41D/29R/29I). As a result, it's easy to assume that re-weighting to the 2008 turnout numbers would yield essentially the same result as PPP, with Obama leading 51-41%.

Unfortunately, CBS did not take an exit poll of the Michigan Governor's race in 2010, and CNN has taken the data off their website. In light of this, I'll look to the 2004 Michigan CNN exit polls as a point of comparison between the electorate then, and the electorate as PPP finds it in Michigan today.  The party ID in Michigan 8 years ago was 39D/34R/27I.

Romney's 17 point lead w/ Indys in PPPs OHIO poll could be his saving grace

The NRDC Action Fund must have been thrilled after receiving the results from PPP's swing-state project. Obama leads. . . well, everywhere, and by strong margins. Even in states that have been historically very close, he seems to be pulling away. That is the case with PPP's newly released Ohio poll (note the poll was taken September 14-18, 2012). The President leads Mitt Romney 50-44%, the widest margin between the two candidates since May of 2012, when Mitt trailed Obama in Ohio 50-43%. But as always, the devil lies in the details, or, erhh, the crosstabs.

How exactly is Obama leading by 6 points in a state John McCain only managed to lose by 4.6 points? Because Obama is attracting a larger portion of his Democratic base (89%), than Romney (85%), and because 8% MORE Democrats than Republicans now say they'll show up to vote in Ohio in November. To be precise, PPP finds Ohio voters self identifying as 41% Democrat, 33% Republican, and 26% Independent, or D+8. That is the SAME net margin of Democrats to Republicans that voted in Ohio four years ago, when party ID was 39D/31R/30I. But much like the Virginia and Pennsylvania polls discussed here and here, Romney is destroying Obama amongst Independent voters. In Ohio, he carries them by 17 points, 51-34%. So although the PPP partisan ID findings are practically the same as 2008 exit poll results, lets re-weight the poll to fit 2008 turnout. The main reason i'm choosing to do this is because PPP finds Independent voters making up 4% less of the electorate this November than they did in 2008 (26% vs. 30%). Because Romney's lead among Independents is so large, I'm curious to see how the '08 numbers would change the poll result, if at all:

Pennsylvania becomes 5 pt race when applying realistic turnout model

PPP has more bad news for Romney in their Pennsylvania poll (which was paid for by an environmental group known as the NRDC Action fund). The poll was completed September 17-18th, eleven days ago as of today. Apparently, after flirting with good numbers in the state on several occasions  throughout the last 2 years, Romney is now trailing by his largest margin yet (52-40%), whereas John McCain lost the state by 10.3 pts four years ago. Pennsylvania hasn't voted Republican since 1988, but has come close several times; Bush received 48.4% of the vote there in 2004, and 46.4% in 2000).

But if PPP's findings are correct, then Romney has no chance of carrying it this cycle. Why? Check out how Pa. likely voters are self-identifying in this poll: 50% are Democrats, 38% are Republicans, and 12% are Independents. In other words, partisan identification on this poll is D+12. Now PPP's numbers could be correct, but based on past turnout models, I'm doubting it. For example, 2008 is considered by many observers to have been a banner year for Democrats in terms of getting their most favorable demographics to vote. And in that year, Democrats only managed a partisan identification advantage of  D+7 (44D/37R/18I). Not only that, but Romney is winning an astounding 50% of independents, to Obama's mere 30%. That's a 20 point lead with Independents in...Pennsylvania (according to a Democratic pollster)!

So what would happen to Obama's 12 point lead in Pennsylvania if the electorate in November resembles that of 2008 (D+7), and not the findings of this poll (D+12)?

Obama leads Romney 49-43% in #Virginia, but trails 48-43% if turnout looks like 2009 Governor's race

Public Policy Polling released new swing-state poll numbers for the states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and New Mexico, ALL paid for by the NRDC Action Fund, an environmental group. This may be why the polls don't seem to be getting a lot of attention in spite of showing awful numbers for Mitt Romney. The polls were also taken about a week ago, which makes them a bit more dated than some of the numbers that have come out this week. But either way, lets take a look at the Virginia poll done by PPP on behalf of the NRDC.

Taken Sept. 17-19, 2012 (so it's 9 days old as of today), PPP finds Obama leading Romney by his highest margin since their July poll, 49-43%. Those numbers are roughly similar to Obama's 6.3 pt win over John McCain in Virginia four years ago. But a glance at the crosstabs shows the opportunity for Romney to grow: Obama is carrying 90% of his own party, while attracting 6% from Republicans. Romney is not consolidating his base to the extent Obama has in Virginia, thus he only attracts 85% from Republicans, but gets 12% of Democrats. 

Missouri will swing Republican this November, according to new poll, unless we see 2008-like turnout from Democrats

Chilenski Strategies / Missouri Scout (a pollster I know nothing about) has a new poll out (and one of the rare ones that weights for party I.D.). Also, by new, I mean it was just released today. But be aware that the survey was taken 7 days ago. Of course, normal concerns apply, like the fact that this poll does not sample cell-phone-only voters, and the fact that the entire survey was completed over the course of one day. But either way, lets take a look at their numbers, and lets apply them to various turnout scenarios.

The actual poll states that it samples "registered voters who are likely to participate in the November 2012 election." (p. 33). I'm not sure how else to interpret that other than as a "likely voter." If you're registered to vote, and "likely" to vote in the November 2012 election, how are you not a likely voter?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

NBC / Marist Nevada poll has Obama leading by 2 points. In a 2010-style electorate, Romney wins 49-47%

The three NBC/Marist polls released today had one bit of good news for Romney - Nevada is apparently a two point race, with Obama leading 49-47% amongst likely voters. Why is it good news that Romney is trailing two points in a state with just 6 electoral college votes? Because Obama carried it 55-43% in 2008, and because Romney currently trails there by an average of 4 pts. And much like the party ID of the Connecticut PPP poll released earlier today, the Marist poll found Nevada voters identifying with political parties in a similar fashion from four years ago. The party ID for the Nevada Marist poll is 38% Democrat, 31% Republican, and 30% Independent. In 2008, it was 38D/30R/32I. So as of now, the state of the race in Nevada is remarkably similar to 2008. Democrats plan to turnout by a net 7 points more than Republicans, and that gives Obama a 2 point lead.

Latest NBC/Marist crosstabs indicate NC could go either way in November, depending on the electorate

 NBC/Marist's poll of likely voters in North Carolina should give the Romney campaign some heartburn - Obama currently leads 48-46% in a state he only carried by 0.3 pts in 2008. The former loyally Republican presidential state had shown signs of reverting back to it's old self in polling earlier this year, but has taken a turn for the worse since the DNC. The poll was taken September 23-25th.

If you believe the new NBC/Marist poll crosstabs, then North Carolina could be anywhere from a moderate Obama victory to a moderate Romney victory, depending on your favorite turnout model. Since past exit polls are all we have to go by, we'll use their partisan identification numbers to do some re-weighting (just for fun, of course ;).

The Marist NC poll's party identification for the likely voter sample is 39% Democrat, 31% Republican, and 30% Independent (D+8). That's a net 3 point lower turnout for Democrats in the Tar Heel state than turned out in 2008 (when partisan identification was measured at 42D/31R/27I; D+11). What would North Carolina look like this November, using Marist's numbers, and 2008's electorate?

New poll shows Connecticut locked up for Obama no matter the turnout scenario

The new PPP poll of Connecticut was conducted September 24-26, 2012, and finds Romney matching his worst performance against Obama out of the 4 polls PPP has taken in CT since the Fall of 2011. Obama leads by 13 points, 54-41%, which is only half of the 22.4 point margin he carried the state by in 2008 (61-38%). A glance at PPP's internals reveals that Connecticut likely voters are self-identifying in a very similar fashion to 2008; party ID for the poll is 43% Democrat, 26% Republican, 32% Independent, where as party ID in CT in 2008 was 43D/27R/31I. So it's pretty safe to assume that if we were to re-weight this CT poll to 2008 numbers, the results would be almost identical, given the similarity of the partisan identity. But what would happen to PPPs CT numbers if we were to apply a 2010 turnout model (which was more GOP friendly, and was 40D/28R/33I)?

BAD IOWA POLL FOR ROMNEY: PPP has Obama leading 51-44%

Public Policy Polling (D) is out with a new Iowa poll which seems to confirm what every pollster (but Rasmussen) now knows - the gap between Obama and Romney is widening in Obama's favor. Look no further than this opening paragraph from Tom Jensen:
PPP's newest Iowa poll finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by 7 points in the state, 51-44. Obama's advantage has increased by 5 points since PPP's last poll of the state in late August when he led just 47-45.
Looking further into the internals,  you see that Obama is doing a much better job of consolidating his Democratic base than Romney is his. Obama is attracting 91% of Democrats, and hits double-digits with Iowa Republican likely voters (10%). Meanwhile, Romney only attracts 85% of his base in Iowa, while peeling off 7% from Democrats. Among the crucial Independent vote, Obama leads 47-43%.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ridiculous Party ID Aside, Quinnipiac/NYT/CBS reveal rough numbers for Romney

Upon looking at the internals for today's Quinnipiac polls (which did a great job in the 2010 elections), I had to do a double take at the Party ID section. Like many who are familiar with past exit poll data, the partisan divide of the likely voter sample, for all 3 polls really, was heavily favorable to Democrats. But applying 2008, 2010, and an average of the two elections turnout numbers to the internals of the Q-poll show that Romney is STILL trailing in BOTH Ohio and Florida.

Lets first take at look at the Ohio Q-poll. Obama leads by an astounding (and downright frightening if you're a Republican) 53-43%. Keep in mind that Obama won the state by 4.6 pts, 51.4 - 46.8% in 2008, and Bush carried it twice by 50.8% and 50.0% in 2004 and 2000, respectively. Partisan identification in Ohio in 2008, according to CNN exit polling, favored Democrats by 8 percentage points (D+8). In other words, 39% of the voters that turned out on election day that November in 2008 identified themselves as Democrats, 31% identified as Republicans, and 30% identified as Independent. However, findings from Quinnipiac University indicate Ohio likely voters are currently identifying as Democrats at a slightly higher net rate than they did on election day 2008, the peak of Obama-mania; 35% to be exact, while just 26% identified as Republicans. 35% identify as Independents, meaning the party ID for poll is D+9

So what would the Q-poll look like if you simply applied the 2008 exit poll partisan identification? Here you go: