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?:

PPP poll weighted to 2010 Ohio exit polling:

Party ID        Obama                  Romney

36D               30.6 (85%)            3.6    (10%)
36R               4.32  (12%)           30.96 (86%)
28I                11.48 (41%)          11.76  (42%)
                        46.4%                   46.32%

So it's about as dead-even as it gets if turnout resembles 2010. They're tied at 46-46%. But what if Democratic enthusiasm in Ohio is really high right now, and turnout resembles the 2008 electorate?:

 PPP poll weighted to 2008 Ohio exit polling:

Party ID        Obama                  Romney

39D               33.15 (85%)          3.9    (10%)
31R               3.72  (12%)          26.66 (86%)
30I                12.3 (41%)            12.6  (42%)
                        49.17%                  43.16%

It doesn't take a lot of math to point out that if the electorate is as Democratic as it was in 2008, Romney, or any Republican, would have a tough time winning. And as you can see, Obama would win Ohio 49-43% under such a scenario, using PPP's numbers.

Finally, here is what PPP's number would look like if they were re-weighted to an average of 2008 and 20010 Ohio turnout (D+4):

Party ID        Obama                  Romney

37.5D            31.875 (85%)       3.75   (10%)
33.5R           4.02    (12%)         28.81 (86%)
29I                11.89  (41%)         12.18  (42%)
                        47.785%                  44.74%

If turnout this November in Ohio is equal to the average of 2008 and 2010 turnout, or D+4, then Obama's lead goes from 49-45% to 48-45%. It's rare when a campaign would cheer being down four points in a poll anywhere. But after the Ohio polling the Romney campaign was dealt last week, this suddenly doesn't look so bad.

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