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.

PPP poll weighted to 2004 CNN Michigan exit polling:

Party ID        Obama                 Romney

39D               35.1 (90%)           3.12    (8%)
34R                2.38   (7%)          30.26 (89%)
27I                 11.34  (42%)       11.88  (44%)
                      48.82%                 45.26%

The impressive 51-42% lead becomes a notably less impressive 49-45% lead when we reweight the PPP poll to match 2004 Michigan turnout. This is remarkably similar to the 3.4 points George W. Bush lost the state by in 2004, and the 5.1 points he lost it by in 2000. But again, the odds of the electorate looking exactly like 2008 or 2004 this November seem small. However, when you average the turnout numbers from the two elections, the partisan ID of Michigan looks like this: 40% Democrat, 31.5% Republican, 28% Independent.

PPP poll weighted to average of 2004 and 2008 Michigan exit polling:

Party ID        Obama                 Romney

40D               36     (90%)         3.2       (8%)
31.5R            2.205 (7%)          28.035 (89%)
28I                11.76  (42%)       12.32   (44%)
                      49.965%              43.555%

With a D+8.5 electorate in Michigan this November, Romney would do better than the 51-42% result PPP finds, but not much better. Obama would still lead 50-44%., but a 6 pt loss in Michigan doesn't seem unlikely in the event of a narrow Mitt Romney national win. Still, no matter how you look at it, Michigan's probably not going to flip to the Romney column this year, especially considering a Republican has not carried the state since 1988. Now, if only the Rasmussen findings of an R+4 electorate could be accurate. . .

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