Monday, October 1, 2012

ARG has Romney leading 50-46% in NC, despite finding a D+10 electorate

The American Research Group is out with a new poll of North Carolina likely voters, and the news is good for Mitt Romney, relatively speaking. In a survey that was conducted Sep 28-30, Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by 4 points, 50-46%. But like the PPP NC poll released last night, a closer look at the numbers reveals even more good news for Romney: Mitt leads Obama by 4 points and hits 50% in a survey that finds NC likely voters self identifying as 43% Democrat, 33% Republican, and 24% Independent (D+10). That's an awfully Democratic electorate for Mitt to be leading by four points. 2008 CNN exit polls in North Carolina showed party ID to be D+11 in a year of historic Democratic turnout. Still, Obama carried the state by just 0.4%. Here is what the ARG poll would look like if the partisan identification were re-weighted to match 2008 NC turnout.

ARG poll weighted to 2008 NC exit polling:

Party ID        Obama                  Romney

42D              33.18 (79%)           7.98    (19%)
31R              2.48   (8%)             26.97  (87%)
27I               10.8   (40%)           14.85  (55%)
                       46.46%                   49.8%

Mitt Romney maintains his 50-46% lead, even in a 2008- style electorate, because he attracts a larger percentage of his base than Obama (87% to 79%), AND a larger percentage of his opponent's base (19% to 8%). Most importantly, Romney is winning Independent voters by 15 points, and Independents made up a larger percentage of the 2008 NC electorate than ARG finds them in this poll (27% to 24%).

What happens to the ARG poll when it is re-weighted to the much-more GOP friendly 2004 exit poll party ID numbers? Romney's lead becomes Bush v. Kerry-esque.

ARG poll weighted to 2004 NC exit polling:

Party ID        Obama                  Romney

39D              30.81 (79%)           7.41  (19%)
41R               3.2    (8%)             34.8  (87%)
21I                8.4    (40%)           11.55 (55%)
                     42.41%                  53.76%

Romney's four point lead in the ARG poll becomes a 12 point lead when re-weighted to a 2004 style electorate.

If you're like me and believe 2012 turnout will be between 2008 and 2004 turnout, here's what happens to the ARG numbers when re-weighted to an average of 2008 and 2004 exit polls (D+5).

ARG poll weighted to average of 2008 and 2004 NC exit polling:

Party ID        Obama                  Romney

40.5D           31.995 (79%)         7.695  (19%)
35.5R           2.84    (8%)            30.885 (87%)
24I                9.6     (40%)          13.2     (55%)
                     44.435%                51.78%

So if you buy the ARG crosstabs, and if you buy a D+5 electorate in NC this November,  Romney is leading Obama 52-44%. An 8 pt Romney win in NC wouldn't be inconsistent with a national Romney victory.

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