Monday, October 1, 2012

Even with a D+14 electorate, Obama and Romney are TIED w/ NC LVs, 48-48%. Romney leads by 18 w/ Indys.

Public Policy Polling finds Barack Obama and Mitt Romney tied among North Carolina likely voters in their new poll taken Sept 27-30, 2012. Obama led 49-48% in their poll from earlier this month. But a look at the internals sheds light on why NC is still such a tough state for Barack Obama to carry.

The President can only manage a tie with Mitt Romney, despite the fact that PPP finds the NC likely voter pool to be 14 points MORE Democratic than Republican. In 2008, when Barack Obama carried the state by less than half a point, Democrats outnumbered Republican voters by just 11 points, for a party ID of 42D/31R/27I. PPP, however, finds the NC electorate to be 48% Democrat, 34% Republican, and 19% Independent, or D+14. 

 How, then, is Barack Obama able to manage just a tie with Mitt Romney, despite an electorate that is overwhelmingly Democratic? Because he is being crushed by Romney among Independents, much like PPP found in Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Romney leads by 18 points with this group in NC, 54-36%.

So what happens to the PPP poll when it is re-weighted to match 2008 turnout, another favorable year for Democrats? Romney takes a 49-46% lead, largely because Independents made up 8% more of the electorate in 2008. PPP finds Independents accounting for only 19% of the NC electorate today.

PPP poll weighted to 2008 NC exit polling:

Party ID        Obama                  Romney

42D               33.6 (80%)           7.56    (18%)
31R               2.79 (9%)             27.28  (88%)
27I                9.72 (36%)           14.58  (54%)
                       46.11%               49.42%

Romney's 3 point lead turns into double digits (54-42%) if the NC electorate resembles the 2004 electorate (R+1). Note, 2010 exit poll numbers are not available on the CNN website.

PPP poll weighted to 2004 NC exit polling:

Party ID        Obama                  Romney

39D              31.2 (80%)           7.02    (18%)
40R               3.6   (9%)             35.2  (88%)
21I                7.56 (36%)           11.34  (54%)
                       42.36%               53.56%

What does the NC race look like if turnout numbers in November are an average of turnout numbers from 2010 and 2008? Romney still leads by a strong 51-44%

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

Party ID        Obama                  Romney

40.5D            32.4   (80%)         7.29    (18%)
35.5R            3.195  (9%)          31.24  (88%)
24I                8.64   (36%)         12.96  (54%)
                       44.235%               51.09%

So Obama is tied with Romney in a D+14 electorate, leads 49-46% in a D+11 electorate, leads 51-44% in a D+5 electorate, and leads 54-42% in an R+1 electorate. This may be why Obama is cutting back on NC ad spending. If he can't manage to lead in a D+14 electorate, I don't see how he carries the state at all. 

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