Monday, October 8, 2012

Pair of Rasmussen swing-state polls show that despite debate victory, Obama maintains small lead.

The poll results for Mitt Romney have been a bit mixed in the aftermath of the Denver debate. Surveys are nearly unanimous in their agreement that Romney won the debate, and in a big way. But polling since last Wednesday has sent mixed signals regarding the size of his debate bounce. After an initial bump on Rasmussen of about 4 points, the two are tied again today amongst leaners (48-48%). The President was ahead 50-45% before the debate, per Gallup, but is tied in today's 3 day rolling average.  PPP has released two state polls (in WI and Va) that show Romney gaining on the President, though still behind.

And then you have Rasmussen's Colorado and Iowa polls out today. The president leads Romney in both states, 49-48% in the former, 49-47% in the latter. The last Rasmussen Colorado poll from September 17th showed Romney ahead of Obama, 47-45%, while the September 19th Iowa poll found Romney ahead 47-44%. If you buy Rasmussen's numbers, the poll results indicate Romney has actually done worse in Colorado and Iowa since the debate.

How could this be possible with so many polls showing unanimous agreement that Romney overwhelmingly won the first debate? The Friday jobs report showing a surprising unemployment rate drop from 8.1 to 7.8% seems to be the only feasible explanation.

Even worse for Romney, a close look at the Rasmussen internals show Romney trailing DESPITE some pretty favorable looking partisan identification numbers. Their Iowa party ID is 33D/37R/30I, or R+4. That matches 2010 Iowa turnout, per CBS exit polls (31D/35R/34I). But WHAT IF the plurality of pollsters finding 2008-style electorates are correct? What if turnout in Iowa matches 2008 turnout? Here's what happens to the Rasmussen poll, reweighting to 2008's D+1 electorate

Rasmussen poll weighted to 2008 CNN Iowa exit poll:

Party ID        Obama                    Romney

34D               30.6   (90%)            2.38   (7%)
33R               4.29   (13%)            28.05 (85%)
33I                14.85 (45%)            13.53  (41%)
                      49.74%                    43.96%

If the Democrats are successful at mobilizing their base in 2008's record-breaking fashion, then Obama's lead in Iowa, per Rasmussen, would go from 49-47% to 50-44%.

The Colorado poll's partisan ID is 30D/35R/35I, or R+5. That is considerably more Republican than exit polls showed the 2010 Governor's race to be, which defied national trends by being MORE Democratic than it was in 2008. In 2010, Colorado turnout was 33D/28R/39I, giving the Democrats a 5 point turnout advantage over Republicans in an election where national Tea Party fervor was at its peak. Yet in 2008, when Democrats were turning out in record numbers nationwide, Colorado's party ID was R+1 (30D/31R/39R).

Rasmussen poll weighted to 2008 CNN Colorado exit poll:

Party ID        Obama                    Romney

30D               26.1   (87%)            3.6     (12%)
31R               2.48   (8%)              27.28 (88%)
39I                21.06  (54%)*         13.26  (34%)
                      49.64%                    44.14%

Like the Iowa poll, the Rasmussen Colorado poll, when re-weighted to 2008 Colorado turnout, shows Obama ahead by a 50-44% margin. While that's better than McCain's 54-45% loss in 2008, a 6 point defeat in Colorado does not portend well for a national popular vote victory, much less the electoral college.

*Take note of the fact that Obama is winning Independents in Colorado, according to Rasmussen, by 20 points (54-34%). That flies in the face of most polling that shows Romney with leads among Independents of varying sizes. 

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