- Aug 7, 2012
- Reaction score
Obama 80% Likely To Win, Given Fundamentals, Ground Game
With twenty-four days to go until the final votes are cast, it is clear that the Obama-Romney contest has narrowed drastically. The number of states that are in play remains small, and the number of states that could realistically decide this election is smaller still. Taking a close look at data from the last week and reading it against what we know from 2010 gives us a window into how narrow this contest is, where it will be decided, and likely how. As I will explain, I am more bullish on President Obamas likelihood of winning re-election than others caught up in the national trackers, Nate Silvers plummeting assessments of the Presidents prospects, or the gloomy post-debate narratives (Andrew Sullivan being the undisputed champion of that particular raindance). So here with close attention to polls and what they do and do not show is why I see President Obamas chance of winning re-election at roughly 80% today.
1. Parsing Romneys Post-Debate Bounce
Even the Presidents most ardent supporters now readily concede that Mitt Romney won the October 3 debate in Denver. (Indeed, some of the Presidents most ardent supporters can speak of little else, as this election approaches its finish.) The measure of the bounce is found in a comparison of data drawn from mid-September (when the Presidents convention bounce, lengthened by focus on Romneys Libya and 47% comments) and from the period October 4-11, comprising the week following Romneys strong showing in Denver.
This bounce was substantial, but not uniformly distributed across all states. While I first thought it would be worth two points nationally, given the rigidity of polling in this cycle, my prediction understated the force of Romneys gains. In Gallup, the registered voter bounce was from Obama +6 to Obama +3 (though the fact that Gallup uses a seven day rolling average implies that the bounce was at least four points, given that the long period softens peaks and valleys). In Rasmussen, Obama swung from +2 to -2 a four point decline. In the RAND Corporation tracker, mysteriously omitted from the RealClearPolitics average, but which Nate Silver utilizes in his data set, Obama fell from +8 to +2 (a six point decline), and in the IBD/TIPP tracker, which began on October 1, Obama fell briefly to -5, likely representing at least a six point decline from Obamas peak standing to that lowest point (though IBD bracketed that five point deficit with days showing Obama down 2). Accordingly, the national decline in Obamas status, picking his highest peak and lowest valley, was more like 4-6 points nationally.