October 28, 2012

THEN SHAVE OFF THE THREE POINTS FOR THE BRADLEY EFFECT:

The Two Polls That Have Chicago Terrified (Josh Jordan, October 27, 2012, National Review)

In 2008 Gallup found the party breakdown of the electorate to be 39 percent Democrats, 29 percent Republicans, and 31 percent independents. That ten-point advantage grew to twelve points when independents were asked which party they typically leaned to, with 54 percent identifying as Democrats and 42 percent Republicans.

From that sample, Gallup has predicted Democratic turnout to be ten points higher than Republicans, and that independents would break to Obama. In 2008 Democrats did outperform Republicans by a slightly smaller margin, seven points, and independents did break to Obama by eight points. So while they might have overstated Democratic support slightly, they were able to see the underlying trend which was a huge jump from 2004, an election that was just about even.

In the current tracking poll, Gallup finds the ten-point advantage for Democrats has now turned into a one-point Republican advantage. The current party breakdown is now 35 percent Democrats, 36 percent Republicans, and 29 percent independents. And just in like 2008, that one-point advantage increases when independents are asked which party they typically lean to, with 49 percent identifying as Republicans and 46 percent Democrats. That number backs up the trends in other polling showing Romney leading among independents by large margins.

To get an idea of what this shift means, I plugged the Gallup 2008 and 2012 partisan numbers into the actual results from the 2008 election. Under Gallup's breakdown, Obama would have won in 2008 by 9.8 points (he actually won by 7.2), and would eke out a victory against Romney in 2012 by eight tenths of a point.

But here's why you can feel the panic emanating from Chicago: Romney is currently doing better with independents than Obama did in 2008. Obama won independents by eight, in 2008 while Romney is currently leading by 10.6 points on average. If the independent numbers are entered in to the 2008 results, Romney would have a victory of over four points. Even if Romney does not take any more crossover votes (Democrats who vote Republican and vice versa) than McCain got in 2008, he would still win by over four points on Election Day.

Posted by at October 28, 2012 7:02 AM
  

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