Obama Leading Romney In New Polls, Extent Of Convention Bounce Is Unclear

A new round of polling has Obama in the lead and shows reasons why Romney's supporters should be concerned, but it's unclear how long any of this will last.

The first round of polling of the Presidential race other than the Daily Tracking Polls from Rasmussen and Gallup is out, and the verdict is still somewhat unclear. There does seem to be clear evidence that President Obama has gotten somewhat of a bounce from the Democratic National Convention and, more importantly perhaps, that Mitt Romney didn’t really get any bounce at all from the Republican Convention. I’ve written several times since Friday about the movement in Obama’s favor in the tracking polls — today, Obama’s lead in the Rasmussen poll slipped from 4 points to 2 points while his lead increased to six points in the latest Gallup Poll — but it’s worth keeping in mind that these polls do tend to be more volatile than the polling that we’re used to seeing highlighted on CNN and other networks. As such, it’s not always advisable to rely on them as anything more than indications of an overall trend. When we look at the national polling, we get a slightly murkier picture.

First up, there’s a new poll from CNN/ORC that shows Obama above 50% for the first time in awhile and leading Romney by six points:

(CNN) – A new survey indicates President Barack Obama moved up four points following the Democratic National Convention last week, and now has a six point advantage over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

According to a CNN/ORC International Poll (PDF) released Monday, 52% of likely voters nationwide back the president, compared to 46% for Romney. Just before the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obama was tied with Romney 48%-48%.

“The Democratic convention was fairly well received, particularly in comparison to the GOP meeting the previous week in Tampa,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

The convention energized-at least temporarily- the Democratic base, as more Democrats (59%) than Republicans (57%) seemed to be enthusiastic about voting. This marks a turnaround from last week, when the number of Republicans who said they were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting was six points higher than for Democrats.

While the survey shows several changes coming out of the last two weeks, it’s important to note that post-convention bounces have often proven to be temporary in past elections. A candidate may get a mild boost after a party gathering, but the question is whether the White House hopeful can sustain the momentum in the following weeks.

“The advantage of going second is you get the last word,” an Obama campaign official told CNN reporters covering the Charlotte convention last week.

That advantage can be most clearly seen in the changes that have occurred to Mitt Romney’s likability numbers. Both prior to and after the Republican convention, the former Governor seemed to be experiencing an up-tick favorability due in part, no doubt, to the generally positive press he was getting in the run-up to the convention and the impact of things such as Ann Romney’s very well received speech on the first night of the GOP Convention. Polling after the Republican convention showed Romney making up significant ground in the favorability area, in fact. With the Democratic Convention behind us, though, things are quite different:

This year’s Democratic event wiped away some of Romney’s gains on personal qualities. The Republican nominee’s favorable rating increased to 53% after the GOP convention, but fell to 48% one week later after the Democratic event. Meanwhile, Obama rose to 57% in the last week, his highest mark since 2010.

Obama also took away Romney’s lead on leadership for the country’s future. Now 51% of likely voters think Obama has a more optimistic vision for the country’s future, compared to Romney at 41%. Last week, however, 43% said Obama was more optimistic, while 47% said the same about Romney.

Another takeaway from the two conventions was that Obama seemed to come out as the candidate with a more specific plan to help the country. Before the Republican event, 45% thought Romney was more likely to have a clear plan, while only 39% felt the same about the president. Now the two have switched places, with 45% saying Obama has a clear plan, compared 39% saying the same about Romney.

This, perhaps, may be the lasting legacy of the Democratic Convention. While there were several mis-steps in Tampa, the Republican convention had succeeded in rebooting Mitt Romney as a person and significantly impacting his likability with voters.  There is, however, a massive caveat regarding this CNN/ORC poll, digging down in the details of the poll one finds that Romney leads Obama by 14 points among self-identified independents, and yet the President is leading in the poll overall by six points. The only way that strikes me as being possible is if the poll sample is vastly oversampling the number of Democrats, or undersampling the number of Independents. So, these results may be just a little bit questionable.

In contrast with the CNN/ORC poll, we also have a new poll from ABC News and The Washington Post that shows that, among likely voters, the race isn’t much different than it was prior to the two party conventions:

Last week’s Democratic National Convention helped President Obama improve his standing against Republican Mitt Romney, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, but did little to reduce voter concern about his handling of the economy.

The survey shows that the race remains close among likely voters, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent, virtually unchanged from a poll taken just before the conventions.

But among a wider sample of all registered voters, Obama holds an apparent edge, topping Romney at 50 percent to 44 percent, and has clear advantages on important issues in the campaign when compared with his rival.

The survey highlights why Obama continues to try to frame the election as a choice between himself and Romney, while Romney would like it to be a referendum on the president’s record.

The poll represents the initial public reaction to the two back-to-back conventions, and the results underscore how critical get-out-the vote efforts will be to the outcome of the contest.


Obama’s relative strength emerges when all voters are asked to compare the two contenders on a series of issues and attributes. On 15 items, Obama has significant leads on eight, Romney on zero. Romney also no longer has the pre-convention advantages he held on dealing with the economy and what had been his best issue, handling the federal deficit.

The president holds double-digit leads in areas of particular focus at his party’s convention, including addressing women’s issues (Obama leads Romney by 21 percentage points), advancing the interests of the middle class (15 points), and social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage (11 points). Obama also has a fresh, albeit slender, lead on dealing with taxes.

Three new questions emphasize the president’s advantage over Romney when it comes to personal attributes. By a margin of nearly 20 points, voters are more apt to say they would like to have Obama as a dinner guest, and the president also leads by double digits as the person voters would want to take care of them if they were sick and who they say would make a more loyal friend.

But the poll also shows how hard it is to translate any of these advantages on attributes into electoral gains. Despite a feverish effort at the Democratic convention, neither Obama nor his prominent supporters were able to reverse disapproval of the president’s handling of the economy, the dominant issue in the campaign, or inspire confidence that things will pick up if he is reelected.

Compared with the survey taken before the convention, voters’ assessments of Obama’s job performance are essentially unchanged — and in vulnerable territory — with 48 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving. Also stubbornly unchanged is the negativity around his handling of the economy: Most voters — 53 percent — disapprove of his stewardship of the economy, and strongly negative views are almost twice as common as strongly positive ones.

For more than two years, a majority of voters have disapproved of Obama in this area. Those who disapprove overwhelmingly say it is because they think he is pursuing the wrong policies, not because his efforts need more time.

A plurality of voters, 43 percent, say the nation’s economy has gotten worse since Obama took office, while fewer, 32 percent, say it has improved. The rest say it has stayed about the same. Those who see no improvement largely blame the president, although just 38 percent say they think things would be better now had Romney become president in 2009.

The rhetorically powerful “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” question was a centerpiece of the Republican convention, and in the poll, more voters say they are worse off, rather than better, under Obama. But unlike those who see no progress for the national economy, those who view themselves as no better off since Obama became president are divided on whether they blame him for the lack of improvement.

Overall, voters split evenly between Romney and Obama when it comes to supporting small businesses, but Romney has exploitable advantages here. He has said repeatedly that he knows more about building businesses than Obama, and voters agree. About two-thirds say Romney understands what it takes to create a successful small business, while there is a split verdict on Obama. By 53 percent to 35 percent, more say government programs do more to hamper than bolster small businesses.

Obama has hammered Romney for not explaining the details of his tax and budget proposals, and 61 percent of voters say the Republican has not done enough to lay out the policies he would enact. But for the incumbent, things are hardly positive here: Six in 10 Americans agree that Romney has not done enough to provide those details. But 49 percent also say Obama hasn’t done enough to specify a second-term agenda.

On balance, then, this poll suggests that the race is relatively unchanged from where it was before the convention. Back then, the topline numbers were basically in the same place they are here but President Obama held distinct advantages on most of the issues questions with the exception of jobs and the economy.

Finally, there’s a third poll that has Obama leading Romney by two points among likely voters:

Mitt Romney has narrowed the gap vs. President Obama in the latest IBD/TIPP poll, which showed that the Democratic National Convention may have failed to excite single women.

Obama led 46%-44% in the September survey of registered voters after a much-wider 46%-39% advantage a month earlier. The president has consistently led his Republican rival but hasn’t been able to crack 46%.

The results suggest that the Obama campaign’s attempt to use the convention to boost turnout among single women was ineffective. The parade of Sandra Fluke, Lilly Ledbetter and Nancy Keenan, among other feminist speakers, did not move the needle for single women. Obama led Romney among that group 57%-30% in the latest poll, virtually identical to his 56%-29% lead in August.

“I think what the Democrats are hoping for is not that the support goes up so much as they can increase turnout among that group. Single women are a vital group for the Democrats,” said Karlyn Bowman a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “The reason Democrats lost control of the House in 2010 was a drop in turnout among single women.”

But the poll suggests Obama has a ways to go to ensure their turnout. Just 79% of single women said they were very likely to vote vs. 94% of married women. Romney leads among married women 50%-45%.

Romney also leads among men 48%-40%, including a 57%-30% advantage among white men.

All of this leaves the RealClearPolitics Average at +3.3 in the President’s favor, with a clear trend showing the President increasing his standing in the polls:

For the moment, it does indeed appear that the President has gained an advantage from the Democratic Convention and that is leading to the development of a lead in the topline numbers in pretty much every poll. For the reasons noted above, I tend to doubt that the lead is has large as that measured in the CNN/ORC poll, but there’s definitely a lead there that should see itself trickle down into the state polling assuming that it lasts. That last question, of course is the one that matters, of course. The IDB/Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll and the ABC/WaPo poll would suggest that the bounce, such as it was, will be short-lived, while other measures such as the Gallup Tracking Poll, which it is important to note measures registered rather than likely voters, suggests that the President may be on the verge of a breakout lead.

The more important question, though, is how to explain Mitt Romney’s continued inability to breakthrough notwithstanding a weak economy and several months worth of weak jobs reports. Charlie Cook blames it on missteps by the Romney campaign:

The Romney campaign made the extraordinary decision to not try seriously to connect their candidate with voters on a personal level until their convention. As dubious as that decision was, they were rewarded by having a convention shortened by a day due to a hurricane, then compounded the error of waiting until the convention by putting much of what was most needed to be seen in the 8 and 9 p.m. hours, when the only viewers would be C-SPAN fans. Wow! The biographical film and the testimonials of people whose lives had been touched by Romney were powerful, necessary, and largely unseen. Instead, the Romney campaign treated them to the Clint Eastwood debacle and a serviceable speech by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida that should have been made earlier, not chewing up precious broadcast airtime. At the 10-11 p.m. hour, abbreviated personal testimonies and the film introducing Romney’s own speech—which was quite good—would have made for an extraordinary hour of television and very likely have done him a lot of good with voters.

As a result of all of this, while voters are quite open to firing Obama, they remain quite reticent about Romney. Debates can and have been critical, but they work better for candidates who need to demonstrate that they are smart and knowledgeable, tests Romney met and passed long ago; debates are tougher venues for demonstrating empathy and developing trust.

This is a very close race and one that still could go either way. But the odds of Romney capitalizing on this economy, and the opportunity it affords, seem lower than they were before the conventions. If Republicans and Romney supporters are growing nervous, they should be.

Cook gets it right, I think. I was astounded throughout the summer while the Romney campaign did next to nothing to counterattack against the PR blitz launched by the Obama campaign and supporting SuperPACS against the candidate on issues such as Bain Capital. As such, those anti-Bain were airing all over the place in swing states like Ohio and Virginia with next to nothing to counteract it coming from the opposite side. It’s true that the Romney campaign was limited in some of its spending by the fact that it could not legally spend contributions designated for the General Election campaign before Romney had been officially nominated by the GOP. However, it was obvious even in June and July that the campaign still had some primary money left over because they were running a limited number of ads, the problem is that they weren’t really addressing the attacks or doing anything to define the candidate. The same was true of the SuperPACs. Instead, they waited until a convention not scheduled until late August to do that and, as Cook noted and I stated at the time, they didn’t do accomplish the task very well.

It’s still possible that something could happen in this race that could turn things upside down. Four years ago at this time, the McCain/Palin ticket had a slight lead over Obama/Biden in the wake of the Republican Convention, for example, but that came to a quick and abrupt end when Lehman Brothers collapsed and the financial crisis began in earnest. Going back even further in history, Ronald Reagan didn’t finally pull ahead of Jimmy Carter in 1980 until the candidates held their one and only debate just a week before the election. It’s possible that something like this could happen to Romney. Possible, but not likely. The 2008 financial crisis was in some sense a black swan event unique to its time and place, the odds that something like it will happen again in the middle of this election strike me as unlikely. As for the debates, Cook has a point when he says that the debates typically help candidates that need to demonstrate their grasp of the issues, not enhance their likability. Nobody denies Romney is smart, but it’s unclear how the debates are going to make him more likable. As things stand now, this still looks like Obama’s race to lose.



FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Xerxes says:

    Too bad the CNN Poll had a D+11 sample. The Washington Examiner did a proper reexamination of the crosstabs and if the trend applied more correctly to 2012 likely voter tabs, Romney would be up 53-45 over Obama.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    To me the single most compelling polling data is the fact that at no time has Mr. Romney led in the polling average. This hasn’t been a see-saw, it’s been Mr. Obama ahead every week. That 2 point gap is weirdly persistent.

    Theres no reason why people should under-report their support for Romney to a pollster. But there is a reason why Obama supporters may understate their voting intention: disappointment. I think a small segment of the population will vote for Obama but doesn’t want to say it because they are frankly pissed off at Obama.

    I ask myself how I would respond. I’d say “wrong track,” on that question. I’d say, “Disapprove,” on that question. But I’d say Obama on the one-to-one question. It’s unusual to say wrong track, disapprove, but I’ll vote for him.

    (On a side note, will the fading of the bounce allow people like Jan to re-emerge? She’s disappeared since the polls went bad for Romney.)

  3. Fiona says:

    The long and short of why Romney isn’t gaining any traction:

    1. He’s not offering anything other than Bush-Cheney warmed over. BTDT and it didn’t work. Romney’s yet to provide any compelling reason as to why he’d be any better than Obama at solving the country’s problem and, when pressed for details about his plans, basically responds “trust me.”

    2. Romney isn’t likeable. His fellow candidates didn’t like him. His fellow Republicans did little more than offer up advertisements for themselves at the RNC, so little love they had for the party’s nominee. You can put all the lipstick you want to on that pig, but it still ain’t going to look pretty.

  4. michael reynolds says:


    If you believe it’s 53/45 Romney you need to tell the Romney campaign. Because they’re scared. You can smell the fear. And they get to design their own polls.

  5. Xerxes says:

    @michael reynolds: Don’t take my word for it. Read the CNN Poll. And answer me the following question: Is it possible to win a national election and lose the independent vote by 14 points? Because according to the CNN Poll, Romney is +14 over Obama in the independent vote.

  6. anjin-san says:

    Read the CNN Poll.

    It’s funny how conservatives suddenly see CNN as a reliable source when they present information the right likes. The rest of the time, CNN is a lamestream, in-the-bag-for-Obama, Democrat propaganda outlet…

  7. legion says:

    @Fiona: True on both. While the amount is, as Doug notes, arguable, it’s clear that Obama got a boost from the DNC. Romney OTOH got _at best_ nothing from the RNC, and many polls show him actually losing ground in key areas. Some have blamed this on the weird close-out by Eastwood, but I think it’s much more likely that for once, everyone in the party got to watch the same Mitt Romney at the same time, and realized that it’s not just Dem satire – Mitt really is like that. And they got an huge dose of buyer’s remorse.

  8. Console says:

    Margin of error accounts for pretty much this entire post…

    Someone will be plus 2 someone else will be plus 6 and someone else plus 4. All of them can still be correct.

    Sort of the point of poll aggregation.

  9. mattb says:

    Why anyone is paying attention to National polls — especially in a race this close — is beyond me.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    Dude, you’re not getting it. Whatever polls we’re getting are junk compared to what the campaigns have. The polls we get are mostly national polls – which mean dick. We also get state by state polls, but the campaigns are getting state by state, district by district, practically down to individual voter data. So if you are ever in doubt about polls, watch the campaigns, and watch the money. The campaigns know the score, and the Romney campaign is worried while the Obama campaign seems confident.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    Actually, as much fun as all the numbers are, the contest is really down to Ohio and maybe Florida. If Mr. Romney can’t take Ohio it’s a 99-1 shot against him. If he loses OH and FL it’s done. Right now Obama leads in both, which is why the GOP is busily trying to steal both elections by depriving people of their right to vote.

  12. Rob in CT says:

    Any 1 poll – even if you have no problems with the methodology used – can give wacky results. It’s like batting average for a baseball player. Every so often you just plain get a fluke. It’s the sort of thing susceptible to noise.

    Which is why you aggregate things. Also, state-by-state polls > national polls.

  13. Console says:

    As for trying to pick apart pollster methodologies… they get paid to be accurate. If they oversample D’s then that means their likely voter model likes democrat turnout in the coming election. Opinion Research got 2008 right, why would they screw up 2012? Because they’re reporting results you don’t like?

  14. Cycloptichorn says:


    if the trend applied more correctly to 2012 likely voter tabs, Romney would be up 53-45 over Obama.

    Ah, yes. The correct ‘likely voter’ tabs.

    Question: how do you know what the ‘correct’ likely voter model is? Did you just make it up? Are you assuming that it will match your best year ever? What?

    I see this a lot on the right side of the web these days, and it’s all nothing but an attempt to whistle away data that looks really bad for their cause. Arguing about sample sizes is ridiculous and the first sign that your side is losing.

  15. Tony W says:

    There is also a little inconvenient fact that there are simply more D’s than R’s in the world – and the R’s are not replenshing as quickly…..

  16. There is, however, a massive caveat regarding this CNN/ORC poll, digging down in the details of the poll one finds that Romney leads Obama by 14 points among self-identified independents, and yet the President is leading in the poll overall by six points.

    I think this chart explains it.

    There’s a pretty big crash in Republican identification.

  17. MBunge says:

    “Romney leads Obama by 14 points among self-identified independents, and yet the President is leading in the poll overall by six points.”

    Yeah, there’s no way on Earth that Romney is actually up by 14 on Obama among independents. There’s also no way Obama is up on Romney by 14 among independents. Every other poll has given Obama a pretty good, for this circumstance, bounce out of the DNC, so I’d advise everyone to avoid seizing on obviously whacky poll internals in order to support some contrarian view.


  18. stonetools says:

    The dilemma for Romney is that they have really painted themselves into a corner as regards domestic economic policy. Prior to 1980, there were a wide variety of conservative economic polcies aimed at fostering economic growth. Now, there are none. Rortybomb nails it. :

    Which is to say that Romney wanted to focus on unemployment, but had no real serious plan on how to get unemployed people jobs. I can, quickly, come up with a set of conservative stimulus ideas on how to get the economy going again, but the wide range of these programs are missing from Romney’s economics report. They aren’t going to hire market monetarists to run the Federal Reserve. Mitt Romney just publicly said the Federal Reserve shouldn’t go ahead with another round of quantitive easing [1]. There isn’t the argument that the government should just not collect taxes for a year or two with borrowing costs so low, which will also make it that much harder to raise taxes to Clinton-era rates afterwards. There’s nothing in the paper about housing, even though one of Romney’s advisors is well known for his mass refinancing program to help boost demand. And there’s no conditional lending to states to prevent layoffs on the condition that they dismantle public sector unions, or privatize certain government services, or whatever.

    Ideas have consequences, and the fact that Romney has no actual ideas for how to get the unemployed jobs means that making unemployment a big issue is only going to have so much traction with the electorate. “The long-term unemployed should vote for me so I can go after financial regulations,” or “Vote for me, because I’ll just ignore mass unemployment outright rather than not do enough and then pivot away” aren’t political strategies that capitalize on the big vunerability Obama has on economic weakness.
    Given the number of policy entrepreneurs on the right, it’s almost shocking how little effort I’ve seen to get creative with getting unemployment down. The policy for unemployment is just a set of conservative reforms conservatives would want to see anyway regardless of the economy. And the general message seems to be that unemployment is unfortunate, but the downside risks of trying to combat it are far too high. Better to just get through this period and focus on the long-term economy. The unemployed are, in fact, just bumps in the road.

  19. Ed in NJ says:


    As I’ve stated elsewhere, that article uses the Rasmussen voter screens to come to their conclusion, yet Rasmussen doesn’t show that result. This is cherry-picking data to reach a pre-determined conclusion.

    Nate Silver and others have explained the Party ID issue at length elsewhere. Not to beat a dead horse, but these labels are much less important than other crosstabs like Conservative, Liberal, and Moderate, which gives a much clearer and more accurate prediction of likely voters.

    But I guess that is all Republicans have at this stage to rest their hopes on. Or to blame for defeat.

  20. stonetools says:

    Close tags fail. Sorry about it.

  21. anjin-san says:

    Ohio looks very bad for Romney, while FL looks possible, but not likely. The electoral path for Romney has never looked good, and the simple fact is that his campaign has not gotten out of first gear since he became the presumptive nominee. Since the conventions, his message has become less coherent, at the very time he needs to be sharpening his focus.

  22. mantis says:


    Question: how do you know what the ‘correct’ likely voter model is? Did you just make it up? Are you assuming that it will match your best year ever? What?

    He’s getting his info from this silly Examiner piece, which has your answer. The “correct” likely voter makeup is decided by Scott Rasmussen. I’m sure you are shocked to learn this.

  23. mantis says:

    @Ed in NJ:

    Nate Silver and others have explained the Party ID issue at length elsewhere. Not to beat a dead horse, but these labels are much less important than other crosstabs like Conservative, Liberal, and Moderate, which gives a much clearer and more accurate prediction of likely voters.

    You are barking up the wrong tree, Ed. Folks like Xerxes aren’t interested in accuracy or predictability, but confirmation. The biggest problem is they all know for a fact that polling outfits weight their polls by party affiliation, when they absolutely do not do so. Any attempt to explain this to them falls on deaf ears.

  24. Curtis says:

    The reason that CNN seems to have too many independents and the reason that Romney is losing in their poll despite winning independents by 14 points is one and the same: the weakness of the Republican brand.

    People who have reliably voted Republican are calling themselves independents. That is the whole reason for the Tea Party, for example, though I think most Tea Partiers are happy enough now to be called Republican. But people who were likely to describe themselves as moderate Republicans before are now calling themselves independents but still showing preference for Romney.

    So I don’t see anything too crazy in the cross-tabs, frankly.

  25. C. Clavin says:

    Everything out of Romney’s mouth is a lie. Everything. He lied about his stand on Health Care to the Meet The Press audience…then turned right around to his base and told them the truth.
    He made up the story about God and Coins out of whole cloth.
    Do you think he is going to stand in front of Obama…tell the same lies he has been telling…and not get called on it?
    Is Biden really going to stand there and let Ryan lie about his congressional votes and his marathon times?
    It’s impossible for me to see the Whiney-Assed-Titty-Babies coming out of the debates with any strength at all.

  26. michael reynolds says:

    For my GOP friends looking for good polling there’s a poll that just came out (I don’t want to find the link, just go to RCP) that shows Romney up 5% in Virginia. Now that’s the kind of thing that can matter.

    Unfortunately for Republicans the same polling outfit shows Obama up 4% in Ohio. Republicans don’t win elections without Ohio.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    On the other hand for GOPers:

    One measure of Americans’ confidence in the economy saw its largest weekly jump ever last week.

    Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index’s weekly average rose 11 percentage points to -18, marking the sharpest increase since the polling organization began daily tracking in 2008. The index’s all-time high point is -16, reached in May of this year.

    Ouch. That’s gotta sting.

  28. @michael reynolds:

    I think that’s why the “normalcy” of Obama’s acceptance speech was well received.

  29. Barbara Carson says:

    I can not understand why it is not a larger gap. It sickens me how anyone can be for Romney and Ryan. besides the mega rich and their family members.

  30. al-Ameda says:

    “Romney leads Obama by 14 points among self-identified independents, and yet the President is leading in the poll overall by six points.”

    This tells me that some people, who in reality are Republicans, are telling pollsters that they’re “independents.” I think the actual number of people who really are “independents” is very small this time around. It is very similar to the number of “undecided” voters – not very many.

  31. The Q says:

    Polls, shmolls..Obama will win re-election and here’s why: the economic pessimism and bad jobs report are tempered by the fact that a huge percentage of voters don’t blame Obama for the problem. While folks see things as bad, they don’t put all the blame on Obama and that is CRUCIAL and why the romney folks’ (as Brother Reynolds points out) internal polling must buttress.this fact and the non existent traction this issue gets from voters.

    So for all you youngsters out there, take solace in this:

    “A Gallup poll released noted that 60% of Americans believed “expenditures by the Government for relief and recovery” were too great, while just 9% said they were too little. Another 31% said they were about right.”

    Looks bad for us libs as the public seems against more stimulus.

    And then we see the wingnut acceptance speech at the convention: ….”too frequently recovery has been hindered, if not defeated, by political considerations . . . The present administration asked for, and received, extraordinary powers upon the assurance that these were to be temporary….We knew they were being undertaken hastily and with little deliberation . . . Now it becomes our duty to examine the record as it stands. The record shows that these measures did not fit together into any definite program of recovery. Many of them worked at cross-purposes and defeated themselves. Some developed into definite hindrances to recovery. They had the effect generally of extending control by Washington into the remotest corners of the country . . . ”

    So you can see that failed recovery policies + a public skeptical about more stimulus could really come back to screw the incumbent.

    But I have good news for you, because i can tell you the election results with 100% certainty:

    FDR in a landslide over Alf Landon, for the above was taken from the 1936 election where FDR won 46 out 48 states with over 60% of the vote, even though there were grave doubts about the economy , there was no way in HELL we would vote for more of the Hoover medicine. And so it is with romney as history repeats itself.

    So take heart, Obama will win because the wingnuts are braindead malefactors of great wealth masquerading as friends of the proletariat and they will not win unless an exogenous shock or bad debate performance occurs.

  32. Rick Almeida says:


    I think the actual number of people who really are “independents” is very small this time around.

    It’s actually always been small. Most self-described independents, when prompted, indicate a lean towards one party or the other, and leaners behave almost exactly like partisan identifiers.

    The bulk of those who might truly be independent of party affiliation tend not to possess or consume much political information and tend to be unlikely to vote.

  33. @Rick Almeida:

    It’s actually always been small. Most self-described independents, when prompted, indicate a lean towards one party or the other, and leaners behave almost exactly like partisan identifiers.

    You can get totally different answers, depending on the questions you use to identify that “lean.”

    Ask me a bunch of economic questions and I’ll lean right. Ask me a bunch of social questions and I’ll lean left. Take your pick, Mr. Pollster.

  34. Rick Almeida says:

    @john personna:

    John, that’s not quite the way it’s usually done. Generally (at least in top notch national work), people who identify as independents are asked a follow-up question like, “Do your beliefs tend to lean more toward the Democrats or the Republicans?”.

  35. @Rick Almeida:

    I’ve also heard that they just look at your recent votes, and say that if you voted for one party or the other in the last election, that is your lean. If so, it is in a very temporary sense, because as the environment changes one party or the other may gain more independent votes.

    In that sense I “lean” Obama, but certainly I’d pull back from a more lefty replacement.

  36. dennis says:


    It’s funny how conservatives suddenly see CNN as a reliable source when they present information the right likes. The rest of the time, CNN is a lamestream, in-the-bag-for-Obama, Democrat propaganda outlet…

    Excellent point, Captain Pilot; excellent point!

  37. Rick Almeida says:

    @john personna:

    I have never seen or heard of this done in any of the work I’ve used. In my opinion, that’s an invalid way to assess partisanship, and I’d disregard any inferences drawn from data like that.