Pessimism On Team Romney

There are signs that some Romney supporters have already decided their candidate is going to lose.

Walter Shaprio surveys the political landscape of the Buckeye State and finds several Ohio Republicans resigned to the fact that Mitt Romney is likely to lose the state in November:

There are only two plausible explanations for what is going on this week in this swing state central to virtually allMitt Romney’s victory strategies.

Either many top Ohio Republicans are in the grips of the worst panic attack since an Orson Welles 1938 radio drama convinced thousands that the earth was under attack by Martians. Or more likely, judging from the comments of these GOP insiders, Romney’s hopes of carrying Ohio are fast dwindling to something like the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.

Presidential candidates have rebounded from downbeat polls before, especially when we are still five weeks from Election Day. So Romney’s problem is not just the recent Ohio surveys that show him losing to Barack Obama by as many as 10 percentage points. Instead, what is striking is the funereal interpretation that downcastOhio Republicans derive from these numbers. Maybe Romney isn’t down by 10 points, they argue, but the GOP presidential nominee seems destined to lose by a solid 5 points – and in closely divided Ohio that represents a loss of nearly landslide proportions. (That would mean that Obama would slightly improve his 2008 victory margin against John McCain.)

Many of the well-known Ohio Republicans I interviewed offered their blunt assessments only after they were guaranteed complete anonymity. That is often the Faustian bargain of political journalism in 2012: robotic talking points on the record or something resembling honesty with no names attached. The reason, though, that I am emphasizing the don’t-quote-me part of the equation is that I was stunned by the vehemence of the thumbs-down-on-Mitt verdict. All but conceding the state to Obama, these Republicans were offering what may be the biggest rejection of Ohio since Philip Roth wrote “Goodbye Columbus.”

Romney’s big problem in Ohio seems to be the fact that the Obama campaign and the SuperPACs that support it have been fairly effective in painting a negative picture of the Republican nominee that is proving especially difficult for him to overcome. It started with over the summer with the Bain attack ads, which rain in all the swing states but nowhere as frequently as in Ohio. Because the Romney campaign did not respond to these ads and made no effort to define the candidate until the Republican Convention in late August, this essentially left the field wide open for the Obama campaign. The impact of these ads was seen in Romney’s poll numbers, which trailed behind the President for most of the summer, and most especially his likability numbers, which have been negative for some time now. For the last two weeks, Ohioans have been blanketed with a series of very effective Obama campaign ads playing off of Romney’s “47 percent” remarks, and in those two weeks we have seen President Obama’s poll numbers in the state increase, as this chart showing the RCP Poll Average over the past month demonstrates:

The other problem for Romney, as Shapiro points out, is the fact that Ohio’s economy has actually been doing better than the national economy as a whole lately:

While Ohio’s unemployment rate was over 10 percent during the run-up to Strickland’s reelection, it is now 7.2 percent, nearly a percentage point below the national average. Working for Obama, as well, are results of the auto bailout in a state where more than 800,000 jobs are tied to the car industry. In a recent Washington Post poll, 64 percent of Ohio voters said that the federal loans to General Motors and Chrysler were mostly a good thing for state’s economy.

While 7.2 unemployment is hardly acceptable, it is a vast improvement from where Ohio was at the depths of the recession. What this means is that Romney’s message that the President has failed to turn around the economy doesn’t necessarily play as well there as it might in other states. It also means that the public opinion of the President is likely to be heavily influenced by the fact that the economy has turned around. Indeed, even the Republican Governor of the state cites this fact frequently because, quite obviously, he wants some of the credit for the improved economy. Add to that the fact of the auto bailout, and it’s not entirely suprising that Romney is running into headwinds in the Buckeye State.

What is surprising, though, is the extent to which Republican insiders in the state are willing to speak, albeit anonymously, about their frank assessment of the Romney campaign’s chances in the state. However, it seems to mirror an overall pessimism among the Romney Team in general:

I have this from the lips of Sam Coates, the deputy political editor of the London Times, who was on BBC Radio 4-s Broadcasting House last Sunday participating in one of those panels of pundits-looking-at-the-press. Everyone agreed that, according to the polls, the U.S. election was finally over and that Obama would be back for four more years. All the newspapers all said so. “It feels,” said Coates, “that the incumbent is pulling away.”

Coates said the assumption of a Romney defeat fit his own view of the Republicans surrounding Mitt, a pessimism he saw back when Romney was in London eating his foot while talking about the Olympics. “His aides were there,” he said, “and they were telling some of our political advisers that, really, they weren’t that optimistic about their guy’s chances. They’re pretty resigned to it not going well, and it’s interesting to see that people are already moving away from his campaign.”

This kind of attitude among campaign aides is obviously not a good thing, because if people think they’re going to lose they usually find a way to do just that.  However, I can’t say that I find it all that surprising. Given the poll numbers, the fact that Romney continues to lag in polls nationally and at the state level, that he’s behind in the Electoral College projections with a very narrow path to victory, and that his last hope to turn this campaign around lies in a debate performance that the President is unlikely to flub, that’s certainly how things seem right now. There are still 38 days left in this race, and it’s certainly possible that things can turn around for Romney, but if his own people are starting to lose hope then it’s going to be even more difficult than it already is.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Romney’s big problem in Ohio seems to be the fact that the Obama campaign and the SuperPACs that support it have been fairly effective in painting a negative picture of the Republican nominee that is proving especially difficult for him to overcome.

    No sir, that is not the problem.

    The problem is that Romney decided to run a campaign on nothing. A Seinfeld campaign. He thought it was enough to be “Nobama.”

    It is laughable that the empty cup faults anyone else for “characterizing” him as anything.

    (Minus ten points for every deluded GOP who directed an “emperor has no clothes” joke at Obama during the cycle. Supreme inversion.)

  2. al-Ameda says:

    While Ohio’s unemployment rate was over 10 percent during the run-up to Strickland’s reelection, it is now 7.2 percent, nearly a percentage point below the national average. Working for Obama, as well, are results of the auto bailout in a state where more than 800,000 jobs are tied to the car industry. In a recent Washington Post poll, 64 percent of Ohio voters said that the federal loans to General Motors and Chrysler were mostly a good thing for state’s economy.

    When you winnow it down to the essentials, it comes down to: (1) modest recovery and (2) the salient somewhat controversial fact that Obama supported the auto industry bailout at a time when the private capital markets were not going to support the industry.

    as JohnPersonna indicated above, “Nobama” is not enough in light of that.

  3. Unsympathetic says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Obama supported the auto industry; Romney wanted to let everyone associated with auto manufacturing lose their job. Neither private equity nor Rmoney wanted to invest in the people of Ohio at that time. Note that a large part of the economy in the Dayton-Toledo area depends on the auto plants and tier 1 parts manufacturers located nearby.

    When you factor this in, Romney losing Ohio is absolutely not shocking at all.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    Considering the ineptness of this super business executive…this race is still way closer than it should be. Also, I think pointing out all his lies in the debates is a delicate proposition.
    And of course this country elected George Bush. Twice. Who’s to say we won’t do it a third time?
    I still think Romney is going to win this thing.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Unsympathetic:

    When you factor this in, Romney losing Ohio is absolutely not shocking at all.

    Exactly right, and that is what I was (somewhat inarticulately) trying to say.

  6. Rafer Janders says:

    @C. Clavin:

    And of course this country elected George Bush. Twice.

    Well, to be fair this country only elected George W. Bush once. In 2000 Bush lost the popular vote, and became president only by appointment by the Supreme Court.

  7. Latino_in_Boston says:

    I would love to see an Obama landslide and Romney just seems to want it to. Tune into the debates for a supreme meltdown.

  8. mattb says:

    Doug wrote:

    Indeed, even the Republican Governor of the state cites this fact frequently because, quite obviously, he wants some of the credit for the improved economy.

    I don’t think that the effect of this disconnect can be emphasized enough. The fact that the *republican* governor of the state is undercutting the candidates message is a pretty major problem — both in terms of messaging and demonstrating the ability of the Romney Campaign (or the lack there of) to control the broader party messaging.

  9. jukeboxgrad says:

    There are signs that some Romney supporters have already decided their candidate is going to lose.

    It’s probably getting worse, but I find it interesting to notice that this has been true for a while.

    8/22/12:

    Most Americans expect President Barack Obama to win a second term — including more than a quarter of Republican Mitt Romney’s supporters

    5/15/12:

    Fifty-six percent of Americans think Barack Obama will win the 2012 presidential election, compared with 36% who think Mitt Romney will win

  10. Buzz Buzz says:

    That is often the Faustian bargain of political journalism in 2012: robotic talking points on the record or something resembling honesty with no names attached.

    It’s much easier for members of the JournOList cesspool (like Walter Shapiro) to coordinate and push their narrative when they simply make shit up and offer no direct quotes, no named sources, and nothing else that could be either verified and confirmed or contradicted and denied by a third party.

    These fantasies excite the members of the hive, but the rest of the public recognizes them as further reasons to distrust the stories they’re being fed by the media.

  11. jukeboxgrad says:

    the *republican* governor of the state is undercutting the candidates message

    Speaking of Kasich, let’s also remember that his union-busting, supported by Mitt, was a major flop.

    Obama’s OH margin in 2008: 4.58% (link).
    Obama’s current OH margin (RCP average): 5.4%.

  12. john personna says:

    @Buzz Buzz:

    Shouldn’t you be prepping your Obama shelter?

  13. Me Me Me says:

    Maybe even Team Romeny is coming around to the realization that the best thing for everyone is if they lose:

    Ann Romney worries about Mitt’s ‘mental well-being’ if he wins election

    Lest you think that is just the usual candidate-wife-inartfulness, click over and read it, and then think about what it is she neglects to say: she say’s she worries about Mitt’s mental well-being but then neglects to say that, when all is said and done, she thinks he can take it.

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is the candidate’s wife telling the nation that the candidate really isn’t up to the job.

    But we’ve known that since the London trip, haven’t we?

  14. jukeboxgrad says:

    buzz:

    when they simply make shit up and offer no direct quotes, no named sources

    When unnamed sources are used, this is a phrase that often appears: “condition of anonymity.” At nationalreview.com, that phrase appears about 34,000 times. At weeklystandard.com, the number is 278,000. At foxnews.com, the number is 206,000. So does that make them part of “the JournOList cesspool?” I have a feeling your outrage in this regard is selective.

    This is part of how journalism works. It’s normal. If you ignore stories that do this, you’ll be ignoring a lot of stories that shouldn’t be ignored.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    Romney is reknowned for his bad temper. If Obama get him to go off it could seal the deal.
    What no one is talking about is the Ryan/Biden throw down. Can Ryan sell his smarmy grifter act? Can Biden keep from f’ ing up?

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @Rafer Janders: Careful, Rafer. You’re going to light off James and I don’t want to have to drag out all my old comments on that topic.

  17. Mikey says:

    @john personna:

    The problem is that Romney decided to run a campaign on nothing. A Seinfeld campaign. He thought it was enough to be “Nobama.”

    You’d think he’d have learned from another Massachusetts notable, who thought he could win just by being “Not Bush.”

    Even if things stink under the incumbent, you still have to offer something tangible as an alternative. Merely saying “Everything sucks with this guy!” doesn’t get it done.

  18. stonetools says:

    To be honest, I thgink that the pessimism on Romney is overblown. He’s not THAT far behind, and there is still time for an October surprise to turn things around.
    The Republicans have been so pessisimistic because they thought they could win the same way they did in 2010: point to the bad economy and say that the solution was to throw out Democrats.

    Since 2010, the economy got better, the Democratic messaging got better , and people have actually seen the Republicans in action. The public is saying NO THANKS this time around.
    JIm Kasich’s governorship is actually one of the stronger arguments for the Democrats, as is Rick Scott’s in Florida.

  19. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Romney’s big problem in Ohio seems to be the fact that the Obama campaign and the SuperPACs that support it have been fairly effective in painting a negative picture of the Republican nominee that is proving especially difficult for him to overcome”

    You keep hiving up left wing memes, and passing on lIberal talking points as if they were fact. But if Romney was having so many problems in OH, how would you explain this:

    DEMOCRATIC VOTER REGISTRATION IN OH WAY DOWN FROM 2008:
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/27/drop-in-ohio-voter-registration-especially-in-dem-strongholds-mirrors/

    ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN OH BY DEMS WAY DOWN FROM 2008:
    http://townhall.com/columnists/hughhewitt/2012/09/29/introducing_the_new_polling_firm_of_madoff_marist_quinnipiac_and_ponzi

    If it turns out you left wing hacks called this race too soon based on rigged polls sponsored by Obama loving NY Times & NBC, I will be back after the election to call you and the other Liberals here like Steven Taylor out as gullible and pliant Obama lemmings. Then I will sliter away into the ether and leave you to keep posting your liberal claptrap.

  20. Buzz Buzz says:

    jukeboxgrad / “TomJ” / “Dave” / “Tom J.” / “slowslimslider” / whatever other sockpuppets you’re using these days:

    When unnamed sources are used, this is a phrase that often appears: “condition of anonymity.” At nationalreview.com, that phrase appears about 34,000 times. At weeklystandard.com, the number is 278,000. At foxnews.com, the number is 206,000. So does that make them part of “the JournOList cesspool?” I have a feeling your outrage in this regard is selective.

    What would make them part of the JournOList cesspool would be if they were actually members of the JournOList cesspool mailing list, where they and their fellow travelers coordinated baseless, sourceless hit pieces (e.g. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”) to further their political agenda.

    And I don’t trust any story from them that contains no quotes, no named sources, no evidence, no documents, and no way for anyone to verify or dispute the claims the story made either.

    Again: The drones in the hive may get into a buzzing frenzy over a story that gives absolutely no quotes, cites no named sources, provides no supporting evidence, and links no corroborating documents if it tells them what they want to hear; but outside the hive, people who still remember the RatherGate, JournOList, The News We Kept To Ourselves, Beauchamp, TailWind, Jayson Blair, Harry “Mitt Romney doesn’t pay taxes!” Reid et al. fantasies expect a little more substance in their news than some partisan hack saying “trust me”.

  21. jukeboxgrad says:

    I don’t trust any story from them that contains no quotes, no named sources, no evidence, no documents, and no way for anyone to verify or dispute the claims the story made

    But you have no problem when sources you like use those same exact practices, right?

  22. PJ says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    You keep hiving up left wing memes, and passing on lIberal talking points as if they were fact.

    Any reason that you feel the need to post almost the same comment in two threads? Other than a need to spread talking points?

  23. jukeboxgrad says:

    smooth:

    ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN OH BY DEMS WAY DOWN FROM 2008

    You are citing an article that says this:

    I’d like to believe Scott Rasmussen that the race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama is tied.

    Hewitt would like us to believe that Rasmussen said that. Trouble is, he didn’t. If you follow the link, you find that Rasmussen says Obama is +2. That’s not “tied.”

    Hewitt is a liar. Why should anyone take him seriously? Why should anyone take someone who cites a liar seriously?

  24. Buzz Buzz says:

    jukeboxgrad / “TomJ” / “Dave” / “Tom J.” / “slowslimslider” / whatever other sockpuppets you’re using these days:

    Do you just hope that no one bothers to read what the other person said when you start spouting your lies?

    You asked:

    So does that make them part of “the JournOList cesspool?” I have a feeling your outrage in this regard is selective.

    I responded:

    I don’t trust any story from them that contains no quotes, no named sources, no evidence, no documents, and no way for anyone to verify or dispute the claims the story made.

    You lied:

    But you have no problem when sources you like use those same exact practices, right?

  25. jukeboxgrad says:

    I asked you a question. Why haven’t you answered it?

  26. Buzz Buzz says:

    jukeboxgrad / “TomJ” / “Dave” / “Tom J.” / “slowslimslider” / whatever other sockpuppets you’re using these days:

    I asked you a question. Why haven’t you answered it?

    I answered it in my 15:08 comment, you quoted it in your 15:15 comment, and I repeated it again for you in my 15:38 comment.

    I do thank you for answering my question

    Do you just hope that no one bothers to read what the other person said when you start spouting your lies?

    in the affirmative with your 15:39 comment.

  27. jukeboxgrad says:

    No, you didn’t answer my question. I asked you if you have a problem when sources you like use the practices you condemned (“contains no quotes, no named sources, no evidence, no documents, and no way for anyone to verify or dispute the claims the story made”).

  28. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Hewitt is a liar. Why should anyone take him seriously? Why should anyone take someone who cites a liar seriously?”

    That’s a copout. That’s like saying the NY Times & NBC & Nate Silver et al are liars because they are Liberals. The question is: Is Hewitt’s contention that Dem registration in OH iw way down versus 2008 true??? That is all not matters. Not who the messenger is. I posted a link on mulitple threads that suggest Dem registration is way down in OH and other states. That is counter to the thesis all these polls assume that suggests Dems enthusuiasm and registration way up compared to 2008.

  29. Buzz Buzz says:

    jukeboxgrad / “TomJ” / “Dave” / “Tom J.” / “slowslimslider” / whatever other sockpuppets you’re using these days:

    I asked you if you have a problem when sources you like use the practices you condemned

    Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 15:08

    I don’t trust any story from them that contains no quotes, no named sources, no evidence, no documents, and no way for anyone to verify or dispute the claims the story made.

    Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 15:15

    I don’t trust any story from them that contains no quotes, no named sources, no evidence, no documents, and no way for anyone to verify or dispute the claims the story made.

    Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 15:38

    I don’t trust any story from them that contains no quotes, no named sources, no evidence, no documents, and no way for anyone to verify or dispute the claims the story made.

    Maybe you should log on with some of your sockpuppet accounts and have them repeat the lie that I didn’t answer your question. Be careful they don’t contradict themselves by accidentally quoting my answer in their accusations, like you did in your 15:15 comment.

  30. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Walter Shaprio surveys the political landscape of the Buckeye State and finds several Ohio Republicans resigned to the fact that Mitt Romney is likely to lose the state in November:”

    This is rich. Hey Doug M, You’re being called out as a “Usual Propagandist”, hiving up Liberal blather as Gospel. I love it:

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2012/09/polling-propagandists-walter-shapiro.html

    I guess you are the charter member of the KOS, Ezra Klein, Josh Marshal et al club now: All Lib talking points all the time. No wonder all your commenters are Left wing cranks now. “Usual Propagandist”.LMAO. I think this guy has you pegged.

  31. PJ says:

    @Smooth Jazz:
    Townhall was the site that rather recently was pushing an online poll, arguing that it showed that Romney’s 47% remarks wouldn’t be a problem for him.

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    I think you’ve convinced me.

    The polls are all pro-Obama propaganda, even Fox News and now Rasmussen which also shows Obama up.

    Lies, all lies, because actually Mr. Romney is doing great and his campaign staff are giddy with optimism.

    Ryan has been a great addition to the team.

    People actually liked that 47% video.

    Also, the Clint Eastwood thing went really well.

    Yay.

  33. Smooth Jazz says:

    “The polls are all pro-Obama propaganda, even Fox News and now Rasmussen which also shows Obama up.

    Lies, all lies, because actually Mr. Romney is doing great and his campaign staff are giddy with optimism.

    Ryan has been a great addition to the team.

    People actually liked that 47% video.

    Also, the Clint Eastwood thing went really well.

    Yay”

    No one is claiming that. Or trying to convince you. What I’ve been trying to say is that NY Times, CBS & MSNBC sponsored polls that show Obama winning states like OH & FLA by 9 – 10 points, are relying on preposterous turnout assumptions that suggest Dems will be outvoting Reps by 10%, barely 2 years removed from an energized Rep election where Dems = Reps in turnout – and 4 years removed from a historic election where Dems outvoted Reps by 7%+.

    The bottom line is people who vote have to be registered to vote, and anecdotal evidence on voter registration suggest Dem enthusiasm is way down from 2008 and Rep enthusiasm is way up from 2008. Just GOOGLE “Dem 2012 Registration less than 2008 registration”. Again, I’m not trying to convince you or anyone else.

  34. An Interested Party says:

    Again, I’m not trying to convince you or anyone else.

    Ahh, so you’re just posting all that claptrap for shits and giggles? Well, that is working, as we are giggling at you…

  35. jukeboxgrad says:

    smooth:

    That’s a copout. That’s like saying the NY Times & NBC & Nate Silver et al are liars because they are Liberals.

    Only if you don’t understand the concept of proof, and think that a claim backed by proof is equivalent to a claim backed by nothing.

    The copout is all yours. Hewitt believes it’s fair to describe Obama +2 as “tied.” Do you also believe that? If he is willing to promote a falsehood like that, why should any of his other claims be taken seriously?

  36. jukeboxgrad says:

    buzz:

    I don’t trust any story from them [members of the JournOList cesspool mailing list] that contains no quotes, no named sources, no evidence, no documents, and no way for anyone to verify or dispute the claims the story made.

    You’re still not answering the question. In this statement you keep repeating, “them” is a reference to sources you don’t like. You’re repeating an answer to a question I didn’t ask. I’m not asking you if you apply this standard to sources you don’t like. I already know the answer to that question. I’m asking you a different question. One more time: do you apply this same standard to sources you do like?

    Repeating your answer to a different question just makes it obvious that you’re not willing to answer the question I actually asked.

  37. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? The idea that the U.S. will have a conservative party in a few years is laughable. What all of those Bush Clan retainers who are adivising Romney fail to realize is that the blew it when they have the chance and now there is no reason for a conservative party to exist.

    Soon all of the Republican Party voters will realize that they will have a bigger impact on policy and governance by voting in the Democratic primary in 2016 than wasting their times supporting un-electable Republicans.

  38. PJ says:

    @Smooth Jazz:
    And you still don’t seem to grasp some things:

    1. Turnout in midterm elections aren’t good for predicting turnout in presidential elections.
    2. Party ID isn’t just about R & D, there is I too.
    3. You know there’s quite a difference between Dems outvoting Reps by 10 points compared to 10%? Please don’t mix points and %.
    4. Go read the Gallup post on Party ID. Maybe you’ll learn something. Sadly, I doubt it.
    5. Ancedotal evidence…. There’s a Wikipedia page on the subject that you probably should read. Again, maybe you learn something. And again, I doubt it.

  39. superdestroyer says:

    @PJ:

    Most independents are actually very dependable Democratic Party voters. That is one of the reasons that the Republican Party is irrelevant and will not exist for much longer.

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    Dude, it’s really simple. They phone 1000 people. They ask them what party they favor. If 500 say Democrat they write down 50%.

    Here’s Mark Blumenthal talking about it.

    Go to Real Clear Politics (a conservative site) and you’ll see that every single poll has Obama ahead. Every one. Wall Street Journal, Fox, Rasmussen. So you are not seeing more deeply than mere mortals. You’re seeing what you want to see.

    By every measure — national polls, state polls, issue polls — Obama is ahead.

    Now, it may be the case that polling is all completely wrong, but obviously the Romney Campaign believes the polls. Remember when those liberal reporters you don’t trust said that Romney was pulling out of Michigan? remember how all the right-wingers said “No way?” And yet Romney pulled out of Michigan. So reflexively dismissing reportage and polls is kind of silly.

    You do not have some unique insight. Things are what they are. They may change, but right now things look very dark for Mr. Romney.

  41. jukeboxgrad says:

    Dude, it’s really simple. They phone 1000 people. They ask them what party they favor. If 500 say Democrat they write down 50%.

    Yes, it’s really that simple. And the Blumenthal article you cited also explains the problem well. Another good explanation was provided last night by those Marxists at WSJ:

    Many casual consumers of polling data think pollsters begin with a preconception of what the voting population should look like in terms of the proportion of Republicans and Democrats, and then weight their poll findings accordingly. [But] it’s exactly the other way around: … party identification … is itself a poll finding. … So how fluid is the country’s allegiance to either party? … the variations are quite dramatic. … When a presidential candidate attracts support, so does his party. … party identification is a fluid concept that shifts just as the popularity of candidates shifts.

    That article cites another good article that was posted Thursday by Gallup:

    The Recurring — and Misleading — Focus on Party Identification … Party identification changes as political tides change. … We know that party identification moves over time — sometimes in very short periods of time, just like other political variables.

    … Generally, if there is a political tide toward either of the two major parties, all questions we ask that are of a political nature will move in that direction. This includes the ballot, job approval, party identification, among others.

    So, it would not be surprising to find that if Barack Obama is enjoying a surge in popularity in any given state, that surge will show up on the ballot question, on his job approval measure, and on the measure of party identification. So, data showing that Obama is ahead on the ballot in a specific state poll and that Democrats have a higher-than-expected representation on the party identification question, are basically just reflecting two measures of the same underlying phenomenon. … the focus should be directly on the ballot, and discussions of reasons why it might be different than one expects should not involve an attempt to explain the results by focusing on changes in party identification — which is basically a tautological argument.

    But looking more closely, it’s not so much that D representation is higher than expected. It’s that R representation is lower than expected. You cited Blumenthal. He cites Nate Cohn, who explains this subtle and important point:

    No, The Polls Aren’t Oversampling Democrats … Some allege that the polls oversample Democrats … but a closer look reveals that the polls don’t show as many Democrats as 2008. … So how are Democrats retaining a large advantage in party-ID? Because fewer voters are describing themselves as Republican, as well. Instead, voters are flocking into the “independent” column. … An influx of Republicans into the “independent” column would also explain why Romney remains close among independents despite trailing nationally.… Romney’s strength with independent voters and the Democratic advantage in party-ID might not be contradictory, but inextricably and coherently linked.

    … When the discussion is framed as “how could there be more Democrats than 2008,” it’s easy to see how the “polls are wrong” argument gained currency. But since there are actually fewer Democrats in the polls than 2008, the better question is whether it’s possible for Republicans to have lost self-identified adherents over the last four years, as well. … The possibility that Republicans are moving into the independent column is an appealing explanation: it contradicts the false assumption that the polls assume a 2008-esque number of Democrats; it reconciles Romney’s strength with independent voters and the Democratic-edge in party-ID; and, it happens to be consistent with the polls.

    smooth:

    Just GOOGLE “Dem 2012 Registration less than 2008 registration”.

    Nate Cohn just explained why no one needs to bother doing that. Why? Because even if it’s true, it doesn’t matter. The polls show that a lot of people who used to call themselves R are now calling themselves I, and this effect is more than enough to offset any “Dem 2012 Registration less than 2008 registration.” As Cohn explained, you and a lot of other people are making “the false assumption that the polls assume a 2008-esque number of Democrats.” If you look closely, you will notice “there are actually fewer Democrats in the polls than 2008.”

    This is yet another example of how the GOP consists of ignorant people being led by dishonest people. Hugh Hewitt is smart enough to understand everything that was just explained, but he ignores all this, because he makes a living by misleading ignorant people.

  42. Smooth Jazz says:

    “But looking more closely, it’s not so much that D representation is higher than expected. It’s that R representation is lower than expected. You cited Blumenthal. He cites Nate Cohn, who explains this subtle and important point:”

    Dude, WTF??? You’re quoting Nate Cohn, a left wing hack from a Lib rag as a paragon or virtue and impartiality?? Give me a break. Cohn is giving you his conjecture, and his conjecture ONLY, based on what he thinks MAY be happening. Like the other poster who quoted Mark Blumenthal from Huffington Post as being the expert, as if the Huffington Post is an impartial observer.

    Quoting Nate Cohn is like quoting Josh Marshall, Nate Silver, et al: They offer explanations that reinforce your own internal bias and support their own thesis regading what is happening. It’s like quoting Rush LImbaugh from the Right’s perspective. No, Nate Cohn doesn’t have the answer. He is just speculating. Most of the polls that show Obama winning show Romney winning independents, in some cases by large margins. Accepting a Liberal’s explanation regarding this phenomna is nothing but “bias reinforment”.

    I don’t trust Cohn or Silver or anyone in that crowd, and I don’t trust Limbaugh and that crowd. Election Day is barely 6 weeks away. As I told the other commenter, all this anecdotal evidence of Dem voter registration being significantly down from 2008 is a dangerous sign for Obama, and an indication that all the Obama sponsoreds poll may have jumped the shark. We’ll all know soon enough.

  43. jukeboxgrad says:

    smooth:

    Cohn is giving you his conjecture, and his conjecture ONLY

    Wrong. He shows data to support his claim, and you’ve made no attempt to show where his data is wrong, or how his reasoning is wrong.

    Most of the polls that show Obama winning show Romney winning independents, in some cases by large margins. Accepting a Liberal’s explanation regarding this phenomna is nothing but “bias reinforment”.

    Like I said, he shows data to support his explanation, and you’ve made no attempt to show where his data is wrong.

    all this anecdotal evidence of Dem voter registration being significantly down from 2008

    That “anecdotal evidence” doesn’t matter, because it’s offset by former Rs telling pollsters that they are not R anymore. And this is essentially what every pollster is finding, including Rasmussen and Fox.

    an indication that all the Obama sponsoreds poll may have jumped the shark

    Even though you have been asked many times, you have failed to explain why Rasmussen and Fox should be seen as “Obama sponsoreds poll.”

    a dangerous sign for Obama

    “A dangerous sign” for Mitt is that people like Hewitt can’t discuss the polls without telling a lie. Another “dangerous sign” for Mitt is that people like you refuse to even try to explain how it makes sense to describe Rasmussen and Fox as “Obama sponsoreds.”

    Election Day is barely 6 weeks away.

    5. Try to keep up.

  44. jukeboxgrad says:

    Today RCP has posted a new OH poll, by Columbus Dispatch. It shows Obama +9. This brings the RCP OH average to Obama +5.9.

    Last time Obama’s OH lead was that big: April.

    Number of polls in OH in the last 3 weeks: 13 (includes Fox and Rasmussen).

    Number of those polls which show a lead for Obama: all of them.

    Last time Mitt showed a lead in OH, according to the RCP average: never.

    Last time a Republican won the White House without winning OH: never.

    Last time anyone won the White House without winning OH: 1960.

    Last time the late September national polls did not correctly predict the popular vote winner: 1948.

    Obama’s current lead, in the RCP national average: 4.3%.

    His lead at this time four years ago: 4.8%. (Actual election result: 7.3%)

    Smooth Jazz et al, keep hope alive.

  45. PJ says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    As I told the other commenter, all this anecdotal evidence of Dem voter registration being significantly down from 2008 is a dangerous sign for Obama

    “You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.”

    I guess I was right, you won’t learn anything other than talking points.

    Is ignorance that important to you? Are you afraid that by learning things you may change?