Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

The passing storm

October 15th, 2012, 9:00am by Sam Wang


In national polls, the race has swung back three points since the Presidential debate to a narrow Obama lead. This return has been steady over time, and so the role of the VP debate is unclear. Combined with state polls, the data suggest that the effect of Mitt Romney’s performance was an instantaneous jump of 5.5 points, which has now subsided back to where polls were in August. The decline in the state poll meta-analysis has been blocked by Ohio. Today, President Obama’s November re-elect probability is 84% – still a Russian-roulette situation for the Democrats.

Andrew Sullivan is staring so hard into what he thinks is an abyss that he has not noticed actual conditions.

Biden does seem to have reversed the speed of Obama’s free-fall but not the decline itself….It’s not going away by itself. That is: not a bounce.

It is hard to prevent desires/fears from coloring one’s reading of data. Pundits and journalists are often expected to comment even when there’s not enough information to do so. I would rather they pull a Ludwig.

His pronouncement about a “resilient jump” is ironic. In four national polls with mostly post-VP-debate data, we have a median of Obama 2.0 +/- 1.3% (Oct. 10-14). Compare that with the Era Between The Debates, Obamney 0.0 +/- 0.9% (Oct. 6-10, n=4) and the days immediately following the debate, Romney +1.0 +/- 0.9% (Oct. 4-7, 4 polls). So this recovery started before the VP debate. Like I said, Biden’s the rooster, not the sunrise.

It is possible to combine national and state polls to come up with a simple interpretation of the last two weeks’ events.

The Presidential debate bounce = 5.5 points. Within the span of a single day, Romney’s debate performance got him a large gain that was apparent immediately in national polls and some state polls. The most exact measure available is based on the Meta-Analysis, which measures the true margin viewed through the Electoral College. The estimated swing is precise to within <0.5%.

The Meta-Analysis gave the appearance of a steady slide. However, state polls take a while to trickle in, creating a false impression. Just like the Ryan-VP bounce and the Palin-VP bounce, it took about 12 days to see the whole change unfold. Because of its slowness, it probably missed a brief period around Oct. 4-6 of Romney being ahead.

One hint of the suddenness of the Romney debate bounce is how the EV estimator has moved in clear steps corresponding to states falling like dominoes: VA, then CO, then FL, then a little NH domino at the end.

Enthusiasm has been a major factor in this change: Romney voters getting more enthusiastic, and Obama voters becoming less enthusiastic. Not many people got off the fence: post-debate, undecided voters were at 6.0 +/- 0.6% (n=18), compared with pre-debate 5.0 +/- 0.8% (n=21). A few voters have changed their minds.

The “debounce.” In national polls, some return has been apparent over a period of 7 days. Tentatively, it looks like it took one week for opinion to come back by 3 points, i.e. about halfway. This week we’ll get a better measure as we watch national polls. State polls will help, though more gradually.

Where things are, and what to look for in the weeks ahead. I expect high feelings among Romney voters will fade, as well as low feelings among Obama voters – though in both cases, not all the way. I view recent events as the equivalent of a major market correction. Do not be surprised to see the Meta-Margin reverse direction this week.

Here is what the automated calculation is showing for today – and the future. I emphasize automated – I follow its output, just as you do.

EV estimator history 13 October 2012

The red zone is like a hurricane strike zone. It corresponds to a 1 standard deviation interval, or “1 sigma.” Outcomes should fall in that range about 2/3 of the time (68% to be exact), above and below 1/6 of the time each. Today the strike zone’s edge is almost exactly at 269 EV. You can figure out very easily the re-elect probability for President Obama: 84%.

The yellow zone includes pollster-to-pollster variability plus “2 sigma” of drift. If the race goes out of that range, I’ll drink a bottle of Tabasco. (I’m in New Orleans at the moment.)

Two weeks ago, the calculation dictated that Obama would fall from a high of +6.2%. Today, it predicts the converse. Let me review the contributing facts.

  1. The President’s been ahead all season. I said the Meta-Margin should float around Obama +3.0 +/- 2.2%. This means that as of today, he’s in a place I said he’d be about 14% of the time.
  2. We now know that the debate spike was large – but not long-lasting.
  3. In the 2004 and 2008 races, the race’s snapshot on any day was not predictive of where it would be 3 weeks later. Closer than 3 weeks, it gets slowly more predictive. The movement from today to Election Day should be about 1.8% (1 standard deviation), perhaps more in extreme cases.
  4. We don’t know which way things will move next. However, the people surveyed in June-September are the same people being surveyed in October. Movement from an extreme is likely to be toward the equilibrium. Think of the Presidential race as a swinging pendulum.

Of course, there is a chance that this will not happen, and Mitt Romney will win the Presidency. It’s like hurricanes: storms go to unexpected places.

As I said, I think Romney’s win probability is about 16%. To a Democrat, that’s a six-shooter with one shell labeled “R-outcome”. To a Republican, it’s loaded with five shell labeled “D-outcome”. Yet in comments, the Republicans are the giddy ones. This says so much to me about both sides.

Thanks to Michale Fee for the idea for the domino graph.

 

Tags: 2012 Election · President

75 Comments so far ↓

  • wheelers cat

    I think our republican commenters have decamped.
    And the poll truthers are back.
    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/15/wapoabc-poll-shows-obama-up-one/

    “…in a D+9 universe”

    • dpb

      I do not quite understand all the fuss about the party identification breakdown of polls. While it is seems reasonable that you should be mindful of it when looking at the results of a poll, it is not something you can easily fix. The aggregation of muliple subsamples should converge on something that is reflective of the real world. People focus far too much on single polls. There is also the possibility that many moderate Republicans now self-identify as independent — the complaints seem to be based about the difference between the D and R shares of the sample rather than the absolute D numbers.

    • lemonjello

      It’s also possible that tea partiers and libertarian-leaning conservatives have taken to identifying themselves as independents, even though it is virtually impossible that they would vote for Obama.

    • Ralph

      lemonjello: From my experience, engineers tend to be more libertarian than Republican but identify themselves as being independent because they have no party that satisfies them. I think the Libertarian Party would do very well running for lesser offices in engineering rich communities (Mayor, congressman, state offices). I think that a well funded Libertarian could carry AL-5 or FL-15, for example.

    • Andrew

      Yup. An anecdote: the most hard-core Republican I know (i.e., he’s never voted for a non-Republican in his life) does not identify himself as a Republican. He identifies himself as a member of the Tea Party.

      And if a pollster asked him what party he belongs to, I guarantee he’d say “independent.” I’m sure he’s not alone.

    • Arbitol

      I have to admire Republicans’ ability simultaneously to claim that polls show too few Republicans, while trumpeting the Republican candidate’s advantage among Independents. If you try to suggest that these two things may be related, you are a socialist.

    • grandpa john

      Something I learned from Nate Silver many yers ago before he moved to NYT, is this;. Any single poll by itself is worthless. It is nothing but a data point to be used with other polls.
      I also agree with you about the so called independents .
      Ideally, the party ID breakdown would be the way to go, if you can identify the correct breakdown. Ras uses this, unfortunately they also use it as a way to manipulate poll outcomes.

  • Ms. Jay Sheckley

    You wrote:
    “..Era Between The Debates, Obamney 0.0…”
    Did you mean Obamney?
    Please feel more than free to delete this.
    And thank you so much for your commentary.
    I just want to understand what’s going on.
    “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”-Buddha.

  • xian

    This feels like the Palin moment: one event where the structurally losing R side feels giddy and excited, before the fundamentals of the race slowly reassert themselves.

  • Ms. Jay Sheckley

    Been googling about Tabasco. Kind of you to say, but please don’t.

  • john b

    jay, i believe he was making a joke. as either obama or romney would be accurate when the margin is 0.0

  • E L

    Expectations play a dominant role in the media’s reporting of debates. I think performance expectations are now reversed from the first debate. Obama is not expected to do very well and Romney is expected to be excellent. Also please remember James Fallow’s Iron Law of the Political Media: “The story must change.” My expectations are for positive media reports on Obama’s performance. Romney will be criticized, perhaps only mildly, for the media to appear fair after unloading on Obama for his first debate performances. Obama will experience a small bounce and then settle about where he’s mostly been for the last 6 months. As the Sam the Magnificent says: “Watch the state polls.” Or, better yet, have Sam watch them for you.

  • Jen

    I am now sending this excellent post to all my depressed liberal friends.

    Thank you Sam for your clear analysis.

  • Matt McIrvin

    Not many people got off the fence

    That’s assuming that the undecideds after the drop are the same people as the undecideds before the drop. It could be that most of the undecideds swung to Romney and a nearly equal number of Obama supporters became undecided. Or some combination of the two possibilities.

    Yet in comments, the Republicans are the giddy ones. This says so much to me about both sides.

    Fundamental attribution error? At this stage in 2004, Democrats were giddy about John Kerry coming from behind, even though his chances objectively weren’t great.

    • wheelers cat

      @Matt
      Nope.
      Neuropolitics. Asymmetrical ideology. Asymmetrical enthusiasm. Asymmetrical political behavior. Red/blue genetics.
      Both sides are not the same.

  • Amitabh Lath

    I wonder if these fluctuations are “real” in that Obama MPV was really 340 EV at some point, and is now around 280, (moving up to around 300-ish in a couple of days, I would guess).

    If you measure potential across some big circuit, and you cannot ground things properly, you pick up this jitter. It’s called surface charge effect. Even if the actual voltage in your circuit is constant, your meter readings bounce around.

    One way to tell is surface charge effects fluctuate much too quickly to have been real changes in the system you are measuring.

    So here is a hypothesis: Maybe it’s been at some number between 290 – 310 all along. All the stuff (Ryan VP, conventions, 47%, debates) is pushing the polls this way and that. Look at how quickly it moved. Do people really make up their minds and then change it again that quickly?

    • Sam Wang

      While we’re making analogies from our own fields, how about this one. At a synapse, when a neuron fires a spike, sometimes a packet of neurotransmitter can be released. Was there one packet (called a vesicle) really ready to go? Or were there 20, and each of them goes with low probability? Turns out to be the latter.

      Voters are like vesicles. Even if they are mostly immovable, if there are enough of them a sensitive enough instrument can pick it up. Polls are the patch clamp of politics. (hi, fellow neuronerds!)

      Greetings from the Society for Neuroscience meeting, New Orleans!

    • Ram

      Amitabh…

      I am in your camp. The economic fundamentals and demographics points to a 290-310 for Obama and 275-295 for Romney whose climb is steep. I like both Sam’s and your analogy. Long time back I did some work to test a hypothesis whether a receptor an ion channel chasing random noise. Under ideal conditions, Obama delivered 365 EVs in 2008. I can’t see how Obama could have 347 EVs this cycle unless his campaign continued to be successful in making Romney an horrible alternative till election day. It didn’t work because either Obama couldn’t deliver in the debate or Romney is smart or combination of both

    • wheelers cat

      “Do people really make up their minds and then change it again that quickly?”
      I dont think that is what we are measuring.
      I think we are measuring enthusiasm, and enthusiasm is asymmetrical based on organic tendency.
      Look at the RAND shift graph. Its 1/2 of one percent of the respondents and the shifts are nearly all within the MOE. There may be no actual shifts.
      Its all just noise.

    • Some Body

      Ram – there are 538 EVs, not 585.

    • Some Body

      Sorry for the double, but Wheelers cat – RAND actually ask the same people time and time again. The MoE is therefore irrelevant. At best, you can claim that the changing of mind in the poll is the result of some technical factor (people pressing the wrong button by mistake, or something of that sort), but in truth, that doesn’t sound very convincing. So some people actually are changing their minds.

    • Ram

      Somebody… I meant EV range (lower to higher) for O or R.
      290-310 for Obama and
      275-295 for Romney

    • wheelers cat

      @some body.
      Is this red phenotype “reasoning”? of course the MOE matters.

      Why This Poll Is Different

      “First, it allows us to ask the same people for their opinion repeatedly over time. In comparison to most polls, this leads to much more stable outcomes; changes that we see are true changes in people’s opinions and not the result of random fluctuations in who gets asked the questions.
      Notice that these are generally small percentages, which causes this particular graph to be rather “noisy”.”

    • MAT

      Actually with RAND, there is a MOE daily because they scramble what day each week a person gets polled , so the population of 500 that responds each day is shifted around. Over the full week it would even out. So, for example, on the first day they might randomly hit every person that changed their mind for the week, and not hit any more for the rest of the week. That’s where the MOE comes in.

      However, as I pointed out in a comment in a previous post, a .25% shift is literally one or two people changing their mind each day. That seems to be down in the noise range to me.

    • Amitabh Lath

      Been reading wikipedia on patch clamps (you knew that’s what would happen, right?) Interesting technique, got the Nobel Prize in 1991!

      But, how can you tell from a voltage measurement how many potential vesicles were about to fire? All you see is the one that did, right? Do you have multiple systems all prepared the same?

      Anyway, back to the matter at hand: if the differential amp connected to your gigaseal showed nanosecond spikes, you might consider that isn’t a biological system responding, but something within your instrument. Especially if it was a “whole cell” measurement (which is what the meta-margin calcluation is, no?)

      Have fun in NO.

    • wheelers cat

      @Matt
      and they can change just a percentage of their mind by varying the support response.
      I just dont see much biological basis for an outright candidate switch. Would you have any repeat switchers?
      And like you point out theres so much noise how could you tell?

  • Rick

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being raised in a state that’s uber Republican (UT), being educated in a state that’s Democratic (NJ), and living in a swing state (FL), it is that conservatives always think they are winning, even when they are losing, and liberals always think they are losing, even when they are winning. I’ll bet the psychologists among us can cite literature to bolster this claim.

    • Ralph

      I had a similar experience. When it comes to life the right tend to be doom and gloom but ever optimistic on their election chances. The left are the exact opposites.

      I was raised in a family that was Wisconsin Progressive that half moved to the Democrats and half moved to the Republicans upon the party’s demise.

      I lived in Huntsville AL for 30 years which has interesting political dynamics in that the scientists tended to be liberal and the engineers tended to be fiscal conservatives to libertarians. The white old south tended to be religious right to RepubliKKKans depending upon their economic class. The African American old south tended to be anti-RepubliKKKan. The balance (non-technical) of it was more or less purple.

      When I first moved to the Chicago area, I was in a Republican neighborhood. Then, I moved in to the city and lived in a Democratic neighborhood. I now live in Elgin in a purple neighborhood (bordering on Walsh’s district).

      I remain more or less in the Wisconsin Progressive mode. I am socially very liberal but fiscally more on the conservative side.

    • Peter Principle

      Some pollster wrote Josh Marshall over at TPM and noted that whenever his polls show Republicans losing, they want to kill him, but whenever his polls show Democrats losing they want to kill themselves.

      Goes with the territory, I guess.

      It may be a generational thing: If you’re a Democrat and you came of political age in the late 70s, and your formative years were the 80s and early 90s, then you probably spent a lot of time internalizing the message that Republicans usually win and Democrats usually lose.

      I speak from personal experience on this.

    • L. Murray

      You are so right. Every Democrat I know, including me, is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I’ve told them to come to this site to feel better, but most of them are wrecks right now.

      Meanwhile, my neighbor with the Romney sticker on her car is more cheerful by the day.

      I’d really enjoy seeing that self-satisfied smirk gone on November 7th.

  • E.Hatt-Swank

    Just a little anecdotal evidence to add in support of the above … I live in Southwest Ohio, in a pretty conservative county. Prior to the Obama-Romney debate, Romney/Ryan signs/bumper-stickers/etc. were few and far between — probably outnumbered here by Obama signs. After the debate, Romney signs started popping up like weeds. I’m certain the vast majority of these folks were not Obama supporters switching to Romney; rather they are most likely Republicans who got a shot of enthusiasm from the debate and decided to get fully behind their guy. For what it’s worth.

    • Obama 2012

      I’ve seen something similar around here (red district / southern Virginia)

    • terry

      My experience in the South exactly. In my neighborhood and within a 5-mile radius there were NO Romney signs up until after the debate.

      The Repub enthusiasm is now high and any discordant findings (e.g. polls, this site, other blogs, over-the-fence discussions, etc.) will be dismissed as fallacy, illogical, biased, or based on conspiracy.

      Too bad, I remember, as one raised in New England, that one could have fairly open and rational discussions with Republican moderates – remember them??

      This is organic. Gotta be.

  • Matt McIrvin

    Anyway, we’re not going to get to see how this situation evolves freely running, because the second presidential debate is coming up.

    While it’ll be interesting to see whether Obama does any better, it’ll also be interesting to see whether the quality of his performance even matters at all. Joe Biden’s night doesn’t seem to have pulled Andrew Sullivan out of his funk, and what most Democrats scored as a thrashing got described by many in the mainstream media as a tie, with tut-tutting about Biden’s demeanor. If Obama goes hard after Romney, does he end up scaring people who have issues about angry black men, and crater even harder than before? I’m done making definite predictions.

  • Renee

    Yet in comments, the Republicans are the giddy ones. This says so much to me about both sides.

    Shows the different for sure. Being a conservative in exile, the behavior of the Dems is just mind boggling to me. They don’t portray that they are fighters at all.

    • Sam Wang

      I worked in Congress for a year, 1995-96. When I arrived in Washington DC, my favorite Democrat was Adlai Stevenson. When I left, it was Lyndon Johnson. Democrats can fight.

    • Ebenezer Scrooge

      Some Democrats can fight. More Republicans can fight.

      This finally explains something to me that I had a hard time figuring out: the heavy preponderance of Republican affiliation among professional athletes. It’s not just that they succeeding in making large amounts of money coming from nowhere in a highly competitive field. The same is true in Hollywood, which is extraordinarily Democratic in affiliation.

      To succeed at that level, an athlete–especially one on team sports–needs more than a great body and iron self-discipline. An ability to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ is important, as well.

  • Gregg

    David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director out with a thorough indictment of Romney, in Newsweek!
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/14/david-stockman-mitt-romney-and-the-bain-drain.html

  • That Guy

    Nobody on the Internet gets the vapors and passes out on their fainting couch better than Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan falling prey to panic is about as un-newsworthy as it comes.
    As for Dem reactions in general, we’re in the tail end of a period of Republican ascendency beginning in 1978 or 1980 depending on how you measure it. Most people haven’t realized it’s over. If you’ve been stuck in a rainstorm for hours, you’ll keep your umbrella open for a while even after it stops.

    • Jesse

      I was born in 1975. I’m constantly waiting for the shoe to drop.

      I personally believe that the inflection point between what the demographics determine the “normal” party to be occurred sometime around 2000, and here on out it’s going to get harder and harder for the GOP to win national races, but your feelings lag behind your rational mind.

    • Brian

      Back when Obama was running up against his ceiling (6.2% MM, 347EV), Sullivan would link to this site, report on Dr. Wang’s analysis and predictions, and embed his graphs. Now that Obama’s polling is down, Sullivan is all about FiveThirtyEight and a couple other sites that better support the “sky is falling” narrative.

    • Matt McIrvin

      Don’t be so sure it’s over. If Romney squeaks out a victory, which I think we all agree he *could* do whether or not it is over 50% probable, he could be very lucky.

      Though most Americans haven’t really noticed it yet, the recovery is heating up in a big way. We may well be in full morning-in-America mode sometime during the next year, regardless of who wins. The boom will be making opinion-leaders happy. If Romney is president, and the boom happens after he repeals Obamacare, eliminates Medicare for my generation, cuts taxes even more, etc., etc., he’ll probably get popular credit for somehow causing it.

      Now, if today’s Republicans are the austerian true-believers they say they are and remain committed to slashing overall federal spending, they may put a halt to it all and create a situation like we’re currently seeing in much of Europe, in which people try to somehow fix a recession with spending cuts, and just make it worse.

      But US Republicans have never been particularly keen on that before; they tend to lose their zeal for deficit-cutting as soon as they get into office, except inasmuch as it pertains to social-welfare programs. Stimulus-through-military-spending and tax cuts are just fine.

  • Patrick

    Your update makes this Obama supporter hopeful, and will hell me get through these two days before the debate. Yet as a New Orleanian, I have to say, I am a bit disappointed in your choice of hot sauce.

    • Sam Wang

      Sorry, writing for a national audience. I could have said Crystal, or Louisiana One Drop, or, or…but it would have been too esoteric!

  • Alan Cobo-Lewis

    Post Biden ergo proper Biden?

    Biden may have said “malarkey”, but he never said “rooster”.

    So your poll has good precision (good EV resolution) but a gradual response (poor time resolution). The national polls could reflect whether Biden/Ryan is responsible for stopping the slide (which still isn’t apparent on your site–I hope due to lagged & gradual response), but if the national polls are also noisier then I’m not sure whether the national data can really establish that either.

    The HuffPo chart seems very nice, but following that link to dig into individual pollster data yields a chart that rounds everything to the nearest 1%. Are the state data you use also thusly rounded?

    • Sam Wang

      I have not done more than hand-calculate some national polling data. It appears to me that the reversal of Romney’s bounce happened quite early, and well before the VP debate. One could do something more sophisticated to dig into it.

      Note that if Pollster is splitting a multiday poll across the dates it was given, any change in that poll runs the risk of being misattributed to an earlier date. Right?

      In regard to state data…yes, our feed has all whole numbers in it.

  • steve in colorado

    I just got a robocall on my cell phone, starting out ‘Hello fellow Democrat!’. It went on to describe how bad Obama has been the last 4 years and explain some of Gary Johnson’s positions and encourage me to vote for him.
    It ended by saying it was paid for by the ‘Libertas Institute’.
    Is this really from Gary Johnson, or is it from a group supporting Romney trying to influence me not to vote for Obama?
    I am afraid of the insane tactics that may show up with all that SuperPAC cash floating around out there…

  • Matt

    Pollster’s graphs update retroactively as every new poll comes out. So for example, a good poll for Obama in Ohio will not only influence his numbers for today, but will adjust the numbers for the days when the poll was in the field. One result is fairly good time resolution of when the changes actually occurred. As you can see from Pollster’s national chart and heavily polled swing states, like Ohio, the Romney bounce actually began a bit before the presidential debate, peaked just after it (probably due to a large swing that evening) and has drifted back toward Obama slightly ever since. Seems like your typical convention bounce in other words and barring any new events we’d expect it to continue to recede gradually.

  • Mark

    I don’t think it says much about either side. There’s a simple explanation for why dems have been panicking and Reps giddy – the press has been running headline after headline about how Romney is gaining ground and actually may be ahead for the past week or so.

    When everyone is telling you momentum is on your side you tend to get pretty optimistic. When the opposite is true you tend to get panicky. Just think back to the post Dem convention-pre debate period – the Republicans were sounding pretty desperate back then, as you’ll recall if you can cast your mind back that far through the misty sands of time.

  • Olav Grinde

    The New Yorker has the inside story on
    Obama’s new debate strategy.
    A great read!

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2012/10/obamas-new-debate-strategy.html

  • loadar

    Todd’s analysis came in the context of evaluating today’s new Washington Post/ABC News poll, which shows a virtual tie, but with Obama ahead by three points. How did WaPo manufacture a 49/46 Obama edge? Through a preposterous partisan sample that defies the poll’s own findings. Ed Morrissey explains:

    The partisan split among likely voters in this poll is a jaw-dropping D+9, 35/26/33. The D/R/I in 2008′s presidential election was a D+7 at 39/32/29, while the midterm was 35/35/30, Is there any reason to think that Democratic participation will be so off-the-charts huge that it will reduce Republican participation by nearly a third from the midterm elections, our most recent model of the electorate? No, as the Post’s own findings on enthusiasm show.

    • wheelers cat

      I never thought this blog would sink so low as to have a quote from Captain Stupid (Morrissey).
      The poll truther is strong in this one.

  • eb

    The Washington Post recently reported that the Romney campaign has “doubled or in some cases tripled” its ad spending in key swing states since the debate.

    http://goo.gl/mFjzL

    That’s strategically smart, because it’s generated a lift which seems organic (i.e., a result of the debate) rather than ad-driven. In light of that, is it accurate to refer to Romney’s recent surge as a “debate bounce”? Or are we all embracing a descriptor which actually masks some of the underlying factors?

  • loadar

    A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll of likely voters puts Obama ahead of Romney 49 percent to 48 percent, a statistical tie and the same as the week before. Across the 10 states identified by POLITICO as competitive, Romney leads 50 percent to 48 percent.

    Obama and Romney are now essentially tied on likability: 53 percent of those surveyed have a positive impression of Obama personally, and 45 percent do not. The same percentage view both Romney and Obama strongly favorably as view them strongly unfavorably.

    “For the first time, those things that Obama had been saying were called to task,” Goeas said Sunday. “All those millions of dollars in efforts to demonize Mitt Romney disappeared overnight. That’s the impact of the debate.”

  • hnh

    3:20PM EDT October 15. 2012 – WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney leads President Obama by five percentage points among likely voters in the nation’s top battlegrounds, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and he has growing enthusiasm among women to thank.

    As the presidential campaign heads into its final weeks, the survey of voters in 12 crucial swing states finds female voters much more engaged in the election and increasingly concerned about the deficit and debt issues that favor Romney. The Republican nominee now ties the president among women who are likely voters, 48%-48%, while he leads by 12 points among men.

    • A New Jersey Farmer

      Be careful with the USA Today/Gallup poll. It includes interviews from right after the debate, when Romney saw a large bounce. Not as good news for Mitt as you might think.

  • David

    I’m in New Orleans almost every day! Say hi!

  • Independent Left

    well, to make a counter point, i’ve been continously registered independent since i registered to vote…and if i thought the Republican candidate was the best option, i would vote for them (although my view on social (if not most econ) policy certainly skews left)…but even when pressed to identify which i identify with more, i am hesitant – in discussions with friends/colleagues/etc, i am not alone….so there are a number of (I) reg-voters out there that are solid (D) actua-voters…this is probably canceled out by the Tea Party (I) reg-voters (vs. R actualvoters), and vice versa.

    • Independent Left

      internet comprehension fail- despite appearances to the contrary, this is in response to @Andrew and @PeterPrinciple, below.

  • wheelers cat

    loadar and hnh

    people are pretty much unimpressed by singleton traditional polls.
    that is why there are poll aggregators like 538 and PEC and pollster.

  • ugh

    Here we go with this unskewing polls nonsense again. If a poll reports D+9 it’s because people who answered the phone told them that’s the case. They aren’t projecting or assuming anything.

    It’s weird how any poll that looks bad for one’s preferred candidate turns out to be skewed. How ’bout that.

  • 538 Refugee

    And I had just asked the other day if there was any evidence of “pollsters” out to influence the poll aggregation sites. I had recognized these guys as always running much more Republican leaning than most.

  • Matt McIrvin

    The liberals on The Atlantic and TPM all seem to be convincing themselves that Obama is going to screw up the second debate. Either they’re trying to lower expectations, or they’re just depressed, or they’re playing the “if only he listened to me” tune (Robert Wright).

    • wheelers cat

      What liberals on the Atlantic? That is a spawning ground for glibertarians and “Young Conservatives”.
      Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam and the execrable Megan McArdle all got their start there.
      And Young Conor Friedersdorf is still there.
      Sullivan is a “conservative” or so he claims. He wrote his thesis on Oakshott.

    • Matt McIrvin

      Molly Ball and Robert Wright. I admit, they’re not very far left.

    • Matt McIrvin

      …actually Ball is hard to get a handle on, could be a glibertarian. Ta-Nehisi Coates just seems depressed, though not as much as Sullivan.

    • wheelers cat

      Wright is not a liberal.
      I’ll give you TNC. He’s a token in more ways than one.
      ;)

  • A New Jersey Farmer

    See my comment at 5:40 pm.

  • wheelers cat

    loadar, midterms are vastly different from presidential elections.
    Over the past five election cycles there is an average difference of 16.1 % turnout favoring the presidential.
    And of course, that 16.1% are increasingly NOT non-hispanic white aged males.

  • David

    The thing about the debate that I think people are missing is this: That debate was Romney’s convention.

    After staging the worst convention in modern presidential politics, he got very little bounce. Supporters weren’t excited and undecideds didn’t have a better idea about who he was. Then came the 47% comment.

    The debate performance provided the surge his convention was supposed to give him. Terrible mismanagement. If he’d had a good convention and then that debate performance, he’d be in much better position. Maybe a 1 in 3 chance.

  • Mark

    Why does the red bar go mostly up from about 278EV instead of evenly in both directions?

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