Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Debate #3: Obama wins

October 23rd, 2012, 10:00pm by Sam Wang


As I wrote yesterday, based on past races (2004, 2008) I expect it to have little effect. The cake is largely baked, in the sense that the last campaign event likely to move the race was Debate #2. However, to the extent that it matters, the consensus is that Obama won. The evidence:

Ahead are issues like early voting, voter-ID, and possible fraud. Also, don’t forget downticket races. Those will be my topics in the closing days.

Tags: 2012 Election · President

247 Comments so far ↓

  • Terry

    anyone worries about the upcoming Trump “bombshell”?

    • Ohio Voter

      I’m looking forward to a good laugh.

    • Jen

      I am someone who worries all day long over any little thing related to the election. But Donald Trump’s clowning? Not something to worry about!

    • Ohio Voter

      The basic gist of Donald’s announcement is that he’s ransoming the President using inner city children as collateral.

    • Jen

      Okay, in spite of myself, I looked up his “surprise”.

      HA! Look at all the credit people have been giving him for possibly having Obama’s divorce records or whatever. How generous to think he actually had something!

      Nope. His announcement is a dumb stunt, as expected.

  • Olav Grinde

    It would be really interesting to see an aggregate of stat-level polls that have the following qualifications:

    1) Manual interviews, not robo-calls
    2) Inclusion of cell-phone only users
    3) Third-party candidates included in polling questions
    4) Sufficiently large sampling
    5) At least one comparable state poll by the same pollster

  • Ohio Voter

    Donald is an idiot.

  • NY-pendent

    Dr. Wang – First time poster — 2 parts

    1) What is the probability today based on the MM and state polling that we end up 269 vs 269 EV?

    2) Even further if the above happens what are the chances of a Romney / Biden ticket based on the house and senate likely votes?

    Its out there I know but it is possible.

  • Reason

    Did the Captain Toupee post his “gotcha” yet?

    • Ohio Voter

      He did, it’s a video of him telling Obama that if he turns over his college application and transcripts and passport application, he’ll donate $5 million to the charity of Obama’s choice.

    • skmind

      “Passport application”

      Who hangs on to an application years after getting his passport?

      I think Obama should counter offer. “$25 million to Planned Parenthood and it’s a deal”

    • Froggy

      I, Froggy, hereby offer to do my best to get Donald Trump to give $5 million dollars to the charity of Mitt Romney’s choice, if Mitt Romney releases, to my satisfaction, his full and complete tax returns for the last 10 years, no later than 5 pm on October 31, 2012.

      Do it Mitt, do it for the kids who would be helped by all that money.

  • Florida Swing Voter

    BREAKING NEWS: Donald Trump holding 5 million dollars hostage away from charity.

    This birth certificate/college transcript crap is hilariously pathetic.

  • NC Obama Guy

    One thing I will say about NC is that there are way fewer R signs than ever before. I have been here for 2000, 2004 and 2008. In the past Ds had to be careful about putting up a sign because they would often be torn down and in some cases there was vandelism. This year there seems to be much less “enthusiam” on both sides unfortunately at least as compared to 2008. The big problem here is that we used to be D statewide and R for national elections. That changed in 2010. Rs control things in legislature now and it is looking like a landslide in favor of Rs for Govenor and all other state positions. I think this is likely to drag straight ticket voters to Romney. Don’t be too excited by all the news about 2:1 margins in the early vote… Erskin Bowles was ahead by 2:1 in early voting and lost pretty badly for Senate in the past. But you never know…

  • Reason

    On a side note, I just saw NH move to R. Ugh.

    • Ross C

      Is that solely on the strength of the Ras poll showing Romney up 2? Because there is also a new poll showing Obama up 3.

  • skmind

    I see that in your state-by-state predictor map, NH is a Romney leaning state > 80%.

    Nate Silver’s (please people, I KNOW it uses other data than polls) model predicts it as leaning Obama 67%

    I also see only one poll in there that is pro-Romney more than 1 percentage point.

    Any thoughts on this marked discrepancy?

    • Ohio Voter

      Silver’s model takes into account “house leans”. A +2 in a Rasmussen poll is seen by Silver’s model as a +1% for Obama.

  • Brian

    Wow, I didn’t think Trump could be a bigger idiot. But he did it.

    • Obama 2012

      Yup. He really did. I think most of us were expecting something stupid and pathetic, but this really takes the cake. He keeps managing to reach new levels of ridiculousness.

  • Reason

    What was the cause of NH moving to R? I saw a USA and Mellman poll that had O ahead today.

  • Reason

    Did Trump release the Kraken yet?

    • Reason

      Yeah but I thought they did for the last few days. Is Ras given more weight?

    • Joey Bagadonitz

      They’re all given equal weight as I understand it. Polls over the last week have been O+9, O+1, R+1, R+2, and R+2. So the median is R+1, and it makes sense now (I think) that it’s showing up R. Maybe the question for Dr. Wang is, why was it not showing up R before?

  • Reason

    *laughs at Trump*

  • NC Obama Guy

    Interesting article on house effects -

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/simon-jackman/house-effects-by-back-by-_b_2007907.html?utm_hp_ref=@pollster

    I think Rasmussen is actually way more biased than 1.5 points. I think that the way we he gets around that is that he polls in favor of the Democrat in states where it does not matter and when averages are performed he only looks a little biased overall. Very sneaky…

  • Reason

    There were 2 polls out for NH today that have O +3. The only poll for R was Ras at +2. So, how did it go from a tie to R +1.5? Just trying to see how it is weighted.

    • Ohio Voter

      Doesn’t look like Pollster has the Mellman one yet.

    • Joey Bagadonitz

      The way I read that, it sounds like they’re referring to a single poll of NH by “USAction and the Mellman Group,” not two separate polls. They quote Celina Lake, who heads up Lake Research…so pretty sure it’s just the single Lake Research/USAction poll in NH. Mellman did the VA one, and the writer probably just got it wrong.

    • Ohio Voter

      Ah, that makes sense then.

  • Justin S

    Poll out in my home state (Arkansas) showing R+27 :( I knew O wasn’t carrying our state but man I hate the margin to be so large. Oh well, I’m voting anyway!

    • Obama 2012

      yes – but it explains why the national polling is close but Obama still holds a significant advantage in the “states that matter” with a much clearer path to 270.

      Romney is is running up the score in red states (and even in the red parts of blue states) but in the actual contested swing states Obama is doing just fine.

      I think we are looking at a scenario where Obama wins by 3 or 4% nationally but much more convincingly in the electoral vote as I really think Obama is going to pull off a swing state sweep (including wins in NC & Florida.)

    • Justin S

      As a red state refugee I’m counting on you guys in the blue and purple states to help me out!

  • Justin S

    Is it just me or does RCP seem to be cherry picking a little lately and leaving out positive news for O?? I know they lean right with their editorials but I thought they were usually pretty fair in their poll averages since thats what they’re known for

    • Froggy

      I don’t think that RCP is showing bias. They apparently have a policy not to list polls that are commissioned by a candidate or a special interest group. They also don’t list polls by certain Internet pollsters (YouGov, JZ Analytics, and Angus-Reid, to name a few) that have been releasing a lot of good numbers for Obama lately.

  • Reason

    Ah, okay. Sorry. My error.

  • Mitchgo

    Check out Gallup….O ahead in R voters. Five point net swing up in approval rating…53%!

  • Reason

    I know we try to follow just state polls here (and I appreciate the science), Gallup just released their tracking poll. R is now down to +3 LV and O+1 in RV today. Looks like those who called them trying to “fix” their polling to match the rest were probably correct.

    • Justin S

      Thats a big move! Great news for team O!

    • Ohio Voter

      The Gallup poll over the next few days could be VERY interesting.

      If the MSM has been using Gallup to tout Romney’s lead, if that lead disappears by the weekend, then they have no choice but to say that Romney lost 7% in a week.

  • Justin S

    Two new VA polls on pollter showing O up by 3 and 7!

    • Joey Bagadonitz

      Don’t get too excited about the +7, it included polling done a month ago and is useless. But the +3 makes me do the happy dance.

    • Justin S

      Yeah I just saw the dates on the plus 7 but youre right, the plus 3 is nice, and there is one for NH showing +2. Combines with the Gallup shift, I’m looking forward to the 3pm MM :)

    • ChrisD

      The MM will move down at 3pm assuming no new polls show up. Why? NH will go from R+1.5 to R+2 because it apears the Lake Research poll wasn’t reflected in the noon MM update. And Ras’s new NV poll, O+2, is dated Oct 23, so it may knock off TWO O+3 polls (dated Oct 15-16, Oct 15), in which case NV goes from O+3 to O+2.

  • Peter D

    OK. Quiet down. Original research here.

    Pollster has 23 polls entirely conducted after the first debate on October 3. 2 of them are internet polls, which I threw out.

    8 of them polled cell phones. 11 of them did not. Of the ones that did not poll cell phones, O led by an average of 0.4%.

    Of the ones that did poll cell phones, O led by an average of 3%.

    Using the reported % of cell respondents suggests a beta of 0.1. So for each 10% of the electorate that are cell onlies, the O margin increases by 1%.

    Based on the latest CDC estimates, 33% of Ohioans 18 and over are cell-only and 18% are cell-mostly.
    (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr061.pdf)

    The tricky part is translating this into turnout. However, the modal (non-zero) industry weighting of 22% seems fair, if not low. My parents, for example, have stopped answering their landlines due to the deluge of political calls.

    Conclusion: the Ohio lead is at least 2.5%, possibly, larger. I remain unconcerned. I may repeat this analysis for Virginia at a later time.

    • Justin S

      Well done. Very reassuring!

    • Peter D

      As a follow up, a student’s t-test (equal variance) gives a t value of -3.43.

    • Peter D

      Stunningly, I failed to specify that it was OHIO I was looking at in the beginning of the post. OHIO.

    • Olav Grinde

      @Peter D:
      Thanks! Your figures are most interesting — and reassuring. I really look forward to your analysis of other swing states. :)

    • Joey Bagadonitz

      Interesting stuff!

    • Peter D

      VA is less robust.

      Only 2 post-debate VA polls use cell phones. 16 are landline only. There are also 2 internet polls.

      The landline onlies average -0.7%. The two cell-inclusives as well as the two internet polls average +2%.

      The findings are consistent with a sensitivity of about 0.1.

  • E L

    I think tomorrow or Friday at the latest James Fallow’s Iron Law of the Political Media: “the story must change.”, cited by Dr. Wang, will show up because the Mainstream Media still is in love with Gallup. Nate Silver said: “It turns out that the Gallup national tracking poll was cited in the news media more often than the other six national tracking polls combined.”

    • Obama 2012

      there’s our “liberal media” at work … cherry picking the worst data point for Obama and acting like it’s the only one around.

  • Ross C

    For those concerned about voter suppression, a piece of anecdotal evidence…last night while I was phone banking at the Obama field office in Northern Virginia, a group of what seemed to be poll watchers was being trained. They were being told how to interact with the attorneys they would have present. So it’s not like Obama’s campaign isn’t doing anything about this issue. It was a good sign, to me anyway.

    • CobaltinSF

      There’s an army of lawyers, like me, who are volunteers for the O campaign who will be at as many precincts in Florida and other states on election day as possible.

    • Olav Grinde

      That is very heartening news.
      Wonderful to see that lawyers are donating time and effort to protect the right to vote and preserve the integrity of the voting process!

      Question: Will the Obama Campaign also establish an independent vote cumulation?

  • Obama 2012

    things are looking good for Obama today. movement to him in most tracking polls along with the big story of the day not being Trump’s non-bombshell ridiculousness but Richard Mourdock, recently endorsed by Romney, saying that a rape baby is a “gift from God.”

    • Justin S

      Agreed. So far so good. National polls are all showing a trend toward O. Even though national polls dont matter it sets a narritive. O-mentum!

    • orchidmantis

      I hope everyone who tizzied over Trump’s ability to blow up the race is inoculated against future panics.

  • victory furniture

    I just wanted to say thanks to Dr. Wang and all of the Obama supporters in the comments section of this wonderful site. You are all so insightful and truly inspiring!

    Off to do more work for the President but I will check back often so keep the info coming!

    • Dean

      I concur.

      I’m trying to better-understand the measurement of political sentiment. I was shocked at what appeared to be a historic bounce in the polls for Romney after the first debate. I didn’t think that such a flawed candidate could all of a sudden become very popular. I thought many people at least had knowledge of his auto bailout stance, flip-flopping, secretiveness and vagueness of his policies–especially the flip-flopping–and were turned off to that. This month’s poll watching for me has not been fun.

      I like this site because it focusus on only what matters, swing states. I hope that any fluctuation in the MM stays within very tight parameters, or that it trends upward a bit for Obama until the very end, if the race is largely “baked in the cake.”

  • 538 Refugee

    Ryan’s visit to the soup kitchen may put it out of business.

    http://www.vindy.com/news/2012/oct/20/dining-hall-for-the-poor-loses-donors-am/

  • Rick

    New PPP poll has Obama +4 in NV, up 61-39 among early voters. NV is in the can. This will be the last election cycle where NV is considered a swing state. This one’s blue now.

  • don in fl

    gregg; my thoughts exactly.has to fodder for letterman,stewart and others.

  • Brian

    New TIME poll of Ohio: Obama 49, Romney 44
    New Lake Research poll of Ohio: Obama 46, Romney 44

    • Obama 2012

      no idea what Lake Research is… but I’ve noticed that all of the big name polls in Ohio (save Rasmussen which is obviously adding about 5 points to Romney’s #s) has Obama up by 5+ in Ohio.

      I really don’t think this election is as close as the media is pretending it is. Obama is winning. Something will have to happen in the next two weeks to change that for Romney to have a shot.

    • Dean

      It’s reported that Romney’s auto bankruptcy op-ed piece was most-viewed in the New York Times yesterday. I hope many of those who are viewing it are swing state undecided voters and independents who might vote for Obama.

      There is no possible way for Romney to spin out of his position on the car companies. He can’t flip-flop out of this one.

    • Michael Worley

      Dean,

      And yet Romney was right. He did support Govt. support in the bankruptcy process. Go read the last two lines of the op ed.

      Obama 2012,

      Not so. Survey USA and PPP, both as big as Rasmussen, have Obama +3 and +1

    • Seth

      No he did not Michael. Post-bankruptcy government guarantees and warranties are not government support in the bankruptcy process. That is the issue here.

  • A New Jersey Farmer

    Lake is Celinda Lake, and they generally have a D lean, but since all polls go into the hopper it will merely counteract the Rasmussens of the world.

    • Martin

      Lake does not have a D lean. Generally or ever and neither does PPP. If anything PPP has an R lean since their a robopoll.

    • Dean

      The TIME poll that just came out showing Obama up by 5 in Ohio has some nice internals for the president (whites, women and early voting). Obama is weak with independents in this poll, but still, it seems like a very good poll.

  • Dean

    Michael Worley,

    At the end of the op-ed piece, Romney said that the car companies would be doomed with a government bailout check. He said that car companies should go through the bankruptcy process and that the government should only provide “guarantees” rather than a bailout. In the context of what Romney said, I take this to mean that the private bankruptcy process should proceed first. Didn’t even Busy say in September 2008 that credit markets were drying up during the economic crash?

    He absolutely did not support the bailout, and it’s unknown what he means by government “guarantees.” But then again, we don’t know where Romney really stands on many issues.

    • Rick

      He also implicitly states that the bankruptcy process could be used to gut labor costs and bust the union.

    • Howie Weiner

      If Romney had been President in 2009 General Motors and Chrysler would no longer exist. He was and is absolutely opposed to the kind of support that President Obama mandated. Romney=Hoover no ifs ands or buts. Businessmen like him love liquidation so like the vultures they are can swoop in and profit off the wreckage. Essentially R/R want to liquidate the federal government. Their policies are pre-Civil War.
      These are the stakes.
      Nevada and Wisconsin are locks with Iowa close behind. Virginia and Florida and Colorado are close closer than people than and the President is pressing forward every day.

    • Howie Weiner

      *closer than people think.

  • victory furniture

    Michael Worley wrote:
    “And yet Romney was right. He did support Govt. support in the bankruptcy process. Go read the last two lines of the op ed.”

    No Michael…Romney was very wrong… There were no takers for the auto-industry in the private sector as credit was very tight at the time and Romney’s plan was not to have government involvement. Without Government involvement, millions of auto industry jobs would have been lost. Obama did the right thing!

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/45232734/print/1/displaymode/1098/

    Romney: “My view with regards to the bailout was that whether it was by President Bush or by President Obama, it was the wrong way to go. I said from the very beginning they should go through a managed bankruptcy process, a private bankruptcy process.

    We have capital markets and bankruptcy, it works in the U.S. The idea of billions of dollars being wasted initially then finally they adopted the managed bankruptcy, I was among others that said we ought to do that.

    My plan, we would have had a private sector bailout with the private sector restructuring and bankruptcy with the private sector guiding the direction as opposed to what we had with government playing its heavy hand.”

    • victory furniture

      Plus Michael the auto industry paid back in full + interest all of the bailout $!

    • ChrisD

      From CNNMoney:

      What would have happened without the bailouts?

      This is central to the election debate over the bailout. Mitt Romney claims that if GM and Chrysler Group had gone through a privately-financed bankruptcy process, they would have emerged even stronger than they are today.

      But many auto industry experts, including the Obama administration’s former car czar, Steven Rattner, a Democrat, and former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, a Republican, say there was no private-sector financing available in 2009 and the bailout was the only way to keep the companies alive.

      “He thinks we didn’t try to borrow money from the banks?” Lutz told the Detroit Free Press in February. “The banks were even more broke than we were. Who had the money?”

      Without financing during bankruptcy, GM and Chrysler would have had to go out of business, taking down many suppliers. That would have likely caused bankruptcies at the healthier automakers such Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500), who would not have been able to get the parts they needed to build cars. That is why Ford went to Capitol Hill in late 2008 pushing for the rescue of its rivals.

      The Center for Automotive Research, a well-respected Michigan think tank estimates that the bailout therefore saved 1.5 million U.S. jobs by keeping GM, Chrysler and the companies that depended on them in business.

      Even if one assumes private financing could have been found, what’s clear from Romney’s own criticism of the bailout is that the autoworkers at GM and Chrysler today would have been far worse off today than they were with the bailout.

      http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/06/autos/auto-bailout/index.html

    • Dean

      The right-wing trolls were really out and nasty in Huffington Post, saying the auto bailout was a giveaway to unions. I love it when right wing trolls are angry. It means my elected representatives are doing something right. Romney blew that one. There was no private credit out there at the time of the economic collapse.

    • E L

      The legal jargon for private financing during a Chpt. 11 bankruptcy is DIP (Debtor in Possession) financing. Lenders will risk financing because because they receive a first priority pay back on their loans. DIP financing was not available during the auto bankruptcy because of total risk aversion by lenders to all loans at that time. At one point during this period, overnight, repeat overnight, LIBOR, the rate banks use to loan to each other, exceeded 4%. Nobody trusted anybody.

      If the auto cos had been left to the private loan markets, Chpt. 7, liquidation, would have ensued with cascading effect on suppliers. Ford Motor, which did not need financing, adamantly supported the government loans. They were afraid, if GM and Chrysler went down, their suppliers would go bankrupt because the suppliers were dependent on business from all three companies to survive.

      In sum, Romney is full of it, but he thinks he can get away with horse pucky because voters don’t understand the bankruptcy laws.

  • ChrisD

    The new PPP NV O+4 poll isn’t up on Pollster yet. It should show up at 8pm.

    OH is still O+1 despite Lake Research’s O+3 and Time’s O+5 polls. (There are 11 OH polls in the last week with a median of O+1 and a mean of O+1.8.)

  • ChrisD

    The PPP poll is up now.

  • Reason

    Why did it drop to 1.46 already?

  • don in fl

    question anyone,can rasmussen or any right leaning pollster run polls that will always be in one of the last 5 polled.thus keeping the mm low?

    • ChrisD

      Yes. Why not? Many R-leaning pollsters use only robocalling, which is a relatively inexpensive way to conduct a poll.

    • Obama 2012

      I think that’s exactly what’s happening with the huge amount of right wing polls coming out these days.

      I really think as good as Mr. Wang’s forecast for Obama is – he’s actually doing even better as the right wing polls are skewing the #s in Romney’s favor

  • NC Obama Guy

    8:00 update???

    • Reason

      NVM. Found out this outfit is an R firm.

    • Dean

      The pollster, Baydoun/Foster (D), showed Romney up 4 on 08/16 and Obama up a few at other times. It’s the polling aggregate that matters, and Obama has been doing very well in Michigan.

    • ChrisD

      Pollster may pick that poll up overnight, so their last week’s worth of MI polls tomorrow will be: tie, O+9, and O+6. (A 10/11 O+7 Ras poll will drop off, and the MI median will drop from O+7 to O+6. That may lower the MM slightly, everything else being equal.)

      Here’s Nate Silver’s August 20 assessment of the outfit behind the MI poll, Foster McCollum White Baydoun, who reported FL as R+15 back then. (Nate accepted the poll, but adjusted it for an 11-point house lean.)

      “But once in a great while, a poll comes along with methodology that is so implausible that it deserves some further comment. The Foster McCollum White Baydoun poll of Florida is one such survey.

      The poll was weighted to a demographic estimate that predicts that just 2 percent of Florida voters will be 30 or younger. It’s a decent bet that turnout will be down some among younger voters this year, but that isn’t a realistic estimate. In 2008, according to exit polls, 15 percent of voters in Florida were between 18 and 30.

      The poll also assumed that 10 percent of voters will be between the ages of 31 and 50. In 2008, the actual percentage was 36 percent, according to the exit survey.

      The poll projected Latinos to be 7 percent of the turnout in Florida, against 14 percent in 2008. And it has African-American turnout at 10 percent, down from 13 percent.

      If the turnout numbers look something like that in November, then Mr. Obama will lose Florida badly. He’ll also lose almost every other state; his electoral map might look a lot like Walter Mondale’s.

      But the share of voters 50 and younger in Florida is not going to drop all the way from half the electorate to roughly one-tenth of it, as the poll assumed. That is far beyond the range you can get from reasonable disagreement about methods, or from sampling error. It looks like the result from a from a badly-designed statistical model that never got a sanity check.

      With all that said, we still include the poll in our forecast model. (I’ve noticed that some other polling aggregation Web sites have not listed the Foster McCollum White Baydoun survey, although I’m not sure if that’s an intentional or unintentional oversight.)”

    • CobaltinSF

      I wouldn’t stress this one outlier. MI is not going to vote red.

  • Reason

    The AP poll was not good this morning.

  • Froggy

    Interesting that yesterday’s PPP NV poll shows Gary Johnson taking support away from Obama.

    Two-man race:
    Obama 51, Romney 47

    Three-man race:
    Obama 49, Romney 47, Johnson 3

    I don’t know quite what to make of that, although one probably should avoid making too much of it.

    • Reason

      Yeah, that seems way off. Not one percent for Johnson takes from Romney? Not buying it.

  • NC Obama Guy

    RAND is holding steady…

  • Reason

    PPP has O +5 in Va this morning.

  • ChrisD

    It will show up eventually on both RCP and Pollster. (Only the latter matters for the MM, since it’s based on Pollster, which reports more polls than RCP.)

  • Sam Champion

    It will be tough for the MSM and the punditry to get on to a new narrative because the story of a “surging” Romney and a close race is too good for business. It generate eyeballs and there is a lot vested interests that support keeping Republicans viable. The new narrative that will emerge will involve the Obama electoral firewall, the on-the-ground strength of the Obama machine and the rapidly changing demographics. A major story will also be the success of Obama in Ohio and the upper midwest due to the auto industry rescue.

  • Phil Drum

    Sam – Why do you have Ohio at Obama+ 1% and HuffPo Pollster has 2.5%?

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