7 Days: The Breaking Point

I’m going to spend today doing nothing but taking the 12 electoral college projections I regularly track and pushing them to absolute results with no tossups. This is the 2012 Presidential election pushed to the breaking point.

The only state I don’t feel comfortable calling myself is Virginia, and here’s why:

Virginia pollsNate Silver is the best man in the game and has Barack Obama a 51.4% chance to win. At this point, it’s probably not polls driving that 1.4% so much as other variables like state unemployment, voter registration, and things like that. I won’t argue with it. But I also won’t argue with anyone that wants to hand the state to Mitt Romney, either. And since I have to give it to someone, I’m using Silver’s projections as my mental tie breaker. The rest I’m calling myself.

All projects will have Mitt Romney easily winning Indiana even though Obama won it in 2008. That was more of a fluke than anything. Indiana is not even a North Carolina that is still red, but destined to be a purple perennial tossup, with NC perhaps eventually ending up light blue eventually.

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10 Days: Five of seven battleground states move toward Obama… barely.

The trackers are mixed today and so there’s not much of a story there. Romney gained with PPP, Gallup, and UPI/CVOTER, Obama gained with RAND, Ipsos/Reuters, and IBD/TIPP, and neither Rasmussen or ABC/Washington Post moved at all. The average movement across eight national trackers was a whopping 0.13 points towards Barack Obama.

There were no non-tracking national polls today. At all. None.

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11 Days: Looking at the numbers, Obama’s convention performance may be what got him a second term.

Some tracking polls with two days of debate in their survey data show Obama gaining, but it’s still pretty early to say much more than that as far as what it means.

– RAND has a static, non-random group of about 3,500 voters that it polls once per day in groups of 500 or so, such that a given group is only polled once per week. Their experimental poll has Obama up by 3.8 points yesterday, and 4.1 points today.

– Rasmussen has Romney down a point from yesterday, to +3.

– PPP, like RAND, has Obama gaining day-to-day, up by 1 point today, from a tie yesterday, and Romney +2 on Tuesday.

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12 Days: Trackers tease a big debate bump for Obama. Maybe.

I’ve been saying for days that Friday is the day you want to watch for polling, and only trackers, and only PPP and Rasmussen. Those two firms have the shortest sample frame which makes them simultaneously the most sensitive to change and most subject to noise. Right now, today, October 24th, both PPP and Rasmussen only have a single day of post-debate reactions in their average. Their surveys began on the Sunday the 21st and ended on Tuesday the 23rd, but Tuesday has no debate reactions because it’s likely that all of that data came long before the 9pm debate began.

Gallup won’t have a full frame until next Tuesday at the earliest, but given the frame size of seven days, you can get a real feel for what the result is once they’ve got 4/7 debate reaction days under their belt, which would be Saturday’s report.

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13 Days: America is getting what it says it always wants: two centrists more concerned with winning than standing for something.

Debate screencapWe’re getting close.

Everybody has their own ideas about what they saw last night, and no polls will have a full sample until Friday at the earliest. So ideas are all we have, and here are mine.

I heard on NPR that Barack Obama is fond of saying that he looks up to George H. W. Bush on foreign policy. That’s why people say that on foreign policy and national security, Obama is closer to being a moderate Republican than even a conservative Democrat. The amusing instances of agreement between Obama and Mitt Romney last night illustrate that quite well. And it reinforces for the second time something that I saw on Twitter immediately after Obama’s shellacking in Denver: Romney behaved like a moderate Republican former governor of Massachusetts.

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Four snap polls, four Obama victories; CBS: Obama wins by 30 points, larger than Romney’s first debate win

Here are four snap polls for the third and final debate.

CNN was out first, with Obama “winning” 48-40 among registered voters, an eight point margin. CNN continues to use a skewed sample that has more Republicans than any of their other national polls this year, so unbalanced that Wolf Blitzer has had to state a disclaimer every time they reference the poll on air. It’s unclear why CNN continues to do this.

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14 Days: Trackers and national polls tied up, electoral college still showing a comfortable Obama victory

There are now four distinct trends from national polling since the conventions.

Phase 1, Sept 22 – Oct 2

Barack Obama dominated the month of September from a strong convention performance, where he didn’t trail in any national poll for the entire month, other than in tracking. The only poll to show Mitt Romney leading that entire month was Rasmussen, which showed Romney up by two points 9/14 – 9/16. That’s important, because with so many other polls showing a Romney lead or a tie, Rasmussen is showing the same results today as it did when Obama as clearly dominating the race in September.

Obama’s leads ranged from a single point to a high of nine points.

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17 Days: Romney sinking in battleground state, national polls, trackers, electoral college — basically everywhere

I did news yesterday, so today is back to polling. Put simply, Mitt Romney’s debate bounce is now showing signs of burning off virtually everywhere you look. My poll aggregator shows Barack Obama leading 23 of 25 national polls (including tracking at various times) between September 22nd and October 2nd. Then between October 2nd and October 10th, Mitt Romney lead out of 10 of 13 polls. Since then, Obama has lead 5 of 6 national polls with only PPP showing a lead for Mitt Romney, and PPP’s three-day tracker showed the race tied yesterday, and Obama leading by a single point today.

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18 Days: A new tracker, a new aggregator, another DOMA loss, and news.

A quick bit about polling and then I’ll do some news aggregation.

The more I use Real Clear Politics’ poll aggreagtor, the more I dislike it. They use two right-leaning trackers, Rasmussen and IBD, but exclude Ipsos/Reuters. And I don’t know if they’ll include PPP’s brand-spanking-new three day tracker, which will be infinitely more useful than Rasmussen’s. Now we’ve got perhaps the best pollster in the country doing a three day sensitive and quick (but noisy) tracker, a very solid mid-range 4-5 tracker from very credible Ipsos/Reuters, and an increasingly laughable long-range 7-day tracker from Gallup.

Yes, folks, Gallup thinks Mitt Romney is leading by 7 points today. And the entire polling analysis world probably thinks Gallup is running its reputation into the ground. It’s not even who is winning there, it’s that it’s such a wicked outlier. No other national non-tracking poll has Romney up by more than 4 points, and that was PPP, a Democratic pollster doing a poll for Daily Kos/SEIU. Of the last seven non-tracker national polls, Romney lead by 4 and 3 points, and Obama lead all the rest between 1 and 3 points.

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19 Days: Romney up by 6 with Gallup, but Obama wins all post-debate snap polls

Most of my recent stories have been focused on polling, but the only meaningful polls for the next week or so are the snap polls that were done to gauge voter response to the second Presidential debate. Those will only take a minute to report, and then for the next week you can pretty much forget about polling. It’ll be Saturday at the earliest that any tracker will have a full sample of post-debate data (Rasmussen). Ipsos/Reuters won’t have a full sample to report until Monday, although they did a post-debate snap that I’ll report below. Gallup won’t have a full sample until Wednesday.

I put so little faith in the Investors Business Daily tracker that I don’t even know what their sample length is, and I don’t really care.

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