This Modern Age

Posts Tagged ‘Gallup poll

Thoughts on Obama-BOOM in Current Polling

leave a comment »

In my humble opinion, the current economic conditions could nearly reset a lot of independent and undecided voters.  So past polls are interesting, but I think they can be heavily discounted at this point.  Which is why I haven’t updated my Electoral College Polling posts recently. 

For the Record: I’m standing firm at Obama 273 and McCain 265, just because there is no reason to change anything yet.  And if I had to change something today, I would put New Hampshire barely in McCain’s column and that would cause a 269/269 split.  That result would make Bush v. Gore look like a tea party.  I digress…

“Ah ha!”, you say.  “But the reset is occuring!  Look at the polls coming out now – the Washington Post/ABC News poll has Obama up 9(!) points!  And, and, and…. the Gallup Poll too! Obama is up 3 points there.  That’s a combined 12(!) point lead! It’s a trend! It’s a boom! It’s a Democratic President! It’s HISTORY!” 

Yes.  Thank you for noticing the obvious (besides the 12 point thing).  But look at the internal numbers on the poll.  (Don’t you come here for the nerdy stuff?)

Jim Geraghty over at National Review breaks it all down pretty efficiently:

Two recent polls that show Obama doing fabulously have some pretty wide margins in terms of party ID in their voter pool. Gallup’s got a sample that is 49 percent Democrat, 39 percent Republican, and the ABC/Washington Post poll that is generating buzz has a sample that, with leaners, is 54 percent Democrat, 38 percent Republican.

Look, if the electorate in November is going to be 16 percent more Democrat than Republican, and 54 percent of the voting public identifies themselves as Democrats, then it’s a foregone conclusion that Obama’s going to win in a landslide, and we can all go home now.

He goes on to reference Kirsten Soltis’ work at Pollster.com.  She walks through the historical prededent for polling spreads:

In 1988, Democrats had a three-point party ID advantage over Republicans (38-35). In 1992, Democrats still had a three-point party ID advantage over Republicans (38-35). In 1996, that advantage increased to four – a shift of one point (39-35). In 2000, Democrats were steady, up by four (39-35), and in 2004 they dropped to even (37-37).

During presidential years, over the last five presidential elections, the biggest party ID gap was four points, and the greatest swing was four points as well.

Arguments can certainly be made that in this environment, Democrats should be expected to have a huge partisan shift in their favor. But note that in 2006, when Democrats clearly found enormous success at the ballot box, that the advantage in party ID was only three points (38-35). Polls leading up to the election showed party ID gaps as big as eleven points (Newsweek’s poll on Oct 5-6, 2006), rarely showing party ID gaps of less than +5 for the Democrats.

So, let the dust begin to settle on the last week of economic news (ignoring, of course, how entertaining Joe Biden is) and watch the debate on Friday night and then let new polling numbers start coming in. 

But one caveat, it’s going to be VERY difficult to get solid state-by-state polling data for the rest of the election period, if there is going to be as much of a shake up as I believe there could be.  

More later… enjoy the ride.