Swing State Pres

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dashboard Update....Still Blue But Ever Tighter (August 27, 2012)

On the eve of the conventions the race couldn’t be much closer.  Obama has the advantage, consistently, across many polls and measures – but it is slight.  The conventions, while unnervingly scripted and lacking real news, nevertheless represent a potential momentum shifter for a campaign that has been remarkably consistent for months, perhaps a testament to the cautious nature of the two candidates.

I just watched the documentary “The Making of the President: 1960” based on the book of the same name (a MUST READ), and it is amazing how consequential the Democratic convention was back then.  Of the five major candidates, only Kennedy and Humphrey entered the primaries, and only a few of them at that.  The three other major candidates, Johnson, Symington and Stevenson, chose to forego them on the assumption that they had nothing to prove to the party bosses (governors, mayors and the like) who controlled the state delegations.  Thus all the candidates (except Humphrey, who had dropped out) met with many state delegations at the convention itself to woo votes.  It was an incredibly different time.  (Kennedy won on the first ballot, and it took all the way until Wyoming in the roll call to put him over the top.)

At this point, here in 2012, the Republicans must be asking themselves, “exactly why did we pick Tampa as our site at the peak of the hurricane season?”  They have already delayed the proceedings by one day….and it appears to have been for naught, as the storm has largely bypassed Tampa.

There is the even more uncomfortable possibility that Isaac may hit New Orleans hard on Wednesday, which is coincidentally the seventh anniversary of Katrina.  Footage of Katrina, and the association with a notable Bush failure -- or worse, a new real time devastation -- is hardly the backdrop the Republicans want that night.  At the very least, the storm coverage is competing for attention with the convention.  But let’s hope, of course, that the storm dies down in the Gulf before reaching land. 

Conventions normally provide a bounce, but given the proximity of the two conventions (the Dems are the next week) it’s hard to say what the effect might be.  My bet is both sides do well and then the real game – the post-Labor Day campaign – is on.

The Obameter.  The Obameter dropped to +3.3, largely on my judgment that the Ryan pick qualifies as an “event,” that is, something that changes the conversation and the polling in one candidate’s favor.  This is only the second “event” of the campaign, the other being the string of successes Obama enjoyed in June, when the trifecta of his public support of gay marriage, his new non-deportation immigration executive order, and, most importantly, the Supreme Court positive verdict on the Affordable Health Care Act gave him a heady upsurge which he has held since.

While the Ryan bounce was small by historical standards, in a close race it registered nonetheless and polling since that announcement has simply been tighter, both nationally and in swing states.


OBAMETER
Baseline




1-Jan
11-Aug
18-Aug
25-Aug
Unemployment Rate
8.7
8.3
8.3
8.3
Consumer Confidence
65.0
65.9
65.9
65.9
Price of Gas (avg. for week)
3.32
3.78
3.78
3.80
Dow-Jones (avg. for week)
    12,076
       13,167
       13,206
       13,173
Romney Favorability (average)
38.0
44.8
45.5
45.8
"Events"
0
5
5
0





Unemployment Rate
8.7
4
4
4
Consumer Confidence
65
1
1
1
Price of Gas (avg. for week)
3.32
-5
-5
-5
Dow-Jones (average for week)
    12,076
11
11
11
Romney Favorability (average)
38
-7
-8
-8
"Events"
0
5
5
0





OBAMETER
0.0
9.4
9.1
3.3
Obama versus Romney
1.1
4.7
3.4
1.3




The Charisma Factor.   Romney broke into positive net favorability territory for the first time in a while.  He still trails Obama by a solid margin, as reflected in Obama’s +4.6 Charisma Factor.  But it is progress nonetheless for Romney.  If there is one area where the convention could really help Romney, it is in “humanizing” him – telling his story, using Ann Romney to maximum effect.  Is there a warmer, cuddly Mitt to be found?  Let’s check the Charisma Factor in two weeks.


Fav
Unfav
Net
Obama
50.8
45.0
5.8
Romney
45.8
44.6
1.2
Net


4.6


Latest Polling.  There have been a plethora of polls (I should probably say a “veritable plethora” in fact – is there any other kind of plethora than a veritable one?) since the Ryan announcement, and they continue to reflect the modest bounce.   Obama’s national polling lead is +1.3 points on average….his narrowest in a while.  You have to chalk this up to the intense focus on Ryan, who has brought life and energy to a campaign devoid of both, regardless of his policies (which are still in the nascent stages of being articulated and challenged).


Nat'l Polls
Obama
46.8%
Romney
45.5%
Diff
1.3%




Swing States.   Face it, much as I love the Obameter, the Charisma Factor, and national polls, nothing is more important than the swing state polls.  Here Obama gained ground in the last week.  Florida is now a dead heat (and ties goes to Obama in my book, due to the Charisma Factor), and Virginia slipped back into Obama’s camp, albeit narrowly.  But aside from Pennsylvania and New Hampshire (for Obama) and Missouri (for Romney), all the other races are within the MOE (margin of error).  Directionally, Obama maintains his stubborn, narrow lead in most, and on average his swing state lead is 1.5 points.

26-Aug
Electoral
Polling
Since
1-Aug

Votes
Obama
Romney
Obama +/-
Pennsylvania
20
50.0
41.0
9.0
New Hampshire
4
51.0
45.0
6.0
Colorado
9
48.5
45.5
3.0
Nevada
6
47.0
45.0
2.0
Michigan
16
46.7
44.7
2.0
Ohio
18
47.0
45.3
1.7
Wisconsin
10
48.2
46.8
1.4
Virginia
13
47.3
46.7
0.6
Florida
29
46.3
46.3
0.0
North Carolina
15
46.5
47.5
-1.0
Iowa
6
44.0
46.0
-2.0
Missouri
10
44.0
49.3
-5.3

156


1.5


Electoral College Projection.   And those leads translate into an impressive margin in the projected Electoral College, by over 100.  Romney simply must make a swing state move at some point, as millions of dollars of negative SuperPAC ads have not been able to dent Obama’s lead.


Solid
Swing
Total
Obama
201
125
326
Romney
181
31
212


Popular Vote Projection.  Obama still has a 1.9 point lead in the projected popular vote, and continues to hold a majority of voters. 


Vote
%
Obama
 65,215,853
50.2%
Romney
 62,730,853
48.3%
Other
   1,988,683
1.5%


As always, comments welcome! 

Comments welcome!

2 comments:

  1. Tom,
    I'm surprised that we aren't hearing more from the good people of Massachusetts about the relative success or failure of the Romney health care model. One of Romney's key pledges has been to do away w/Obamacare, but with its similarity to Romneycare, I would think a germane question would be: how well has it worked in Mass? Why hasn't the press bombarded us w/tales from Mass on how great/terrible that health care overhaul has been. I don't follow every development on the campaigns, but I have hardly heard anything (empirical or anecdotal) on that front. Have I been missing something?

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  2. It is interesting how little play RomneyCare gets. That's in part because neither candidate wants to talk about it. The Massachusetts story is fairly straightforward. The percentage of uninsured Bay Staters is down from 6% to 2%, and 62% approve the law versus 33% disapprove. The verdict on costs control is mixed, with some showing fast rising state costs and other showing lower-than-national average premium growth. Mitt Romney's approach is that it is working in Massachusetts but not good for the nation. But he does not explain why, nor, even more maddeningly, does anyone drill down on this with him. Maybe at the debates? I suspect we will see more detailed analysis of Romneycare during the stretch drive.

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