Swing State Pres

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dashboard Reset...Romney Roars Back to Tie-Land (October 8, 2012)

We’ve got a ballgame.

It is clear that the first debate has jolted the election.  We were starting to see signs that the whole race was slipping away from Romney, and suddenly, that has all changed.  Right now, this race is dead even.

Now, to be clear, that may not last.  The momentum from Romney’s stellar performance will likely abate.  Obama will perform better in future debates, one has to think.  The macro environment is generally improving.  And, as one pundit said, if the best Romney can do is create a tie after the biggest night of his campaign, that’s a problem.

Personally, I think the debate had a lot more to do with Obama’s performance than Romney’s.  Sure, Romney did well…he had command of data (note I didn’t say “facts,” as quite a bit of the “data” was wrong), he connected a bit more emotionally with the electorate, he look relaxed and he attacked successfully.  But most of the talk is really about how off Obama was…and how if Obama had been on his game, Romney left himself open for major counterattacks.  And had Obama performed better, the “firing Big Bird” bit might even have made it into “memorable gaffe-land." Of all the targets to pick as an example of wasteful Federal spending, he picks Big Bird?  He couldn’t have found some bridge to nowhere?)

But for now, the race is virtually tied.  Period.  And Romney should be thrilled by the impact of that first debate on public opinion.

Let’s get to the numbers.

Latest National Polling.  There are four major daily tracking polls – Gallup, Rasmussen, Reuters/Ipsos and Rand -- and those are the only polls that are current, with healthy post-debate data.  During the coming week we should expect to see the major news organization release their own polls, but none have as yet.

I have put together the chart below on pre/post debate polling.  Gallup, Rasmussen and Reuters/Ipsos are “clean” on pre/post.  Rand is a 7-day tracker so it still has some “pre” interviews included in the last seven days (the post).  That may explain why Rand is a bit of an outlier with Obama up +4, while the other “posts” are even or +2.

It appears Obama’s national lead has narrowed by 3 points, from roughly a 4 point lead to a 1 point lead.  My guess is that it would have been worse if not for the very favorable jobs report on Friday.



Pre
Post


9/28-10/3
10/4 - 10/7
Average
Obama
48.3
47.8

Romney
44.5
46.3

Diff
3.8
1.5




Gallup
Obama
49
47

Romney
45
47

Diff
4
0




Rassmessen
Obama
49
48

Romney
47
48

Diff
2
0




Reuters/Ipsos
Obama
46
47

Romney
41
45

Diff
5
2




Rand
Obama
49
49

Romney
45
45

Diff
4
4


Swing States.   Obama seems to have been hurt even worse in the swing states.  Only five of the ten swing states have done polls since October 4th (the day after the debate).  In those polls, Obama’s 5-point lead (on average) has evaporated.


Elec
        Last Week
       
      This Week
Margin

Votes
O - R
O Marg.
O - R
O Margin
Change
Wisconsin
10
51-44
+7
49-47
+2
-5
Colorado
9
51-46
+5
49-48
+1
-6
Ohio
18
50-43
+7
48-48
0
-7
Virginia
13
48-46
+2
48-48
0
-2
Florida
29
48-47
+1
47-49
-2
-3
All Five
79
50-45
+5
48-48
0
-5


As a way of gauging where the swing states MIGHT be right now. I have taken that five-point change in the polled states to the other five swing (the ones with no post-debate polls as yet) states in an attempt to get at the true state of the election as of this date.  That is what this chart reflects, with the “adjusted” states in italics.  (But note well, for the italicized states, this data is NOT actual polling data, and when actual polling comes in, results could differ.)

8-Oct
Electoral
Polling
Since
10/4
5 actual/
5 adjusted
Votes
Obama
Romney
Obama +/-
New Hampshire
4
50.0
45.0
5.0
Wisconsin
10
49.0
47.0
2.0
Nevada
6
49.0
48.0
1.0
Colorado
9
49.0
48.0
1.0
Ohio
18
48.0
48.0
0.0
Virginia
13
47.7
48.0
-0.3
North Carolina
15
48.0
50.5
-2.5
Florida
29
46.5
49.0
-2.5
Iowa
6
47.0
50.0
-3.0
Missouri
10
43.5
53.0
-9.5

120


-1.4


In this adjusted reality, Obama still leads in four states.  Ohio and Virginia are virtually even, and Romney has gone ahead (versus last week) in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida and extended his lead in Missouri (as I said last week, basically Missouri is not a swing state).

What does this do to the overall electoral college map?  Tighten it, of course.  Obama still leads 284-254, but that is giving him dead-heat Ohio (based on the “Charisma Factor.”)  In this scenario, we are up until dawn on Election night tracking Ohio and possibly counting the equivalent of hanging chads there for a month or so while the court case goes on.


Solid
Swing
Total
Obama
237
47
284
Romney
181
73
254


I suspect the gap will widen again before the next debate, and we may be back to where we were before the conventions:  Obama up by 2 points nationally and narrowly ahead in most of the swing states.

The Obameter.  The Obameter is now down to +9.4.  The drop in the unemployment rate was a big help to Obama, as was the rising stock market.  Consumer confidence, as noted last week, has much improved.  Essentially, with Europe shows signs of stability, the Fed’s QE3 easing policy announced and in place, the unemployment rate dropping and gas prices topping out (except in California), the macro environment is substantially improved since January. 

But campaign events are asserting themselves.  I gave Romney 20 points (or rather, took 20 points away from Obama) on the Obameter for his debate performance – clearly a huge material impact, at least in the short term – and Obama +5 points for the jobs numbers, for a net of -15 for the week.

So the Obameter fell dramatically, but it is still in a positive zone for him.  It is back where it was over the summer, before Paul Ryan, Todd Akin, the conventions, Libya, the 47%, et al.  It’s back in the zone that suggests a narrow lead for Obama.

Here’s a look at where the Obameter has been on a monthly basis since the end of April.  The range of the Obameter has been as high as 22 and down to a brief foray into the “Red Zone.”  The race itself has been between 0 to +4 for Obama.

OBAMETER
Baseline








1-Jan
30-Apr
31-May
2-Jul
30-Jul
2-Sep
30-Sep
8-Oct
Unemployment Rate
8.7
8.2
8.1
8.2
8.2
8.3
8.1
7.8
Consumer Confidence
65.0
68.7
64.9
62.0
62.0
60.6
70.3
70.3
Price of Gas (avg. for week)
3.32
3.96
3.79
3.41
3.51
3.84
3.89
3.87
Dow-Jones (avg. for week)
    12,076
  13,031
  12,722
  12,625
  12,796
  13,085
  13,471
  13,535
Romney Favorability (avg.)
38.0
36.6
45.2
42.8
43.1
43.6
45.7
47.0
"Events"
0
0
0
5
5
0
10
-5









Unemployment Rate
8.7
5
6
5.0
5
4
6
9
Consumer Confidence
65
4
0
-3.0
-3
-4
5
5
Price of Gas (avg. for week)
3.32
-6
-5
-0.9
-2
-5
-6
-6
Dow-Jones (avg. for week)
    12,076
10
6
5.5
7
10
14
15
Romney Favorability (avg.)
38
1
-7
-4.8
-5
-6
-8
-9
"Events"
0
0
0
5.0
5
0
10
-5









OBAMETER
0.0
13.3
0.5
6.8
7.2
-1.1
21.9
9.4
Obama versus Romney
1.1
3.5
1.5
3.2
1.3
0.3
4.5
1.7


The Charisma Factor.   There is no “post debate” data upon which to revise the “Charisma Factor.”  Based on the latest pre-debate polling, Obama still leads, at +7.8.  We’ll see….but I suspect that is still true, though by a smaller margin.


Fav
Unfav
Net
Obama
52.2
45.8
6.4
Romney
47.0
48.4
-1.4
Net


7.8


Popular Vote Projection.  Accordingly, the popular vote projection tightened, with Obama under 50% and the gap at less than a point.


Vote
%
Obama
 64,204,411
49.4%
Romney
 63,793,787
49.1%
Other
   1,988,683
1.5%



As always, comments welcome! 


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