Wednesday, July 25, 2012

NBC v. Fox News Presidential Poll Results

On Facebook, a Republican activist complained that the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which shows President Barack Obama up on Mitt Romney by 6 points, is tainted by the fact that 11% more Democrats than Republicans were polled.  I checked it out.  It is true.

Fox News also is regularly polling.  Fox's spread in partisanship runs about 4% in favor of the Democrats.  Fox News' poll shows Obama leading by 4 points.  That's not a lot different than the 6 point lead cited in the NBC News poll.

I have been shocked at how stable the polling has been this election season.  Obama has led in virtually every national poll, but generally only by a small margin.  In the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Romney has not led Obama since October of 2011, but the margin has never been more than 6 points.

Of course, national polls do not matter much in a presidential race.  It is all about state polls and, in particular, polls in key, swing states. That is where Romney struggles the most.  In key states like Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire, Romney is consistently shown as trailing. The only states he appears to have made progress thus far is in the Atlantic coastal states of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and South Carolina.  The latter Republican-dominated state looked competitive...briefly.

It is still early though, and Obama's lead is far from secure.  The key numbers that decide this election though won't be polling numbers but economic numbers.  If the economy turns sharply down into a double dip recession, which it shows signs of doing, then even a flawed candidate like Romney, who lacks any populist appeal in this era of populism, could upset President Obama. The old saying that "people vote their pocketbooks" is so true.

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