Back on Wednesday, we pointed out that President Obama’s polling in Ohio was only slightly worse than where he was at the same point in 2008:
In 2008, Obama’s average in the polls for support in Ohio was 49.2%. Today, it’s 48.9%. You read that right. Obama’s lost only .3% of the support he had in 2008. Romney is polling a little better than 3 points than McCain was because there are fewer undecided voters this cycle.
But that was Wednesday, and we’ve had even more polling since then in Ohio. So, where does the race for President stand in Ohio now, just two days out compared to the same point in 2008, according to RealClearPolitics, a conservative polling/political news aggregator?
President Obama has a slightly larger lead over Mitt Romney today than he did at this point in 2008. Let’s say that again: the polls today say that President Obama is doing slightly better now than he was doing against McCain-Palin. And there’s plenty of reasons to believe that’s accurate. First, Romney has been nationally losing whatever bounce he got from the first debate and the race was reverting back to its pre-convention margins. Second, Mitt probably seriously hurt himself in NWO when he falsely suggested that Jeep was planning to move U.S. production to China, something so outrageous the entire auto industry publicly blasted him. Third, the President is getting wide approval for his handling of Sandy, which deprived Romney of at least two newscycles in which to try to regain the momentum.
We said on Wednesday that Romney was doing +3 better than McCain was. But that was virtually entirely erased, as you can see on the chart, McCain had a last week surge in Ohio. This time, President Obama has the momentum.
Seven out of the ten last polls in Ohio have President Obama polling at or above 50%; Romney is 0 for 7 and only has one hit the 50% mark in one Ohio poll during the entire election.
In virtually all the polling for which crosstabs are available (Quinnipiac being the sole exception we found), President Obama is either tied or has double digit leads with independents. Obama’s smallest leads come in polls with a +3 or +4 D sample advantage. That’s half of the Democratic advantage turnout in ‘08. Pollsters getting a +9 D advantage in their sample aren’t weighing the results to get that sample. That’s how the respondents self-identify themselves to the pollster. If you look at the demographics of the average Republican voter, especially in Ohio, you’re seeing someone who is old and white, and slowing dying out and getting outnumbered by other more Democratic constituencies. If you don’t think that John Kasich and SB 5 didn’t increase the number of Ohioans who now consider themselves Democratic, then you were probably making the same polling arguments in 2011 before the vote on Issue 2. You were proven wrong then.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” The arguments being raised by conservatives in Ohio about the polls are the same arguments they made in 2011, 2008, and 2006.
But here’s a good primer from Gallup why the “party sample too Democratic meme” is just wrong.
The other conservative argument is that the polls can’t be believed because Republicans are so enthused about voting for . . . Mitt Romney?!? Let’s be honest, they’re enthused to vote against Barack Obama and for Paul Ryan, and that’s it.
First, the enthusiasm gap isn’t anywhere close to what it was in 2010 in Ohio. And second, even an unenthusiastic voter matters so long as they still vote. And that’s the metric these conservatives keep missing. The difference between the two parties is that Republicans say they are pumped about voting; Democrats are pumping the vote. Every poll in Ohio is giving Democrats a double-digit lead on the early vote which is remarkable since the Kasich-led GOP legislature has largely succeeded in reducing most early voting to absentee voting by mail, which historically Republicans have had an edge in turnout votes cast by that manner. Instead, it appears Democrats have the edge.
On average, the polling shows Obama +2 and Brown +5. You have to wonder how much the lack of a more competitive Senate race hurts Romney and helps Obama.
Could Romney still win Ohio? Yes, if you don’t vote like other Democrats failed to vote in 2010. That’s Romney’s last hope, just as it was McCain and Palin’s in 2008. We’ve done it before, let’s do it again.