I apologize for not having blogged much in the past 3 days, but was quite busy with travel and meetings. I’m now back in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio visiting family after spending time in Williamstown, Massachusetts attending to responsibilities with the Society of Alumni for America’s finest liberal arts college.
Like most conservatives, I was surprised to see the bounce Obama got out of the convention in Charlotte. I attribute much of that to Bill Clinton’s speech, making the best possible case for the man who holds the job he once held.
I’ll admit being nervous about Obama’s better-than-expected bounced after a speech less well receive than anticipated. Some bloggers have noted that it has already begun to recede.
But, buried in the internals of two polls are numbers which suggest that the pollsters’ sampling may have crafted the lead for Mr. Obama.
First, some background. In the 2008 election, independent voters comprised 29% of the electorate and broke for Obama by a margin of 52-44, or, an 8-point difference. His national margin over McCain was just over 7 points.
Republicans this year are far more motivated to vote than they were four years ago, so we should expect that Democratic turnout will not be 7 points higher than Republican turnout as it was in 2008. (UPDATE: I recall seeing data suggesting the number of independents is increasing; will see if I can track that down.)
So, the numbers in the internals. The latest poll from the Democratic firm, Public Policy Polling, shows Obama up 5 points in Ohio, yet Romney has a 46-44 lead among independents. “If Romney is up by two in this demographic,” observes Ed Morrissey, “that’s a ten-point swing among what had been 28-30% of the turnout in Ohio elections.”
A CNN poll has Obama topping 50% and besting Romney by six points, but one of Morrissey’s Hot Air colleagues wonders how Obama can build that kind of lead while the Republican enjoys a 14-point advantage among independents?*
By what voter projection model could Obama be leading by six if he’s trailing among independents by double digits?
Another problem with the PPP poll is that it shows Obama leading among Ohio seniors. In 2008, McCain won that demographic (nationally) by 8 points.
So, yeah, I’m nervous because polls show Obama ahead, but am not panicking, not when two separate surveys show Romney up among independents.
*”Unskewed,” writes Dean Chambers, the data from this poll “reveals a 53 percent to 45 percent lead for Romney.” (Read the whole thing for his analysis.)
UPDATE: Another poll has Romney up among independents. Ed Morrissey comments on the latest Washington Post/ABC News polls (which oversamples Democrats):
Among independents, Obama’s job approval is 45/50 with 37% strongly disapproving. That’s probably why Romney’s beating Obama among likely independent voters by eleven points, 54/43. Obama won independents by eight in 2008 on his way to a seven point victory overall. That’s a 19-point swing among independents.
Read the whole thing.
UP-UPDATE: Boy, how I do love HotAir. Sure makes my job easier in finding crucial details inside polls. Now, they found that Romney holds “a narrow lead among independents” in New Jersey:
Interestingly, while Obama won New Jersey by 15 in 2008, he only beat John McCain among independents by four, 51/47. An eight-point swing in this demo would tend to erode the overall lead, but wouldn’t be decisive if the turnout model remains the same as 2008.