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How big is Romney’s advantage among independents?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:22 am - November 5, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Today, we saw a plethora of polls released, nearly all showing the same thing, the presidential race as a dead heat.  It’s not just a turnout game.  Or is it?

Republicans are convinced Romney is going to win.  Democrats certain Obama will be elected to a second term.  Jim Hoft is offering regular Romney landslide watches.  Democratic prognosticators are fine-tuning the likelihood of an Obama victory.  Over at the National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru commented that he’d “never seen as big a divergence in expectations about a presidential election less than a week away.

So, where do we stand?

At the gym, I looked up to see Wolf Blitzer teasing us about a new CNN poll; I had expected bad news for Mitt Romney, given that network’s surveys tendency to oversample Democrats.  But, it showed the race a dead heat, with both candidates tied at 49.

I wondered if that might be good news for Republicans, assuming it oversample Democrats —  and vowed to look at the internals when I got home.  Fortunately, Jim Hoft and Joel Pollak had already done that.  Both found that the survey showed an electorate 3 percent more Democratic than in 2008. Independents broke for Romney by over 20 points.

Does he really have a lead that big?  The Pew poll only showed him with an edge of 3 points among independents.

In the end, this race will boil down to the independent voters.  They seem to be breaking for Romney, but Hurricane Sandy may have helped Obama improve his standing with them.

UPDATE:  Three recent polls show Romney with double-digit leads among independent voters.  (Via Guy Benson.)

UP=UPDATE:  Observing that, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Obama gained ground with independents, Josh Jordan crunched the numbers of recent polls and found:

Over the last few days the independents have been returning back to Romney, however, indicating that the final vote Tuesday might revert back to polling from the days just before Sandy made landfall. Rasmussen has seen Romney’s lead with independents jump from three points to fifteen. The Washington Post tracking poll moved from a tie with independents on Saturday to a three-point lead for Romney on Sunday.

In the national non-tracking polls, Romney has continued to enjoy leads with independents as well. The Pew poll taken in the days after Sandy has Romney up three among independents while the NBC/WSJ poll released yesterday that showed Obama up one point overall has Romney up seven with independents. A CNN national poll released last night has a tied race, but Romney is up 22 points with independents.



  1. I’m in contact with friends and family in the NY/NJ area and watching the news reports and it appears that people in that area are not as enthralled with the President as they appeared to be in the beginning. Getting utilities back on and the lack of response from FEMA (especially with FEMA running out of food and water) has dampened the spirits of many. Add to that long gas lines and the coming cold front, and the independents I talk to and hear about are leaning toward the GOP and away from the liberals. Hopefully the feeling will prevail through the election period. I expect there will be challenges and I don’t expect we will know immediately who the winner is.

    Comment by Steve — November 5, 2012 @ 3:10 am - November 5, 2012

  2. On the topic of Hurricane Sandy, in addition to giving the sociopaths something to cheer about, hasn’t it exposed Michael Bloomberg for the fanatical whackjob that he is?

    – He won’t let the National Guard patrol neighborhoods where looting is a problem because they carry guns, and in Bloomer’s world, all guns are bad.

    – He tried to go forward with the NYC Marathon while people were dying, because like some deranged dictator, he put spectacle ahead of the practical business of Government.

    – He won’t suspend (or ask the Governor to suspend) regulations about the import and sale of gasoline to allow it to get through to people who need it; because of his fanatical devotion to environmental extremism and refusal to let capitalism work out the problem of fuel shortages.

    Bloomberg is a nutjob; and he endorsed Obama.

    Comment by V the K — November 5, 2012 @ 5:48 am - November 5, 2012

  3. It won’t even be close. To argue, as the media has, that “it’s a dead heat,” they continue to oversample Democrats well in excess of the 2008 turnout — and it’s already a given that the Dems aren’t going to exceed that rate. Many, if they won’t vote Romney, just won’t vote.

    It’s going to be a landslide, unless the Dems conduct major fraud well beyond the margin of error.

    Thanks for posting!

    Comment by Acethepug — November 5, 2012 @ 6:47 am - November 5, 2012

  4. Wow, what an ad. If this doesn’t get you excited, don’t know what will…

    Comment by Steve — November 5, 2012 @ 6:52 am - November 5, 2012

  5. I think it will be close.

    I think it will be close enough that I don’t know who will win. I still think Obama has the edge in that he can afford to lose more battleground states than Romney-simply because he owns so many big electoral vote states.

    I think it is going to end up being a matter of who votes. I have serious doubts that the democrats will turn out in numbers as high as +ll, and while I do think many of the independents are disgruntled republicans, there is no way all of them are. The math just doesn’t add up.

    Comment by Just Me — November 5, 2012 @ 7:03 am - November 5, 2012

  6. Judging by the crowd that I joined at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport yesterday to see Paul Ryan yesterday, Obama does not have Minnesota in the bag. Even if Obama wins MN by 1 or 2, that portends losses in a number of more conservative swing states. In other words, the fact that MN is even competitive shows it unlikely that Obama will win in the states he needs to reach 270. And I think in a lot of states like MN, there are no small number of Democrats who are not only ambivalent about Obama but also think he will win their state anyway, and many won’t bother to vote. I think the other side will take it for granted that Romney can’t win states like MN, MI, and PA while our side won’t take that for granted.

    Romney is going to win IN, FL, VA, and NC, besides all the states McCain won. So, Obama can only lose 20 electoral votes among OH, NV, CO, IA, MN, WI, MI, PA, and NH. It’s possible for Obama to lose a couple of those and squeeze by in the others, but you can’t like those odds if you’re the Obama team.

    Comment by chad — November 5, 2012 @ 7:20 am - November 5, 2012

  7. In the end, it will come down to if the GOP’s Get Out the Vote is better than the Dem’s Get Out the Fraud.

    Comment by V the K — November 5, 2012 @ 7:41 am - November 5, 2012

  8. […] Really, I guess that would be the case with a +11D skewed poll. Sorry, but as referenced at the Gay Patriot, with Romney ahead in so many polls with Independents, how is it a tie? We have been told all […]

    Pingback by BOGUS CNN Poll has Race Tied Between Romney & Obama with a +11D Sampling | Scared Monkeys — November 5, 2012 @ 7:42 am - November 5, 2012

  9. In the end, it will come down to if the GOP’s Get Out the Vote is better than the Dem’s Get Out the Fraud.

    Sadly this is true.

    Comment by Just Me — November 5, 2012 @ 8:04 am - November 5, 2012

  10. The MSM conventional wisdom is based on 2004 and 2008 turnout. The MSM conventional wisdom has it neck in neck and down to the wire for very practical reasons: selling their narrative for as long as possible and then breaking into a sweat to be the first to call a state for Romney or Obama and doing all manner of crystal ball modifications based on the last five minutes and the upcoming 20 minutes. It is a manufactured charade.

    The Christian right has not been factored into the polls. The TEA Party has been ignored. For all intents and purposes, 2012 never happened. There are 24 million or more people who have been counting down the days to this election so that they can pull the lever against Obama so hard that it sets the machine on fire.

    In 1980, my wife and I climbed into our new hot tub with a buffet of drinks and nibbles and the portable TV sitting nearby to spend the night watching the Carter-Reagan returns. At 8:15, NBC called the election for Reagan.

    Tuesday, we will be forced to wait until California shuts its doors, but the Romney landslide will be readily apparent early in the evening.

    How does Romney “trickle up” to tying Obama in PA without the MSM conventional wisdom going into hyperdrive? Simple, they want to keep it close to the very last minute to impress their voters (Democrats) to get out and vote and stop Romney at the finish line. What would compel them to discourage their voters?

    Comment by heliotrope — November 5, 2012 @ 8:26 am - November 5, 2012

  11. Just to add to V the K’s thoughts in his first comment… it’s my feeling that any boost Obama may have gotten from Sandy would be nullified by 1) Bloomberg’s handling of the situation (NatGuard, marathon) and 2) the stories, mainly centering around Staten Island, of people still not having their needs met.

    Independents, I’d think, would look at this and realize we need to change how things are done.

    Comment by Dale — November 5, 2012 @ 8:55 am - November 5, 2012

  12. is that CNN poll the same one that has a +11 on dems?
    +11 and they only get a tie?

    Comment by JP — November 5, 2012 @ 9:10 am - November 5, 2012

  13. also, there is a chance Mitt wins popular by a large amount but 0bama stays with Electoral…Bet the dems will be glad they didn’t changes all the rules after 2000 is it happens.

    Comment by JP — November 5, 2012 @ 9:12 am - November 5, 2012

  14. I am at peace whatever happens.

    Comment by V the K — November 5, 2012 @ 9:41 am - November 5, 2012

  15. Lefties online seem to think Sandy is some huge boost for their side (and that’s the main thing they care about, of course). Wishful thinking?

    I have to say, in my circles (which include lefties who have lives, more than the online type of leftie), Sandy hardly comes up as a topic of conversation, and never comes up in connection with Obama.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 5, 2012 @ 9:51 am - November 5, 2012

  16. The Union thuggery going on in the midst of the misery of people affected by Sandy has to reflect poorly on democrats.

    Comment by Ann Brooks — November 5, 2012 @ 9:52 am - November 5, 2012

  17. Political parties do more harm than good. An ideal world wouldn’t need them. Then again, an ideal world wouldn’t try to convince itself it needs food stamps.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 5, 2012 @ 9:54 am - November 5, 2012

  18. I am at peace whatever happens.

    You?! Our resident SCOAMF acronym-user?? Or are you playing nice because someone from the OPM might be watching…

    Comment by RSG — November 5, 2012 @ 10:01 am - November 5, 2012

  19. One can recognize facts, even very negative facts – like Obama being a SCOAMF – while being at peace with whatever some election is going to decide.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 5, 2012 @ 10:05 am - November 5, 2012

  20. Agreed,

    The immediate impact will be if I go another $1800 in the hole in Nov 7th getting a PS-90 or not.

    Elsewise it’s keeping my job, paying off my debts, preparing for the worst, business as usual.

    Comment by The_Livewire — November 5, 2012 @ 10:08 am - November 5, 2012

  21. Here’s how to recognize that Obama is a SCOAMF, but NOT be at peace with whatever happens 🙂

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 5, 2012 @ 10:10 am - November 5, 2012

  22. I think it will be close.

    I think you’re right. There might even be a circa-2000 moment where a premature projection is made and an outlet or two has egg on their face. One of the chattering class was saying last night that if provisional ballots in Ohio have to be counted, it may be not until at least the 10th before we know who won.

    As far as rally crowd sizes go, Brit Hume made an interesting point on FNC last night: George McGovern had never-before seen crowd sizes in all of his last-minute campaign appearances. And yet, that translated to a 49-state loss. I don’t think that’s the case this year, but it is food for thought.

    Comment by RSG — November 5, 2012 @ 10:11 am - November 5, 2012

  23. The silver lining of the SCOAMF’s re-election is that it would hasten the demise of the USA in its current form. I have long thought our increasing cultural divide and impending fiscal bankruptcy make such a break up inevitable.

    So, the blue states can form their own country, and the red states can form our own country. They’ll have welfare, gay marriage, and 75% income tax rates. We’ll have jobs, energy, bacon, guns, football, and 20 oz sodas.

    I’m OK with that.

    Comment by V the K — November 5, 2012 @ 10:17 am - November 5, 2012

  24. I can’t say I am at peace with Obama winning, but I won’t be rioting in the streets or anything either-I will just hope in 2012 the GOP can re take the senate (I am pretty certain the GOP’s best senate result this time around will be a few more seats-I just don’t see them retaking the senate) and slow Obama’s ability to do damage down.

    Comment by Just Me — November 5, 2012 @ 10:28 am - November 5, 2012

  25. One can recognize facts, even very negative facts[…]while being at peace with whatever some election is going to decide.

    I’m not there yet. I was easily distracted in ’08, even after watching Republican friends and relatives buy into the hype of the Messiah, if for no other reason than my father died on Election Eve and having the following months (even way past inauguration) of my life get real complicated.

    This time around, not so much; particularly if the (un)Affordable Care Act stays mostly intact. That will make the outcome real personal, even if items like the debt crisis, the increasing welfare state, and “It’s their fault!” aren’t.

    Comment by RSG — November 5, 2012 @ 10:34 am - November 5, 2012

  26. RSG, just stock up on ammo and freeze dried food and wait for the chips to fall.

    Comment by V the K — November 5, 2012 @ 10:37 am - November 5, 2012

  27. We’ll have jobs, energy, bacon, guns, football, and 20 oz sodas.

    Those are definitely mostly red state provisions! I’ve always wondered what the day will look like when the blue states realize that, despite their paying more federal dollars into the the Treasury than they get back (and the opposite of many red states), they still don’t have the resources to singularly keep the lights on and keep warm in winter and cool in summer. [My state alone provides 20-25% of the coal used to produce electricity—and most of it heads towards the Atlantic.]

    Comment by RSG — November 5, 2012 @ 10:41 am - November 5, 2012

  28. Allow me to be my usual “cockeyed optimist” self. Folks, IT’S NOT GONNA BE CLOSE. This is going to be a HUGE repudiation of so-called “progressive” policies, and of our sitting narcissist in chief. Romney/Ryan are going to win, and WIN BIG.

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — November 5, 2012 @ 12:19 pm - November 5, 2012

  29. The Washington Post’s “The Fix” column analyses where President Obama has lost support since 2008. It is an interesting chart, and may portend bad news for the President. Governor Romney has lost little of Senator McCain’s 2008 voters and possibly picked up the GOP discontents who sat out 2008.

    Ohio early voting looks good for Romney, especially if 13% of the Democrat voters are defectors. I think Michael Barone has it right; Romney wins in a landslide.

    Comment by Pat D — November 5, 2012 @ 12:37 pm - November 5, 2012

  30. “In any event, there’s little evidence to say that undecideds are breaking in a big way. Note that they are also not “independents,” which are a different beast. Most independents have a distinct preference for a candidate, but not a party. Charles Franklin has analyzed undecideds and finds that they break nearly equally.”

    Comment by Passing By — November 5, 2012 @ 2:46 pm - November 5, 2012

  31. So, the blue states can form their own country, and the red states can form our own country. They’ll have welfare, gay marriage, and 75% income tax rates. We’ll have jobs, energy, bacon, guns, football, and 20 oz sodas.

    Poor little constantly purple NH is going to end up as part of the great state of Liberal New England rather than an Island of red in the midst.

    At least we will still have hockey, but I will be lucky if I can afford to heat my house in this Utopian State of Liberalism.

    Comment by Just Me — November 5, 2012 @ 6:34 pm - November 5, 2012

  32. I really wonder about people who would change their vote to Obama because he took advantage of a disaster related photo-opportunity. Obama in a bomber jacket didn’t change his policies (or lack of them), his vision (or lack of one) or his record (or lack of one).

    Comment by Brian Smaller — November 5, 2012 @ 8:06 pm - November 5, 2012

  33. Brian I was thinking the same thing.

    Looking good during a hurricane isn’t that diffiucult.

    Lying to the American people about Benghazi is a betrayal. But idiots will march to the poll and vote for the bomber jacket because he looked good in his photo ops, and ignore the cover up in Banghazi and the dismal state of our economy.

    Comment by Just Me — November 6, 2012 @ 8:38 am - November 6, 2012

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