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May 30, 2012


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To me, the major thing in this poll is that the crosstabs show that Romney leads just 48%-40% amongst whites with 12% undecided (while just 3% of blacks are undecided). McCain won whites 57%-42% while Blunt got about 63% so I think it's quite likely Romney will in fact win Missouri.

In many respects, the Show Me State has become more southern than midwestern.


So Romney is down in Missouri, N. Carolina, Ohio, Fla. etc etc etc. yet is running even in the national polls. It just doesn't make sense. Either these states are lagging the national polls, or you are underestimating Republicans that haven't yet warmed to Romney but will in the end while other pollsters have already made their adjustments. There can't be another explanation. When I saw that you had only 78% of Republicans voting for Romney in PA, I knew you were failing to adjust your numbers appropriately.


If it's "unlikely" for Obama to win with a 44% approval rating, doesn't it make it "impossible" for Romney to win with even a much lower approval rating of 38%?

Moreover, Missouri is a state where the republicans have outperform their national margin by 4.74% in 2004 and 7.14% in 2008. That Obama is leading, even by 1 point, in state the leans GOP projects poorly for Romney.

Dustin Ingalls

Jay, you can't "make adjustments" in how many Democrats or Republicans or independents are voting for particular candidates. That's not polling. That's called fabrication.

Arnold Roth

In answer to Jay...
(Cost maybe?)
Well, there is a bit of a in-built Romney house effect in the National Polls right now.

Ras, which has a ridiculous 2.8% R advantage in samples even BEFORE they put their LV Voodoo into effect is heavily weighting national polls due to its daily numbers.

Gallup, which also has a daily poll is facing serious questions about under-sampling minorities in their counts.

Both these polls have it essentially tied right now even with that bias.

Once you get away from those polls, most national polls have a 3-4 point Obama lead.

Obama will not carry MO in all likelihood. But the fact he is close there tells me Nationally he is probably a bit ahead (3-4 points).

And as to PA...

PA Republican tend to vote Democratic in the suburbs of Philadelphia nationally.

Ras has very similar numbers to PPP in PA even using their LV magic, so I don't think your citing of PA has merit.

Jay Thompson

I believe there is no chance for Obama to win Missouri. I mean, Missouri is CLEARLY a SWING state. However, it leans to the RIGHT. I find it unlikely for OBAMA to win in 2012 in the state.

Tom Johnson

How do you know a Republican has posted a comment? The analysis makes no sense whatsoever.

If Obama is only trailing Romney among whites by 8 points, there's no way Romney takes Missouri.

Tom Johnson

In answer to Jay's question about why the national polls are so tight yet Obama is doing well in states, the reasoning is that Obama is getting hammered in red states where he is not campaigning like ND, MT, etc. Also, Romney has tightened up things in New England - even though he won't win there - and Romney is cruising in the deep south. That is why the national polls are tightening and yet Obama is beating Romney in states like Ohio where he is actively campaigning.

Peter Peirce

Would have been interesting to see the effects of a third party candidate like Johnson here, with the low sense of excitement for either major party candidate.

Brian J

In a lot of ways, it's more important for Obama to contest Missouri to help out Sen. McCaskill, and that's exactly why I think he will be there, short of things getting really, really bad. (It's certainly possible for someone unpopular to hurt others in his/her party, but for that to happen, I think this person would need to be REALLY unpopular.) Let's remember that Kerry managed to win about 46 percent of the vote, despite the nationwide gains made by Republicans in 2004. If Obama's able to get around the same, McCaskill should be able to pull it out. And of course, if he wins, she almost certainly wins.

Can he win? I haven't look at the specific numbers in a while, but I suspect he gain, despite the fact that he didn't in 2008. No doubt no two election are the same, but McCain seems like the perfect sort of Republican for conservative Democrats; I am not sure we can say the same for Romney.

Were I running the Obama campaign in the state, I would try to do two things. First, I would focus on the smaller counties in the state, where Obama was killed last time, and leave no stone unturned looking for votes. It might seem pointless to worry about losing by 20 points instead of 25, for instance, but all of those extra votes per county add up to a lot. (Had he gotten to, say, 40 percent in Camden County instead of 35 percent, that would have been worth about 1,000 more votes in 2008.) Second, I would try to do the same in the bigger, urban counties, but with smaller additions in mind--like getting to 62 percent instead of 60 percent in St. Louis County, for instance. In both cases, but in particular in the smaller counties, this is a pound-the-pavement strategy, so money is not necessarily as integral as having manpower is.


In this sample, the D/R/I breakdown is 35/33/33*. If we use this split and give Romney the same numbers of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents that McCain got in 2008 (11, 93, and 51 percent), this gives him 51.37 percent of the vote. That might be too low, for any number of reasons--he might get more Republicans to come out and/or vote for him, or he might win more Indies than McCain, for instance--but it's hard to say. It's pure speculation, but play with the numbers yourself by making reasonable guesses and then see what you come up with.

*In comparison, CNN has it at 40/34/26 for 2008. Sometimes, the cross tabs seem off, but the top line results seem reliable, so...


I wonder if it's a matter of Romney not losing, but just winning poorly. A win is a win, sure, but while I don't necessarily think this, many people Missouri has taken a rightward turn in recent years. If so, and if Obama could/should/will do worse in 2012 than in 2008, shouldn't he win it at least as easily as Obama wins, say, Oregon?


I can understand your skepticism with the cross tabs in regards to white voters. But on the same note, why would Romney win nine percent of black voters? McCain did well with them, but what does Romney offer and/or how has be courted them?

My point, as I indicated to another commentator, is that the top line results should be trusted, even if the cross tabs are off. Mostly, anyway. I believe the polls showing Obama in trouble in Pennsylvania from 2011 were more right than wrong, even if Romney was winning an unreasonably large number of black voters in the state.

Tom Johnson

Btw, one thing which completely escapes most analysts from coast to coast is that the white birthrate has fallen off throughout the nation whereas the black community is still growing quickly, even in missouri. Please check out this link to see my point: projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/map

Therefore, African American will continue to take up the same if not a larger share of the vote in these states whereas the percentage of white voters will continue to fall.

And the crosstabs for this poll aren't even that generous to Mr. Obama. In the crosstabs, blacks made up only 11% of this poll whereas in the exit poll for 2008, they made up 13% of the voters. And again, the black community is growing faster than whites in Missouri so it could potentially be a pickup for Obama, but if the economy is static heading into election day it could remain with Republicans, but only by a small amount.


I think the comment about Romney's percentage of white voters was meant to imply that Romney will likely pick up more white support than he currently shows, and therefore would improve his standing in the state.

Obama 2012

Wait until the average American (who isn't a political junkie like we are) finds out what a lying scumbag Romney is. This is Romney's highwater point.

Brian J

Tom Johnson,

I think you (mostly) hit the nail on the head with your comments in regards to the divergence between swing state polls and national polls. It's possible to get a rough correlation between the two, but when talking about something like the white vote, those in the media never seem to get it right, ignoring the fact that he can still lose the white vote in the many states and still win easily.

You are right that dramatically lopsided results can skew the numbers in one direction. Considering that it doesn't really matter if Obama gets 11 or 15 percent of Louisiana whites since he is likely to lose the state, national polls are from the best indicator.

Still, I don't agree that he's necessarily trailing in states like North Dakota or Montana, since we haven't had many, if any, polls from such states. He could be, but considering they aren't Arkansas, he could be doing a lot better than we might imagine. And since a lot of these marginal states have important senate races, I wouldn't be surprised to see the campaign there, if resources will allow it.

Todd Dugdale

Jay wrote:
"you are underestimating Republicans that haven't yet warmed to Romney but will in the end".

So now PPP is supposed to predict who will "warm to" a candidate several months from now....and 'adjust' for that.

Mark B.

I would have liked to see Libertarian nominee Johnson included.

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