Surprise! (Or Not) Skewed Polls Tout Obama Leading Romney

J.R. | September 17, 2012 

Obama’s convention bounce is evaporating. Rasmussen today has Romney up 3 points. Today’s Gallup tracking poll had Obama up 5, a loss of 2 points over two days. Gallup's 7 day rolling average is expected to continue to come down over the next few days. The media continues to trumpet new polls which show Obama with 3 point lead nationally and significant leads in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

As is routine, these new polls oversample Democrats.

The loudest media coverage is touting new NBC/WSJ polls of three key swing states. The polls, purportedly of likely voters, show Obama with 5 point leads in Florida and Virginia and a 7 point lead in Ohio. In VA and FL, the NBC poll assumes an electorate very similar to the one in 2008. In OH, the NBC poll assumes an electorate that is more Democrat than the one in 08.

That isn’t going to happen. The electorate will not be close to as Democrat as in 08, never mind being more Democrat.

There is something else funky with the NBC poll. There is almost no discernible difference between Registered Voter results and Likely Voter results. This runs counter to other polling, and history, which finds a definite Democrat skew to RV results. Even demographic and partisan data is virtually the same. This suggests there is something wrong with their LV screen.

A new CBS/New York Times poll shows Obama with a 3-point lead nationally, among Likely Voters. The poll finds Obama has an 8-point lead among Registered Voters. CBS no longer makes available the partisan composition of its poll, but its numbers suggest it oversampled Democrats as well. Both Romney and Obama win 90+% of their respective party's vote, but Romney beats Obama among Independents by 11 points. The only way Romney can win Independents by such a large margin and still trail Obama is if the sample is heavily skewed in favor of Democrats.

The electorate will absolutely be less Democrat than it was in 2008.

Oversampling Democrats is simply part of an effort to create an air of inevitability for Obama's reelection.

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