Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ohio polling

Surveys of the Buckeye State have been all over the board in recent weeks as the election draws near. While most show President Obama with the lead, the size of it depends on whether the pollster was using human beings or robots to do the interviewing.

TPM compared the two methods and found that polls conducted by a live interviewer, the method widely considered to be the gold standard, have shown the President with larger leads than polls conducted by automated calls, which are prohibited from contacting people through cell phones. Since early September, live polls have shown Obama with an average lead of 4.5 percentage points in Ohio while his average lead in robo-polls has been less than 2.”

Friday, October 26, 2012

Unemployment in the battleground states

“ … the health of the job markets in the key “battleground” states will likely have a greater impact than the national, headline number.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s role in electoral college calculations is secondary to that of Ohio, Virginia and Florida. But one particular election scenario is telling: If Romney can win those three states, along with North Carolina, he would need only New Hampshire’s four votes to win the White House if other states vote as predicted.”

Libertarian votes in New Hampshire, Nevada and Colorado

Presidential swing states with libertarian and independent streaks, such as Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire, are where Johnson threatens to be the biggest factor . . .  And his presence on the ballot appears to imperil Romney's support more than Obama's.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The ground game
Beyond the presidential debates, one final factor matters more than all the rest in a close race: ground game.

It’s the ability to get your voters to the polls—a way of moving soft support into actual votes.
Field operatives have been undervalued in recent years, as the focus of campaigns has shifted to big-money ad-bombs, compounded by the super-PAC economy. But this presidential campaign is going to come down to a few percentage points in a half dozen states, and suddenly ground game is about to get a lot of respect.

So The Daily Beast decided to map out the Obama and Romney local headquarters across the country as one way of gauging the strength of each campaign’s ground game. And what we found was an overwhelming advantage—755 to 283—by the Obama campaign on at least this one metric.
In the key swing states of this election the numbers are stark:
In Ohio, 122 Obama local HQs compared to 40 for Romney.
In Florida, the Obama campaign has 102 local HQs versus 48 for Romney.
And in Virginia, a more even split—47 for Obama compared to 29 for Romney.”

The Tea Party ground game
Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party-aligned group part-funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, is building a state-of-the-art digital ground operation in Ohio and other vital battleground states to spread its anti-Obama message to voters who could decide the outcome of the presidential election.”

The quality of the ground games
It's not about how many people you contact; it's who you're contacting and how. In 2008, the Obama campaign took data-based voter targeting to a previously unseen level, as Sasha Issenberg details in his new book The Victory Lab. In 2012, they've far surpassed those techniques, in part by integrating field techniques with digital operations.

Some Republicans admit that the ground game is a weakness for the party. In Colorado, one top GOP consultant who has worked on presidential campaigns told me he mentally added 2 to 4 points to Obama's polls in the state based on superior organization. In Florida, GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said Republicans would win in other ways: "They're very organized. They're very, very organized, and you have to admit they're very organized," Diaz-Balart said of the Democrats. "However, I think Republicans are very motivated."

We may not be able to fully size up the campaigns' ground games and their effect until Election Day -- and maybe not even then. But what struck me most, in talking to Republicans about their ground game, was the extent to which they admitted they weren't even playing the game. On Obama's voter registration advantage, for example, Wiley said it just wasn't something Republicans had really tried to do.

"We did some voter registration programs. They weren't massive in size, because most Republicans are already registered," he said. (This is somewhat belied by the GOP's hiring of a sketchy registration contractor in Florida.) Instead of trying to register more Republicans, Wiley said, the RNC focused its efforts on talking to independents. "That's much more reliable, because they're already registered to vote," he said. "There are enough voters on file in any given state that are registered to vote already that you can win with them. You don't need to add to the mix."

It's true that the Obama campaign's strategy is far more reliant on bringing new voters into the electorate -- particularly the young and minority voters who are less likely to register and vote. But if the Democrats can do that, it could make a big difference in a close election.

"If there's a blowout election, the ground game is nice," Bird, the Obama field director, said. "But in a state-by-state close contest for electoral votes, where it's deadlocked going in, if you know you expanded the electorate, and you know who those people are, and you have volunteers trained to turn them out -- that's what the ground game is engineered to do."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Electoral paths to the White House
With barely two weeks before Nov. 6, it's all about the electoral math. And as uncertain and unpredictable as the campaign looks heading into the final stretch, Ohio remains President Obama's best opportunity to block a Romney win — and Romney's biggest hurdle.”

Swing state update

In the hunt for 270, Obama starts with more states and electoral votes in his column. Romney must take back from the incumbent some states that Obama carried four years ago, including North Carolina and Virginia, which had been reliably Republican until 2008.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

Electoral College opinion map weekly update

The average of 30 online Electoral College opinion maps (with tossups) is currently:
Obama             239              

Romney           198              
Tossups           100              

Last week, the averages were Obama 240, Romney 194 and Tossups 104.

There are 13 online Electoral College opinion maps that assign all electoral votes to either Obama or Romney, disregarding the margin of error in the polls.  The current average (without tossups) is:
Obama           287                

Romney         251                
Tossups           0

Last week, the averages were Obama 297, Romney 240 and Tossups 0.

The average of three online Electoral College odds makers (Intrade, Iowa Electronic Markets and Betfair) currently show Obama with a 64% probability of winning and Romney with a 36% probability of winning, unchanged from last week.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cherry picking polls

 Heading into the second presidential debate, the FiveThirtyEight forecast still showed Mr. Obama as a modest favorite, with about a 2-in-3 chance of winning the election and just over a 1 percent lead in the popular vote.

But historically, the second presidential debate has moved the numbers by about 2.5 percentage points in one direction or another.

If that gain were in Mr. Obama’s favor, he would re-establish enough of a lead that there would be little doubt about who was ahead.

Another shift toward Mr. Romney, however, and he would probably lead in most national and enough swing-state polls to show him on a path to 270 electoral votes.”