Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Don't throw dirt on Mitt Romney yet

The media has wanted to declare Mitt Romney dead a number of times and the Washington Post declares Romney needs to "turn the 2012 race around." Let's not throw dirt on Mitt Romney yet. He''s behind by 3 points in the Real Clear Politics average. In 2004, there were 14 polls taken during the September 15 and September 18 period. George W. Bush led by an average of 5.5 points. During the first week of October that was down to 1.7 points. Bush surged. Then Kerry did. The final result was George W. Bush by 2.4. Things will change.

The state polls are even closer. The attached spreadsheet has polling state by state. My averages differ from RCP's somewhat because I don't use polls that are months old when there is a new one. Just a quick key of how to read it.

1. The first two columns are Obama-McCain percentages, followed by the difference.
2. The next column is the expected margin based on 2008 and the national change. The national change is 4.1%.
3. The next two columns are the current poll and the difference between the two.
4. The last two are how much a state has moved and the current PVI.
5. I then translated the margins into expected state by state turn-out and found that Barack Obama actually leads Mitt Romney by 2.5%, not 3.0% in the state polls. 6. On the far left are the number of August-September polls and how many of them are post-convention.

If Mitt Romney picks up two points in Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Virginia, he'll have 273 electoral votes. That seems like his path to victory is narrow and right now it is. But he's down by 3.0 points in the national polls and no one is going to win the electoral college if he finished that far back. If Romney can move the national polls by 2-4 points, some of these may move into his column that are beyond that 2-4 points.

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