The Plank

Where Did All The Pumas Go?


Over at the Campaign Spot, Jim Geraghty wonders how the new ABC/Washington Post
poll could have the temerity to suggest that Barack Obama is winning
more support among Democrats than John McCain is among Republicans:

ABC/WashPost poll in late September found 86 percent of Republicans for
McCain, 88 percent of Democrats for Obama. PUMAs don't exist anymore?
Colin Powell and Christopher Buckley are leading the exodus of
Republicans for Obama? I suppose it's possible, but I have my doubts.

suppose I have my doubts too, except that this finding is now reflected
in any number of polls. In fact, six of the eight trackers that
published today included the support that each candidate is winning
within his respective party. Let's take a quick look at those figures:Support within own party:Pollster DEMS GOPRasmussen 86 87IBD-TIPP 88 83Research 2000 87 89ABC/Post 91 84Zogby 87 84Battleground 89 85AVERAGE 88.0 85.32004 Exit Poll 89 932000 Exit Poll 86 91

Democrats, Barack Obama is now winning 88 percent support, comparable
to John Kerry in 2004 or Al Gore in 2000. And there are a couple of
points' worth of undecideds left in there, so it's possible that Obama
could scrape up against the 90 percent number on election day.By
contrast, John McCain is winning the support of just 85.3 percent of
Republicans, well down from Bush's 93 percent in 2004 and 91 percent in
2000. There are some undecideds in there as well, so his numbers should
improve some, but McCain is likely to underperform Bush by several
points.This is really the key theme of the whole post-Lehman
Obama surge. Between his more populist talking points on the economy,
the backlash to McCain's attacks, and -- I'm guessing here -- a deep
level of antipathy among Democrats toward Sarah Palin (Battleground has
her favorability ratings at 12/78 among Dems), Obama has really brought
the Democratic base home. By contrast, Obama's support among
independents varies quite significantly from poll to poll, ranging from
essentially even in the Rasmussen tracker to a +15 in Zogby.Perhaps
the more important question is whether, all else being equal, you would
rather have a lead built upon support within your own party or built
upon independent support. My guess is that the former is a bit more
solid: Partisans turn out more reliably than independents, and change
their minds less often.And here's a really scary stat for
McCain. If Obama wins by the same margin among Democrats that McCain
does among Republicans (and to reiterate, right now Obama is doing a
bit better within his own
party), and Rasmussen's most recent party ID breakdown is correct (D
39.7, R 33.0, I 27.3), then McCain will need to win independents by
about 20 points to earn a draw in the popular vote.
--Nate Silver 


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