Why Romney Insulted Cameron
July 26, 2012
Right now you're probably wondering: What possessed Mitt Romney to insult the Conservative Prime Minister of Britain--on a foreign trip meant to demonstrate Romney's supposedly superior ability to manage foreign affairs--by criticizing the U.K.'s handling of the Olympic games on the eve of their commencement? This blunder catches Romney in an exquisite trap of his own making. On the one hand, he seems to have genuinely angered David Cameron, a rare European ally in the lonely fight against European-style socialism.
When a NBC/WSJ subsample showed Obama up by 8 points in the battlegrounds, it shaped media coverage for a month—even though existing evidence and subsequent findings suggested those numbers were fairly meaningless. Last week’s NYT/CBS poll could wind up having the same effect on discussions of Obama’s favorability rating. The survey found that Obama’s favorability rating was just 36 percent—probably the lowest number since he ascended to national prominence—and there are already simmering discussions of whether Obama’s more aggressive ad campaigns have backfired.
Bain Attacks Might Work, Even If It Can't Be Proven
July 12, 2012
After writing that there's not much evidence that the Bain ads are reshaping the race, some were keen to remind me of the NBC/WSJ poll, which set the Bain narrative by releasing a battleground subsample showing Obama with a larger advantage in the battlegrounds than the rest of the country. I did not mention the NBC/WSJ poll in the prior post, mainly because there were plenty of reasons to doubt that Obama had a structural advantage in the battlegrounds.
Nothing gets journalists chattering like a debate about themselves, so I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that my post yesterday about the fixation many news outlets have with being first attracted some notice. Nearly everyone who contacted me about the piece did so to say “Amen!” Except for the poor souls whose job it is to produce micro-scoops on a daily or hourly basis.
The Chart That Explains The Current Electoral Map
July 10, 2012
The contours of the electoral map might seem disorienting to those accustomed to the old red-blue divide of the last decade. A bevy of states haven’t returned to their Bush-era patterns—instead, they've moved in opposite directions. Traditionally Republican North Carolina remains doggedly competitive, and Romney isn’t even contesting New Mexico. At the same time, Obama is well beneath 50 percent in states that he carried by 10 percent or more in 2008, like Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Does Romney Have a Florida Problem?
July 05, 2012
The decisive state in the 2000 presidential election has received less and less attention over the last twelve years. Florida tilted more Republican than the nation in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, and Kerry’s pursuit of Ohio combined with the emergence of new battlegrounds in the Southwest and the Mid-Atlantic to break Florida’s stranglehold on the Electoral College. But while few argue that Florida is 2012’s most important state, its 29 electoral votes—the most of any battleground state—remain hotly contested.
Stop The Battleground Subsamples!
July 03, 2012
Last week, NBC/WSJ blessed the political community with a battleground state subsample showing Obama leading by 8 percentage points in twelve critical states. Predictably, NBC/WSJ’s finding revived the spring tale of Obama’s decided advantage in the Electoral College, which would allow him to decisively win a close national contest. As I mentioned at the time, a small sample and contradictory data combined to cast great doubt on that conclusion. This week, CNN Opinion Research followed NBC/WSJ’s footsteps with a similarly misguided polling adventure.
NBC/Marist Polls Show A Balanced Electoral Map
June 29, 2012
When NBC/WSJ released a poll showing Obama up by 3 points nationally but by 8 in the swing states, it predictably led many to conclude that Obama has a larger lead in the swing states than he does nationally. But as acknowledged here and here, the evidence for a structural Obama advantage in the Electoral College is unpersuasive, at least at this early stage. Just one day later, NBC released three polls conducted by Marist University showing a tight race in three critical battlegrounds: North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Michigan.
So, you think Obama leads by 8 percentage points in the swing states, as suggested by last night’s NBC/WSJ survey? Before you jump on the bandwagon, understand what that entails: a blowout. In 2008, Obama carried NBC/WSJ’s twelve swing states by 7.7 percentage points. A result like last night’s poll would require a repeat performance, even as most polls show Obama’s standing substantially worse than four years ago. Obama’s big 7.7 percent advantage was driven by decisive victories in several states, including big states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.
More information is usually for the best, but last night’s NBC/WSJ poll took an unusual step that could detract from our understanding of the horse race. In addition to reporting Obama’s 3 percentage point lead, NBC/WSJ decided to note that Obama leads by 8 percentage points in 12 swing states: the ten true battlegrounds where both sides are investing resources, plus Michigan and New Mexico (rolls eyes). Predictably, political reporters have jumped on this data, implying that Obama holds a structural advantage in the Electoral College.