Friday, July 6, 2012

Polling Report: July 6, 2012

This is a double numbers day, with both a polling report and the release of the jobs numbers for June. There are only four months to go before the election, the focus on the economy has already been intense, and the fallout from the ACA decision is only complicating matters. Looking for clarity? Consult the I Ching.

How the jobs report will impact the election will take time to sort out. Meanwhile, the polling numbers have moved in the president's direction over the past month, slowing a trend towards Romney that had existed in May and early June. The big picture would seem to be working against the president because the economy is still slow, but Romney has evidently caught John Kerry disease, what with his recent vacation pictures and saying that students should get as much as education they can afford. He's going to have to stop the rich guy stuff if he wants to win.

As of today, the national race looks like this: Obama has 47.0% support and Romney 44.4% according to the latest RCP average. Obama's job approval has taken a hit, and he's underwater in most polls, but that doesn't seem to have affected his overall numbers. Yet. The honest truth is that most people, and specifically most independents, aren't paying attention to the election and won't until the early fall. Right now it's people like you and me who are fretting over every poll and uttered word that comes out of each campaign. For most other people, the election will take a back seat to finding a job, baseball, vacations, the Olympics, and most daily activities.

The state polls are still showing Obama leading the electoral college voting with leads of 221-181 (RCP), 240-191, (Pollster), 303-235 (Election Projection), 326-212 ( and 217-206 (New York Times). North Carolina has moved to Romney's column for now and it will take a big turnout effort by Obama to repeat his 2008 victory. Ohio has moved towards the president, influenced mainly by a late June Quinnipiac poll that has Obama +9. The president is also presently holding on to Florida and Virginia, but those leads are tenuous and if the jobs numbers are very bad, watch for those states to show some movement away from Obama. I still expect the president to win Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but he'll need to spend resources in each of those states this summer. Romney will force Obama to defend Wisconsin and Michigan for now, and if the polls remain close in those two states it will mean trouble for Democrats.

Protocol requires that I have a paragraph that uses hedge words to keep you interested, so here goes. Romney was having a good month until his campaign began to send some mixed messages and then he completely botched his response to the health care case. That's led to a conservative backlash from the Wall Street Journal and Rupert Murdoch. Still, for as bad a month as he's had, he's still in the race and independents, who are certainly not enamored of the president, might decide that the country needs a change. Obama has momentum now, but the long-term trends could support Mitt. It's probably safe to assume that we've got a fight on our hands.

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