What might that mean in terms of these states? It might mean that Florida and North Carolina, traditionally Republican presidential states, are not as close as recent polls suggest, with Romney leading Obama. It would also make states like Missouri and Colorado, considered potential swing states that lean Obama, more than likely toss-ups that could easily go Republican in November.
And I am not a GOP rah-rah pollster (yes, my opinion is more rah-rah!). In fact, when polling for one of the nation's top sources of political news in 2008, my results showed Obama carrying both Florida and North Carolina. But a few things have changed in four years that cause me to believe that, if the election were held today, Romney would carry both states. First, we do not see the "on fire" energy for President Obama in 2012 among voters under 30 that existed for candidate Obama in 2008.
Second and more importantly, the percentage of those who view themselves as moderates or who say they are "independent" as to their party affiliation in a general election (regardless of how they might be registered for primary purposes) is not only high, but is leaning more Republican than in 2008. Many of these same "independent" voters desperately wanted change in 2008 and supplied Obama with the margin of victory in the major swing states.
We are still far from November, and as will remain my contention, the result of the presidential debates will likely determine who wins the contest for the presidency. But my Wisconsin-based interpretation of the national electoral mood is based on something more tangible than a guess about the strength of unions or weariness over recalls. My evaluation is tangible based on the exit polls -- as compared to reality.
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