USA Today invested good money surveying people who are not going to vote in this year's elections.
Why? So they could find out how Barack Obama would do in November if everyone did vote.
According to this survey among the people who will not be voting Obama beats Mitt Romney 43% to 14%.
Yes, I know. There is a certain Alice-in-Wonderland aspect to all this, but let's keep going.
For instance the sample contained 351 people who were registered to vote, and registered with one of the two major parties, but said there was no more than a 50/50 chance that they would participate.
Of those 351 people, 242 (30%) said they were registered Democrats. 109 (14%) said they were Republicans.
Given that sample, it is something less than shocking that they favored Obama.
Maybe it's just as well that these geniuses will not be clogging up your precinct on November 6. According to Susan Page's analysis in USA Today,
"Only 39% could correctly name the vice president, Joe Biden."
But that's not the important point in all of this. The important point is: If these data are correct and people who are not likely to vote favor Obama slightly more than 3-1, then every poll we read that includes "Adults" or "Registered Voters" should be considered fatally skewed toward Obama.
Only polls that use "Likely Voters" can be considered legitimate (assuming all the other legitimizing factors are adhered to).
In the six national polls listed in the RealClearPolitics.com summary of polls, four were samples of "Registered Voters." In those four polls Obama leads by an average of six percentage points.
In the two polls that sampled only "Likely Voters," Romney leads by an average of 1.5 percentage points.
Ok. I understand that is statistical sophistry, but I wanted to make the point that if the USA Today data are legit than the polls of Registered Voters have to be discounted because much - if not all - of the lead Obama has is a lead among people who are Not. Going. To. Vote.
Even at that, Obama's lead in the RCP averages has shrunk from 4.2 percent to 3.0 percent since Paul Ryan was announced as Romney's running mate.
Democrats have been selling the theory that, in choosing Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has to own every semi-colon in the Ryan Budget document.
Let's step back into the WayBack machine and return to 2008 when Sen. Barack Obama's primary campaign against Sen. Hillary Clinton was almost totally based upon his opposition to the Iraq War and the fact that Sen. Clinton had voted for it.