As Americans are beginning to process Mitt Romney's lopsided debate victory on Wednesday night, the Republican nominee has pulled ahead in three crucial swing states, according to a trio of surveys from pollster We Ask America:
Ed Morrissey notes the slightly generous (to Republicans) sample splits in Florida and Virginia, although the Ohio partisan breakdown looks about right. To buttress this data, Rasmussen has released two new surveys -- his data shows Romney ahead by one point in Virginia (49/48), and down by a point in Ohio (50/49). But consider this item within the Buckeye State poll:
But among the stunning 92 percent of all voters in the state who say that they are certain to go to the polls on Election Day, Romney leads 51 percent to 48 percent. And among the 83 percent who have already made up their minds how they will vote, Romney is ahead 52 percent to 48 percent.
So Romney's leading with those most likely to turn out and with voters whose minds are made up. How will the undecideds break? If this and this are any indication, Romney has solid cause for optimism. Speaking of which these revelations about Ohio's absentee ballot requests are very interesting, indeed:
The Republicans have shrunk the gap nine percent overall since 2008, but the numbers are even more dramatic in Ohio’s key counties:
Champaign County: Was +3% GOP, now +23% GOP – 20-point shift
Columbiana County: Was +9% DEM, now +9% GOP – 18-point shift
Crawford County: Was +3% DEM, now +12% GOP – 15-point shift
Cuyahoga County: Was +36% DEM, now +30% DEM – 6-point shift
Erie County: Was +24% DEM, now +7% DEM – 17-point shift
Franklin County: Was +5% DEM, now +5% GOP – 10-point shift
Greene County: Was +4% DEM, now +19% GOP – 23-point shift
Harrison County: Was +22% DEM, now +5% DEM – 17-point shift
Hamilton County: Was +7% GOP, now +13% GOP – 6-point shift
Licking County: Was TIED, now +16% GOP – 16-point shift
Montgomery County: Was +29% DEM, now +5% DEM – 24-point shift
Muskingum County: Was +1% DEM, now +16% GOP – 17-point shift
Pickaway County: Was +12% DEM, now +15% GOP – 27-point shift
Seneca County: Was +1% DEM, now +13% GOP – 14-point shift
Summit County: Was +33% DEM, now +6 DEM – 27-point shift
Wood County: Was +10% DEM, now +1% GOP – 11-point shift
The five largest counties in the Buckeye State have all shifted toward the GOP by at least six percent (and as much as 27 percent) since 2008. While the polls show Obama ahead in Ohio, these ballot request numbers suggest that Mitt Romney is in a much better position there today than John McCain was four years ago.
McCain lost Ohio by 4.5 points in 2008, after getting clobbered in early voting. These new statistics -- not to mention anecdotes like this -- suggest that polling models that project this year's electorate to look similar to 2008's (or even more Democratic) aren't likely to be predictive. It will be interesting to see if Romney's increased support is a blip or a trend. On one hand, bounces always fade, almost by definition. On the other, Romney did something quite rare in politics: He comprehensively shook core perceptions in one fell swoop in front of a truly massive audience. The New York Times estimates that between the Nielsen ratings and online viewership, more than 70 million people watched Wednesday's debate. To put that number in perspective, fewer than 53 million watched the first debate four years ago. This strikes me as additional evidence that the American people haven't gotten the memo that this election is over; it also casts further doubt on pollsters' predictions of the eventual partisan turnout. By the way, how apoplectic are Obama supporters over the debate? They're dreaming up pitiful conspiracy theories about Romney "cheating," and whining about how unfair it was that their guy wasn't allowed to bring his best friend up on stage with him. Seriously, click that link and watch the compilation of idiocy. Unreal.
Moving forward, the superficially "good" jobs report will help Obama a little bit, but you can expect Romney and company to keep explaining why today's numbers are nothing to celebrate. Case in point: The "real" U-6 rate is stuck at 14.7 percent, unchanged from last month. Plus, there's the workforce participation and sluggish start-ups stuff. I also wonder if any benefit Obama could accrue from "7.8 percent" unemployment will get wiped out on Monday when Newsweek drops its big expose about Obama For America accepting illegal foreign contributions. Team Obama raised $150 million last month, a new record. How much of that came from illegal overseas donors? Stay tuned. In the meantime, Romney's keeping the pedal to the metal. For your edification, I've embedded three new ads from Team Romney (the last two of which are state-specific, and the first of which is outstanding), as well as video of last night's Romney/Ryan rally in Virginia, which reportedly drew 15,000 supporters:
Do you think Republicans are stoked over Mitt's debate performance? Scroll ahead to the 21:38 mark. Enthusiasms.
UPDATE - New Florida poll: Romney 49, Obama 47.
UPDATE II - These indications of shifting Hispanic votes in swing states could be quite important.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography