Swing-state surveys from the triumvirate of CBS News, the New York Times and Quinnipiac have been polling Viagra for liberals all year. Their new release on the state of play in Florida, Ohio and Virginia is no exception. According to their final numbers, Obama leads by five in Ohio, by one in Florida and by two in Virginia. If this is the case, this election is over, and the president will easily cruise to re-election. But there are major, if not fatal, flaws with all three results. Ed Morrissey has done an excellent job running down the list, but I figured I'd reiterate a few:
(1) Partisan Samples - All three polls predict lower Republican turnout than 2008, thus anticipating that Obama will enjoy very large turnout advantages in the these states. Ed boils them down into an easy chart -- the first data set shows today's Q-poll's sample, the next shows the actual 2008 turnout, and the last shows 2010's turnout. The breakdown is D/R/I:
FL: 37/30/29 (D+7) 37/34/29 (D+3) 36/36/29 (D+0)
OH: 37/29/30 (D+8) 39/31/30 (D+8) 36/37/28 (R+1)
VA: 35/27/35 (D+8) 39/33/27 (D+6) 33/37/30 (R+4 - 2009)
So compared to the Democrat wave year of 2008, Obama will more than double his partisan edge in Florida, maintain it in Ohio (with Republicans turning out at a lower rate), and expand it in Virginia. This poll suggests Republican turnout will drop six points in Virginia compared to 2008. Does anyone believe this will be the case six days from now? I can't imagine the pollsters who produced these outcomes even do. Why? Because their own polling also reveals two major trends that strongly favor Romney. See below.
(2) Independents - Mitt Romney is winning independents in all three battleground states:
FL: Romney +5, 2008: Obama +7 (Obama won the state by 3)
OH: Romney +6, 2008: Obama +8 (Obama won the state by 4.5)
VA: Romney +21, 2008: Obama +1 (Obama won the state by 6)
Again, that's the data from these polls. Romney is poised to benefit from a 12-point swing with indies in Florida, a 14-point swing in Ohio, and a 20-point swing (!) in Virginia. But Obama "leads" in all three states. It must be because of massive, overwhelming, unprecedented Democratic enthusiasm, right? Wrong.
(3) Enthusiasm - The CBS/NYT/Q-polls also reveal emerging Republican intensity advantages across the board:
In this chart, the pollster compares the current partisan enthusiasm gap to the numbers they measured one month ago -- prior to the debates. Republicans had the edge in all three states back in September, but their margins have swelled over the last month. GOP voters' excitement about voting surpasses Democrats' by 16 points in Florida, 14 points in Ohio and seven points in Virginia. In each case, the GOP stat sits in the high 50s or low 60s; the Democrat stat languishes in the 40s. To recap: the CBS/NYT/Q-poll surveys would have you believe that Barack Obama stands to win these states, despite his opponent solidly beating him with independents, and with Republicans handily winning the intensity battle. Good luck with that. I leave you with a few additional notes from other current and emerging battleground states:
Iowa - Republicans are beginning to really believe in the Hawkeye State.
Michigan - Romney's SuperPAC has invaded the state's airwaves, and the Obama campaign is now following suit. In case you're keeping score at home, Team Obama is now spending on the air in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. But not because Romney has a chance in any of them, they adamantly insist. No sir. They just really like wasting donors' money, or something. I'm sure their latest move has absolutely nothing to do with the new Detroit News poll showing Romney within three points of Obama in Michigan, leading on the economy for the first time, and carrying independents. Nothing to see here...
UPDATE - Right on cue, a new Roanoke College poll of Virginia shows Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama by five points, 49/44. He's crushing the incumbent among independents (59/33), winning on the economy (53/41), and dismantling Obama with late deciders (53/35). The poll sample is D+4, which may even be a tad generous.