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Swing States Polls Suggest Obama Lead – for Now


The Romney campaign is saturating swing states such as Ohio with aggressive advertising.

The Romney campaign is saturating swing states such as Ohio with aggressive advertising.
Photo Credit: RNC

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Here’s the most meaningless poll result in the U.S. presidential race today. It’s the Real Clear Politics average of national polls taken between August 22 and September 7. According to that aggregate result of six different national polls—Rasmussen, Gallup, CNN/Opinion Research, Democracy Corps, CBS News and ABC News/Wash Post—President Barack Obama is leading his Republican opponent, Mitt Romeny, with 47.3 to 46.0, or +1.3 for Obama.

Poli Sci experts will tell you it’s a meaningless result for a number of reasons: it’s just a snapshot of the current national mood, with little to do with the actual election results; these polls come ahead of the first presidential debate; and the different polls target different cuts of the voter rolls. Gallup, for instance, targets registered voters—more likely to bend liberal, while Rasmussen typically questions likely voters—more likely to bend conservative (although in its current poll Rasmussen is giving Obama +2 against Romney).

But the most important reason why the above figure, +1.3 for Obama, is meaningless, is that these are national polls, and the U.S. does not conduct national elections. Rather, we have 50 plus local elections, which choose delegates to represent each state in the Electoral College.

The fight is over the number of delegates in each state, which, in the vast majority of states, is still based on the winner take all principle, and which also means a candidate must receive an absolute majority of electoral votes (270 out of 538) to win the Presidency.

Both parties have their certain states (California and New York go Democrat, Texas goes Republican), and their “leaning states” (Pennsylvania gives Democrats heart attacks but in the end votes Democrat, Indiana does the same to Republicans, more often than not).

So that the real election campaign is taking place outside of the sure states and leaning states of each party, which they usually concede to one another, and is being waged in these eight swing states. Together they comprise 95 delegates. This means that regardless how well each candidate is doing in their certain and near-certain states, they cannot win without winning the majority of the delegates in these swing states.

Right now, as you can see in the enclosed chart prepared by yours truly on my Excel, President Obama is enjoying from marginal to significant leads in all eight swing states.

It’s true that some of those poll results are quite old, especially in New Hampshire and Nevada. But in the two states with the heaviest delegate yield, Florida and Ohio, as of September 2, Obama is slightly ahead.

The Republicans know this, and have begun to pour the contents of their war chest into these states, with a big emphasis on Florida and Ohio. And a small lead that’s well within the margin of error can certainly be erased. But consider two important factors:

One – these figures do not reflect the bump for Obama in these states after the Democratic convention.

Two – after a while, incessant advertising begins to lose its effectiveness and, occasionally, starts yielding negative results.

We’ll be watching the swing states for you and updating you on the election as it rolls along. The first presidential debate is scheduled for October 3, dedicated to domestic policy; followed by the VP debate October 11; then a town hall meeting style debate October 16; and, finally, on October 22, a foreign policy debate.

Stay tunes.

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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12 Responses to “Swing States Polls Suggest Obama Lead – for Now”

  1. Anonymous says:

    We Will Be Far Worse Under The Racist Hitler Regime Called The Republican Jewish Party..That is Racist Toward Blacks!

  2. Yori Yanover says:

    And your planet of origin is?

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    The electoral college map is very difficult for Romney. Add up all the states that have voted Democratic in the past five elections and Obama has 242 electoral votes. Of those states, in only Wisconsin and Michigan look close, and Obama has led in most polls in those states. In addition, the Republicans have conceded New Mexico (5 EV), and Obama has led in every New Hampshire (4 EV) poll since March, and every Nevada (6 EV) poll for over a year. Furthermore, Virginia (13 EV), which would otherwise be close, has a former Republican congressmen, Virgil Goode, running as the Constitution Party candidate and pulling 4% in the only poll that included him, and that might just cost Romney the entire election.

  4. Zachary Kessin says:

    http://electoral-vote.com/ has shown the count at 332 to 205 unchanged for a week or two now. Romney will have to really run the table to win, and so far that movement has not happened

  5. Charlie Hall says:

    Worthy of note is that many of those "swing states" have very unpopular Republican governors who will not help Romney.

  6. Remember that Carter, Mondale and Dukakis all had leads of over 5 points after the conventions and all three lost.

  7. Charlie Hall says:

    Wrong about Mondale. He was already down by nine points in June.

    Obama has done to Romney what Bush did to Dukakis. And the Romney campaign is looking about as clueless in its response as was the Dukakis campaign. Did you see Romney's flipflop on healthcare reform today?

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    Another plus for Obama in the campaign: He has now over three million contributors to his campaign. Romney is having to rely on a much smaller number of zillionaires.

    Still another plus: The Republicans are spending most of their money on TV ads. The Democrats are investing in field operations; they will have more success in getting out their vote in a close election.

  9. Romney has very little support among Wall Streeters. So little that he has had to advertise in the WSJ for attendees to an upcoming NYC dinner. OTOH, Obama, who has declined to prosecute several of his financial world bundlers (e.g., Corzine), has come to NYC several times to collect from "zillionaires."

  10. Charlie Hall says:

    Obama can't prosecute because their despicable activity isn't illegal. And the Republicans have pledged to repeal the modest additional strictures that were enacted on Obama's watch.

    And the Republicans have far more support than the Democrats from from Wall Street, as seen here:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/contrib.php?cycle=2012&ind=F

    Note that even Goldman Sachs, Corzine's former company, has contributed over twice as much to Republicans this year.

  11. Charlie Hall says:

    In a surprise, the Obama campaign raised more money in August (barely) than did the Romney campaign. Things are looking very good for Obama.

    And whose idea was it for Romney to embarrass himself at a NASCAR race, or criticize his own running mate's vote for the debt deal? One dailykos.com commenter compared Romney's campaign advisors to Curly, Larry, and Moe.

  12. Jewish Press, please terminate the Democrat traitors here dirtying this website from their nefarious pro-Israel-destruction pro-Obama agenda. They are still he exact same kapo traitors of their "fellow" people they have been during WWII with Roosevelt.

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