Thursday, October 11, 2012

New polls better than old polls

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 6:18 AM

fivethirtyeight
  • ROMNEY LEAD: fivethirtyeight blog forecast has Obama hanging on despite post-debate fall.

Democrats looking for a silver lining in the Obama debate cloud, particularly the devastating Pew poll findings? New York Times:

The latest Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll, of likely voters in the three states, Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin, found no sharp movement after the debate and the news last Friday that the unemployment rate in September had dropped below 8 percent for the first time since Mr. Obama took office.

But the poll suggested that Mr. Romney had gained strength in a number of ways since last month and that Mr. Obama’s best defense is the somewhat brighter economic outlook and the fact that voters continue to relate to him more than they do to his opponent.

Also in the could-be-worse category is Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com, who still gives Obama a narrow lead in the important electoral vote reckoning:

Following another day of strong polling on Tuesday, Mitt Romney advanced into the best position in the FiveThirtyEight forecast since the party conventions. His chances of winning the Electoral College are now 28.8 percent in the forecast, his highest since Aug. 29. For the first time since Aug. 28, President Obama is projected to win fewer than 300 electoral votes. And Mr. Obama’s projected margin of victory in the national popular vote — 2.0 percentage points — represents the closest the race has been since June 27.

The forecast model is not quite ready to jump on board with the notion that the race has become a literal toss-up; Mr. Romney will need to maintain his bounce for a few more days, or extend it into high-quality polls of swing states, before we can be surer about that.

The horse race stuff is maddening. So are style points generally, though they are indisputably important, with Ronald Reagan the exemplar. Foreign policy, tax and spending policy and judicial appointments are a whole lot more important to me. Depending on which Romney wakes up in the morning (and with the Republican base in control of most of his functions it's fairly predictable unless he's on a pander foray to a moderate Iowa newspaper on abortion), this is one of those clear choice elections.

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