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October 22, 2012

Obama's Loss Is Not Necessarily Romney's Gain

By Russ Winter 

Full Disclosure: I consider both Romney and Obama to be dead end corruptos candidates and intend to vote for Gary Johnson as a protest vote of sorts.

These comments by Ezra Klein about Gallup Poll captures the essence of what I’ve been saying: Obama suffers from a dearth of enthusiastic voters. Therefore it’s all about correct modelling. Gallup Saturday still shows Romney with a six point lead. For example among voters 18 to 29, polls show that young voters are less excited and less likely to vote than their elders. A new study from the Institute of Politics at Harvard University shows Obama leading Mitt Romney by 19 percentage points. That represents a fall-off from 2008, when the president won young voters by 34 point over Sen. John McCain.

Obama’s rock star days are over: a Pew Research Center poll from September (before Romney even surged) found that half as many voters age 18 to 30 said they were closely following political news this year than in 2008, and only 63 percent said they were certain to vote, down from 72 percent four years ago. Only half of adults under 30 said they were certain they were registered. The results were “startling” said William Galston, a Brookings Institution fellow who has studied youth engagement for years. “All of the signs point in the same direction. And the only question is how far down they go,” he said.

Ezra Klein:
 Last night, I spoke with Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, to ask him if I was missing something. He said I wasn’t. “That’s certainly what it looks like,” he says. 
But Newport was cautious in interpreting his numbers. Gallup’s poll cheered Romney supporters because it showed Romney gaining ground even after the second debate. But Newport didn’t see it like that. Remember, he warned, it’s a seven-day poll. “I think we’re still seeing leftover positive support for Romney and I don’t think we’re seeing impact yet from the second debate,” he says.
What you think is going on in the race depends on whether you think the electorate will ultimately look more like Gallup’s “likely voter” model, where the race is a blowout, or all registered voters, where it’s a dead heat. So I asked Newport to explain the likely voter model to me. 
“The likely voters model takes into account changes in the response to questions about how closely they’re following and how enthusiastic they are,” he said. “It’s not just capturing underlying movement — it’s representing changes in enthusiasm.” That sounds, I replied, like a model that would tend to overstate the effects of major events that favored one candidate or the other, as their supporters would grow temporarily more enthusiastic and attentive, while the other side would grow temporarily disillusioned. Newport agreed. “I wouldn’t use the word ‘overstate,’ ” he said. “But it would be very sensitive to changes in enthusiasm.
But Obama also has machine politics and money, and the government and manipulation behind him, such as keeping auto workers on the lines at Government Motors creating a huge glut of channel stuffed cars, putting more people on food stamps and SS disability. Obama has poured “campaign workers” into Ohio. There are unlikely voters in battlground states that if literally Shanghaied to the polls would vote for Obama, over Romney. Running against this machine politics is tough.

Maybe Republican voter suppression tactics can keep this in check, but I think the election comes down to bad or good weather in Ohio. If weather is bad and Romney picks up the coal country vote in Ohio where he is making a big push (mentioned coal four times in the last debate), then Romney wins. From an Atlantic article:
“look at the results of the West Virginia presidential primary: rather than pull the lever for Obama, nearly 40 percent of the state’s Democrats cast votes instead for an unknown Texas prison inmate, Keith Judd, who’d managed to get his name on the ballot. 
For the first time in 40 years, the United Mine Workers Union, which endorsed Obama in 2008, John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000, has declined to endorse a presidential candidate.* In the rural neighborhoods I drove through, every fourth or fifth yard seemed to have a sign reading, “Stop the War on Coal — FIRE OBAMA.” (Only once, though, did I see a Romney sign alongside it). 
The problem for Romney is that he, too, seems alien to many voters here, whether because of his fortune or because of his Mormon faith.
Also watch the stock market, if we get a pre-election swoon, Romney benefits at the margin. If not, right now it looks like Romney wins the popular vote nationally, and Obama squeaks by in battleground states, and in particular Ohio. That would be very divisive after the election, with accusations of illegitimacy and extreme bad feelings.  If Romney gets in expect revelations and skeletons to come out of the closet about Obama’s corruptos, looting, and criminality. See Naming Names- Obama’s Stimulus Scandal. I doubt if a tie or plus one percent for Obama in these Ohio polls will be enough.

Ohio Polls:

About The Author - Russ Winter is a veteran investor, financial writer, world traveler, and he blogs at Winter Watch.  (EconMatters author archive here)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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