Despite the fact that President Obama’s campaign is leading in only 3 of the last 10 national polls, finds itself forced to fight for states like Wisconsin that were considered “safe” even four weeks ago, and exhibits all the signs of panic indicative of a losing effort, the President’s surrogates are doing absolutely everything they can to feign confidence.
It’s kind of sad, but they’re rapidly running out of options.
Remember the mythical “firewall” of 2012? The one that could allegedly save Obama if Florida, North Carolina and Virginia fell to Romney? It’s cracking and crumbling, folks. The latest polling shows Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire trending to Mitt; only Nevada seems stubbornly loyal though still not safe for the President by any means. Moreover, as I mentioned above, Wisconsin is now widely accepted as a complete toss up (as predicted here early on).
But what about Ohio? Where Obama has been tied or ahead for weeks (despite signs of significant tightening) in the RCP average? Team Obama doesn’t sound worried when they talk to the press…
It’s called a “bluff.” Here’s my proof…
(1) Ohio public polling is badly skewed. NRO.com’s Josh Jordan points out something which should not surprise anyone giving the systemic polling problems this cycle: not only are Democrat samples growing in several public polls, something which is counterintuitive given every other demographic trend/enthusiasm gap we’re seeing in virtually every poll, but it’s important to note how these surveys are also presently oversampling early voters.
As of the writing of Josh’s NRO post, 23% of Ohioans had reported voting early to pollsters while only 15% actually had voted early. Why? Absentee ballot/early voting confusion could be a reason. Lying could be another; don’t laugh! We saw people lie to Jimmy Kimmel about watching a debate. No one wants to sound like an unengaged citizen on the telephone to a complete stranger.
(2) Democrat Ohio early voting advantages are grossly exaggerated/fabricated. Adrian Gray at Politico breaks it down: “220,000 fewer Democrats have voted early in Ohio compared with 2008. And 30,000 more Republicans have cast their ballots compared with four years ago. That is a 250,000-vote net increase for a state Obama won by 260,000 votes in 2008.” Team Obama continues to claim that Obama precincts are performing better for him than last time. The problem? They’ve all been withdrawn since ’08! It’s a meaningless distinction. What isn’t meaningless? Counties, which aren’t redrawn, and Obama is performing much worse so far in key bellwethers including Hamilton, Lake, Montgomery and Stark.
Pretty telling, right?
Team Obama’s self-serving vague claims about exceeding their own expectations are transparently part of a strategy; now you know why they’re not directly comparing their GOTV early vote performance to ’08. Everyone I’ve talked to acknowledges Democrat disappointment that the President’s early voting margins weren’t larger. O is running out of voters with over one week to go.
(3) Ohio polling exaggerated Obama’s performance last time around, too. On this date in October 2008, Barack Obama led John McCain by 6.4-points in the RCP average. He ultimately went on to win by approximately 2-points less. And in that year, as you painfully recall, momentum was with the President. Mitt Romney has wind at his back in 2012 and a much stronger organization than McCain in this traditionally Republican state.
Coupled with the reliable rule that undecideds typically break to the incumbent (we didn’t really have one last time), then the President should be very worried that he’s still under 50% in Ohio polling. Bush polled much stronger than Obama ahead of his relatively-modest 2004 win, routinely hitting 50% in the final round of polling.