Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What Do The Outlier Polls Tell Us?

Last week Newsweek rolled out a shocking poll that showed Obama was up 15%. Yesterday the LA Times rolled out a poll that also had Obama up 15%. These polls show two things. One the methodology is probably flawed in their party affiliation makeup. Two they show Obama is in a lot of trouble on election day.

In light of these polls I believe they spell trouble for Obama. Both polls reported independents leaned towards McCain. This has to be troubling for Obama. In order to receive a 15% lead both polling organizations have to have a 10-12% lead in political party affiliation in favor of the Democrats. In the 2004 election cycle the two main political parties were essentially tied. Now the LA Times and Newsweek believe there has been a 10-12 point swing in 4 years? That is really out of touch with reality. It is true that the Republicans have dropped and yes the Democrats of increased their ranks. However, the biggest gain has been in people identifying as independents.

In closed primary states like Pennsylvania there were huge increases in the Democratic Party ranks. This was not due to this many people wishing to vote the Democratic ticket in the general but rather due to this many people wishing to have a voice in the closed primary. The only real primary was on the Democrats side. It is no wonder the Democrat party increased party affiliation. In the general these numbers will normalize and recent Rasmussen polls show Obama up only 4 points in Pennsylvania. With all of these new Democrats and at least a 10 point party affiliation difference should not Obama be up 20-25 points in Pennsylvania?

As long as McCain maintains a lead with independents he will win the general. If McCain maintains an 8 point lead in the independent voters McCain will win the election in a landslide. If the independent vote is closer to 1-2 points we will have a close election.

What these polls show is that Obama has problems. The only way to have the lead is to have a party affiliation difference of 10% in favor of the Democrats and have more democrats than independents. This polling methodology goes against what common sense says should be happening. Commonsense says independents should outnumber both Party's. Commonsense says the difference between Democrats and Republicans should be 5-7 points not 10+ points. Bottom line is that both of these outlier polls actually show problems for Obama. These polls show Obama trailing in the independent voter block. This spells serious problems for Obama in the general.

No comments: