● Early Turnout Leans Romney: Turnout is key to winning elections and right now the turnout is telling us that Romney has a significant advantage. Obama won in 2008 with a +7% Democratic turnout advantage nationally. That’s the high-water mark for the Democrats. In certain critical states, the turnout was even higher for Obama. This enthusiasm advantage translated into a large advantage for Obama in early voting, which made Obama's election day job easier. This year, everything is reversed:
● In Ohio, the early voting edge went to Obama over McCain by +14% D in 2008, and Obama won by 4.6%. Right now, the early voting is only +4% D, which means Obama needs to make up around 6% on election day to win the state.None of this means Obama is losing or that he’s lost. What this tells us is that Democratic enthusiasm is indeed way down and Republican enthusiasm is way up. That’s really bad for Obama because this election will depend on turnout. It also means that the Democrats are not running as good of a ground game as they have in the past and Romney is way ahead of McCain in that regard. Indeed, his campaign has already met more people face to face than McCain’s did. So what this ultimately means is that Obama is lagging.
● In North Carolina, which Obama won by 0.3% in 2008, early turnout is favoring Romney by a 2-1 margin, with GOP ballots coming in 44% ahead of the pace in 2008. Again, Obama will need to make up significant ground on election day.
● In Iowa, Obama had a 150,000 advantage in early voting in 2008 and he won by 9.5%. In 2004, John Kerry had a 60,000 advantage in early voting and Bush won by 2.4%. Right now, Obama has only a 77,000 advantage. That suggests a tossup.
● Polling Bump: Meanwhile the polls are showing a significant bump for Romney following his debate performance.
● In Wisconsin, the famously liberal PPP poll shows Obama’s 7% lead (52% to 45%) falling to a mere 2% (49% to 47%). That’s a 5% bump for Romney. Romney’s biggest gains came among women in that poll.This is bad news for Obama because these polls are getting close to the point where they simply can’t be faked enough anymore to make the race appear competitive. When that happens, look for a sharp, sudden break in the race away from Obama. Moreover, this may be an indication of the beginning of momentum. If that’s true, then the race is over. The next couple weeks will be very instructive.
● Rasmussen shows Romney with a 2% national lead (49% - 47%), for a bump of about 4%. Most other polls are showing a 3-5% bump. Gallup shows Romney with a 5% bounce.
● The Battleground Poll shows Romney winning independents 51% to 35%, Obama won them last time 52% to 44%, and it shows a 13% enthusiasm gap for the Republicans.
● Rasmussen also shows Romney only 1% behind in Ohio and 2% behind in Nevada, but 1% ahead in Virginia, 2% ahead in Florida and Colorado, and 3% ahead in North Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire. And don’t forget, Rasmussen is mixing 2008 turnout with 2004 turnout... not 2010.
● Biden: Finally, they’ve hidden Joey Biden away for six days to prepare him for the debate Thursday night. Personally, I’m dreading this debate. I suspect the strategy Biden will use will be to avoid trying to meet Ryan on anything statistical or principled, and to instead keep countering Ryan’s points with “arguments” about individuals who will be hurt and with statements like, “man, you’re talking about millions of people who are going to go broke trying to pay for healthcare bills they can’t afford.” That will make for a messy, confusing debate as the two candidates basically talk past each other. Moreover, comments like that are impossible to counter because they are emotional in nature and people will either believe them or they won’t. Hopefully, Ryan will be prepared to handle this.
Personally, every time Biden tries that, I would counter with the identical attack Romney made on Obama’s record and I would phrase it in terms of:
“Talking about people hurting, how about the 23 million people who can’t find jobs, the 47 million on food stamps, the one in six Americans now below the poverty line, the two hundred million middle class families whose incomes crashed $4,300 during your administration, whose health care costs rose $2,500, who saw their gas prices double, who watched your administration double the deficit and waste the money on cronyism to nowhere, and who have no idea how their grandkids are going to pay off your debt. I think you and Mr. Obama have caused enough pain.”Thoughts?