Monday, October 15, 2012

Guess Who's Unskewing Polls Now? (Hint: It's Me!)

Needz unskewing!
There's a USA Today poll of swing state voters that just came out today that shows Mitt Romney with a five point lead over Barack Obama, 51% to 46%.  In the accompanying article, Susan Page conjures up a vision of 1992 and declares that "women, especially blue-collar 'waitress moms'" will be "the quintessential swing voters in 2012's close race."  Romney's sudden surge is due to women, who "tend to start paying attention to election contests later and remain more open to persuasion by the candidates and their ads", actually sacking up and picking sides.

But throwback political cliches aside, the poll results set off my bullshit alarm.  The poll is based on phone calls with voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.  But the polls in these swing states don't average out to a 5-point Romney lead.  According to the RealClearPolitics poll averages:

Colorado: Romney +0.6
Florida: Romney +2.5
Iowa: Obama +2.7
Michigan: Obama +4.4
Nevada: Obama +1.6
New Mexico: Obama +10.5
North Carolina: Romney +4.7
Ohio: Obama +2.2
Pennsylvania: Obama +4.8
Virginia: Obama +0.8
Wisconsin: Obama +2.3

Average: Obama +2.0
Population weighted average: Obama +1.2

Not only is the USA Today poll showing way more Romney support than the average of the state polls, it is showing more Romney support than any single constituent state in its survey!

I will try not to pay attention to any more tracking polls since they are useless as indicators of who will win the election.

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