Gallup Poll: Can Romney win popular vote, but Obama wins election? Imagine
Written by  // Saturday, 20 October 2012 08:22 //

romney-obama-smallImagine a presidential election result with Mitt Romney slaughtering President Barack Obama by a 52-45 margin but with the democrat winning the electoral college marbles, thus getting re-elected?

Conceivably, that would happen if the recent Gallup daily tracking survey were to be the election night final results.

By comparison to the recent poll,  Gallup's pre-debate numbers as of October 3rd, put Obama ahead by 4 points, 49 to 45 percent.  The differential margin is 11 points swing which shows what could happen in this volatile race where popularity is greatly desired but where electoral college ballots mean everything.

In the important state of Iowa, the President leads GOP challenger Mitt Romney by eight points, 51 to 43 percent.  The Wisconsin poll shows Obama ahead 51 to 45 percent, which was the same number and margin last month.

The Gallup poll, however, is not the only poll in town. 

While some recent polls have shown Romney eroding the president's lead with women voters, the new numbers from NBC/WSJ/Marist show a gender gap that is alive and kicking - both surveys Gallup and Marist show Mr. Obama ahead among women by almost 20 points.

The president also leads among early voters in both states - the 34 percent of Iowa voters who said they have already cast ballots selected Mr. Obama over Romney, 67 to 32 percent. Romney wins those who plan to vote on election day by a 54 to 39 percent margin.

In Wisconsin, early voters (15 percent of the sample) voted for the president, 64 to 35 percent. Mr. Obama also leads slightly among Election Day voters in Wisconsin, with a 48 to 47 percent advantage over Romney.

The surveys were conducted between Monday and Wednesday, both before and after the town hall debate at which Mr. Obama was judged to bounce back from a poor first debate performance.

Both states are critical to Mr. Obama's swing-state "firewall" and together account for 16 electoral votes.

Then here's another take:

If Gallup is right, then that looks to me like we're headed for an electoral college/popular vote split. 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 said.

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 said.

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. The Denver debate clearly had an impact on Romney's people. I think your insight is correct there. Whether we see a dulling of that over the next several days is what I want to see."

Race/Topic   (Click to Sort)PollResultsSpread
General Election: Romney vs. Obama NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl Obama 47, Romney 47 Tie
General Election: Romney vs. Obama Gallup Tracking Obama 45, Romney 52 Romney +7
General Election: Romney vs. Obama Rasmussen Tracking Obama 47, Romney 49 Romney +2
General Election: Romney vs. Obama IBD/TIPP Tracking Obama 48, Romney 42 Obama +6
Florida: Romney vs. Obama PPP (D) Romney 48, Obama 47 Romney +1

From Real Clear Politics


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