Thursday, June 28, 2012
How is Obama Really Doing in the Swing States?
There is a bit of received wisdom in the political world that incumbents need to be polling at 50% or higher to win on election day. I don't have the data at my fingertips, but I have observed this to be accurate over the years. The thinking is that incumbents are known quantities, and that anyone who's undecided will likely vote for the other guy as soon as they figure out who it is and what he/she stands for.
One could argue that in a presidential election this is less true since they "other guy," in this case Mitt Romney, is widely known. That would be investing too much faith in the American people and how much they really pay attention to this stuff in June.
So, to give an example, if a race is polling at 47-43 in favor of the incumbent, they are likely doomed. Historically, the 10% who are undecided will almost all break for the challenger.
With this in mind, I decided to see where Obama stands in every state that's thought to be remotely competitive. There are thirteen on the list, and up for grabs are 163 electoral votes.
In how many do you suppose Obama is at 50% or higher? Survey says: one, uno, and that's in Oregon where he's polling at precisely 50% (note: my reference for this is the RCP Polling Average).
Here are the other twelve, in order of electoral importance:
North Carolina 46.2%
Note that in only one of these states is Obama even that close to 50, and that's Nevada which has a paltry 6 electoral votes.
There's a long, long way to go until the election. Hell, two weeks before an election is still an eternity. But these numbers bear watching, because if nothing changes they spell doom for Obama.