Even as Barack Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney by merely a point in national polls but by three points or so in the ten battleground states, Gallup has discovered a trend which could really hurt Democratic chances come November.
Democrats are significantly less likely to vote this year than they were in either 2008 or 2004. Of course, these numbers will certainly change by election day, but Gallup finds that only 39 percent of Democrats, as opposed to 51 percent of Republicans, are more enthusiastic than usual about voting.
In 2008, Democrats held a 61 to 35 percent advantage in this important category. In 2004, their advantage was 68 to 51 percent.
As the election nears, we most likely will find numbers turning up on the enthusiastic question. In fact, at this time in 2008, the overall enthusisam number was 48 percent; it increased to 64 percent prior to the election. At this time in 2004, the enthusiasm level was 59 percent, but it jumped to 65 percent by election day.
Both parties combined, the enthusiasm level stands at 44 percent right now.
Most pundits believe that Obama will lose much of winning marginal base of younger and minority voters from 2008 if enthusisam remains muted this year.
That's one reason why Democrats need to be concerned even as Obama continues to enjoy a 1.3 percent lead (46.3-45.0) in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Most polls (except Rasmussen) include the entire universe of potential voters, not merely likely voters. Thus, Obama could easily lose two or three points depending on turnout.
Today, for example, Rasmussen has Romney up three points (47-44); Gallup has Romney up one (46-45), but other polls out this week give the edge to Obama--he was up as much as six points in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll yesterday (49-43). Go figure!
Among the ten battleground states (Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Michigan), Obama leads by 3.5 points. Five Thirty Eight tells us that Obama has led in 43 polls in those states since June 1 while Romney has led ikn only nine (there have been four ties).
Those numbers, while good talking point notes for Democrats, don't really mean all that much.
As always, trends are more important than past numbers.
538 has Florida as a dead toss-up, projecting 49.5 percent for each candidate. Virginia is next closest with Obama up 50.0-48.9. Then it's Ohio with Obama up 50.2-48.2, then Colorado at 50.3-48.1 for Obama, and New Hampshire (52-48) and Nevada (51,5-47.1) for Obama.
Interesting, pollster has Obama leading in electoral votes 272-191 with only four states rated too close to call--Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. Even if Romney were to win all four of those states, he'd still be shy by three electoral votes. Guess which state would give him the four electoral votes to carry the election?
Mais oui, this we!
Two polling anamolies stand out this week. Survey USA has Obama up five points (48-43) in Florida at the same time that Republican Senatorial candidate Connie Mack has pulled six points (48-42) ahead of Democrat Nelson. Go figure.
And just look at Michigan. The Democrat house organ, PPP, has Obama up 14 points (53-39) while the same day, Mithell Research actually has Romney up one (45-44) in the state. Yesterday, Rasmussen had Obama up six (48-42) in the state. Any wonder why I trust Rasmussen much more than PPP? PPP, on the other hand, only has Obama up six (49-43) in Pennsylvania, so we can imagine it's really a dead heat there. There's also a Survey USA poll which has Romney withn six in Minnesota (46-40)
Mass Inc (which I'd never heard of before) has Elizabeth I Really Am An Indian Warren up two over Scott Brown in Massachusetts, but it's only 40-38, and I suspect this is one time the mass of undecided voters will not break for the challenger.
American Research Group is out with nationwide approval numbers at minus five (46-51) for Obama. Both Gallup and Rasmussen have it at minus three (45-48 abd 48-51); the RCP average is minus 0.8 (47.1-47.9)
I didn't report here last week, but I did jot down these numbers--30, 19, 8, and 8. That's 30 percent of Republican who want Condi Rice to be Obama's choice for V.P., 19 percent (including me) for Marco Rubio, and 8 percent for both Paul Ryan and Chris Christie. Neither Tim Palwenty nor Senator Portman come with enough support to be even listed.
Maybe I should take the summer off from this polling pursuit....but then maybe not. An addiction is after all, an addiction.