As Barack Obama’s favorability remains right at neutral and as Mitt Romney has pulled close enough to call the race a dead heat, it seems we are settling into what is going to be a long slog before any meaningful trends are available on the polling front.
So much so that perhaps we should look elsewhere for numbers this week.
Gallup fills the bill with numbers which show tolerance for abortion nearing a record low, and Rasmussen shows support for a guilty verdict in the Travon Martin/Zimmerman case fading fast.
The abortion numbers may be the biggest story of the week. 50 percent now describe themselves as pro life and only 41 percent pro choice. The numbers were fairly even a year ago, and pro choicers have historically held an edge.
Republicans are 72-22 on the pro life side; Independents 47-41; and only Democrats are now in a majority for pro choice (34-58). This is one of the rare cases I might say no opinion if asked the question; it remains a tough call.
Not so the Travon Martin case. Rasmussen now finds 40 percent believe George Zimmerman acted in self defense (up 25 points since right after the incident in Florida); 24 percent think he’s guilty; 36 percent are undecided. Only 33 percent expect he will be convicted.
Should the United States now withdraw all troops and forces from Western Europe? (How many even know we still have substantial forces there?) 51 percent say yes; 29 percent say no. I say we should have withdrawn decades ago, but that’s no surprise.
With talk increasing among Democratic pols that Obama might dump Joe Biden for Hillary (it would be a boffo idea), Gallup finds Biden is only slightly unpopular, minus 3 at 42-45. It’s 73-17 among Democrats; 37-47 with Independents; and 15-72 with Republicans, and the amazing thing is the numbers have barely changed for months and months.
Obama was up a bit earlier in the week in the Real Clear Politics average. Today it’s back to only plus 0.2 (48.0-47.8), but the Huffington Pollster average has him down 1.7 points (46.9-48.6).
Even more frustrating is that both sites have different averages for every state and for most Senate races. I checked it out this week, and it’s simply frustrating to see averages not in synch. Of course it all depends on which polls you use in your averages.
Even more bizarre, Huffington has Obama with enough states to carry the Electoral College with 280 votes while RCP has him only at 227. Even with that, Romney is closer in the national RCP average (down only 0.8 at 45.6-44.8) while RCP has Romney down 1.6 (45.4-43.8) and closing.
This probably tells verifies what we’ve long known, that national numbers precede state totals. We should expect to see Romney doing better in state polls in coming days. For example, he’s been down double digits in Iowa, but expect to see improvement there, and he’s already closed the margin to 2.4 points in Wisconsin (47.8-45.4). Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker seems safely ahead in his recall race, by six points or more with Democrats seeming to have thrown in the towel; they never should have begun this quest; the forces at play could hurt Obama in November.
As for now, Romney has pulled slightly ahead in Florida and North Carolina, but trails in other swing states including being down by as much as five in Ohio (according to Huffington) and 3.6 (RCP) and by as much as five in Virginia as well.
It looks like Romney can write off Nevada (+8.2 for Obama) and New Mexico (+8.8) in the Southwest, and focus on Colorado where most polls have it a dead heat and Arizona where he’s up by only a point or so. Obama might as well write off Missouri and Indiana.
On the Senate race front, only Massachusetts (Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren) and Virginia (Allen vs. Kaine) within virtually dead even with Republicans up less than a point in both states.
As predicted here earlier, Democrat incumbents Tester in Montana (down 4.6) and McCaskill (down 3.5) in Missouri appear on the way out. Republican Jeff Flake has moved to a big lead in the open Arizona seat, but Democrat Heinrich leads Wilson by five or so in the open New Mexico seat.
Independent King is way, way ahead in Maine.
My best guess is now a gain of six for the GOP and a 53-47 lead next year (assuming King caucuses with the Democrats).
My upset specials have always been Ohio and Florida. Republican Connie Mack seems to be closing in a bit on Nelson in Florida, but Democrat Sherrod Brown continues to hold a lead of five or six points in Ohio. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both fall to Republicans, depending on top of the ticket strength, but don’t bet the house on either.
Go with 53-47.
And if you really want to be frustrated, click on several states comparing RCP to pollster…contrasting would be a better word than comparing.
Rasmussen still has Republicans up four in the generic congressional ballot although the average is somewhat less than that. Expect Democratic gains in the U.S. House to be in the handful range, nothing more, come November.
The New Hampshire House is looking like a completely different story. An astute odds maker now should give just slightly less than even odds of Democrats taking control…200-200 is possible. Obama’s lead is six points over Romney in the state; the race for governor appears tied; and Bill O’Brien continues to drag the Grand Ol Party down every chance he gets.