Monday, April 2, 2012

Swing state poll makes key omissions

USA Today released a seemingly-rough poll for Mitt Romney over the weekend, but it's not nearly as lopsided as it first appears.

The substance: Barack Obama has jumped to a 9% lead over Romney, overall, in swing states (Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire).

Now... here are a couple caveats to the big Obama lead.

a. USA Today included New Mexico as a swing state. That's ridiculous. A Rasmussen poll last month showed Obama beating Romnney by 19%, and he won the state by 15% in 2008.

Thus, including New Mexico as a "swing state" artificially biases the swing state poll for Obama.

b. USA Today included Michigan as a swing state. Again, that's a stretch. There was a time and place when it looked like it could be a toss-up, but that was a few years ago.

PPP recently handed Obama a 16% lead over Mitt, and the bailout's success has made it far less likely the GOP can turn it red in 2012.

c. USA Today included Wisconsin as a "swing state". Yet again, its inclusion skews things toward Obama. PPP has Obama up 14%, and the GOP hasn't won the state in a presidential election since the 1980's.

Now, of course it hurts Romney that Obama has such a massive lead in each of those three states, but the GOP can win the presidential election without having any of those states -- in fact, George W. Bush did just that in 2000.

If you're going to include Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Michigan as swing states, you have to include Indiana, Arizona, and Missouri, which are all likely to go Republican, but are just as much swing states as Wisconsin, NM, and Michigan.

The only difference between them is that Indiana, Arizona, and Missouri were actually closer than Wisconsin, Michigan, and New Mexico in 2008.

Yet in all three states, Romney leads right now. If you were to include them in the swing state poll (which you should), this thing would be much tighter.