Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Obama leads in Virginia, but...

A new Quinnipiac University poll gives Barack Obama a 50%-46% lead, overall, but there are a couple glaring caveats.

a. Democrats were sampled at +11% in the poll (35% Dem, 36% indie, 24% Republican).

That's an unrealistic number. In 2008, Democrats only had a +6% turnout edge over Republicans, and all indications are that the GOP will cut that gap this time.

b. Romney leads among independents, 53%-42%.

This is yet another example of a rarely reported but widespread phenomenon this cycle -- Romney consistently wins with indies, but loses overall.

The key for Romney will be to turn out independents (they show lower enthusiasm) and his base (they're very enthusiastic). If so, he's got a solid chance.

To show just how thoroughly Romney wins with independents, look no further than favorability ratings in Virginia.

Among indies, Romney sits at 49%/37% for +12%, while Obama is at 46%/48% for -2%. That's a net 14% lead for Mitt.

Obama's approval rating is also underwater among independents, 41%-54% for -13%.

Romney routs Obama on the economy among indies, 54%-39%. That's a big red flag for Obama.

Cutting to the chase, indies prefer Romney on the economy, health care, national security, Medicare, and taxes.

Indies prefer Obama on women's health issues and handling an international crisis.

So again, the two big things to remember on this poll.

1. The sample is so heavily Democratic that it actually assumes higher turnout for Dems than in 2008.

2. Romney is winning indies by double-digits, and strong on nearly all internals with the group.