Poll Thoughts

Now that the General Election season is in full swing, it’s time to look at some polls.  There are four new national polls out, from CBS News/NYT, NPR, FOX News, and Rasmussen.  Taken at face value, their results are as follows:


CBS News:  Obama 46%, Romney 47%


NPR:  Obama 47%, Romney 45%


FOX News:  Obama 45%, Romney 41%


Rasmussen: Obama 46%, Romney 47%



The polls all show a close race within the margin of error.  But there’s an interesting point of methodology here.  Here are the political demographic weights of those polls:


CBS News:  Democrats 32.14%, Republicans 25.16%, Independents 42.70%  (Registered Voters)

NPR:  Democrats 36%, Republicans 29%, Independents 31%  (Likely Voters)

FOX News:  Democrats 42%, Republicans 38%, Independents 18%  (Likely Voters)

Rasmussen:  Democrats 36%, Republicans 31%, Independents 33%  (Likely Voters)


Compare that to voter turnout by party in past presidential elections:


2008:  Democrats 39%, Republicans 32%, Independents 29%

2004:  Democrats 37%, Republicans 37%, Independents 26%

2000:  Democrats 39%, Republicans 35%, Independents 26%

1996:  Democrats 40%, Republicans 35%, Independents 22%


If the poll data is backed out and re-weighted by party turnout from past elections, here are the results based on those turnouts:


2008:  Obama 47%, Romney 46%

2004:  Obama 46%, Romney 50%

2000:  Obama 47%, Romney 49%

1996:  Obama 46%, Romney 47%


So, if turnout this year is like 1996 or 2008, Obama has a close lead, but Romney may be in better shape than the polls indicate, if turnout is more like that of 2000 or 2004.


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