Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

More Bad Polling News For Obama

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2011/10/14


Gallup has released its early October Obama v Generic Republican poll, and it’s more bad news for Obama. Ed Morrissey has the report.

I think I have this election licked. All we need to do is find a Republican candidate with plain wrapping and a blue stripe:

U.S. registered voters, by 46% to 38%, continue to say they are more likely to vote for the Republican presidential candidate than for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. The generic Republican led by the same eight-percentage-point margin in September, and also held a lead in July. The August update, conducted just after an agreement to raise the federal debt limit, had Obama with a slight edge.

The current results are based on a Gallup poll conducted Oct. 6-9. The eight-point lead for the Republican candidate persists, 50% to 42%, when taking into account the leanings of undecided voters.

Morrissey goes on to discuss how a previous President had a 17 point lead, only to lose and another previous President had a 3 point lead and won by about that much. Then there’s Jimmy Carter, who had a 25 point lead over Reagan during the election year and lost. But that’s the wrong angle. Here, the incumbent is trailing badly. The above examples are of the incumbent leading. The historical examples don’t fit the current situation because the historical examples are the inverse of the current situation.

Incumbency has a distinct advantage. People who “don’t get into politics” during most of their time are more likely to vote for “the guy who’s in there”, all else being equal. Incumbency, therefore, has its own magnetic draw. With Obama trailing 46 to 38, and 50 to 42 when leaners are factored in, he already has the incumbent magnetism in those numbers. And he’s still hurting badly. When the leaners are included, his generic opponent has already reached the magic 50 percent. And his incumbent draw is partially what has caused the “undecided” to actually be undecided: they prefer to vote for “the guy who’s there” but they don’t know.

With the incumbency advantage factored in, those who are undecided — having already been shifted to “undecided” by the incumbency draw — tend to break for the challenger on election day. This means the incumbency draw needs to have the incumbent above 50 percent while the undecided are undecided. And the opponent is at the 50 percent line instead.

I remember spending 2010 watching the Real Clear Politics House and Senate predictions. As 2010 started out, the predictions suggested Democrats had the advantage, with possible more Democrat gains in the House. But as 2010 progressed, the Democrats began sliding… and sliding… and falling… and tumbling to catastrophe. The incumbent draw was spent, and the undecideds were breaking heavily for Republicans.

Now, I don’t expect Obama to get a mere 38 percent of the vote (although it would be nice for that great a majority to see the light), but I do expect as the campaign season heats up and Obama continues his hyper-partisan activities, and Fast and Furious, Solyndra, etc continue to explode, the anti-Obama vote will continue to climb above 50. His incumbent draw has already reached saturation point.

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