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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Interesting Election Day Analysis - Independents

I was stumbling through some polling data and I noticed a trend I've been writing about in my poll tracker:

- Mitt Romney is doing well with independents.

But why is this significant considering I projected Obama to win the election?

I'll answer that by looking back to 2008 exit polling data:

In 2008, Obama won independents 52 - 44. Party line votes were nearly split (Obama won 89/9 D/R - McCain won 90/10 R/D), but as shown, independents, or 29% of the vote in 2008, went for Obama.

How does this play out in 2012? I wanted to look at it in 2 ways:

1. What if the voting demographic for 2008 still existed in 2012? What if voters still went to the polls as 39% democrat, 32% republican, and 29% independent? This is unlikely as most pundits believe the +7 democrat advantage has slipped, but I wanted to look at this anyway. How would the election turn out under this sample with Romney getting so many independents?

2. What if the voting demographic changed to a different spread? I am going to use Gallup's voter demographic breakdown that predicts a 35/36/29 D/R/I spread as well as one less favorable to republicans (but not as bad as 2008).

For this analysis, I'm going to be testing a mix of polls:

1. Today's IDB/TIPP Poll: (Romney +6 I)
2. Yesterday's Monmouth University Poll: (Romney +16 I)
3. Pew Research's Poll from Sunday: (Romney +3 I)
4. CNN's Recent General Election Poll: (Romney +22 I)
5. A simple, though not terribly sound mathematical average of the numbers from these 4 polls.

All these show Mitt Romney is winning independents by one measure or another. On average, he is capturing the independent vote by 11.7 points.


Click Image For Expanded View

As we can see, when applying Romney's lead with independents across various turnout scenarios, we are getting different results. The most glaring is Gallup's prediction. If turnout is what Gallup says it will be, Romney will win the popular vote quite handily. Here are the results summarized:

1. As stated, with Gallup's voter turnout prediction, Romney wins across all scenarios. 
2. Using 2008's demographic, if it were true here in 2012, Romney loses all scenarios.
3. In IDB/TIPP's and Pew's polls, Romney's lead with independents, +6 and +3, respectively, is not enough for him to win the popular vote in a +3.5 D turnout model.
4. For CNN's and Monmouth's polls, Romney's lead with independents, +22 and +16, respectively, would be strong enough to win in a +3.5 D turnout model. 
5. Using the average of all these polls, which, again, isn't terribly mathematically sound, puts Romney up in total by +0.7 points in a +3.5 D turnout model.

So what does this mean? Well, in my opinion, it means two things. First, it all depends on turnout. I don't know what the turnout will be, but I doubt a +7 D wave like the one that existed 2008 still exists. Secondly, it does show that Romney is strong with independents, but will it be enough to combat a wave of +3.5 democrat voters if it happens? Who knows? If Gallup is right, Romney will win. Gallup did, however, predict Obama would win in 2008 by 11 though Obama only won by 7.3. 

The point: get out and vote :)


  1. First off, it is encouraging to hear the analysis and importance of the independent vote in this election. Now more than ever it is important for the the Republicans to get the Independent voters to agree with our message and philosophy. There is no question that this election is going to come down to the wire and unlike 2000, instead of FL deciding the winner it could very well be OH or PA. After watching the various news channels last night, one thing has become clear. This election is far from over and Mitt Romney should be our next President. The early voting numbers as of Saturday showed that Democrats decreased over 100K in OH and the Republicans increased over 100k in OH. Why is this crucial? Well in 2008 Obama won the state thanks to the high early voting on the Dems side and the low early voting on the Repubs side. John McCain won OH on election day but failed to win the electoral votes. I believe we will see a higher turn out of Republicans than Democrats which will help Mitt Romney and he will only be aided by independents voting for him in the key states. This election is within reach! Unseating an incumbent Presidenet is incredibly hard to do, add the biased media and it is nearly impossible. To be as close as Mitt is, well that is remarkable and I believe he will pull it out. I show Mitt winning the following "swing states": FL,VA,NC,NH,CO,PA. He has a chance to win NV and OH but those races are very close. I believe that him campaigning today in OH and PA are to his benefit.

  2. Will the LME be on The 405 Live tonight? If so, what time?

    1. Slim - Unrelated to politics but I have to share because it made me think of you. I love that the Cowboys locked Jerry Jones out of the locker room after the game on Sunday and that he was beyond angry. I can just see him jumping up and down and turning red like a 5 year old... The thought made me smile and I assumed it made you smile as well.

      Hope all is well!

    2. Slim - no, sorry... not tonight. I'm going to be quietly watching the election with some friends and my wife. I actually got called by a few radio stations, but I figured I'd say no to all. There is going to be enough coverage, anyway :-)

      I will be debuting on a new show run by Jon Rollings for OpinioNationTV at 11PM est tomorrow night however. He is on the Saturday show occasionally, and it will be available at the same link.

  3. Whatsamattausa, no I hadn't heard about that. I wish they would stuff him in a cooler full of gatorade. LOL

    I guess we will see for sure this weekend which one of us has the worst 3-5 team. I am thinking my team is worse right now. It may come down to which defense scores the most points when we play (both of our QB's are turnover machines). Andy Reid is having a tough year but I bet he still beats the Cowboys TWICE (that used to really kill me, but it happens so much now I expect it). sure to put up a link tomorrow. I will try to check it out. How long until you have your own radio show?

    Tomorrow there will be no more "Bronco Bama" (surely everyone has seen the video)or Mitt Romney commercials polluting the TV and radio. THANK GOODNESS. Back to the regular sucky commercials we all loathe.

    I guess here in east Tennessee I got off lucky. I only got swamped with 0bama commercials. Romney didn't have to spend money here (after primaries). Then again, I don't know why 0bama wasted so much money here. My gosh, they must have played that Morgan Freeman commercial a gazillion times here.

    Have a great day gentlemen.