- Mitt Romney is doing well with independents.
But why is this significant considering I projected Obama to win the election? http://loudmouthelephant.blogspot.com/2012/11/cnns-joke-of-poll-and-my-election.html
I'll answer that by looking back to 2008 exit polling data: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#USP00p1
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: http://news.investors.com/special-report/508415-ibdtipp-poll.aspx (Romney +6 I)
2. Yesterday's Monmouth University Poll: http://cms.monmouth.edu/assets/0/84/159/2147483694/c8af3c69-d7c7-4f41-9749-99d4fa948484.pdf (Romney +16 I)
3. Pew Research's Poll from Sunday: http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/11-4-12%20Election%20Weekend%20Release.pdf (Romney +3 I)
4. CNN's Recent General Election Poll: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2012/images/11/04/top16.pdf (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 :)