Tuesday, October 09, 2012

OK Obama supporters, you can panic now.

The Great and Powerful Kos has spoken.

Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU. 10/4-7. Likely voters. MoE ±2.72% (9/27-30 results)

The candidates for President are Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. If the election was today, who would you vote for?
  Obama 47 (49)
Romney 49 (45)

That's a pretty disastrous six-point net swing in just a week, and the first time we've ever had Romney in the lead. It is inline with all other national polling showing Romney making gains in the wake of his debate performance last week.

Both the Gallup and Rasmussen trackers saw their Romney bounce evaporate on Sunday. In this poll, 75 percent of the sample was gathered on Thursday and Friday, at the height of Romney's bounce. This is because PPP does call-backs: It identifies a random range of numbers and begins calling them on Thursday. If they get no answer, they keep trying the same numbers on subsequent days until they get the required number of responses (we ask for at least 1,000). This avoids the old tropes about young liberals being out partying on Friday nights, while conservatives are at church on Sunday mornings, etc.


So where did Romney gain? Among women, Obama went from a 15-point lead to a slimmer 51-45 edge. Meanwhile, Romney went from winning independents 44-41 to winning them 48-42. And just like the Ipsos poll showed last week, Romney further consolidated his base. They went from supporting him 85-13 last week, to 87-11 this week while Obama lost some Democrats, going from 88-9 last week, to 87-11 this week.

Several other polls, Pew chief among them, saw a big increase in the number of respondents self-identifying as Republicans—a sign of increased intensity on that side of the aisle. Our poll confirms that intensity boost. Last week, 65 percent of conservatives were "very excited" about voting this year. This week, it's 74 percent. That's a significant shift. Liberals also gained, but only marginally so, from 68 to 70 percent.

Clearly, none of this is irreversible, and it'll bear watching the daily trackers to see if Romney continues to fade or not. And obviously, next week's numbers will further clarify the shape of the race.

Regardless, it shows that Obama's debate performance was an epic blunder (my emphasis). Romney gave his partisans a reason to get excited about him and they've responded. It should come as no surprise that people like to fight for people who are fighting for them.

Obama's also been looking at the polls, and underscores the fear factor to his partisans.

President Barack Obama is telling supporters that with one month to go, it is time for them to get "almost obsessive."

Speaking to donors at a $20,000-per-ticket dinner in San Francisco, Obama said, quote, "I very much intend to win this election."

But he says it will require supporters to mobilize every resource they can think of to help him. He encourages those who given him cash to do more by sending emails, making phone calls, and reaching out to cousins or uncles or friends in the battleground states that will decide the election.

Says Obama, quote: "You've got to make sure that we bring this home." 

The two excerpts above encapsulate so much of what has gone wrong with our political process that it's difficult for me to find a place to start to break it down. No joke; it's an Aegean stables-like task. (I'm not even going to mention Mitt Romney, either.)

Indeed Obama had a shitty debate, but to consider that his performance actually changed so many peoples' minds is a rather pathetic take on the electorate. A week ago -- yes, just a week ago -- the race was virtually concluded. The momentum was solidly blue, and was spreading downballot rapidly. I haven't looked to see what the polls reveal about Senate or Congressional races yet, but suffice it to say that something similar is probably occurring.

You may recall that I have a low opinion of opinion polling. That is still the case. Beating my ownself out of the Crips gang also helps in processing the wilting of Team Bleu fortunes with the first frost.

Democratic White House prospects now rest in the capable hands of Joe Biden in his debate with Paul Ryan Thursday night. That should still be fun.

But partisan Dems, and particularly those in Texas, suddenly have a lot to be worried about.

The focus will crystallize after today; it's the last day to register to vote in this election in Texas, so the conversation and the efforts will turn to GOTV. And to enlisting Texans to call swing state voters, as if so much of that volunteer effort hasn't already been siphoned off. With fully 50% of the potential American electorate officially uncoupled from having a say -- as much by their own choice as the deadline -- the audience for the message just divided in half.

Texans are both ATM and ground infantry recruitment headquarters again for Obama, and for close Senate contests in places like Massachusetts and Wisconsin... but not here. With tight and winnable races in the Texas House and state Senate, resources must be expended to save ground, not expand it any longer. Another strategy shift in the midst of happening, as the state poll numbers continue to be gathered.

Unless the momentum can be regained by the Democrats, the tides appear to have reversed themselves, with the Red coming in and the Blue going out.

This would have bothered me a lot more in years past.

We can hope that fear is a good motivator for Democratic voters, at least. It seems to work better on the Republican lizard brain, but so does rabid enthusiasm on their hive mind. And now they have it. They probably won't let go of it again over the course of the next month.

It's a cryin' ass shame either way for Texas Dems, though. They will have to pour themselves out block-walking, phone-calling, lit-dropping and push-carding just to preserve some gains that were in the bank last week.

All because Obama mailed it in on his anniversary.

My own enthusiasm for Obama -- and it never was a lot -- began to deflate early on when he refused to fight for his own healthcare program, and then more so as he declined to fight back against the worst of the Republican attacks on him. Here I might pile on with Guantanamo, NDAA, drone assassinations of Afghani and Pakistani civilians as well as American citizens, the mishandling of both the economic crisis as well as the subsequent stimulus, and most recently our environment locally and our climate globally.

But I will save elaborating on these reasons for not backing the president in 2012 for later.

Even some of the Kossacks commenting on that thread get it, though, this one in particular (poor syntax notwithstanding).

When you embrace proto Republican ideas do not be surprised when voters look favorably on Republican ideas that are so close to your own. If Republicans are good enough for Obama to want to make nice with then why should undecideds not take them seriously too. We may lose this election because of the President's insistence on bipartisanship and the failure to treat the base well.

The Greens are not going to get anywhere near what Nader got in 2000. The Greens will not be to blame here. Rather the administration's failure along with the media's to properly label the Tea Party and its billionaire benefactors as the danger to the country that they represent. And the lack of support for the labor movement and the embrace of neoliberal economic policy.

The administration's handling of the banking crisis was a political disaster. It alienated voted (sic) while only benefiting the wealthy. What should have been an era of aggressive banking reform was instead an era of bankers getting wealthier.

There's a Houston-area meetup of Daily Kosians this weekend. Some I already know offline; some are activists, some are clicktivists, all are dyed-in-the-wool Democrats. It's an opportunity to see how well-received a person like me is in that company.

There are a lot of votes in the can already, however, and none of what's happening right now has changed my ballot at all. I will still vote for several Democrats, all the Greens I can, and a few Libertarians where they are the only one running against a Republican. But then again, I'm not a low-information voter, either.

And I doubt that you are as well. But the election doesn't turn on people like us... except for down the ballot. That's especially the case here in the Great State.

Update: Nate Silver, as good at the game as any, says "don't worry". Plenty of historical precedent for one good debate being fairly meaningless in the overall scheme. And the Irish betting service I follow -- always hilarious -- declares in this morning's e-mail...

With less than a month to go before America goes to the polls Paddy Power, Europe’s largest betting company, can report that close to 3 times more money has been staked on President Barack Obama than his election rival Mitt Romney.

The Irish betting house has seen only 25.5% of money staked on their next President betting line placed on Romney since he was formally named as the Republican candidate on August 30th while 74.5% of the dough has been placed on Obama in the same period.

Meanwhile, the former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, has seen his odds of winning the presidential race improve significantly from 9/2 to 9/4 since his powerful display in the first debate but still trails Barack Obama who remains the favourite to win the election at 1/3.

 A spokesperson for Paddy Power said “Obama looked to be home and dry in our customers’ eyes about two weeks ago, however there’s been a recent surge in support for Romney which would suggest that Obama might be in a Mitt of trouble.”

Update II: Nobody does 'stop freaking out' better than Wonkette (NSFW due to language).

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