Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Final National Polls: And the Winner is Obama

The final national polling figure shows the head-to-head polling trend during the campaign.

1.  Obama was ahead by about 2 points consistently all year.
  • Romney damaged by primary.
2.  Obama remained ahead in May and June after bad job reports.
  • Economy was not going to be the sole issue that could have put Romney in the lead.
  • Romney came under massive advertising attacks Bain Capital. His favorability was low and stayed there.  He did not respond concerning his reputation. He believed the race was a referendum, not a choice.  His response was to attack Obama on the economy.
3.  Obama was ahead by 3 points on Oct. 1.
  • Democrats had much better convention in terms of bounce.
  • Romney had bad September, even as his advertising ramped up.
  • Romney’s “47%” and Benghazi quick response hurt.
  • Question was asked: What can change the dynamics of the race to make it competitive?  Only the Oct. 3rd debate appeared possible.  But debates are seldom game changers.
4.  Oct. 3rd debate changed the big picture and Romney moved ahead slightly for 21 days from Oct. 9 to Oct. 30 in the overall national polls.
  • 72% rated Romney the first debate winner, but it depended on Obama performing so poorly.
  • Polls tightened, but Romney never moved ahead in state battleground polls; hence, he continued to lose the electoral vote.
5.  Obama returned to lead last 7 days.  Romney saw momentum in crowds, but Obama won final debates, economy showed life and Sandy stopped Romney’s campaign.  It added points to Obama over the final weekend as he got to be presidential and look bipartisan.

6.  Obama was ahead in national polls on Election Day.  He won by 3 points as late votes counted in California added to his margin.
  • Final media polling average put Obama ahead by 2 points on Election Day.
  • Two final tracking polls had Romney ahead, reinforcing the final narrative that the race would be close and Election Night long; i.e., might need Colorado to decide it.
7.  So, preparation for election night analyses was that Obama appeared slightly ahead in the popular vote, but he continued to dominate the electoral vote in 7 of 9 battleground states.  Romney had shown final momentum, especially pre-Sandy, but it appeared to fade.  Romney’s people appeared strangely confident given the public polling data.

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