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Elections, Politics

Obama is weaker than is being reported

Posted: May 6, 2012 at 9:30 am   /   by

In the modern era, polls can be very accurate . . . IF the methodology used is solid. Analysts are watching pollsters very closely right now, and with good reason: There are shenanigans taking place. Usually, the problem involves polls oversampling Democrats. Pollsters have to estimate turnout based on previous elections, voter registration rolls, and other factors . . . and as analysts such as Ed Morrissey and others have noted recently, a lot of polls are doing a poor job of this, and the effect nearly always redounds to Democrats’ benefit.

One example of this may be the recent poll showing Obama winning Virginia by seven points. As Paul Mirengoff wonders, How is that even possible?

The Post’s results make little sense. Obama carried the state in 2008 by 6.3 points. That year, according to the Post, independent voters divided evenly. In the Post’s poll, they now favor Obama by 10 points (51-41). Is Obama really as strong in Virginia today, and much stronger among Independents, than he was in the heady days of “hope and change?”

This sort of polling doesn’t just produce bad information, however. It sends signals on that impact enthusiasm. Just as they did in 2010, the Republicans should enjoy an enthusiasm advantage in November. (Granted, it won’t be as high as 2010, but it should be there.) The enthusiasm gap could mean the difference, and polls showing the Republican candidate in a weaker position than he actually is will dampen that enthusiasm.

Whether this is being done intentionally or not, do not fall for it. Romney may not yet be strong, but Obama is definitely weak, and Romney is just getting rolling. The economy is weakening, or at very least stagnating. He is less popular in every cohort and every state. He has very little record to run on, and will have to rely heavily on fear and negative campaigning. This is not a strong position for Obama to start out in.

Even in polls that underweigh Republicans, Romney is competitive in swing states Obama must win. Obama just isn’t the same man he was back when he was the Lightworker, surrounded by swooning masses. In fact, he didn’t even fill the arena where he had his official kickoff:

If the carefully choreographed kick off was any indication, Obama will face some challenges in recapturing the 2008 magic — especially among young voters who weathered three years of souring job prospects and rising college costs.

The campaign was only able to muster 14,000 supporters at the first event in an arena designed to hold more than 18,000. Several thousand empty seats ringed its upper deck, mostly out of view from the cameras.

Don’t let polls with terribly unpredictive samples get you down. Don’t let the media weave a mist of inevitability around Obama, like Morgan Le Fay in Excalibur. Be happy warriors. Make a lot of noise. Fight.

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook