More data showing huge Romney win likely

| October 8 2012
Christopher Cook

Let’s say you poll 100 people. Let’s say that 50 of them say they’re going to vote for Barack Obama and 50 of them say they’re going to vote for Mitt Romney. Then, on Election Day, 86% of Romney’s voters show up but only 73% of Obama’s do. That’s a Romney landslide.

The takeaway is simple: Turnout is everything.

In a relatively close election, what matters is who turns out to vote. What determines turnout is enthusiasm. Which side wants it more? Which side is energized and excited?

We’ve been writing for a long time now about the enthusiasm gap enjoyed by Republicans. Here, we’re not talking just about transient spikes in enthusiasm like the ones the Democrats briefly enjoyed after Bill Clinton, in his DNC speech, reminded the nation why they liked Bill Clinton so much. We’re talking about structural enthusiasm advantages that aren’t going away: Conservatives REALLY want to get rid of Obama. Catholics are energized by the assault on religious liberty. Seniors, a group that favors Romney, are always a reliable voting block. Young people, whose participation in 2008 saw a big uptick, are back to their normal low-participation ways.

With just a couple of exceptions, cohort by cohort, the ones that favor Romney are more energized. The ones who favor Obama, less.

Now, more data are in reinforcing this conclusion, and the data are striking.

Only 73 percent who support Obama say they are “extremely likely” to vote, compared to 86 percent who back Romney. Likewise, 84 percent of Republicans say they are extremely likely to vote, compared to 76 percent of Democrats.

Among those extremely likely to vote, Romney actually leads Obama 52 percent to 46 percent. That’s up from a 2-point lead last week. Obama led 50 percent to 47 percent among this group three weeks ago.

Romney voters are more likely to vote. Republicans are more likely to vote.

And, as we mention above, key cohorts are showing dramatic differences in enthusiasm

The percentages among key Democratic constituencies who say they are extremely likely to vote should cause concern in Chicago: While 82 percent of whites (who break for Romney by a 15-point margin) say they’re “extremely likely” to vote, only 71 percent of African-Americans and 70 percent of Latinos do. And just 68 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds, another key Obama constituency, put themselves in the “extremely likely” to vote category.

The electorate is deeply divided and polarized, which makes 2012 look increasingly like a base election. Whoever runs up their vote count among their core supporters is likely to prevail, which is why these numbers are so significant.

Romney is also taking indies by a wide margin:

Romney now leads among independents by 16 points, 51 percent to 35 percent. This is up from 4 points last week. But he still trails in the overall head-to-head numbers because of near monolithic support for Obama among minority Democrats.

And finally, guess what the sample is for all this great information:

That’s even more true when one takes into consideration the sample breakdown in this poll.  It has a D/R/I of 38/30/32, for a D+8.  That’s more Democratic than 2008′s D+7, which took place in a cycle with much more Democratic enthusiasm than this poll demonstrates.  If Obama trails in a D+8 poll by 6 among the extremely likely voters with four weeks to go, he’s in deep trouble — and his debate performance certainly won’t boost him.

I can’t see how Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group, which helps do the Battleground Poll each year, would allow for a sample of D+8. That is simply not realistic for 2012.
Unless something dramatic changes between now and Election Day, this race is Romney’s to lose . . . no matter what polls that sample Democrats at levels even greater than their wave year of 2008 say.
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