Yesterday the Pew poll and the Gallup poll collided. (Today ABC's poll butted in to further stir the waters, but let's take things just two at a time to start with.) Pew showed a major shift against Obama and Gallup showed a major shift toward him. Yesterday I suggested that it seemed unlikely one debate could actually create the anti-Obama swing Pew was showing, much as we might all respect Pew. My thesis was that the underlying dynamics of the race - the big margins Obama has had with major groups for compelling reasons - could not evaporate overnight.
Now Nate Silver, the supremo poll analyst for the New York Times, raises a similar point. He too categorizes the Pew Research organization as a "strong" pollster, but he also takes issue with its startling find. He too considers the Pew result "inconsistent" with the "fundamentals of the race". But he cites a different set of fundamentals, chiefly the economic ones. In fact, his election model is almost unique in taking these into account in making his forecasts. Unlike other poll result analysts, he does not merely average the polls. Per Nate, the economy looks too good right now for Pew to be right.
So ol' Nate and I reach a similar conclusion based on the same reasoning but using different factors. As an old pol, I look at the voting blocks; as a numbers guy, Nate Silver looks at economic numbers.
Now comes ABC's poll, which agrees with Gallup more or less but is simply of registered voters rather than also reporting "likely" voter results as does Pew. "Likely" voter results are generally thought to be more accurate. But we can get a pretty good picture by comparing ABC's poll with its prior ones this year. And the trend is good! Obama's favoribility rating has been going UP this fall and is now its highest this year in the ABC polls. By contrast, Romney has improved a bit since September but is still "under water", with 4% more viewing him unfavorably than favorably.
Further, ABC says it picked up some day-to-day data that showed Romney with a bump right after the debate but that this has ebbed. What was highly touted as "Romney's last chance" apparently looked good initially but wasn't much. Like a gift that is wrapped so pretty but inside is just an empty box. Like Romney himself.
So breathe a bit easier for now but get ready to worry about Ohio! (More next time.)
And isn't that just like a grandma, telling you everything is okay except....?
Hey, Romney, can you hear me there under the water? It still ain't okay about the tax returns!