Why The New York Times Poll is Wrong


Whether deliberately or not, The New York Times/CBS/Quinnipiac Poll is wrong! It shows President Obama carrying Ohio, Florida and Virginia. In reality, Mitt Romney is leading in all three states and will carry them all.

Here’s the deal. The Times is weighting the raw survey data to reflect the ratio of Democrats to Republicans who voted in 2008. True, if we get the same massive turnout among minorities and young people that propelled Obama to victory in 2008, he will win this election and carry these states. But we won’t. All the polling shows that the electorate is now much more Republican and that GOP voters are much more motivated to turn out than their Democratic counterparts.

If we weight the Times results for the average turnout of the past four elections: 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, we find Romney winning all three states. Republican pollster — the best of them all — John McLaughlin and I used exit polls from the past four elections to figure out how many Democrats and Republicans actually voted and then averaged them together. Here are the real numbers:

Florida
–NY Times results: Obama +1
–Dem/Rep ratio in Times poll: Dems +7
–Average ratio Dem/Rep past four elections: Reps +1
–Times overstates Dem vote by 8 points
–Correct poll result: Romney +7

Ohio
–NY Times results: Obama +5
–Dem/Rep ratio in Times poll: Dems +8
–Average ratio Dem/Rep past four elections: Dems +2
–Times overstates Dem vote by 6 points
–Correct poll result: Romney +1

Virginia
–NY Times results: Obama +2
–Dem/Rep ratio in Times poll: Dems +8
–Average ratio Dem/Rep past four elections: Reps +1
–Times overstates Dem vote by 9 points
–Correct poll result: Romney +7

And even these results don’t tell the full story. The Gallup Poll finds that the 2012 election will actually have more Republicans and fewer Democrats voting than any of the past four elections. In 2008, the electorate had 12 points more Democrats and Republicans. In 2004, the electorate was evenly divided. Gallup estimates that in 2012, there will be 3 points more Republicans voting than Democrats.

So the numbers above are not reflective of Romney’s real strength. He will do even better. Add to them the fact that the undecided vote goes against the incumbent, and you are looking at a real landslide.

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