The Key To The Election: Gallup/Rasmussen or The Other Pollsters?

This election actually comes down to one key question: Who’s right about the partisan breakdown of the election?

Is it: Gallup and Rasmussen: that say it leans toward the GOP?

Two pollsters, Gallup and Rasmussen Reports, are projecting Republican voters to have a slight advantage on November 6 over Democratic voters. When they add likely voters leaning towards one party or another, they find an electorate that is marginally more Republican than in 2004, when voters narrowly reelected incumbent President George W. Bush.

…This year, Gallup finds a one point Republican advantage over Democrats , at 36 to 35 percent. They also find that self-identified independent voters will make up 29 percent of the electorate. However, when leaners are included, Republican voters will outnumber Democratic voters by 49 to 46 percent.

…This finding is close to what Rasmussen Reports saw in their August/September average of party identification . Their surveys found Republicans dominating the electorate with Democrats trailing their 2004 and 2008 turnout totals. Independent voters, which most national polls show favoring Mitt Romney by wide margins but backed President Barack Obama in 2008, approximately mirror their 2008 turnout totals (the Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll on Thursday showed Romney with a 19-point advantage over Obama among independent voters).

On the other hand, most of the other pollsters, particularly in the state polls, are showing apartisan breakdown very similar to 2008 when the Democrats had their best year in decades.

Colorado 2008 exit poll: 30 percent. ARG: 33 percent. Purple Strategies: 34 percent. PPP: 37 percent. NBC/WSJ/Marist: 45 percent (with leaners, 34 percent without).

Florida 2008 exit poll: 37 percent. Quinnipiac out this morning: 37 percent. Survey USA: 42 percent. CNN: 33 percent. PPP: 43 percent.

Iowa 2008 exit poll: 34 percent. Gravis Polls: 41 percent. PPP: 34 percent. NBC/WSJ/Marist: 45 percent (with leaners, 34 percent without).

Michigan 2008 exit poll: 41 percent. EPIC-MRA: 42 percent.

Minnesota 2008 exit poll: 40 percent. Survey USA: 45 percent. St. Cloud University: 32 percent.

Nevada 2008 exit poll: 38 percent. Survey USA: 43 percent. NBC/WSJ/Marist: 39 percent. Gravis Polls: 45 percent. PPP: 42 percent.

New Hampshire 2008 exit poll: 29 percent. PPP: 30 percent. ARG: 29 percent. University of New Hampshire: 45.6 percent.

North Carolina 2008 exit poll: 42 percent. Survey USA: 41 percent. Elon University: 47.9 percent (with leaners, 38 percent without). PPP: 46 percent (10/25) PPP:45 percent (10/31).

Ohio 2008 exit poll: 39 percent. Quinnipiac out this morning: 37 percent. Survey USA: 38 percent. Purple Strategies:34 percent. PPP: 43 percent.(10/28) PPP:45 percent (10/30) Gravis Polls: 40 percent.

Pennsylvania 2008 exit poll: 44 percent. Gravis Polls: 45 percent. Muhlenberg College: 46 percent. PPP: 48 percent. Quinnipiac: 39 percent.

Virginia 2008 exit poll: 39 percent. Quinnipiac out this morning: 35 percent. Purple Strategies: 36 percent. Gravis Polls: 41 percent.Washington Post: 31 percent.

Are pollsters projecting Democrats will make up more of the electorate in 2012 than they did in 2008? In quite a few cases, the answer is yes.

If these other pollsters are right, then Obama probably has a small edge. However, given that the GOP had an incredible year in 2010, is winning early voting, and is winning Independents by a margin as large as Obama did in 2008, Gallup and Rasmussen seem much more likely to be on the right track. If that’s so, Mitt Romney is going to win.

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