I awaited with bated breath last night’s NBC/WSJ/Marist polling numbers for the Presidential race in the top three battleground states: Ohio, Florida and Virgina. And as an Obama supporter I was delighted. But scratch beneath the surface and these stats might be even better for the Dems. Here’s what NBC’s political team said of their poll this morning:
“Yet here’s the problem for Romney in these polls: Most voters have already made up their minds. Just 5 per cent to 6 per cent say they’re undecided …
“Who are the undecideds? By the way, we looked at the undecideds in all three states — collectively — and these are voters who simply aren’t paying attention. And frankly, they don’t look like voters. Consider: A third of them are also undecided on the president’s job rating!?!! They like the president personally (more so than Romney), but they also view the direction of the country a lot WORSE than the rest of the voters. Bottom line: These folks look like DISAFFECTED voters, they seem disengaged from the campaign, and they don’t call themselves enthusiastic about the election. They are probably NOT voters.”
I was struck by this analysis as it chimed with what one top Democratic strategist told me at the Convention last week in Charlotte when I asked him how the undecideds would break. He surprised me:
“They won’t break decisively for us or against us because when you take out the so-called ‘undecideds’ who in fact have already made up their minds but aren’t stating a preference yet, and the ‘undecideds’ who are just disaffected and won’t vote, you’re left with an ‘undecided’ base so small that even a huge break in one direction doesn’t matter except in the case of absolute nail-biters – and it doesn’t look like we’ll see a lot of those this time.”
So let’s play out the maths on this for a moment.
If in the case of Ohio Obama leads 50-43 with 7 per cent undecided and we eliminate that 7 per cent Obama’s new lead is: 53.8 per cent to 46.2 per cent.
And if in the case of both Florida and Virginia Obama leads 49-44 with 7 per cent undecided and we eliminate that 7 per cent Obama’s new lead in both states is: 52.7 per cent to 47.3 per cent.
So there we are: Obama’s leads aren’t necessarily as strong as that but there is a good chance that they are actually stronger then they appear. And if as now looks likely Obama’s broken the 50 per cent mark in all three of the main battlegrounds Governor Romney’s task is actually even harder then the polls suggest.