Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Polling Slows As Storm Wreaks Havoc

The effects of Hurricane Sandy on next Tuesday’s election are hard to predict. But the storm is likely to have an impact on the volume of polling in the meantime.

Three of the eight national tracking polls — those from Gallup, Investors’ Business Daily and Public Policy Polling — have announced temporary suspensions in their polling. Further delays and cancellations are likely over the next few days, especially in the Northeastern states.

Still, we were not completely without polls on Monday.

President Obama had a mediocre day of polling in the battleground states. In particular, a Rasmussen Reports poll of Ohio showed him trailing Mitt Romney there by two percentage points. It was the first poll to show to him down in Ohio since a poll by a Rasmussen Reports affiliate, Pulse Opinion Research, on Oct. 15.

Is this the sign of a shift toward Mr. Romney in Ohio?

It’s probably premature to conclude that on the basis of this poll alone. With so many polling firms active in Ohio, any sustained trend toward Mr. Romney in the polls there should be reasonably apparent by late this week, although there may be some delays in the interim. (The storm’s reach was broad enough to produce power outages in the Cleveland area, as well as in parts of southeastern Ohio.) Mr. Obama’s projected lead in Ohio decreased to 2.1 percentage points from 2.2 points on the basis of the Rasmussen survey.

In Florida, a CNN poll had Mr. Romney up by one point against Mr. Obama , or tied with him when third-party candidates were included on the ballot. Another CNN survey, earlier this month, had also shown Mr. Romney one point ahead in Florida. The poll is consistent with how the FiveThirtyEight projection views Florida, with Mr. Romney ahead by 1.2 percentage points in our forecast there.

An American Research Group poll of Colorado had Mr. Obama one point behind there, although that reflects an improvement for him from their prior poll of the state, when Mr. Obama trailed by four points.

Mr. Obama got reasonably favorable numbers in polls of New Hampshire and Nevada, although both were from Democratic-leaning firms and so did not affect our forecast much.  FULL POST

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