Two polls of Virginia that mainstream media organizations commissioned grossly overestimate the percentage of Democrats that will turn out in 2012, skewing the results for President Barack Obama in one of the most important swing states this election cycle.
On Wednesday, Quinnipiac University conducted a poll for CBS News and the New York Times. It found Obama leading Mitt Romney in Virginia by four points, 50% to 46%.
When the poll is examined more closely, though, Democrats had an eleven-point advantage over Republicans in the poll. The makeup of the poll was: 35% Democrat, 24% Republican, 36% Independent.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post had Obama leading Romney by eight points, 52% to 44%, in a poll that conveniently was D +8. Democrats made up 32%, Republicans 24%, and Independents 35%.
In 2008, when Democrats were most excited about Obama in Virginia, Democrats had a six-point advantage over Republicans on election night. And Obama defeated John McCain by six points, 53% to 47%, which mirrored the national numbers and the D +6 advantage Obama had in Virginia.
Democrats are not as excited about Obama as they were in 2008. And Republicans are more motivated against him than they were in 2008. This means an equal number of Republicans and Democrats will most likely turn out in November in Virginia, and it is unlikely Obama will enjoy an 8-point or 11-point advantage on election night.
Last week, even the liberal Public Policy Polling, which does polling for the Daily Kos, only gave Obama a D +3 advantage in a poll that found him leading Romney by five points.
The RealClearPolitics average of Virginia’s polls has Obama leading Romney by 3 percentage points, but these skewed polls, which are included in the average, have made Obama’s lead in the average greater than what is probably is.