Obama Struggle with Independents Shows Quinnipiac's Bias

Obama Struggle with Independents Shows Quinnipiac's Bias

Quinnipiac University may have found an absurd number of Democrats for its CBS/NYT’s commissioned poll of three swing states, but that can’t hide an unmistakeable fact; Obama is losing Independents. Even Quinnipiac’s juiced poll shows Obama losing independents to Romney in Ohio and Florida. The poll, unhelpfully, doesn’t break down the numbers for Pennsylvania, but virtually every poll conducted this season finds Obama losing Independents. Its a dramatic swing from 2008.  

In 2008, Obama won Independents by eight points nationally. On Monday, Politico released a poll showing Romney with a three point lead nationally among Independents. This is an 11 point swing away from Obama since 2008. 

This swing is consistent with that found in today’s Quinnipiac poll. In 2008, Obama won Florida independents by seven points. Today he trails by three, a 10 point swing. In Ohio, he won Independents by eight, yet trails today by one. 

My colleague John Nolte noted this morning that Quinnipiac’s poll is implying a massive Democrat turnout, surpassing not only 2008, but anything seen in modern history. 

In recent days, pollsters, under fire for heavy Democrat sampling, have responded that they are just reflecting the state of the current electorate. People are just simply identifying as Democrat because they support Obama. If a Democrat wave were really building, though, ought it not be reflected in some way in the Independent vote? Can an Obama wave really be building against a 10 point swing away from him among Independents?

A further problem for Quinnipiac is that there are far fewer Democrat voters in the three states today than there were in 2008. A recent report from the liberal group Third Way found a more than 200k decrease in Democrats and a 20K increase in Republicans in Florida since 2008. How can there be a massive increase in Democrats turning out if there are fewer of them? Democrats outnumbered GOP voters in FL by 800k in 2008. Today? About 400k. 

In PA both parties lost voters, but the Democrat decrease was twice the GOP loss. Democrats have lost almost 350k voters since ’08 and the GOP has lost around 160k. Their registration advantage over the GOP has narrowed by about 200k voters.

Ohio doesn’t register by party, but the state has lost over 500k voters since 2008. The overwhelming amount of the loss was in Democrat-heavy Cuyahoga County. It stands to reason that the GOP’s position is better than it was in 2008. 

Keep in mind, the level of Independents in these three polls is consistent with the 2008 vote. So, it can’t just be that Independents are suddenly identifying as Democrats in these polls. 

How the hell are the Democrats going to increase their turnout over 2008 if there are so many fewer of them? Even if they have a strong turnout, their position vis a vis the GOP has weakened in all three states. And Quinnipiac’s own poll finds GOP voters more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats. Presumably, Democrats’ share of the electorate in ’12 will be smaller than ’08 even with an equal size turnout. Quinnipiac’s inflating it higher is simply fraudulent. 

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