CNN’s final presidential poll contains a head-scratcher. Mitt Romney gained three points to tie President Obama in the poll of a mix of registered voters and likely voters, since the end of September. The sample itself is suspect: It finds Democrats with a huge 41-30 party ID lead among likely voters. That’s a larger advantage than the Democrats enjoyed in 2008. It also finds Mitt Romney leading among independents by 22 points.
Here’s some common sense: If the parties are at more or less parity strength, the party that picks up a 22-point lead among independents is the party that wins. Here’s more common sense: If one party has a consistent enthusiasm advantage over the other, its people are more likely to turn out and vote. Today, the Republicans and Democrats are more or less at parity strength nationally, and then enjoy a wide enthusiasm gap over Democrats in poll after poll.
In CNN’s final stab at tilting the election for Obama we have a poll that bases its headline results on a ridiculous sample tilt. Based on that, and based on the bump Obama supposedly got after Hurricane Sandy, this poll should show Obama vaulting into a big lead. Yet it’s a tie, and Romney is the one who surged late?
CNN’s poll actually shows Romney momentum, and once the network’s pollsters take their thumbs off the scale, shows a comfortable Romney win nationally. We’ll see how it actually works out in the real world tomorrow.