Obama Collapsing in Pennsylvania?

No, not really — but he’s probably not as strong as you think.

Found this one on Twitter and in my comments, and I think its instructive for the polling problems we’ve witnessed all season. The latest Susquehanna has Obama up by just two points in PA — and three points under the vital 50% threshold. How is that possible? Let’s see how they came up with their numbers:


Our vote model for gauging the number of interviews conducted with voters of different demographic groups (things like party affiliation, racial background and age range, etc.) is a blend of turnout models from both the 2008 and 2004 presidential elections, but leans more towards 2004 VTO and is predicated on the belief that turnout this November will not be anywhere near ’08 levels when 5.9 million votes were cast.

First, our ratio of interviews conducted with Republicans and Democrats in our recent polls (49D – 43R) gives Democrats a 6-point advantage based on the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in actual registration. However, this ratio is slightly more Republican based on both national and state polling showing that Republicans are more likely to vote than Democrats this year given high intensity among Republicans who strongly disapprove of the President’s job performance.


In 2010, conservatives and Tea Party voters were so enthused, that they practically handed the state to the GOP. And that was when they only had a proxy vote against Obama. This year, they get to vote against the real deal.

I’m not saying Obama has suddenly become a pushover in PA. He’s likely to win the state in all but some of the most extreme possible outcomes. But polling like this is probably doing a better job of measuring who makes up the real electorate this year.


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