But here’s the really chilling part: A massive East Coast storm has worsened the most complicated, confusing polling environment since the invention of the telephone.
(Little known fact: The second sentence Alexander Graham Bell spoke into the telephone was “Mr. Watson, if the election were being held today, would you vote for Republican Rutherford Hayes or Democrat Samuel Tilden?”)
As if this closing week wasn’t enough of a phantasmagoria, there is the terrifying thought that Ohio isn’t aligning with the national polls.
The current Real Clear Politics averages of polls continue to show a national lead of about 1 point for Republican Mitt Romney but also a consistent Ohio advantage for President Obama of 2.4 points.
First of all, have you seen the internals of the latest Ohio polls? They're so messed up they look like the Marlboro Man's chest film. If that's not enough to comfort you, let's add a few "Washington Secrets" into the mix:
According to a GOP analysis of early voting and absentee ballot requests provided to Secrets, the Democrats are turning out their most reliable, or so-called "high propensity voters" than Republicans, leaving fewer for Election Day. The GOP is pushing weaker supporters to vote early, expecting high enthusiasm to drive their regular supporters to the polls next week.
"Democrats are cannibalizing their high-propensity voters in advance of election day to get stories that they are winning," said a GOP analyst. "But in effect they are stealing from Peter, or Election Day, to pay Paul, or early voting."
"Republicans will have more reliable voters available on Election Day and are spending our efforts turning out low propensity voters in the absentee and early voting periods," added the analysis.
Now let's think a little more about what's going on in Sandy's terrible wake. The Democrats have already turned out many of their most-likely voters, and things are likely to still be a mess in in much of the Northeast on Election Day. How much trouble are marginal Democrats likely to suffer to cast a ballot for SCoaMF? (I talked about this very thing with Stephen Kruiser yesterday when we taped his Trifecta segment.) Meanwhile, the GOP still has a sizable reserve of Broken Glass Voters who haven't voted early, but will crawl naked over broken glass to vote for Romney. This is exactly the kind of sleeper effort RNC chair Reince Priebus has been hinting at as he brags about his ground game. Obama is counting on the headline numbers, while Reince is playing the long game.
Of course, even Obama's early returns don't look so good to Gallup:
Romney currently leads Obama 52% to 45% among voters who say they have already cast their ballots. However, that is comparable to Romney's 51% to 46% lead among all likely voters in Gallup's Oct. 22-28 tracking polling. At the same time, the race is tied at 49% among those who have not yet voted but still intend to vote early, suggesting these voters could cause the race to tighten. However, Romney leads 51% to 45% among the much larger group of voters who plan to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6.
That is, as John Nolte counts it, a 22-point collapse from Obama's 2008 early voting numbers. Still not satisfied? Gallup polled over 3,000 actual voters to arrive at those figures. Not "likely voters," not "registered voters," but "actual live voters who voted." And they only needed about 1,000 or so to get to a reliable margin of error.
Still, you might argue the Reince's long game is hardly long, with Tuesday less than a week away. But it's still a smarter game the one Team Obama is playing, which is just an absentee ballot variation on Operation Demoralize.
Don't fall for it. Keep your chin up and get out and vote. And remember, voting is a lot like showering: It's more fun with a friend. So bring one or two along with you on Tuesday.
Update: On the other hand, it’s hard to keep the faith when Dick Morris says it’s going to be a landslide for Mitt...