An­a­lysts say polls point to Rom­ney tri­umph

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY RALPH Z. HAL­LOW

The tidal wave of anti-debt, anti-big-gov­ern­ment vot­ers that swamped Democrats in the 2010 con­gres­sional elec­tions is ready­ing it­self again, poised to sweep Mitt Rom­ney into the Oval Of­fice, some po­lit­i­cal ob­servers say.

“It’s very, very likely,” vet­eran Repub­li­can cam­paign poll­ster John McLaugh­lin said, pre­dict­ing a Rom­ney tsunami on Nov. 6.

“Rom­ney has surged in all the tar­get states,” Mr. McLaugh­lin said. “The un­de­cided vote is not re­ally un­de­cided. They over­whelm­ingly dis­ap­prove of the job the pres­i­dent has done and will largely vote against the in­cum­bent. It’s a hid­den vote that will vote against the pres­i­dent.”

His pre­dic­tion flies in the face of most polling, which shows a tight na­tional race be­tween Mr. Rom­ney and Pres­i­dent Obama, and state polls that show Mr. Obama lead­ing in most bat­tle­grounds. The only poll that shows Mr. Rom­ney clearly win­ning is the re­spected Gallup na­tional track­ing poll of likely vot­ers, which gives the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee a 5 per­cent­age­point ad­van­tage.

Gallup also cor­rectly pre­dicted the 2010 wave that pow­ered the GOP to cap­ture more than five dozen seats in the House — based in large part on a swell of in­ten­sity for Republicans.

Just ahead of Elec­tion Day that year, Gallup pre­dicted: “The 2010 elec­tions could be his­toric from the stand­point of pro­duc­ing un­usu­ally large Repub­li­can gains in Congress. But the elec­tions are al­ready his­toric for a midterm elec­tion in the lev­els of en­thu­si­asm Amer­i­cans, and par­tic­u­larly, Republicans, have for vot­ing this year.”

Mr. McLaugh­lin, the GOP poll­ster, said he sees that same en­thu­si­asm for Republicans boil­ing be­neath poll­sters’ sights this year — and so do some lead­ers of the tea party, which har­nessed vot­ers’ re­sent­ment against spend­ing and gov­ern­ment ex­pan­sion.

“Not only is the com­ing wave tak­ing place at the fed­eral level, but the un­told story is tak­ing place at the state and lo­cal level, which will have mas­sive po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions for decades to come,” said Na­tional Tea Party Pa­tri­ots co-founder and for­mer na­tional co­or­di­na­tor Mark Meck­ler, who is pre­dict­ing a Rom­ney win by 6 per­cent­age points. “That wave is al­ready in mo­tion and can­not be re­versed.”

Toby Marie Walker, a tea party co­or­di­na­tor in Waco, Texas, said she sees the same mo­men­tum, which she said will de­liver more Se­nate seats to the GOP than poll­sters sug­gest, and will give Mr. Rom­ney 54 per­cent of the na­tional vote.

“I’m do­ing lot of phone calls talk­ing to in­de­pen­dents in other states,” said Ms. Walker. “I’ve seen a shift in the past 30 days, go­ing from an even split to 60 [per­cent] to 70 per­cent say­ing they have no con­fi­dence in Obama. That’s not what I’m hear­ing from poll­sters and pun­dits but from real peo­ple.”

Not all anti-debt rebels are drink­ing that tea, though.

Alaska tea par­tyer David East­man waved off the prospects of a Rom­ney tsunami, say­ing small-gov­ern­ment vot­ers don’t have much en­thu­si­asm for Mr. Rom­ney.

“For my own part, anti-big­gov­ern­ment vot­ers do not seem overly en­thused by a Rom­ney cam­paign that is anti-big gov­ern­ment only in­so­far as it is con­trasted with the ex­cesses of the present ad­min­is­tra­tion,” he said.

Repub­li­can poll­ster Whit Ayres said he sees lit­tle ev­i­dence of a con­gres­sional wave this time be­cause his polling shows an even split be­tween Democrats and Republicans on the generic bal­lot, which asks vot­ers whether they will be back­ing a Repub­li­can or a Demo­crat for Congress this year.

“Nev­er­the­less, in the pres­i­den­tial race, in­de­pen­dents who had voted by an 8-point mar­gin for Obama are now vot­ing against Obama by dou­ble dig­its,” Mr. Ayres said. “We saw this trend com­ing lit­er­ally 18 months ahead of the 2012 elec­tion.”

Nate Sil­ver, who wrote the FiveThir­tyEight blog at The New York Times, said the elec­tion is mov­ing in Mr. Obama’s di­rec­tion. He said there is a 77 per­cent chance Mr. Obama wins, and his cur­rent fore­cast gives Mr. Obama nearly 300 elec­toral votes, up 10 from a week ear­lier.

Mr. Sil­ver’s data-driven ap­proach to elec­tion pre­dic­tions has won rave re­views from politi­cos. He said if Gallup is right and Mr. Rom­ney’s lead is that big, then the Repub­li­can is a “vir­tual lock” to win. But if the state polls, which gen­er­ally give Mr. Obama leads in the key states, are cor­rect, then the pres­i­dent will sur­vive.

In his Oct. 31 post, Mr. Sil­ver said: “Just about ev­ery method for eval­u­at­ing the elec­tion based on state polls seems to hint at a very slight lead in the pop­u­lar vote, as well as an Elec­toral Col­lege vic­tory, for Pres­i­dent Obama.”

Mr. McLaugh­lin, how­ever, said the back­lash against Mr. Obama from Hur­ri­cane Sandy is over­rid­ing all that.

“Those with­out power who are cut­ting down trees in the North­east and are very up­set post-hur­ri­cane — if they lack power through Elec­tion Day, they will not be kind to the in­cum­bent pres­i­dent or his party,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.