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Presidential Race remains tight, “persuadables” may be much larger than assumed

by | Sep 20, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Life Mitt Romney

Over at “’Romney Is Finished’ Update: RCP Average, After Correcting For Poll Cooking, Has Prez Race in Virtual Dead Heat,” we reprint a keen analysis of the less-than-accurate polling being conducted in many (but not all) quarters. In this post, we talk about other factors that complicate—contradict would be more accurate—the mainstream media narrative that President Obama is all but on cruise control to re-election.

Gallup’s tracking poll has pro-life Mitt Romney and pro-abortion Obama tied at 47% each. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll finds Obama at 47% and Romney at 45%. For all the shouting by Obama’s legion of media supporters, the numbers have barely changed for weeks, if not months.

Gallup has the President’s job approval rating at 46% compared to 48% who disapprove. Rasmussen Reports found that 51% say they at least somewhat approve of Obama’s performance while 48% somewhat disapprove.

The strangest “fact” of much of the polling is that Mr. Romney is well ahead among Independents but somehow still trails. The second strangest—at least to me—is the insistence that not only has almost the entire electorate already made its choice, but also that it is unlikely to change. Given the President’s low approval ratings, the public’s lack of confidence in his economic stewardship, and the dangerous world we live in, does that make sense?

ABC News ran a fascinating, very illuminating piece today on this topic. ABC News pollster Gary Langer’s lead is, “Slightly more than a fifth of registered voters remain persuadable in their preferences for president, little changed from before the party conventions – and a continued sign that the 2012 election retains the potential to break open in either candidate’s direction.”

We wrote about this phenomenon yesterday but the numbers were lower. What explains the higher ABC News figure?  It’s their definition of “persuadable”— defined as “those who express anxiety about the candidate they support and are seeking more information about their choices.”

Langer explains, “This definition of persuadables is different from the traditional method of simply asking voters if there’s a chance they could change their minds. That produces a lower estimate – 13 percent, including just 4 percent who say there’s a good chance they might shift allegiance, with the rest calling it ‘pretty unlikely.’”

According to Langer, “Twenty-two percent of registered voters fit the definition of persuadable. That includes essentially equal numbers of Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s supporters.”

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Categories: Mitt Romney