Wednesday’s Headline Today

Sorry to ruin the surprise, but here is the headline you are going to see on Wednesday: Polls Tightening as Today’s First Debate Looms Large

How do I know the polls on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will tighten?  The same way that Paul Ryan knows our budget and debt is unsustainable:  math.

Gallup’s tracking poll is probably the best metric of the standing of the race out there.  This graph shows their poll results in September.  Take a look:



The blue line is Obama’s standing relative to Romney.  The most recent Gallup poll shows Obama up 5 points after being ahead 6 points for the prior 4 days.  The red line shows Obama’s net approval rating.  The most recent poll shows 46% approve of Obama’s performance and 46% disapprove, for a net approval rating of 0.  This is a sharp drop-off from where Obama stood just a few days ago.

The key point here is that the Obama vs. Romney poll averages the last 7 days, whereas the Obama approval poll averages the past 3 days.  Therefore, the approval rating poll is a leading indicator for the candidate poll.  You can see both times the red line spiked up quickly, the blue line caught up a few days later.  Since Obama’s approval has plummeted in recent days, his standing relative to Romney will soon follow as soon as the good Obama days from last week start to drop off of the 7 day average.  The gap has already ticked down a point, and I suspect Romney will be within 2-3 points by Wednesday.

And as it happens, if Romney can be within 2-3 points in this poll, he’s in great shape.  Gallup is polling registered voters, and Nate Silver estimates that registered value polls favor Democrats by about 2.5 points relative to likely voters.  (My understanding is that Gallup plans to shift to a likely voter model in the next week or two.)

The rumors of Mr. Romney’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.  Things are looking up for him in the first half of this week.  How the second half turns out will of course depend on who gets the better of Wednesday night’s extremely crucial debate.


  1. Shaquanda Jackson-Kuttemperoor says:

    This is a brilliant analysis!

    I can’t wait to see Romney replace Obama.

    Wonder if Mitt will take time to do his own beer? Will Ms. Mitt have a soul food garden?

  2. Sure enough, Romney gained a point today and is now within 4.

  3. The Lorax says:

    $10 says that the first comment was left by the same bumbling latent racist that’s been commenting here. A little bird (or was it an elf?) told me.

  4. Polls are hard…The only one I really trust comes the first Tuesday in November….The rest are just fodder for discussion…

  5. BrkfldDad says:

    @Lorax – you’re dead on with that assessment. Writing style is unmistakeable, bigoted undertones very evident. I know Cindy had blocked Kris Kringles little helper, he must have a new IP address.

  6. Scott Berg says:

    Romney’s campaign has been setting the bar so low in the face of Obama’s history of “giving good speech” that unless he starts drueling all his supporters will claim victory. The opposite is true for Obama – stellar performance will be labelled average. Given that the outcome is already decided by pundits, why bother?

  7. Wow! With the commitment to political correctness manifest by Lorax and B-Dad, blatant racism is most certainly doomed!

    Lets see:

    “Shaquanda Jackson-Kuttemperoor” – an obviously racist name. But which race?

    “Making ones own beer” – clearly a sign of afrophobia!

    “sould food” – Oh my goodness! The reference cannot possibly have innocent connotations!

    “I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.
    I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues”.

    Vacuous and pathetic – tautological pleonastic redundancies both!

  8. Good grief. I leave town and now the Elf is out of control and Scott Berg is commenting. Guess I better keep reading.

    Ok, that’s managed for now.

    I overheard two men in the San Antonio airport last night and it made me grin. One said, “Wow! Romney is tied with Obama!” and the other asked, “What poll?”


    “Man, you are kidding. I mean I’d expect that from Fox or something but CNN?”


    Keep that swing state pressure on, folks. I didn’t talk politics for the better part of four days, but I was in Texas. No need! Here it’s a whole different world right now.

  9. Oops, Gallup is back to a 6 point lead for Obama today. However, Obama’s best polling day will drop off tomorrow, so still expect the poll to tighten up.

  10. It’s an uphill battle for Romney. Even if the polls oversample for Democrats, they have been consistently doing so. Therefore, a widening suggests a growing lead for the president.

    If not for Roberts’ ruling on Obamacare, I wouldn’t really care what happens in November. That said, assuming that the Establishment GOP candidate loses to a very beatable incumbent, and the Christian extremists picks (i.e. the ones who believe in “legitimate rape”) cost the GOP the Senate, it will be interesting to see what happens in the inevitable blame game. Ideally, the GOP implodes and we see a legitimate new party emerge that has the best of the GOP without the theocratic Evangelicals, who can return home to the Democratic party where they belong. That would horrify the Blue Dogs, but I can see an unholy alliance between Nancy Pelosi and Ralph Reed. They agree on the scope of government.

  11. “…theocratic Evangelicals, who can return home to the Democratic party where they belong. That would horrify the Blue Dogs, but I can see an unholy alliance between Nancy Pelosi and Ralph Reed. They agree on the scope of government.”

    Do you actually know anyone on the religious right? That will never, never, NEVER happen.