Are you tracking the polls? With changes in percentages and leads from day-to-day, it's hard to keep up with the significance of the numbers game.
According to Examiner.com the October 11 Gallup Poll showed President Obama’s national approval rating at 50%. Should be an easy win, right? That same poll, however reflected a Romney lead of 1% (48% to 47%) among likely voters in Ohio but President Obama ahead by 2% (48% to 46%) among registered voters.
On the morning of October 11, Rasmussen Reports showed President Obama lead of 1% (48% to 47%) over Romney. After the Vice Presidential debate, Rasmussen Reports released its daily presidential poll numbers which show Mitt Romney with support from 48% of voters and President Obama at 47%. According to the poll, an additional 2% of voters prefer another candidate and 3% are still undecided. Also according to Rasmussen, Romney has a 2% lead in Virginia and 1% in their swing state tracking while President Obama holds a pretty large lead at 52% vs. Romney’s 45% in Michigan.
If we were ONLY looking at one or even two of the polls, the candidates could definitely see where the work needs to be done to be elected and we could predict the outcome of the November 6 election.
But wait … there’s more. Local polls reflect a big gap between some of the nationally ranked pollsters and local efforts. For example, there’s a big difference in the Rasmussen numbers for Florida which show Romney with a full 4% lead (51% to President Obama’s 47%) and what one of the local polls is reporting: Romney with a substantial 7% lead in Florida!
Polling is usually performed among registered voters and likely voters. The difference with these two cross sections largely lies in who has voted in recent primaries and elections as opposed to those who are registered, but do not have a history of voting. Questions asked by pollsters are designed for the candidates to better understand where their strengths and weaknesses lie. The significance being that a poll can reflect true intentions of voters or be manipulated by the questions asked of those who are polled. For more information on the significance of polling, you can check out this link to “Five Myths About Political Polls.”
It’s going to continue to be a tight race, right up until November 6; the swing states will still have a significant impact on who will serve our country as President for the next four years.
Will you be watching the polls? Do they and will they make a difference in your vote?