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CO: State polls show presidential race a toss-up

By   /   September 17, 2012  /   1 Comment

By Tori Richards | Colorado Watchdog

Colorado’s battle of the polls continues with the state’s largest newspaper declaring the presidential race in this state a virtual tie based upon a poll it commissioned last week.

But how accurate is the poll?

Barack Obama

While the Denver Post poll of 750 people showed Barack Obama leading by just one percentage point, other Colorado polls since July have shown the president up by a slim margin within the standard error ratio of 4 percent. And two polls actually show Mitt Romney leading. A scientific poll tracking model by the Huffington Post combines all polls within a given state and comes up with an average. On Friday, this was 47.9 percent Obama and 45.2 percent Romney.

So the next question is, can you trust a poll? UCLA political professor Timothy Groseclose says you can, if you keep in mind the error ratio.

“It’s still the best guess, given all that data,” Groseclose said. “Although, I think that those polls take too small of a sample. If you really want to get a good barometer you need 10,000 people.

“That margin of error is pretty large – it says Obama is up by 1, but it could really be Romney’s up by 3. Or if Obama is up by 6, it could mean he’s only up by 2,” Groseclose said.

Colorado, with nine electoral votes, has gone with the Republican candidate in nine of the past 11 elections. The Democratic wins were Obama in 2008 and Clinton in 1992.

The Los Angeles Times is predicting that Obama will have 243 electoral votes to Romney’s 191 – far short of the 270 needed to win. But the race is far from over, as evidenced by a recent University of Colorado scientific study that declared Romney the winner.

During the past eight presidential elections, two professors have correctly predicted the winner using an analysis of unemployment, income and economics of each state. They predict that Romney will win 320 electoral college votes to Obama’s 218 with 52.9 percent of the popular vote going to Romney and to 47.1 percent for Obama.  

Mitt Romney

“What is striking about our state-level economic indicator forecast is the expectation that Obama will lose almost all of the states currently considered as swing states, including North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida,” said Ken Bickers, one of the authors.

In Colorado alone, the analysis predicts that Romney will receive 51.9 percent of the vote to Obama’s 48.1 percent.

Gravis Marketing poll on Aug. 9 placed Romney ahead by 1 percent. And the largest poll this year (1,463 people) was done by the New York Times and CBS on Aug. 6, showing Romney up by 5 percent.

Last week the American Research Group queried 600 voters and found Obama had just a 2 percent lead. 

Other details:

  • Men preferred Romney over Obama 48 to 47 percent, but women liked Obama better, with 50 to 46 percent
  • White voters liked Romney 50 to 46 percent, while Hispanics had a huge margin for Obama over Romney of 53 to 38 percent
  • The age group of 49 and under favored Obama by 2 percent while 50 and over liked him by 1 percent.     

“Clearly President Obama is in electoral trouble,” the university report stated. “To be sure, he enjoys some advantages. First, Obama’s successful campaign in 2008 gives him a substantial leg up. He can lose some states that he carried four years ago without losing the election. Second, a prominent second-term incumbency advantage should prove advantageous.

“Still, the big issue is the fragile economy. With an unemployment rate in excess of 8 percent, Obama is about two-and-a-half points beyond the break-even point for a Democrat running as the inparty candidate. Moreover, as the country continues to rebound from the largest recession in generations, whether voters will ultimately judge the economy in relative or absolute terms is unclear.”

Contact Tori Richards at tori@coloradowatchdog.org

 

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Tori Richards is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter who has covered some of the biggest news in the world during her 25 years in the business. She has also won a dozen national and local writing awards for her coverage of the judicial system. Richards has worked for CBS News, Bloomberg, Reuters. Agence-France Presse, the NY Post, the NY Times and The Daily among others. Her work has also appeared on CNN.com, FoxNews.com and US News & World Report. Some of her biggest stories included the cases of OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Night Stalker.

  • http://twitter.com/princerebus Prince Rebus

    Romney in a landslide of epic proportion. Karl and Mr. Morris said so. Huge…350, 360, maybe 370 electoral votes. Colorado by five points for Romney is what I heard. BIG CELEBRATION! Fireworks over Boston Harbor.