Election Countdown #2

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We’ve been noting that recent polling has been dominated by partisan GOP polls, both statewide polls and the national congressional generic poll. However, CNN has just released a new poll which also shows a strong shift in the Republican direction. It shows a four point Republican advantage on the generic ballot (GOP 51%- Dem 47%) versus a a three point advantage for Democrats one month ago (Dem 50% – GOP 47%). A new NPR/Marist poll, also released today, shows almost the identical result and a comparable shift from just a month ago — from D+3 to R+3 from early October to early November. Until this morning we really didn’t have premium polls confirming this shift. Now we do. Those are relatively small numerical differences but they translate into big numbers in control at least of the House.

As you can see I initially, wrote that the NPR/Marist poll showed a comparable half dozen point shift. That’s not precisely right. NPR is reporting it that way. But from what I can tell Marist has introduced a new voter screen which is not registered or likely voters but voters who say they are “definitely” going to vote. That’s a reasonable measure to look at at this point in the cycle. But it’s not an apples to apples comparison with the poll from a month ago. So that shift is not as dramatic as being presented. On the likely voter screen Marist found Dems up by 2 points a month and now they’re tied. A two point shift is different from a 6 point shift.

Meanwhile, Politico’s poll from Morning Consult just came out and shows Dems up by 5. That’s registered voters. But that’s still a pretty big difference.

On balance these numbers still give Republicans a lot to be happy about. The fairly dramatic difference between the CNN and Morning Consult polls could simply be one of them being totally wrong. But there’s another explanation. The polls out this morning all suggest a major drop off in enthusiasm among Democratic voters. The Morning Consult poll is a poll of registered voters. Over recent weeks there have been a lot of polls showing pretty large spreads between registered voter and likely voter screens – up to half a dozen points and almost always in favor of the Republican candidate. (The CNN poll shows R+1 among registered voters and R+4 among likely voters. So similar pattern.) That’s a pretty good measure of enthusiasm/determination to vote. So the discrepancy could be as simple as that.

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