The president is not doing as well in virtually any of the states as he did four years ago. That's clear. In 2008 it was not quite a landslide, but by recent standards it was a blowout. Nobody thinks that today's election will be a blowout. Various polls have the president a point or two ahead nationally and they very in the states, but all of those are within the margin of error. Four years ago Obama won by seven points and got two-thirds of the electoral votes. It would be a surprise to most observers if either candidate gets more than 300 electoral votes. And it wouldn't be surprising for one to win the popular vote and the other to win the electoral college.
Mr. Ryan appears to have done well in his debate with Mr. Biden. The selection has not been controversial, as some previous ones have been, like Gov. Palin four years ago. Mr. Ryan certainly has a following in the conservative wing of the Republican Party. His youth is probably an asset. And there's some possibility that the Romney-Ryan ticket may carry Wisconsin. On the other hand, few people vote for Vice President.
Coming up on the live-stream: Arun Chaudhary, former White House videographer
Candidly, I don't know. I, for instance live in Florida, and I've gotten robocalls in the past few days from Magic Johnson, Eva Longoria, Michelle Obama and others I can't remember.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolinians expressed many emotions with me as they left polling places this morning: pride in voting, a loyalty to a candidate, concern about an issue. But one emotion every voter shared with me was relief that the campaign ads are finished. The National Journal reports almost $70 million spent on political ads across the state. That’s the sixth highest amount in the U.S. and it works out to almost $10 per registered voter. The Obama campaign spent $24.2 million in the state while the Romney campaign spent $17.1 million. Other groups accounted for the rest of the ad spending with pro-Romney groups spending double the amount of pro-Obama groups. As Steve from Cary, N.C., told me, “I tuned out after a while, and zipped past all of them with my DVR."
You're right, the polls had it a little closer than it turned out. But my memory is that it was within the margin of error (I don't have the data in front of me). It's possible the polls could get it wrong -- one or the other might be off by several percentage points. Polls are snapshots in time and are removed in time from the actual voting day. In an election like this one that's thought to be so close, a snapshot in time done Wednesday-Saturday or Sunday is useful, but people were voting on the following Tuesday.
Some polls, including Quinnipiac call cell phone-only voters. In other words we random-digit-dial cell phone numbers so that those voters are represented in the electorate to the extent that they're a percent of the electorate -- in some states as much as 20 percent or 25 percent. Some polls include these voters and some do not, and obviously those that don't are at some disadvantage. So some reflect cell phone users and some don't, and the weigh you find out is that you ask. Normally the media will identify the polls that call cell phones in their coverage, but I'm sure not everyone does.
Clearly there are many more polls now than there used to be, and to a degree the large number of polls has created something of a "spectator sport" mentality in which people use the polls as part of their way of backing a candidate -- they cite this poll or that poll. Polls have been fairly ubiquitous and that's unlikely to change. There are many more public polls than there used to be. The question is which are the good ones and which aren't.
It's an interesting question, because it's not clear how much of a change there is. There's some dispute between the candidates' pollsters about what the electorate will look like demographically. The biggest question is how it'll break down racially. The Obama folks think the electorate will be roughly 72 percent white, 28 percent non-white. The Romney folks think it's more likely to be 74 percent or 75 percent white. Given the very strong majorities that Mr. Obama can expect from non-white voters, especially African-Americans, it's not an inconsequential matter. In fact, it's likely that the campaign that's correct about the makeup of the electorate will be the one that wins the election.
Generally the notion of a gender gap doesn't adequately reflect the difference between the genders -- it's really a gender/marriage gap. Mr. Obama is doing much better among single people, specifically single women, where earlier in the campaign he led 2-1. But also he had a small margin among single men. Whereas married women are split down the middle or slightly in the Romney camp and married men are overwhelmingly in the Romney camp. There may be some state-by-state difference, but it depends upon which poll you're talking about. In general, the closer the overall race, the smaller the gender gap, but not always. The important thing about the gender gap isn't that X percent of women are more likely to vote Democrat than Republican, its' the comparison of the Democratic advantage among women and the GOP advantage among men and which is higher. If Obama had a 10-point lead with women, you wouldn't know if that was good or bad until you knew how big Romney's lead among men was in the same jurisdiction.
How are the polls accounting for the rise in early voting?
When you do a poll, you ask voters if they've voted already. You just ask, in states where there's early voting.
What would you say has been most surprising about your polling results this year.
Votes at Precinct 22 at Waltham HS are 637 out of 2100-2200 registered voters. Warden says same as 2008 so far.
That's a tough question. It assumes I have preconceptions about things. One of the things about this business is that you should come in with as few preconceptions as possible. What voters say is what voters say.
How do ballot measures impact voter turnout in places like, for instance, Colorado where there's a marijuana iniative, or Minnesota where gay marriage is on the ballot.
If the strike a chord with a particular segment of the electorate, they might have an impact, but not all of them do. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.