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NBC/WSJ today has a poll out that shows President Obama and Mitt Romney tied at 47% among likely voters. Among the larger universe of registered voters, Obama leads by 5, 49% to 44%.

How does this compare to the last incumbent's reelection campaign in 2004?

Well, luckily we can do an apples to apples comparison because there was an NBC/WSJ poll released on Oct. 20, 2004.

That poll showed President Bush and John Kerry tied at 48% (almost exactly mirroring today's poll).

In that poll, just as in today's, the incumbent led among registered voters.

But there are differences:

In the 2004 poll, Bush led among registered voters by 2 pts, 48% to Kerry's 46%.

In today's poll, Obama leads among registered voters by 5 pts, 49% to Romney's 44%.

Bush ended up winning reelection by 1.5%, slightly less than his registered voter lead of 2%.

(This also proves that the race does not necessarily break to the challenger).

If (and it's a big "if") this election follows that template, Obama would win reelection by about 3-4%. But I won't even be that optimistic. Let's assume there's a 2 point tilt towards Republicans because of "enthusiasm". Obama would still win by 1-2%, matching Nate Silver's prediction all along that this race would settle down to Obama +2%.

As far as the electoral college, this is my base map:

Regarding Nevada, Jon Ralston is doing some good work and predicts a clear Obama victory.

With this map, all Obama needs to win is Ohio. Game Over.

If he doesn't win Ohio, he needs Virginia + any other state.

If he doesn't win VA or OH, he needs 3 states (CO, IA, NH?).

If all else fails, he can just win Florida.  :-)

The point is, there are many electoral paths to victory for Obama.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic insomniac. I lie awake at night wondering if there's a dog.

    by rennert on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 09:14:10 AM PDT

  •  All auguries lookin' hunky-dory. (7+ / 0-)

    Over the next 16 days phones will ring and doors will be knocked on.  

    The President looks to be in pretty good shape.  

    Romney, for his part, is running against difficult electoral arithmetic and his own rancid personality.  An insurmountable pair of obstacles, IMO.

  •  Not to mention that the Bush/Kerry poll was taken (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, MadGeorgiaDem

    well after the third debate (October 13th).  It would be instructive to see what Bush's numbers were versus Kerry after the second debate.  Bush was not seen as the winner of any debate, except maybe the third by default, only because of the Cheneys' calculated: "He just said that my openly gay daughter is gay!  Wahh!"

    •  and of course, bin Laden (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Nose, MadGeorgiaDem

      was so worried that Bush was going to blow it he released that last minute videotape intended to get voters to rally behind Bush.  bin Laden had a lot to fear in a Kerry victory.

      There are very few subjects which do not interest or fascinate me.

      by NYFM on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 10:09:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Debate 2 & 3 polls (0+ / 0-)

      Debate 2; October 8th 2004;

      CNN/USA Today/Gallup    10/9 - 10/10    48    49    Kerry +1
      ICR    10/9 - 10/11    48    43    Bush +5
      CBS News    10/9 - 10/11    48    45    Bush +3
      Zogby    10/9 - 10/11    45    45    Tie
      CBS News    10/9 - 10/11    48    45    Bush +3
      ABC/Wash Post    10/11 - 10/13    48    48    Tie
      Newsweek    10/14 - 10/15    50    44    Bush +6
      Time    10/14 - 10/15    48    47    Bush +1
      CNN/USA Today/Gallup    10/14 - 10/16    52    44    Bush +8

      Debate 3, October 13th 2004;

      CBS News/NY Times    10/14 - 10/17    47    45    Bush +2
      Harris    10/14 - 10/17    49.5    44.5    Bush +5
      NBC/WSJ    10/16 - 10/18    48    48    Tie
      ABC/Wash Post    10/16 - 10/18    51    46    Bush +5
      Pew Research    10/15 - 10/19    47    47    Tie
      FOX News    10/17 - 10/18    49    42    Bush +7
      Marist    10/17 - 10/19    49    48    Bush +1

      "Never trust a man who, when left alone with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on!!"

      by EcosseNJ on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 11:11:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meh, looks better for Bush than I thought (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but a lot of those polls haven't even existed this cycle.  There's no Newsweek poll, or Time poll, or CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.  Has Harris even been active this cycle?

        So Bush had a roughly 2-pt lead average after the 2nd debate and a 2.8% average after the third.

  •  I just have one worry (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a bit worried about Wisconsin. Obama's ahead right now but polls seem to be showing small 2 point leads for him.

    I think Obama will win in Wisconsin but I'm not sure if it should be in the base map.

    For more election analysis and redistricting maps, check out my blog CA-2 (former CA-6) College in CA-37

    by Alibguy on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 09:49:54 AM PDT

    •  WI will be blue (4+ / 0-)

      As a Wisconsinite I am worried just as you are.  But I look to the Gore-Bush, Kerry-Bush, and a recent supreme court justice race post the Walker doing away with union rights.  
      Gore-Bush and Kerry-Bush were close but won by the Democratic side.  In the supreme court race we only lost by 10000 votes.  Where did we lose that race?  Milwaukee County.  We underperformed there.  Not surprising in an off year contest.  

      With a presidential and senate race Milwaukee County will turnout in better numbers and will result in a bluer vote.  The other point is that there is no way Tammy Baldwin wins her Senate seat and Barack Obama does not win as well.  And third Ohio is more conservative than Wisconsin. And Iowa is also more conservative than Wisconsin.  We win Ohio, we will win Wisconsin.

  •  I remarked on this yesterday (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KJB Oregon, MadGeorgiaDem, NYFM

    about the state polls in Floriida and Ohio.

    The Ohio polls look verymuch like Kerry/Bush 2004 polls.

    The Florida polls...if anything, they resemble the 2000 Gore/Bush polls.

  •  Good analysis, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chitown Kev, The Nose, NYFM

    Your diary makes a lot of good points, and in many ways this election does seem to resemble 2004. On the other hand, we can't forget that something happened at the end that year (the Bin Laden tape) that may have changed the trajectory of the race and caused more undecideds to vote for Bush. Which in hindsight seems insane, since the tape should have highlighted Bush's failure to capture Bin Laden, but that's a whole other conversation.

  •  I really like the early voting data coming in. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KJB Oregon

    I think we will see again the the LV numbers are BS and RV is the most accurate gauge. The President is going to win this thing, and I hope to see some significant gains in the Senate and House.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 10:28:24 AM PDT

  •  I'll admit... (4+ / 0-)

    I'm not nearly as confident as I was four years ago...

    until I start playing around with the map and realize, as your diary clearly illustrated, that President Obama has so many more paths to victory than Gov. Romney does., Larry Sabato's site, has the easiest map to play around with, I've found.

    Even if Obama were to lose OH, VA, NC, WI, NH, and FL, he still has a path to victory: CO, NV, IA, VA.

    Now, I don't think that scenario will happen, but it gives me to solace to know that Obama has so many more paths to 270.

    I'm thinking, ultimately, it's 290, 303, or 332.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 10:35:34 AM PDT

    •  My one wish now is (0+ / 0-)

      Thinking about it, I wish that the Obama campaign had taregeted Arizona earlier on.

      Given some of the numbers that have come out of there, I think that Obama would have won the state for sure had the campaign targeted there. And boy, would that have exonentially increased Obama's paths to 270.

      (Obama could have lost Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin and would still make it to 271 with Arizona, Iowa, and New Hampshire)

  •  Romney moving resources into Pennsylvania (0+ / 0-)

    Just saw a report that the Romney campaign is putting 60 people into Pennsylvania because new numbers indicate victory here is within reach.

    I have felt all summer that there was a massive enthusiasm gap between the Republicans and Dems here.  The dynamics of the race are giving me total deja vu to 2010, when Toomey trailed all night before late reporting mid state precincts put him over the top.  I've also seen reports from some moderate areas that Obama carried by 5% last time around Pittsburgh are now polling Romney + 20% and more.

     I think given what I am seeing Pennsylvania will go late into the night before eventually turning red.  

  •  In this map, winner of 4/6 states = Pres (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rennert, KJB Oregon

    Romney has to win FL or OH - if Obama wins either FL or OH he wins.

    Without FL and OH, Obama would need 3 out of CO, IA, NH and VA.

    The national polls have for some time showed a tie race, with some favoring Romney, while Obama has held a narrow but sustained lead in the state polls. There must be a discrepancy in the non-swing states; higher than normal enthusiasm against Obama in the red states, less than normal enthusiasm for Obama in the blue.

    Assuming trends hold, looking like a 50.5-49% Obama-Romney national vote, with Obama probably around 290-300 EVs. Let's make it happen by GOTV!

  •  Bush won by 2.5%, (0+ / 0-)

    Not 1.5%, so closer to his poll margin of 2%.

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