Skip to main content

In the weeks leading up to last Tuesday's election, one of the ways in which those on the right convinced themselves that Romney was going to win, despite what the polling was saying, was to make the claim that undecided voters tend to break for the challenger on election day.

That assumption could not be further from the truth. To prove it, I took the final average for each swing state on Real Clear Politics and compared it to the actual result on election day. Almost without exception, Obama did better than the projected numbers while Romney did considerably worse.

STATE               PROJECTED               ACTUAL           DIFFERENCE

CO                        1.5%                       4.7%                +3.2 Obama

FL                        -1.5%                        .9%                +2.4 Obama

IA                          2.4%                      5.6%                +3.2 Obama

NV                         2.8%                      6.6%                +3.8 Obama

NH                         2.0%                      5.8%                +3.8 Obama

OH                         2.9%                      1.9%                -1.0 Obama

VA                           .3%                      3.0%                +2.7 Obama

WI                         4.2%                      6.7%                +2.5 Obama

NC                        -3.3%                     -2.2%               +1.1 Obama

Thus, as you can see, in eight of the nine "battleground" states, Obama received a higher percentage of the actual vote on election day than poll averages indicated he would.

So, the next time someone tries to convince you that undecideds break for the challenger on election day, keep these basic facts in mind.


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  It was true for exactly one election (11+ / 0-)

    Reagan in 1980, and has been taken as gospel ever since

    I Support Puerto Rican Statehood

    by InsultComicDog on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:34:35 PM PST

  •  "The undecideds break for the challenger." (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, defluxion10, inHI, Supavash

    --Faux News Conventional Wisdom

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:53:11 PM PST

  •  ROM neeeey (0+ / 0-)

    A "romney" is that bloop of toilet water that hits your poop hole
    when you drop a solid turd in the bowl.

    "Romney" ~ ah jeez.

  •  still think there is something fishy about Ohio (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10, Supavash

    I wonder how many votes they stole but since the margin was too big they still lost. Ohio seems to have been more safe than other states but the end margin ended up smaller.

  •  YES! Undecided voters finally ended up in the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, Supavash

    INCUMBENT'S column!

    Here is the arithmetic.

    According to the final RCP average Obama had a slight lead of 0,7% over Romney (48,8%-48,1%). TPM average was identical.

    Based on the actual election results as of 11/13/12 Obama's up by a clear 2,8% margin (50,6%-47,8%)!!!

    The fact is that RCP (thus the pollsters) overestimated Romney's share of the popular vote by at least 0,3%, which now seems fair enough.

    The other blatant fact though is that mainstream pollsters stubbornly underestimated Obama's appeal to the undecided voters by nearly 2%!!!

    When every single ballot is counted across the country the final popular vote margin will apparently reach at +3,6% for the President (51%- 47,4%)!!!

    51%-47% (!!!) it's a tie though...

  •  OT sort of, but supposedly Independents broke (0+ / 0-)

    for Romney, which as I understand it, while not unprecedented for the loser to win Indie support, it does go against CW. I've bought into the notion in the last few years that Obama had to make some of the choices he did in order to hold Imdies, without which he couldn't survive.

    Guess that tells me two things. First, obviously we don't need a majority of Indies to win. Second, most Indies are pretty much as dumb as I thought they were. These are, afterall, the "principled" idiots who abandonded Obama within only a few months over the stimulus, without which we'd have slid on down into a depression.

    And here I thought it was the undecideds who were the dumbest of voters.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 02:40:53 AM PST

    •  Independent does not mean undecided. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC, 57andFemale

      Many of the self identified independents were actually Republicans who didn't want to be associated with that brand.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:06:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know they are not the same. As to Indies not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        really being Indies, I get that most of them actually lean one direction or the other, but I've been under the impression there were some legitimately independents, not undecideds, but independents who were swing voters.

        Regardless tho, I don't think either indies or undecides are all that bright. Even tho undecides did break for Obama it's silly it took them so long to do so. As for indies, maybe most of them have always leaned to the right and I just didn't know it. Even so, that still leaves most indies as not that bright either if they broke for Mittens.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:18:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There may be a good (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      explanation for this.  It was believed my a lot of pollsters that a fair number of Republicans were self-identifying as Independent.  Apparently that is common when a voter is ashamed of their party brand. So it wasn't a surprise that an Ind identified Rep voted for Romney.  In fact, it was expected.
      As an aside, I think it is wrong to think of those who vote different than you as dumb because it probably affects the way you communicate with them, which puts them further out of your reach of influence.

      •  I was apparently mistaken in thinking (0+ / 0-)

        there were nearly as many for Dems also claiming to be Independent for shame of Dems not being preogresive enough. Of course things change so maybe it was once more evenly divided than it is now.

        As for referring to those who vote different than I as dumb, or possibly immoral, or both, I just call a spade a spade. Recruitment isn't my goal when communicating here on a clearly partisan forum. Then again, I'm not guaranteed to pull any punches outside of this forum.

        When someone supports a party that promotes ignorance and evil, I find it hard to sugar coat it. I'm inclinded to make it claer how shamefully stupid it is to support that crap. But whether I change anyone's mind or not is immaterial. People are startiong to wake up to reality and see stupid for what it is.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:30:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I learned this lesson in 2004... n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Article 196. Health care is a right of all persons and an obligation of the State, guaranteed through social and economic policies that provide...universal and equitable access to programs and services....

    by SLKRR on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 02:55:05 AM PST

  •  And they're still counting provisionals in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, raincrow, SLKRR


    Since a large amount of those provisional ballots are going to be from urban areas, yo can expect that Ohio margin for Obama to grow.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 03:30:16 AM PST

  •  I'm really suspicious..... (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder if there wasn't some vote flipping in OH.  I simply cannot fathom why it was so close there.  

  •  Meh, like Brian Griffin says (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "undecided voters are the biggest idiots on the planet"

    thus, I suspect that there's not much point in trying to predict what their behavior is going to be  . . .

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site