Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What is really going on with early voting?

I noted a problem yesterday with the Rasmussen Ohio poll that I think needs further discussion.  As you recall, this Ohio poll showed that Romney is leading by 2 in Ohio, 50-48.  However, there is a big head scratcher in that poll regarding early voting.  33% of the sample claim to have already voted in Ohio, and of those voting early, they favor Obama by about 2:1. 

This situation is replicated in many of the Ohio polls.  The most recent PPP poll shows early voters at 36% again with a 2:1 preference for Obama.  I have been noting this problem all month, with Ohio polls from ARG and Survey USA also showing very high early vote totals heavily favoring Obama.

But is it true?

Let's quickly do the math.  Ohio has about 7.9 million registered voters right now.  For these polls to be correct then they are reporting the following:

  • Rasmussen - 33% - 2,500,000 already voted
  • PPP - 36% - 2,800,000 already voted

The Election Project at George Mason University is maintaining a count of the number of early votes actually received by each of the states.   Take a look at their Ohio totals as of 10/26:

So far slightly over 1 million early votes have been received in Ohio, and 161,000 from Cuyahoga county.  Cuyahoga is, of course, the major Democrat bastion and the intended source for most of the Democrat votes during the election.  In 2008 Cuyahoga county had 266,000 early votes, so as of 10/26 the Democrats have only booked 60% of their 2008 total from this county.  Overall, the GOP analysis offered is that Democrats are 8% off their early voting pace, while Republicans are 5% ahead of their 2008 pace.

In any case, in Ohio, the total number of actual early votes is only 12% of the registered voters, or 17% of the 5.7 million actual voters in 2008.  Not 33% or 36%.

The result of this discrepancy in the polls is to drive up the likely voters in the sample, and to over sample Democrats, since the 2:1 preference ratio favors Obama to such a high degree.  Regardless of whether these voters who are lying about early voting are really likely voters, it still represents a significant over sample of Obama support, given the results in the rest of the poll.

Gallup released a survey yesterday that provides a better look at the state of early voting nationwide.  This survey is gathered from their likely voter pool that they are using in their tracking poll that is showing Romney leading 51-46.  This survey fits the results we saw from the Ohio early voting returns.  15% of the respondents have already voted, and 18% plan to vote before election day.

Or do they?  There is a very curious item if you look at those who have voted and those who plan to vote.  Those who have actually voted favor Romney 52-46, closely matching the overall poll results.  Those who plan to vote on election day also favor Romney by almost the same amount, 51-45.  But those who say they will vote early, but who haven't yet voted give equal support 49-49.

To me, this is just a continuation of the lying Democrat phenomena.  They say they have/will voted early for Obama, but they actually haven't/won't.  This behavior is what is driving the Ohio polls to overstate Obama's support.  Support that will not result in actual votes on election day.

Overall, we are seeing the results of an excellent strategy by the GOP.  Their plan all along was to neutralize the Obama early voting advantage, and turnout their base on Election Day.  In 2008, Obama drove up huge early voting totals in many states like Florida and North Carolina, allowing them to take those states, even though McCain received more votes than he did on Election Day (in those states).  Neutralizing this strategy has been the goal of the Romney campaign, and especially the RNC for the last year.  This is why so much effort has been put into voter contact.  Look at one final graph from the Gallup article.

Between already voted and plan to vote (including those lying Democrats) the totals are running even.  Romney is slightly ahead of Obama 34-33.  This neutralizes the Obama ground operation and primary strategy.  On election day, the remaining 2/3rd of the electorate will vote, and they will favor Romney 51-45.

This is how you win the ground game.


  1. Good analysis. I also note the amount of "Plan to vote before 11/6" isn't in line with the others. I think it's safe to say there's some BSers who want to sound important for these polls.

  2. The bigger question in my mind of course is: Why are these "already voted" people lying? Because at the base of that could be an answer to our question.
    Suppose they're lying because they're registered democrats, but not progressives. So Obummer has royally pissed them off (even considering his crappy auto bailout argument.) But there's a socially acceptable answer for them "I'm voting for Obama." So they give it when the pollster calls. And if you're going to lie, you might as well lie big and say you've already voted.

    Of course I'm just making assumptions here, with no actual facts to back them up. However this seems slightly more likely than the "lying to end the calls" suggestion (the 2:1 support doesn't seem to back that up at its face. People who are frustrated by the process are just as likely to randomly blurt out someone.) And I don't think your average democrat picking up the phone for a random survey call is thinking far enough ahead to try to game the polls.

    Having said that, Early Voting does favor democrats, I'm convinced this is in part because it poaches lazy uniformed voters who couldn't even be bothered to show up on election day. We need to find a way to stop that trend...but...racism I guess or something.

  3. A poll of voters who have already voted and its Romney by 7?

    And Obama is tied with those who *plan* to vote early. So that says the republican's are more fired up, which is supported by other data.

    Gallup is doing huge sample sizes with their polls.

    And Gallup's track record is good, they are usually within 2 pts and when they've missed its usually too much dem.

    So if this is true, and I think it is, we are looking at 320-350 EV.

    Will Nate Silver keep his job?

    1. If it's really 300+ EV's Nate Silver won't manage to keep his head from exploding, much less his job.
      (Despite DIF's work, Ohio still gives me the shakes.)
      T-7 days.

    2. Either Gallup is losing massive credibility as a public opinion source, or Silver is done as an election "statistician".

      Honestly, I'm not confident either way. I just feel like a lot of these polls are junk.

    3. The Nate Silver fan boys are all over the internet chasing stories with negative material about him.

      Romney's been ahead in the RCP average for a couple weeks now and 50% often. And with large sample polls he's ahead even bigger.

      Nate Silver is a charlatan, it's easy to say 70%/30% and then when you are wrong, well, hell, he predicted a 30% chance, that's pretty good! lol

  4. Great job Dave!
    You are a fantastic resource to help cut through all the disinformation going on.

  5. Thanks Dave! Saving Americans sanity every day! We appreciate it!

    As to the lying bit, I believe there are many factors in play. I do think there is a fear factor by those actually contacted. One has to admit, this Regime does have a scary edge to it, and many during 2008 were reported to law enforcement when polled. I believe in 2008, a woman was contacted by a Dem polling group, and she, nicely but firmly, stated she was not supporting Obama. No threats, no nothing, but because the polling person did not like it that she was not supporting Obama, the lady was reported. The reported lady called I think Hannity, and some other talk radio people, and even though things were cleared up, she made the point that forever her record would show she had been interviewed by the FBI. Another fear factor is what we have seen happen to people, and their property if a Romney supporter. It to me boils down to Americans are fearful, and just do not want to be honest with the pollsters. And do not forget about Union voters who absolutely would lie to a pollster due to fear of...

    The second half of the lying, the quasi-innocent lying, is the reckoning factor. How many of us have seen on the net where Democrats are saying for the first time they are going to vote for a Republican? We are hearing from people that their neighbors, or family members are whispering to them that they are going GOP for the first time. Like it is to be hush-hush still. I do firmly, very much so believe Blacks are going to shock the world over how they vote, or do not vote for the Regime. These people do not want to admit to a perfect stranger what they are going to do. The same can be said regarding Jewish voters. They just are not going to say how they are going to vote, and are lying to the pollster, or the machine polling them. There are having a moment of reckoning, and are having enough trouble dealing with voting for a Republican. LOL! I look at these groups as being those voters we saw in the Citizens United movie who voted for Obama, and are now very upset about where the country is, but still will not tell a pollster their truthful opinions. For some, it is as if they just were released from being trapped, like the Chilean miners. For years they have believed in the DNC, all the lies about Conservatism, free market principles, and once free, they are on newborn legs, and out in the wide world of Truth. It has to be a shock to say the least, and these people are not at the point yet of not being ashamed of being duped by the Democrats in 2008, or all other years in their past.

    Lastly are the procrastinators who did plan to vote early, but did not, and will vote, but they are those weird undecideds who know they are going to vote Romney/Ryan, but just are not going to admit it until the lever is pulled. These are to me the folks who still profess they like Dear Leader, and believe he is a nice guy. Insert eye roll here. Most of us do not get these people, and want to pull our hair out when seeing them on Fox discussing the election. They lie about voting early, and who they are going to vote for because they are having separation anxiety of sorts when it comes to Obama.

    So, that is my take on lying by the actual voter, and the other part of the lying I believe comes from the DNC trying to recreate the "bandwagon" deal they tried to test run earlier when the polling was weird to say the least. I mean Axelrod is saying they are winning NC by 4-5, and Florida. Really? It is sheer lies, and lunacy. The result, IMHO, all this lying only hurts the Democrats, the pollsters, and the MSM reporting the tilted polls as if real, or true. The trust factor only takes another hit, and Americans are tired of not being able to trust the media, the pollsters, and most importantly, our president. The pollsters might want to see the approval ratings of Congress, and the MSM because if they keep lying, they could also find themselves as being the "old", or "dinosaur" pollsters.

  6. I'm in Nevada......early votes are here

    Polls say Obama is up 2.....but all the republican candidates are up.....7....ish points in the local newspaper polls….....I’m thinking...ok....people are going to vote a republican ticket for senate and house and still vote for Obama? *NOT* *fingers crossed* Dems have good turn out but I really don't think dems are in lock step for Obama....if you say....80 percent of the dems vote for Obama....90 percent of the repubs...vote for Romney....then all Romney needs is about 10 percent more of the indi vote to take the state......

  7. Dave, great thoughts, however, your analysis may not be considering the fact that total turnout will be around 69% of the electorate. This is a poll of likely voters. Instead of using 7.9 total voters, you should be using 70% of that, or 5.5M votes.

    As of now, there have been 1.6M AV ballots requested in Ohio. That should be close to the final total. If we assume 5.6M actual total voters and 1.5M final early votes, that comes to almost 27%. In 2008 EV was 29% of the total vote. So a small increase over that to get to 30+% is not unthinkable. Therefore, I don't think that % is that far off. (PPP at 36% seems like a stretch tho).

    Now, of those early votes, about 35% are coming from Columbus and Cleveland, which are probably 80% Obama. He would need about 57% of the remaining early vote outside those counties to get to 66% of the total in the early vote. If anything, that seems like the bit of the analysis that is the stretch to me, as opposed to the EV% but that's just my guess.

    1. The only problem is there aren't 1.5M EVs at the time of these polls, there were 1.0M. So the correct number is 17.8% not 27%.