Real Clear Politics’ John McIntyre on recent polling
HH: I want to end with a Ravens fan so I can bring it up tonight at the event, and they can all boo John McIntyre, Ravens fan, one of the co-founders of Real Clear Politics.com, and note, they will boo him lustfully, because he is a Ravens fan. John, welcome, good to talk to you.
JM: Good to be here, Hugh.
HH: I’ve got to start with this. Yesterday, David Axelrod said they were doubling down in North Carolina, which is a little bit like me as a Cleveland Browns fan doubling down on the Browns going to the Super Bowl, don’t you think?
JM: Yeah, I mean, you’ve got to remember, okay, in 2008, okay, with all the hoopla, all the emotion and everything Barack Obama had going for him, he carried North Carolina by 3/10ths of a point, okay? So just the common sense metric says…
JM: You know, everybody agrees the national race is at a minimum, tied, okay? Even the pro-Obama people don’t suggest nationally that they’re up two or three points. So it kind of, common sense says he’s not going to be carrying the state of North Carolina.
HH: Yeah, I just thought that was a funny one. Now the RCP average, which has become ubiquitous in the culture, interesting over the course of ten years that RCP average…John McIntyre, if I’d told you ten years ago, we had dinner in a hotel in Washington that people would be referring to the RCP average without an identifier, but knowing what it meant, would you have believed me?
JM: Well, probably not, Hugh, but it’s a good thing. I’m not complaining.
HH: It’s a great thing for you. Congratulations.
HH: I mean, you’ve remade the information map in America. It takes a big deal to remake the information map in America. And now, there’s an island there that everyone goes to, and basically everybody trusts. That’s something.
JM: Yeah, look, I mean, you’re right, and it’s one of our sort of core signature products, and we’re very grateful for it.
HH: Now today, it’s at Mitt Romney 47.8, Barack Obama at 47.1. But I just got done talking to Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, fine journalist, and I ran down these numbers – 47.1, 45, 47, 47, 48, 45, 47, 48. These are the President’s numbers in ten polls. What does that number tell you?
JM: He’s likely to lose?
HH: Yeah, why? Explain that to people.
JM: Well, I mean, I think people, sometimes this gets overcomplicated for folks. I mean, you know, kind of political analysis 101, when you have incumbent, particularly a president, okay, that everybody knows, and he’s stuck at 47% and trailing, they lose. You know, just nine times out of then, that’s what happens. I mean, the only way it doesn’t happen that way is something breaks to change the dynamic at the very end, to change it, to move it. And so, I mean, we don’t know what’s going to happen over the next ten days, but I mean, the problem is, the debates are over, okay? And I mean, this campaign’s been going on for close to two years now, so I think the public, and there’s just been millions and millions of dollars spent, I think the public’s sort of inured against… I just don’t know what last minute surprise is out there that could radically shift the race back towards the President.
HH: All right, I think, in fact, everyone is immunized against new information. They were open to it in the debates. Romney won the debate season, however you score the last two, as he was so far ahead in the first quarter that three ties or three slight wins, one way or the other doesn’t matter. He ran up the lead.
JM: No, I mean, I think what you’re talking about now is you’re talking about a genuine surprise in the world environment, okay? And not something that’s like phony and created, but something genuine that happens, you know, a country invades another country, or something happens just kind of crazy, which is possible, I guess, or some major gaffe happens. You know, I think that’s what you’re talking about. And Gloria Allred, Donald Trump, these things aren’t going to have any real effect.
HH: Nor does Mourdock in one answer. There are these outlier stories, but here’s a real story. $111 dollars raised by Mitt Romney in 17 days. And I’m looking at my Act Right button, where people listen to this show can go and give $25, $50, $100 bucks. It’s just spinning around. People want to give money to Mitt Romney right now. They want to identify and be a part of this. I just don’t know that Obama’s keeping pace here.
JM: Well yeah, look, I mean, that gets to the energy quotient. And you can look at the pictures, look at the rallies, it’s clear that Romney has this energy on his side, and conservatives and Republicans are super enthused. And I think the big thing about the money, people don’t recognize this as much, President Obama has always had a massive spending advantage to go along with his wins. And he’s just not going to have that coming down the stretch here. He’s going to have a ton of money. I mean, the President will have as much, I really honestly think he’s going to have as much money as he needs. But the difference is, you know, Romney and the Republican side, it’s not going to be like McCain at the end where in states like Virginia, McCain was getting beat on the TV ten to one, okay? That’s not going to happen here in the next ten days, and that’s big.
HH: It is. Let me close by talking to you a little bit, John, about Ohio, where I am right now. Of course, it’s my hometown. I’m in Northeastern Ohio. And there’s so much effort going on, you can’t turn on a TV, you can’t see anything, these voters are high information voters as you said. I am increasingly believing you’re going to find the Reagan Democrats here, and they’re hard to poll, because they’re UAW guys who aren’t going to tell the shop steward that they’re voting for Romney, because they got their deal, and they know that the President’s taking them over the cliff. How do you chart Ohio right now? So I think Romney’s winning, and I think he’s actually going to win with a fair amount of ease, you know, the kind of margin Bush had in ’04. What do you think?
JM: Well look, you know, our Real Clear Politics average had it at about five, five and a half before the first debate. It’s now at two. And these state averages lag the national average. So I suspect that if the national average just stays where it is, to continue to tighten. And then you get a dynamic so it’s like the President’s at 48% in Ohio. But if he’s at 48% on the ballot test, and he’s only up a point in the average? That almost, the edge almost leans to Romney at that matter, because the undecideds are probably going to break, you know, they’re not, it’s very unlikely they’re going to break for the President. So I think with the fact that the state polls lag the national polls, so I think Ohio’s actually closer than two points right now. And you give, you know, the President’s not at 50%. He’s at 48%. I would give, right now, the slight edge to Romney in Ohio.
HH: Has the RCP electoral map changed, yet, John McIntyre?
JM: Well, I mean, look, we’ve allocated a lot of toss-up states. And one of the things we did a couple of weeks ago, we were sort of ahead of the curve, is we put Pennsylvania into toss-up…
JM: Michigan a toss-up…
JM: You’ve seen polls come out recently that validate that. You know, a new poll in Michigan shows it tied, Michigan three point…
HH: I look at that map every single day. It’s the battle for the White House map at Real Clear Politics.com. John McIntyre, a pleasure to talk to you, even though you are indeed a Ravens fan.
End of interview.