Early, At Best
Don't jump to conclusions. Kick back and relax. Take a cold shower.
A couple of weeks ago, in wake of the withdrawal from the GOP presidential race of Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney was crowned by the media his party's presidential nominee. With the inevitable bounce or bump- which are not the same, but probably both played a role- Romney was found to be running neck and neck with President Obama.
Now that a little of the media's Republican euphoria and Democratic fear has subsided, a different narrative is being developed, for this week. Jed Lewison of Daily Kos, for instance, cites two recent polls of sentiment in Arizona, one by the Merrill/Morrison Institute and the other by Behavior Research Centers/Rocky Mountain Poll, both showing Obama at 42% and Romney at 40%.
Presidential polls are like women (or men); there always is another one coming along. Or like the weather in Chicago- wait a minute, it'll change. Or like.... well, enough with the cliches. We hear, accurately, that polls are mere snapshots, after which other "experts" cite the latest one to back up their perspective.
It is early- very early. At this stage four years ago, few people had heard of Sarah Palin, and even fewer cared about her. Then four and a half months later, after everyone had seen and heard Palin and presumably formed an opinion about her, she was identified as the dramatic pick that would send Barack Obama back to Chicago. Or Hawaii. Or Kenya.
Alas, things changed dramatically even after early and mid September of 2008, a mere two months before the election and five months later in the process than we now stand. A poll- even an accurate one taken by a reputable organization- is at best now virtually meaningless (more on at best in a later post). And the final tally in Arizona, unless extraordinary circumstances ensue, will not change the outcome of the election.
Aside from (obviously) the usual suspects- the economy, world affairs, cultural issues, personalities, the debates (barely), and others- this incumbent's re-election prospects are imperiled by GOP voter suppression efforts in various states and the shift in electoral votes granted states as a result of population changes reflected in the 2010 census. (If Obama were to carry exactly the same states he did in 2008, his total would be 12 short of that in 2008.) Still, Barack Obama in 2008 garnered 365 electoral votes, 192 more than his opponent and 95 more than needed for election. He did so by carrying the popular vote in every state won by Al Gore- who fell a mere four(4) electors shy of victory- plus Colorado, Florida, Indiana (!), Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia. Meanwhile, Senator Obama- who won the popular vote by 7.2%- was crushed in Arizona by 8.8%.
Admittedly, Arizona was the home state of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee. But arguably the main reason Arizona rejected Barack Obama was because it is a conservative Republican state. Notwithstanding whatever impact the immigration/illegal immigration issue (thus far seriously fumbled by the Gas and Oil Party) may have on November's outcome in Arizona, Barack Obama will not carry the state.
Or, less likely, he will. But if he does, one thing surely will have transpired- a blowout election, a laugher which did not turn on the vote in Arizona. It is inconceivable that Obama would lose a majority of the electoral votes in the states which flipped from (R) to (D) from 2000 to 2008 and still carry Arizona. (If the incumbent lost all those seven states and won Arizona, he would lose due to the aforementioned transfer of delegates among the state).
So grab an "adult" or sensible beverage of your choice, set a spell and take your shoes off. Then amuse yourself at the attention given to spring polls of presidential preference. Just don't take them seriously.