Recently Gallup made some headlines as they start their daily tracking poll for the 2012 election. That's because, contrary to every other poll except Rasmussen and Fox News, they're showing Romney ahead of President Obama.
Ron Brownstein does us the favor of telling us why that is:
But the Gallup track, which is conducted among registered voters, has a sample that looks much more like the electorate in 2010 than the voting population that is likely to turn out in 2012: only 22 percent of the Gallup survey was non-white, according to figures the organization provided to Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz. That was close to the non-white share of the vote in 2010 (23 percent), but in 2008, minorities comprised 26 percent of all voters, according to exit polls; the Obama campaign, and other analysts, project the minority share of the vote will increase to 28 percent in 2012. In its survey, Pew, for instance, puts the non-white share at 25 percent.
I'd like to hear the folks at Gallup explain why they think the 2012 electorate in a presidential year will look like the one that turned out in 2010 for the midterms. There is no way they can justify that based on history.
Brownstein goes on to dig deep into the data from 4 recent polls (WaPo/ABC, CNN, Pew and Gallup) to find the trends that might actually tell us something about where this race stands at the moment. Its basically good news with some caution.
Even with their modest variations, these four surveys paint a similar picture. Obama is largely holding the minority and college-educated white women who comprise two pillars of the modern Democratic base (along with young people.) But he is facing erosion among blue-collar white men and struggling to maintain even his modest 2008 support among the two swing quadrants in the white electorate: the college-plus white men and non-college white women.
For the moment, that division of allegiances is enough to provide Obama an overall advantage (he would lead slightly even in the Gallup track if the minority share of the vote was adjusted to its level in 2008). But it's not enough of an edge for him to breathe easy-and the fact that most of the white electorate is resisting him at least as much as it did in 2008 suggests he may never entirely get to such a comfortable place before November, even if he remains ahead overall.