Now that the GOP primary is essentially over, and Mitt Romney is set, for better or worse, to be the Republican frontrunner, Gallup has launched its daily tracking poll to keep an eye on each one's presidential prospects. Not surprisingly, the result is a dead heat. "Mitt Romney is supported by 47% of national registered voters and Barack Obama by 45% in the inaugural Gallup Daily tracking results from April 11-15. Both Obama and Romney are supported by 90% of their respective partisans." What is curious is that "The crucial voting bloc of independents breaks toward Romney by 45% to 39%, giving the GOP challenger his slight overall edge." So will Obama now be forced to make a moderate push to attract what will likely be the critical voter constituency in November? We will find out over the next few months.
This is not surprising: as we showed previously American voter apathy is the second highest among all developed countries, better only compared to South Korea. Even so, less than 50% of the population will participate in an active election process. In other words, the majority of Americans is silent. And as is well known, of the balance of voters, the split along party lines is almost straight down the middle. Just as the onetwo-party political system likes it.
This is how Gallup defines its methodology.
These results are the first from Gallup Daily tracking of registered voters' general election preferences, which began on April 11 and will be reported daily on Gallup.com on the basis of continuous five-day rolling averages. This initial report is based on interviews with 2,265 registered voters, and highlights the potential closeness of this year's race, with Romney and Obama essentially in a statistical tie. Gallup's previous general election trial heat, from a national poll conducted March 25-26, showed Obama with a slight 49% to 45% lead over Romney.
Gallup began tracking the general election on Wednesday, April 11, after Rick Santorum suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination, making Romney the all-but-assured GOP nominee.
The race breaks down into the expected patterns by party, with 90% of Democrats supporting Obama, and 90% of Republicans supporting Romney. The Republican results show that despite the rancor and divisiveness of the Republican campaign, the vast majority of Republicans are backing Romney in the head-to-head battle with Obama, as they have in ballot tests earlier this year.
History shows that the candidates' positioning in the spring of an election year is not necessarily good at forecasting the election outcomes. For example, in an April 20-22, 1992, Gallup poll, incumbent President George H.W. Bush was ahead with 41% of the vote, compared with 26% for Bill Clinton and 25% for Ross Perot. And in an April 11-14, 1980, poll, incumbent President Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan by 42% to 34%, with John Anderson receiving 18% support. Both Bush and Carter, of course, ultimately lost their re-election bids.
Still, the current results, and the results that will follow as Gallup tracks the race on a daily basis, provide an excellent, scientific way to understand the dynamics of the election campaign, and the impact of foreseen and unforeseen events in the weeks and months ahead. And, at this point, the results show that the 2012 presidential election is shaping up to be a close race.
What is odd is why nobody, ahem Ron Paul, is willing to target that 50%+ segment of the population that is utterly disgusted with either party... That we don't understand.
Finally, as a reminder...