10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

:
1. What impact did the debates have on the presidential race? 2. Has the Romney momentum in the last week increased, stayed the same, or decreased? 3. What are the most important barriers that have kept President Obama from being able to more easily win reelection? 4. What is going to be the split in the exit poll between the percent of White and the percent of non-White voters? 5. Will President Obama be able to break 40% of the White vote?
10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

NOVEMBER 2012

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10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election:
6. Is there a difference in interest in the election between the two bases of the political parties? 7. Is there going to be an increase in voter turnout compared to 2008? 8. Will President Obama’s voter turnout operation significantly outperform Mitt Romney’s in a way that changes the composition of the electorate? 9. How come the presidential ballot in the state polls is different from the national polls? 10.Will there be any change in the House and Senate?
10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Q&A QUESTION: ANSWER:
Huge! Romney won the first debate by the largest margin ever tracked since 1984.

What impact did the debates have on the presidential race?

In the NBC/WSJ poll, 37% of White Independents say the debates made them more likely to support Romney, versus 10% more likely to support Obama.
The impact rippled through national, as well as state-bystate tracking, as Romney surged nationally by a net five points.
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10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

Best in the Debates.
Bill Clinton Bob Dole Net Difference
Next Largest Margin^

59% 29% -30%
Town Hall Debate Mid October 2012*

Republicans Democrats Net Difference

Average of 14 Debates Since 1984^

37% 49% -12%

Largest Margin Ever—First Debate Early October 2012*

Foreign Policy Debate Late October 2012*

67%

+42%

-7%

-8%

39% 25%

46%

40%

48%

Romney
*Data from a CNN/ORC post-debate poll. ^ All data comes from CNN. Excludes 1992 three-way debates between Bush, Clinton, and Perot.

Obama

Regardless of which candidate you happen to support, who do you think did the best job in the debate?

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Presidential Ballot by State Pre-Debate to October 26th
State (# of Electoral Votes)

October 2nd
Romney Obama Net Difference Romney

October 26th
Obama Net Difference

Wisconsin (10) New Hampshire (4) Nevada (6) Ohio (18)

Iowa (6)
Virginia (13) Colorado (9)

Florida (29)
North Carolina (15) Michigan (16)

Pennsylvania (20)
* All Data From Real Clear Politics

44 44 45 44 45 44 46 46 48 42 42

51 50 50 49 49 48 49 49 48 52 50

-7 -6 -5 -5 -4 -4 -3 -3 0 -10 -8

47 47 47 46 47 48 48 49 50 45 45

49 48 50 48 49 47 48 47 47 49 50
NOVEMBER 2012

-2 -1 -3 -2 -2 +1 0 +2 +3 -4 -5
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10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

Q&A QUESTION:
Has the Romney momentum in the last week increased, stayed the same, or decreased?

ANSWER:
This last week was dominated by Hurricane Sandy, which helped freeze the race in place with only modest differences on a state-by-state basis.
The President increased his margin in Wisconsin and narrowed Romney’s margin in Florida and North Carolina. Romney narrowed the President’s margins in what had been the non-target states of Pennsylvania and Michigan.
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10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

NOVEMBER 2012

Presidential Ballot by State in the Previous Week
October 26
State (# of Electoral Votes)

Most Recent*
Net Difference Romney Obama Net Difference

Romney

Obama

Wisconsin (10) Nevada (6) Iowa (6) Ohio (18) New Hampshire (4) Colorado (9) Virginia (13) Florida (29) North Carolina (15)

Pennsylvania (20)
Michigan (16)

47 47 47 46 47 48 48 49 50 45 45

49 50 49 48 48 48 47 47 45 50 49

-2 -3 -2 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +5 -5 -4

46 47 46 47 48 48 48 49 50 45 45

50 50 48 49 49 48 47 48 46 49 48
NOVEMBER 2012

-4 -3 -2 -2 -1 0 +1 +1 +4 -4 -3
8

* All Data From Real Clear Politics, Most Recent Data from 11/1/2012

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

Q&A QUESTION:
What are the most important barriers that have kept President Obama from being able to more easily win re-election?

ANSWER:
Consumer confidence is at an historic low for a long period of time.
In the NBC/WSJ poll, we asked if President Obama is re-elected, do you want to continue in the same direction or do you want a minor/major change? Sixty-two percent (62%) of American voters said they wanted major change. President Obama is an incumbent in a difficult economy and people are looking for major change. It is difficult, but not impossible, to convince people to give him four more years.

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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President Obama’s fortunes will be closely tied to perceptions of the economy and consumer confidence. . .
Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

Average Among Incumbent Winners^

Today*

Average Among Incumbent Losers^

^Includes elections from 1956 to 2008.

*October 26, 2012

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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More than six out of ten people want “major changes” if President Obama is re-elected.
37% of Obama voters want “major changes.”

October 2004—President Bush

October 2012—President Obama

42% A lot like the First Term /Minor Modifications
62% Major Changes 3% Not Sure

35% A Lot like the First Term /Minor Modifications

55% Major Changes

3% Not Sure

If President Bush /President Obama were to win reelection, would you want his second term to be a lot like his first term, would you want him to make minor adjustments and modifications, or would you want him to make major changes?

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Importantly, Romney is gaining ground in the important question of who would be better when it comes to dealing with the economy.

Net Difference

Mid-September

Late September

October

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Q&A QUESTION:
What is going to be the split in the exit poll between the percent of White and the percent of non-White voters?

ANSWER:
This is the critical question of this election as there is growing evidence of a startling difference in data by ethnicity even compared to how wide this gap has been in the past.

NBC/WSJ, Gallup, and Pew are all suggesting the composition of the electorate by ethnicity could closely mirror the 2008 results. But if Whites drop to 72% of the electorate, Obama would win. If Whites are 76% of the electorate Romney would win.

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Whites and non-Whites are further apart now than they were in 2008.
Presidential Ballot by White/Non-White
White Likely Voters Non-White Likely Voters

GOP
2008 Exit Poll (74% White) June-August 2012 LV Merge (76% White) September 2012 LV Merge (75% White) Late Sept.-October 2012 LV Merge (74% White)

Obama

Difference

GOP

Obama

Difference

55% 43% +12% 20% 77%
53% 40% +13% 18% 77% 56% 41% +15% 15% 77%

-57%
-59% -62%

58% 37% +21% 14% 80%

-66%

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Q&A QUESTION: ANSWER:
In the NBC/WSJ poll, and multiple other national polls, the President consistently lags below 40% of the White vote.
He is poised to lose White voters by the largest margins since 1984 and 1988. Offsetting his difficulty with White voters is his increasing margins among Latinos, and the potential for Latinos to be a larger share of the electorate.
NOVEMBER 2012 15

Will President Obama be able to break 40% of the White vote?

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

President Obama has the highest negative rating among White voters of any presidential candidate in 20 years.
Image Ratings of Candidates Among White Voters in Election Years
Pos. Neg. Diff.

October 2000 October 1996

George W. Bush Bill Clinton

56% 56%

29% 32%

+27% +24%

October 2012
October 2008 October 2004 October 2008 October 1992 October 1996 October 2000 October 2004

Mitt Romney
John McCain George W. Bush Barack Obama Bill Clinton Bob Dole Al Gore John Kerry

53%
49% 55% 49% 47% 43% 44% 39%

37%
34% 40% 38% 38% 35% 42% 48%

+16%
+15% +15% +11% +9% +8% +2% -9%

October 2012
October 1992

Barack Obama
George H.W. Bush

39%
36%

53%
50%

-14%
-14%

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Margins for Romney among White voters and margins for Obama among Latino voters are startlingly high.
Presidential Ballot By Ethnicity
Among Whites Net Republican Margin

Mid-October 2012*
Among African Americans

2000 2004 2008
2000 2004 2008 2000 2004 2008

+13% +17% +12%

+23%
-81% -77% -91% -27% -9% -36%

Net Republican Margin

Mid-October 2012*
Among Hispanics/Latinos

-86%
Net Republican Margin

Mid-October 2012*

-45%
NOVEMBER 2012 17

*Data from 2000, 2004 and 2008 Exit Poll data from the presidential elections. Data from 2012 comes from NBC/WSJ October 2012 Survey.

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

Q&A QUESTION: Is there a difference in interest in the election between the two bases of the political parties? ANSWER:
Yes, definitely. Through all of 2012 Republicans have continually expressed more interest in the election than Democrats. In the last NBC/WSJ poll, Republicans had an eight point margin in self-described interest in the election. The interest in the election has plummeted this cycle among key Democratic subgroups including younger voters and Latinos. The intensity edge has meant that the most interested voters are more likely to be voting for Romney.

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Republicans head into the election with a decided advantage in election interest. . .
October 2008 October 2012

While interest has plummeted among two key Democratic sub-groups. . .
Interest in Election %9-10
October 2008 October 2012 Net Difference

Hispanics/Latinos Age 18-34
Please tell me how interested you are in November's elections, using a scale from one to ten, on which a "ten" means that you are very interested in November's elections and a "one" means that you are not at all interested. You may choose any number from one to ten.

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Presidential Ballot Margins
2008: Obama - McCain
14% 11% 3% 0%
January

14% 11% 9% 4% 3%
August

15%

3%
March

3%
April

5%
2% 6%
Early October

10%

6%
June

6%
July

1%

Early Late September September

Late October

Among all voters

Among high-interest voters

2012: Obama - Romney
6% 6% 4% 6%

3%

4% 1%

6%

7%
1%

5%

January

2%

April

May

June

-3%

-3%

0%

July

August

Mid-Sept.

Late-Sept.

October

-2%

-3%

-2%

Among all voters

Among high-interest voters

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Q&A QUESTION: ANSWER:
It is likely the percent of the Citizens of Voting Age (CVA) population who vote will drop, but the total number of ballots will probably increase. Why? America’s population is not stagnant and continues to grow every four years.
NOVEMBER 2012 21

Is there going to be a turnout increase compared to 2008?

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

2012 Turnout

Citizens of Voting Age 2008

210,400,000

Citizens of Voting Age 2012

219,900,000

There has been a projected increase of 9,500,000 more people, representing 4.5% growth.

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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With three of the four models predicting voter turnout about as high or higher than in 2008, our expectation is that the total number of votes cast will be higher.
2012 Turnout Estimates with Citizens of Voting Age Population 219,900,000

YEAR
At 2008 Turnout Levels At 2004 Turnout Levels At 2000 Turnout Levels At 1996 Turnout Levels

PERCENT

TURNOUT (x 1,000,000)

62.9%
63.1% 59.5% 58.4%

138.3 138.8
130.8 128.4

Total Votes Cast in 2008: 131,300,000
10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Q&A QUESTION:
Will President Obama’s turnout operation significantly outperform Mitt Romney’s in a way that changes the composition of the electorate?

ANSWER:
That is certainly possible. NBC/WSJ, ABC/ Washington Post, and Pew data all continue to document record voter contact.

However, the results are similar—the recall of contact between the Obama and Romney campaigns is comparable.

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Contacted By a Presidential Campaign
2004 2008

2012
2012 Swing States/Total 2012 Swing States by Obama

30% 42% 50% 71% 60% 57%
*

2012 Swing States by Romney

*71% of people interviewed in swing states say they were contacted by at least one of the presidential campaigns.

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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Q&A QUESTION: ANSWER:
When the national polls are this close there can easily be a variation of three to five net points in multiple swing states compared to the leader’s national margin.

How come the state polls are different than the national polls?

Given the Democratic Party’s base of 237 electoral votes, the President does have more options for how to get to 270 electoral votes. The state polls are accurately reflecting Obama’s modest advantage in the Electoral College.
Compellingly, a detailed analysis shows the only states that are beyond their usual margins in the last two elections are Ohio and Iowa. This suggests in these states the margins could close even further to mirror the leader’s national margin.

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Please note the variation from Obama’s 2008 margins in today’s swing states.
2008
State Obama State Margin* Obama National Margin Difference

North Carolina Wisconsin Nevada Florida Ohio New Hampshire Iowa

Colorado
Virginia

-0.3 -13.9 -12.5 -2.8 -4.6 -9.6 -9.5 -9.0 -6.3

-7.3 -7.3 -7.3 -7.3 -7.3 -7.3 -7.3 -7.3 -7.3

-7.0 +6.6 +5.2 -4.5 -2.7 +2.3 +2.2 +1.7 -1.0
NOVEMBER 2012 27

*A negative sign notes an Obama advantage.
10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

We first calculated the winner’s net margin in each state over the last two election cycles compared to his national margin. We then compared this average for each state to the leader’s net margin in each swing state today. Ohio and Iowa are the only two where the leader’s margin exceeds the average margin for that state in the last two cycles.
Average Net Difference for Last Two Cycles Net Difference Currently From Romney National Margin*

Ohio Iowa

Nevada
Wisconsin Colorado New Hampshire Florida Virginia

North Carolina

1.6 2.0 2.7 4.8 2.0 3.1 3.5 3.4 8.5
10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

-2.3 -2.2 -2.7 -3.7 -0.6 -1.3 +1.2 +0.5 +3.8
NOVEMBER 2012 28

*A negative sign means Obama is leading by that margin while a positive sign means Romney is leading by that margin.

Q&A QUESTION: ANSWER:
The House is likely to stay Republican. Even as late as today, the situation as regards control of the Senate is unpredictable.

Will there be any change in the House and Senate?

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The Democrats do not appear to have a sufficient advantage to suggest control of the House will change.
Republicans Gain Control of the House Republican Advantage

1994 2010
Democrats Gain Control of the House Democrat Advantage

2006
Today Democrat Advantage

2012
What is your preference for the outcome of this year’s congressional elections: A Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?

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This data also suggests Republicans will keep the House.
Deserves to be re-elected New Person Net Difference

Incumbent Party Loses House

Incumbent Party Keeps House

Today

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There are simply not enough Republican seats in play to flip the House.
4th Quarter 2012: Toss Up/Lean House Seats
GOP Lean Or Toss Up Seats DEM Lean or Toss Up Seats

PERIOD

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Even as late as today, the situation in the Senate is unpredictable.
Senate Race Lean and Toss Up Seats According to Charlie Cook

*November 1, 2012.

Democratic Seats Lean/Toss Up (11)

Republican Seats Lean/Toss Up (5)

10 Questions That Will Help Decide the Election

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