CINCINNATI, OHIO- “Within the margin of error,” is a phrase that David Axelrod didn’t want to wake up to this morning, although he knows what to do: Obama’s senior advisor will tout the 50-48 result in the D+4 poll and proudly pronounce that the fundamentals of the Democrat narrative are still intact.
Despite Axelrod’s spin, however, what’s been dubbed the “Obama firewall” or “Ohio firewall” looks like it’s in danger. The core aspects of the Columbus Dispatch poll, to the unstudied observer, show the race could swing either way. Yet using any of the non-subjective variables (i.e., a likely voter survey, the assumption that there were too many Democrats and not enough independents in this poll – not disputing the D+4 – that independents are breaking by at least 8 points for Mitt Romney, etc.) put Obama far from the 50-percent victory. In fact, I think it’s likely the winner of Ohio won’t reach 50.2%.
While President Obama in 2008 won early voters in Ohio by anywhere from 12 to 22 percentage points, John McCain won voters who voted on Election Day by just 2 points. Obama won Ohio in the end by 4.6 percent. Compare those 2008 numbers with what the Dispatch poll found, where Romney led by 11 points with respondents who plan to vote on Election Day and Obama was ahead among early voters by 15 points.
This means Obama is running behind his 2008 early-voter performance and Romney is running leagues ahead of McCain’s Election Day expectations.
Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Axelrod conceded today that Romney will do better than McCain did and that the Obama campaign will do worse than in 2008. The Romney campaign is proudly pointing to the more than 263,000-vote difference in comparing current totals to those 2008 numbers.
Even more troublesome for Obama’s operation in the Buckeye State, data from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office shows that Republicans are knocking down 2004 and 2008 margins. They’ve even made inroads into Democrat-heavy Cuyahoga County, while an Obama campaign early vote event in Cleveland (largest city in Cuyahoga) featuring Stevie Wonder yesterday attracted a meager 200 attendees – on a college campus! While Republicans enjoyed tweeting about the failure of the event, it speaks to the lack of excitement among Obama’s youth coalition and his much-touted $300 million field operation.
Sometimes there’s nothing special in the special secret sauce.
Margin of error may be the best Democrats have to hope for here in Ohio, while they fan out across the country facing tied polls in liberal Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Later today, I’ll take on the Pollsters. All of them. It’s something you don’t want to miss and may even include a GIF or two.