Now I decry biased battleground state samples and unrealistic party ID breakdowns wherever I see them. And almost always they are in favor of the Democrats. Today’s CNN poll shows Obama with a +3 point lead nationally. But national polls are not what this blog is about. Interestingly, beneath the headline number is what we like, a 15-state Battleground state polling breakout showing Mitt Romney with an +8 point lead. Break out the champagne, right? Not so fast.
We like our 9-state battleground map and most all of the polling and news has justified each state’s inclusion despite various organizations disagreements notwithstanding.
Today’s CNN 15-state Battleground is wholly justified if this were mid-2011 and we were simply looking at the Obama 2008 election results. Obama won Indiana and came within a whisker (less than 4000 votes) of winning Missouri. Arizona is a state where Democrats believed their immigration hopes might carry the state. So each state’s inclusion had a basis looking at Obama’s 2008 success. However, today Indiana is back to being solidly Republican (thanks in no small part to eliminating massive voter fraud from 2008), Missouri is not being contested by Obama and Arizona lacks the “coalition of the ascendent” Democrats rely on for victories in Battleground states. Their inclusion in this survey biases the overall number too much to put a lot of stock in the Battleground state lead (heck, we wouldn’t even include North Carolina although it is balanced by New Mexico’s inclusion).
Despite these fair criticisms, it is still nice to be leading any poll and especially a Battleground poll by +8 points. I would just like to see a more reasonable battleground slice and greater granularity within any Battleground poll.