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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

MU's Skewed Dem+5 Poll

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Another day, another skewed poll that over-samples Democrats and under-weights Republicans.

The only thing consistent about Wednesday's MU Law poll is its penchant for wild, unexplained swings in voter sentiment.

In a year in which the numbers have moved only incrementally, MU would have us believe that Wisconsin voters have experienced massive-- and largely unexplained -- mood swings in the last few weeks.

Recall that in September, MU reported a stunning 18 point swing in the senate race that transformed a 9 point Thompson lead into a 9 point Baldwin lead in just a month

That swing also turned a 3 point Obama lead (August) into a 14 point Obama lead (September).

On closer inspection,it turned out that the September MU poll had a +11  Dem sample. Jeff Wagner called that poll "embarrassingly inaccurate and it makes me wonder what's going on at Marquette."

Two weeks later, the whiplash continued:  MU discovered another seismic shift in the electorate, reporting that both races were essentially tied, with Romney down by 1; Thompson up by 1. That poll had a +1 Dem sample -- a 10 pt swing in just a month.

Today, it comes out with a poll  with another big shift: Obama 51; Romney 43. Baldwin 47 Thompson 43.

One GOP insider dismissed the result with a single word: "'absurd." 

MU's new likely voter Party ID is 44 GOP, 49 DEM. That is a +5 Dem sample on election day. Other pollsters are predicting a  +1 Dem turnout based on the enthusiasm of GOP voters and leaners. Those polls also show Romney/Thompson also leading among independents. (Rasmussen has Wisconsin at Romney 49-Obama 49.)

So the direct comparison of likely voter samples from Marquette is:

Last time (10/14), sample was -1 GOP, Romney was -1, Thompson was +1

This time (10/30), sample is -5 GOP, Romney is -8, and Thompson is -4.

MU's latest sample suggests that this election will be 2008 all over again. 
 
I'm not buying it and neither are political insiders I talked with today.
 
"I don't know about you but this election and campaign feels nothing like 2008 - a lifeless GOP base combined with a Dem enthusiasm that I have never seen before - but I know we won't this year," one insider says.
 
If the turnout is closer to the +1  Dem model, then both the presidential and senate race "will be a photo finish."
 
**
My colleague Brian Fraley is also skeptical. He writes: "This result makes me question the accuracy of the entire poll:"
 
Who’d do better job on the economy?
Obama 49% Romney 47%
 
Think that's weird? Take a look at the results of the foreign policy question.
 

 Who’d do better job on foreign policy?

Obama 54% Romney 40%

The challenger bled among independents in the last two weeks? Why, because of the debates?

 
If this poll is to believed, the Presidential race is actually closer in MN, MI and PA.

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