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  State and National Polling: Is There a Disparity?
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ContributorScott³ 
Last EditedScott³  Aug 04, 2012 01:37pm
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CategoryAnalysis
AuthorSean Trende
News DateFriday, August 3, 2012 09:35:00 PM UTC0:0
Description"The RCP Average shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney by 2.7 points nationally. This margin is down considerably from his 7.2 percent win in 2008.

This has some people scratching their heads at what they see as a disparity in the state polls. Obama leads in almost all of the states he won in 2008, with the exceptions of Indiana and North Carolina (and the latter is very close).

Indeed, the president’s leads in Virginia and Florida are down only a few points from where they were four years ago, and his lead in Ohio is larger than it was then. The conclusion that some have drawn is that Obama’s national lead is understated.

To test this theory, I first took the state RCP Averages, modified to eliminate polling taken before the Republican primary ended in May. If there were no averages for a state, I took the most recent polls. If no recent polling was available, I averaged the 2008 and 2004 outcomes for the state (since Obama’s national lead is roughly between those of 2008 and 2004). I then weighted the data by 2008 turnout. This essentially reverse-engineers a national poll from the state polling.

The weighted state poll average gives Obama a 2.4 percent lead, almost identical to what we see in the national polls. In other words, there isn’t much of a national poll/state poll disparity. Even if we just use the 2008 results for states where we don’t have RCP Averages or recent polling, the president’s lead is 3.4 percent, and that is assuming 2008 turnout and results in 16 of these states."
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