I’ve certainly made no secret of my skepticism. Now consider this excellent analysis along the same lines by Professor Alan Abramowitz of Emory University, one of the leading academic analysts of American politiics. (He sent this to me in an email and graciously agreed to allow me to share it with readers of this blog.)
1. The latest Gallup Poll has Bush ahead of Kerry by 52-45 percent among likely voters but by only 49-48 percent among registered voters. Based on the numbers of registered and likely voters in their sample, this means that Gallup is projecting that 89 percent of Bush supporters will vote but only 79 percent of Kerry supporters will vote. That seems unrealistic. It is way out of line with data from the American National Election Studies on turnout among registered Dems and Republicans in recent elections. For the past three presidential elections, the turnout gap between Republicans and Democrats has averaged 3 percentage points and was never larger than 4 percentage points. The smallest gap was in 1992 (1 point), the election with the highest overall turnout. Assuming that 2004 will be another relatively high turnout election, we should probably expect a relatively small turnout gap, similar to 1992.
2. Among registered voters, Gallup shows Bush leading by one point overall, with Kerry leading 90-7 among Democrats, Bush leading 90-7 among Republicans, and Kerry leading 49-46 among independents. This means that Gallup’s sample of registered voters includes more Republican identifiers than Democratic identifiers. But in 2000, according to the VNS national exit poll (which hits the overall percentages for Bush and Gore right on the nose), Democrats made up 40.3 percent of the electorate while Republicans made up only 36.5 percent of the electorate. If you apply Gallup’s trial heat results among Democrats, independents, and Republicans to the VNS 2000 electorate, Kerry comes out with with a four point lead: 50.3 percent to Bush’s 46.4 percent.
Food for thought, eh?