Are Conservatives Abandoning Romney?
There have been 16 public polls conducted in swing states within the last week and there is an alarming statistic, consistent in all the polls regardless of the pollster party bias, that should have the Romney camp more than a little worried and possibly perplexed.
The numbers are clear that self-described conservatives are not supporting Governor Romney in sufficient numbers to win the election. Additionally there is anecdotal evidence that Evangelicals and Tea Party supporters are not embracing the Romney-Ryan ticket at levels that would be expected.
Looking at the crosstabs of the polls conducted in Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia within the last ten days, and averaging the support for Obama and Romney by ideology, the chart below speaks thousands of words.
Obama has a 7% greater support level among liberals than Romney has among conservatives, and a 6.8% favorable delta among likely voters who are “bolting from the base”. Without any demographic adjustment, using the raw data from the polls in those five states, Obama has an average lead of 2.5%.
If conservatives were supporting Governor Romney at the same level liberals are supporting President Obama, without any change to the level of support from self-described moderates, Romney could have a 4% plus lead in five states that have a total of 73 electoral votes
With my current electoral map showing Obama with 237 votes and Romney with 222, 73 votes is the ballgame, and by a comfortable margin.
In addition to the ideology breakdowns, the crosstabs show Tea Party supporters favor Romney over Obama, 85.0% to 10.6%, and Evangelical Christians favor Romney over Obama, 63.0% to 28.2%. Now I can immediately write-off a large part of the evangelical numbers because three of the polls conducted by Marist Polling state that 33% of evangelicals support Obama and that skews the numbers badly.
What I can’t write off is there are 7% to 10% of the electorate who describe themselves as either Tea Partiers or Evangelical Christians that are supporting Barack Obama in these five critical states. This is the empirical part of questioning the lack of support from ultra-conservatives within the Republican Party.
Anecdotally speaking there is also evidence that a faction of the party, large enough to insure a Romney-Ryan victory, is not fully behind the GOP ticket. In the last week I have received a minimum of a dozen emails from Tea Party organizations and other ultra-conservative groups demanding the ouster of Barack Obama in November but failing to even mention the names, Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan.
A few of these organizations may have charters as 527’s or another quasi-political group that prevents them from expressing specific support for a given candidate but I know the vast majority are not. So the question that begs to be asked of these groups is if you want Obama gone, why are you not advocating for a Romney-Ryan victory in November?
We are looking at a presidential race today that literally is a statistical tie, and yes I know that phrase is overworked but it is the truth, with President Obama having the upper hand. Clearly there is somewhere between 7% and 15% of conservatives who, while seemingly committed to seeing Obama as a one-term president, are not supporting the only option to victory in November that achieves their stated goal.
So my answer to the question asked is yes, conservatives are abandoning Romney, and that is an answer many Republicans must find unsettling.