The Gallup Poll yesterday showing Romney with a seven point lead certainly got both Republicans and Democrats spinning.Nate Silver:
The Gallup national tracking poll now shows a very strong lead for Mitt Romney. As of Wednesday, he was ahead by six points among likely voters. Mr. Romney’s advantage grew further, to seven points, when Gallup updated its numbers on Thursday afternoon.Ezra Klein digs into the poll and finds something interesting.
The Gallup poll is accounted for in the forecast model, along with all other state and national surveys.
However, its results are deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race, and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case.
It gets weirder: Dig into the poll, and you’ll find that in the most recent internals they’ve put on their Web site — which track from 10/9-10/15 — Obama is winning the West (+6), the East (+4), and the Midwest (+4). The only region he’s losing is the South. But he’s losing the South, among likely voters, by 22 points. That’s enough, in Gallup’s poll, for him to be behind in the national vote. But it’s hard to see how that puts him behind in the electoral college.As we can see there are a lot of "wasted" votes in the South making it possible that Romney could win the popular vote and lose the Electoral College just like the 2000 election except the parties are switched.
Steven Taylor thinks this would once again make the case for eliminating the Electoral College.
Here’s the deal: the only southern states that are true toss-ups are Virginia and Florida, and under any plausible EC scenario President Obama can lose them both and still win the electoral vote. Governor Romney, however, can not.Of course the same thing can be said for the West Coast and Most of the North East in 2000. Ideally I would like to see an end to the Electoral College but I really don't have any real hope that will happen.
Imagine a world in which all of those extra Southern voters mattered and imagine how differently the candidates would be behaving if that were the case. As it stands, all of that Romney support is contained almost exclusively in places where extra support has no marginal value. Each extra voter in Alabama who decides to vote for Romney simply doesn’t matter. An Ohio voter, however, matters an awful lot.
A grand irony here is that a standard pro-EC argument is that it protects the states against national sentiment. However, if the Gallup poll is correct and Romney wins the popular vote by a large margin due to overwhelming support in southern states, but still loses the electoral college, the fact of the matter will be that the EC actually diminished the significance of those states.