The Gallup Organization has some very bad news for the Obama camp, but is being discreet about it, entombing it at the bottom of an article innocuously titled "In U.S., 15% of Registered Voters Have Already Cast Ballots." Given the apparent intimidation of Gallup by the Department of Justice, it is only prudent to once again bury the lede. But that does not make the news any less painful for Obamaites, who have been counting on a supposed ground game and early voting advantage.
John Nolte of Breitbart has no such compunctions about delivering the bad news from Gallup:
Romney currently leads Obama 52% to 45% among voters who say they have already cast their ballots. However, that is comparable to Romney's 51% to 46% lead among all likely voters in Gallup's Oct. 22-28 tracking polling. At the same time, the race is tied at 49% among those who have not yet voted but still intend to vote early, suggesting these voters could cause the race to tighten. However, Romney leads 51% to 45% among the much larger group of voters who plan to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6.
When Gallup says early voters don't seem to be swaying the election, presumably what they means is that because Romney is ahead by five points nationally, an early voting advantage of seven-points isn't going to "sway the election."
Romney's early voting lead in Gallup may not jive with the CorruptMedia narrative, but it does with actual early vote totals that have been released and show Romney's early vote totals either beating Obama in swing states such as Colorado and Florida or chipping away at the President's advantage in the others. For example, here's what we know about Ohio's early voting numbers, thus far:
But here is what we do know: 220,000 fewer Democrats have voted early in Ohio compared with 2008. And 30,000 more Republicans have cast their ballots compared with four years ago. That is a 250,000-vote net increase for a state Obama won by 260,000 votes in 2008.
Something else in this Gallup survey also helps shed some light on what we're seeing in these sometimes counter-intuitive state polls. As the headline states, Gallup is showing that only 15% of the public has already voted. Moreover, they've broken down early voting by region and show that in the Midwest only 13% of voters have already voted. And yet, many polls in places like Ohio show a much higher percentage of early voters, some as high as 30%, which you can bet skews the data. In other words, those polls can't be correct.
There is much discussion of the purported get out the vote advantage the Obama campaign enjoys in places like Ohio, where a large number of campaign offices have been opened. But such bean counting does not take account of the enthusiasm gap, and conflates a top-down, paid organization with a grassroots volunteer effort. The strength of the Obama campaign lies in the institutional advantage provided by labor unions which pay their organizers to open offices and go through the motions of calling people and offering rides to the polls. While the Romney effort does not completely lack paid officials, the great strength of the campaign is the enthusiasm of the grass roots, who perceive the election as a last chance to halt a national slide toward poverty, indebtedness, and loss of national power.
In just a week we will have the opportunity to watch the GOTV forces in action. There may be some more unpleasant surprises in store for the Obama camp.