Just a week ago, the big story from Gallup was that the Republicans had hit an all-time high lead in their poll. I covered it despite questioning the poll in the past. Everyone covered it.
But now, suddenly, in the Gallup poll the race is even? How can that be, and what does it mean?
Of course, last week saw more than the Republicans taking a 51-41 lead in the Gallup generic ballot. The party also took the largest lead of the year in voter enthusiasm: 50-25, with independents at 28. In depth: Republicans favored their own 96-3, Democrats favored their own 88-9, and Independents favored Republicans 48-31.
What’s changed? Democrats have swung nine points to favor their own party 93-5. Independents have swing a point to favor Republicans 49-33. Republicans swing 5 points to favor their own 93-5. Somehow, all three of these add up to a ten point total swing. Further, voter enthusiasm remained unchanged among all three groups, but decreased overall by one point.
There’s only one conclusion to draw here: this week’s Gallup captured a lot more Democrats than last week’s did. That’s the only way these numbers can add up. So unless we actually think that the electorate is actually beginning to identify more with the Democrats than with the Republicans, this is what we call an outlier: one of those one-in-twenty of worse events where the poll just isn’t even close to the actual results, and isn’t reflective of reality.
How they managed to get an outlier rolling up a week’s worth of daily tracking though is beyond me.