President Obama continues to lead Romney in both Michigan and Pennsylvania according to Public Policy Polling. Obama’s lead in both states is effectively unchanged since May. From PPP:
PPP’s newest Presidential polls in Michigan and Pennsylvania find Barack Obama with healthy leads in both states. He’s up by 14 points, 53-39, in Michigan and by 6 points, 49-43, in Pennsylvania. We last looked at each of these states in May. Speaking to the stability of the Presidential race over the last couple months the Michigan result is exactly identical to the last poll, and the Pennsylvania poll differs only slightly from Obama’s 50-42 advantage on the previous one.
There are a couple common themes driving Obama’s success in these states. The biggest is his competitiveness with white voters. He actually leads 48-44 with them in Michigan, and he just narrowly trails 46-45 with them in Pennsylvania. Given the healthy sized African American populations in both those states anything close to a split with white voters will give Obama an easy victory. Obama is also benefiting from a huge lead with women in both states, 59-33 in Michigan and 54-37 in Pennsylvania, which helps him offset a closer race with men. And he has the upper hand with independents in both states, 50-37 in Michigan and 46-39 in Pennsylvania.
The big news of the Presidential polling so far this year is how little news there really is. Some big events have happened in the last few months: the Supreme Court ruled on health care reform, there have been signs of a slowing economy, Europe continues to face new crisis issues, and both campaigns have already started spending big. Despite all that, though, the race remains unbelievably stable if you compare each pollster’s individual polls with their earlier polls over the past few months.
Not only is there very little movement indicating a strong degree of lock in this early in the cycle, but in most polls the number of “undecideds” is very small. While it is also possibly some incredibly big development could shake up the race, so far it looks like it will be a battle of inches if not millimeters. We’re likely to see a lot of effort focused on a very narrow slice of the electorate in a handful of swing states.
This narrowness and small number of true swing voters means turnout could be more important than campaign persuasion. This makes current legal fights over new voter ID laws that could reduce turnout more among some groups a potential decisive factor.