On radio this morning, Glenn spoke with the National Review Online’s Josh Jordan about the latest poll numbers. How did Hurricane Sandy affect the polls? And how is Romney doing with independents compared to Barack Obama?
Check out the transcript of the interview below:
GLENN: All right. We’ve talked to you about a lot of people who are saying, you know, like Dick Morris who is saying, “Hey, I think this is the way it’s going to turn out.” We can’t get Stu to buy into any of these happy little tales. We can’t get him to buy into any of them.
PAT: He’s a little black rain crowd.
GLENN: No. No, no, no, let me tell you something. Yeah, but that whole…
PAT: Obama, Obama gets 281 electoral votes.
GLENN: Yeah. Until we came up with Josh Jordan, Josh Jordan apparently is somebody that Stu is like, “Oh, all hail Josh Jordan.” So we wanted to get ‑‑
STU: He’s my ray of sunshine.
GLENN: I know.
PAT: Our comments and our opinion, dirt.
STU: Yeah, this he don’t mean anything.
GLENN: Josh Jordan ‑‑
GLENN: Let’s have Josh Jordan take a picture with a halo behind him.
GLENN: But Josh is from the National Review Online and he is actually one of the credible voices that knows what he’s talking about on polls. So we thought we would get him on and make our little black rain cloud called Stu go away.
Josh, how are you, sir?
JOSH JORDAN: I’m doing good. How are you doing?
GLENN: I’m very good. Tell me what you see happening today.
JOSH JORDAN: Well, it looks like one of the things we saw last week was that the race obviously tightened. I think post‑Hurricane Sandy, Obama got a little bit of a boost, and we’re seeing a little bit of that fading, which is good for Romney because what we’re seeing most specifically is that independents are going right back to Romney’s camp, which is where they were about a week and a half ago. So I think of all of the national polls, Romney’s up about 8 points with independents and that is what Obama won by in 2008. That flip by itself takes Obama’s 2008 win from 7% to about 2 1/2%. So even if 2008 turnout, if independents show up for Romney like the polls are showing, that would cut the lead to a point where Republicans basically just need the turnout to a level of any of the past, you know, five, six presidential elections outside of 2008 when Romney can win this.
GLENN: Okay. Josh, I’ve been talking to David Barton and Ralph Reed and they all tell me, and I sense it as well, that they have never seen in their lifetime, even with Reagan in the height of the Christian Coalition, they have never seen churches activate like they are right now. Is anyone taking those into consideration?
JOSH JORDAN: And that’s the thing that I really don’t understand about the polls this year, and we’ve seen it from, you know, the summer on, you know, all the way into now and I think that you can see the crowds, you can see the enthusiasm, you can see the grassroots from churches, from communities, and it’s something that, you know, to a certain extent Obama saw in ’08 when he had, you know, the youth vote and all that kind of coming together. And I just don’t think that it’s being picked up in the same way and I think it’s one of the reasons you’re going to have a lot of discussions about polling after this election because they are having a hard time kind of grasping, you know, the enthusiasm among Republicans which, you know, if you look at 2010, it translated the votes and it should translate this time as well.
GLENN: But can’t we also look at the depression of the voter for Obama? I mean, do you see anywhere where it is in large numbers excited to go out and vote for the president?
JOSH JORDAN: I mean, no. You have enthusiasm among Obama supporters about you when you look at it compared to four years ago, it’s way down. And so what you’re going to see most likely is that among pretty much all groups, Obama is going to be down with turnout, especially with the youth, and then on the other hand you’ve got Romney who has built a lot of enthusiasm from ‑‑ obviously from where McCain was four years ago. So really, you know, if Republicans can turn out in numbers anywhere near what Gallup and what Rasmussen have been showing, Romney can have a huge night. And I think that will go into, again, showing that polls are just not able to pick up the enthusiasm in the turnout. It’s just almost like a group think that they assume Obama can repeat the turnout he had four years ago.
GLENN: What are some of the signs that we should look for today and tonight?
JOSH JORDAN: Well, I mean, I think one of the early signs will be Florida just because from all accounts that has been a state where Romney has been able to get a little bit of space and I think that if that’s called earlier, that’s a great sign. That said, I think, you know, networks are going to be pretty cautious, the colony thing.
GLENN: Especially Florida.
JOSH JORDAN: Exactly.
JOSH JORDAN: I think Virginia, Virginia’s an obvious state to look for. Some would argue Virginia’s a little bit tighter because of Sandy.
GLENN: Tell me about ‑‑ tell me about Minnesota. Do you think Minnesota could flip?
JOSH JORDAN: I think Minnesota’s one of those states where if Romney has a huge night, it would flip. I think that, you know, you’re looking probably at about a 3, 3% deficit for Romney, you know, in a race where it’s really close. So I think if Romney were to come out and win, you know, by 3, 4%, it could flip. I think it’s kind of one of those tiers of states with Michigan where, you know, if Romney has a huge night, he can flip Minnesota, he can flip Michigan.
JOSH JORDAN: He can flip Nevada.
JOSH JORDAN: I think Wisconsin looks good as it is. I think that one of the mistakes of the recall for Democrats was basically forcing Republicans to get a machine to get out the vote.
GLENN: I agree.
PAT: Massachusetts? How about Massachusetts? New York?
JOSH JORDAN: Yeah, Massachusetts is going to be a tall order.
PAT: Going to be tough.
JOSH JORDAN: For Romney.
GLENN: Is Indian squaw going to ‑‑ is she going to win?
STU: Oh, Elizabeth Warren?
GLENN: Elizabeth Warren, yeah.
JOSH JORDAN: You know, yeah, I mean, Scott Brown seems like he’s closed the gap a little bit but I think Elizabeth Warren is going to activate her heritage to get out the vote herself.
PAT: Do you really? Do you think she will beat Scott Brown?
JOSH JORDAN: I think it’s going to be really close.
JOSH JORDAN: It looks like one of those races again where, you know, some of the polls are anticipating higher democratic turnout because of the presidential election but since it’s not close, I tend to think Scott Brown actually gets an advantage there because the Republicans will turn out no matter what. And I think that’s going to help them along with independents. So really I think that one’s going to be really close.
JOSH JORDAN: I think Pennsylvania’s got a shot. I mean, you know, you look at the polls tightening, you look at the enthusiasm. I don’t think for a second that Romney went there as a head fake. That looks like something they calculated a while ago, kind of a last‑second barrage to try to catch Obama off guard, I think.
GLENN: And Ohio?
JOSH JORDAN: I think Ohio looks pretty close but, you know, I’ve said since September that I think that Romney’s going to win it. I’m still holding strong on that. I think it’s going to be close but I think he wins, you know, maybe by a point, point and a half, something like that.
JOSH JORDAN: I think Nevada’s a tall order. The early vote is the better for Republicans than it was four years ago but it’s going to be a huge get out the vote. Which I think that Republicans are much more set up for this year than they were last election. But tough.
JOSH JORDAN: Iowa I think goes Romney, very slightly goes Romney.
GLENN: And Colorado?
JOSH JORDAN: I think Colorado goes for Romney. I think it’s a state that’s tightened a little bit. Some of the more partisan polls have Obama with the lead but I think that, you know, overall we’ve seen a very steady and slight Romney lead. And I think their early voting numbers are way better than they were in ’08 and I think that that’s going to translate to a victory.
GLENN: How comp ‑‑ how confident in these predictions are you?
JOSH JORDAN: I’m confident. You know, I think the caveat’s always, you know, do Republicans turn out the way we think they will but I mean ‑‑
GLENN: So if there’s a pretty big turnout, we can come over to your house and kill you tomorrow if you’re wrong?
JOSH JORDAN: I don’t know if I’m going to go that far, but you guys can certainly ‑‑
GLENN: Put your money where your mouth is.
JOSH JORDAN: ‑‑ hang me for the embarrassment for everybody.
GLENN: Yeah. You know what, Josh, that’s going to be really interesting is if you’re right, if we’re right, there’s a few people who are out on the edge, and I’m farther ‑‑ what a surprise, farther out on the edge than you are. I’m saying that it’s going to be over 300 in electoral votes, and I don’t believe that it’s going to be all that close. I think this is going to end a lot earlier than everybody thinks. The media is going to have a lot of explaining to do. I mean, one of us is going to be greatly discredited tomorrow, and it very well could be me but I mean, really? I mean, there’s no ifs, ands, or buts on this one.
JOSH JORDAN: Yeah. And, you know, it’s going to be one of those things that’s going to be interesting because I think a lot of Republicans feel really strong about this and if you look back four years, people didn’t feel strong. And there’s a reason that a lot of conservatives feel strong about this one. I really think that, you know, to your point, there is an absolute chance that Romney gets over 300 because you’ve got party identification surveys showing Republicans outnumbering Democrats in local polls. If that happens tonight, Romney easily gets over 300. Even if Democrats outnumber Republicans by a few percent, Romney wins. So I think there’s much more potential for a big Romney win than there is for a small Obama win.
STU: Josh, there’s a lot of people, especially online, Democrats have hitched their wagon to Nate Silver from the New York Times who I think is a really smart guy. He was one of the first guys I remember predicting the taking of the House for the Republicans in 2010. So I mean, he’s not crazy. But his model is now predicting a 91% chance of Obama winning tonight. And you’ve gone through and really looked at the model the way he weights polls and everything else. Do you think he has anything ‑‑ I mean, is he leaning this on purpose? Is it just too overly confident in the polling? What’s the ‑‑ what’s going on there?
JOSH JORDAN: Well, I mean, I think his particular model basically just takes all of the public polling, averages them out and then puts a little bit of kind of a ‑‑ I know people like to kind of make fun of it as being like a secret sauce. But he tweaks them. Personally I think that he puts more emphasis on the polls that tend to favor Obama like the NBC Marist polls get heavily weighted and those have been hugely skewed to Obama this year and, you know, it’s kind of one of those things where anyone can look at, you know, the average of polls and make a prediction. I think, you know, the approach I took this year was to actually look inside the polls and say, okay, you know, this poll makes sense because, you know, the turnout looks like it could happen. And I think that’s the difference between the way I look at it and the way he looks at it.
As far as the 91% goes, you know, he’s kind of hedging that a little bit this morning by saying, “Well, 91%, but it’s still going to be really close.” I think, you know, it’s going to be interesting. You know, if Romney comes out and wins big, I think it’s going to kill this whole concept that you can just take every public poll, average it together, tweak it a little bit and then declare yourself ‑‑ declare it a model. I think that’s going to change.
GLENN: Does this feel more like 2004, 2008, or 2010?
JOSH JORDAN: To me it feels kind of between, you know, a little bit of all three. I think ’04, you know, you had more independents breaking to Kerry but Republicans got out to vote. In ’08, you know, obviously it was a wave election for Democrats. And in 2010 you can make the argument it was almost a wave election for Republicans. I think this election you’re going to see both parties get out to vote but I think Republicans are much more energized, much more enthusiastic. And then on top of that you have independents breaking to Romney, which is why I think, you know, you might not see that kind of washout that you saw in 2010, but I think you’re going to see potentially a more decisive victory than you saw in 2004.
GLENN: I’m in love with you, Josh. I would like to buy you dinner and some drinks sometime and…
GLENN: Assuming you’re right. Otherwise we come to your house and kill you tomorrow.
JOSH JORDAN: Well, I was just going to say, what are you going to buy me if I’m wrong tonight.
GLENN: Thanks a lot, Josh, I appreciate it.
JOSH JORDAN: Thank you. Have a good one.
GLENN: All right. Bye‑bye. We’re going to ‑‑
STU: A ray of sunshine. I feel optimistic after that phone call.
GLENN: Black cloud, shhh.