Elections 2012: Polls, Polls and the Discovery of Climate Change

Mark Trahant
11/1/12

One interesting poll is taken by Gallup and asks a simple question: Who do you think will win? Not who you will vote for, but what do you think everyone else thinks? It turns out that question is a pretty accurate predictor.

“A majority of Americans continue to believe that Democratic President Barack Obama will win re-election Tuesday over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, by 54 percent to 34 percent. These views are roughly similar to where they were in May and August, although slightly more Americans now do not have an opinion either way,” Gallup reports. “More generally, Americans may believe the incumbent has a natural advantage when competing for a new term. In three separate polls conducted over the 2004 presidential election, voters twice viewed incumbent George W. Bush as the probable winner, including 56 percent who said so the final time Gallup asked the question before the election. In 1996, an overwhelming majority (69 percent) saw incumbent Bill Clinton as more likely to prevail than his opponent Robert Dole (24 percent).”

Gallup says this survey correctly picked the winner of the popular vote in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008.

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The Real Clear Politics average of all polls is back to even, 47.4 percent for Romney and 47.4 percent for Obama. This represents a pick up of about a point for Obama.

How will that translate into the popular vote next week? At this point it depends on one thing: turnout. Which party is more successful getting their voters to the polls, what politicians call the ground game.

When it comes to the Electoral College, Real Clear Politics says there are 11 states that are close enough to be considered toss up, or 146 electoral votes. The states that are not close tally 201 for Obama and 191 for Romney. The states on that list with the highest number of Indian voters are Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

It’s been a bit: But let’s look at some non-conventional polls. The Twitter index, measuring tweets that cite either Mitt Romney or Obama, is showing the president with a steady lead, 32 to 25. On Twitter, Obama has far more followers, 10 million plus to Romney’s 1.6 million.

On Wednesday Team Obama sent a direct message to millions of Twitter followers.

@BarackObama wrote: “Use your Twitter influence to help turn out the vote. Follow/retweet @obama2012 and join the Twitter Team ...

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Hurricane Sandy has put climate change back into the national discourse. NBC’s political director Chuck Todd on Wednesday tied severe storm patterns to climate change.

“Second year in a row the New York Metro area hit by this stuff," Todd said during MSNBC's The Daily Rundown. “Let's not bury our heads in the sand when it comes to – something has changed in the Atlantic. The climate has changed. It's called climate change, folks.”

A story today in Bloomberg/Businessweek says flat out: “It’s global warming, Stupid.”

“Sandy featured a scary extra twist implicating climate change,” the magazine said. “An Atlantic hurricane moving up the East Coast crashed into cold air dipping south from Canada. The collision supercharged the storm’s energy level and extended its geographical reach. Pushing that cold air south was an atmospheric pattern, known as a blocking high, above the Arctic Ocean. Climate scientists Charles Greene and Bruce Monger of Cornell University, writing earlier this year in Oceanography, provided evidence that Arctic ice melts linked to global warming contribute to the very atmospheric pattern that sent the frigid burst down across Canada and the eastern U.S.”

Case closed? Watch what happens in the election to politicians who deny climate change is an issue.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. He has been writing about Indian Country for more than three decades. His e-mail is: marktrahant@thecedarsgroup.org.

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