Yes, Virginia, There Is a "Voter Registration Bounce"
By Al Giordano
Longtime readers of The Field know that I put more stock in SurveyUSA (SUSA) polls than those of Rasmussen, Gallup, Zogby and other leading pollsters because the organization discloses demographic cross-tabs which make it possible for us to examine the methodology with more transparency, and, not insignificantly, throughout the 2008 primaries they've simply been more accurate more times than the others.
That's not to say they can't be wrong, but they're more often right than wrong.
SUSA's new Virginia poll, out today, may be picking up what I'll call "the voter registration bounce," or, in shorthand, a "field bounce":
Obama: 50 percent
McCain: 46 percent
Other: 2 percent
Undecided: 2 percent
The pollsters explain:
One week ago, McCain led among men by 11 points. Today, McCain and Obama tie. One week ago, McCain led among voters age 50+ by 14 points. Today, McCain leads by 1. One week ago, Obama led among lower income voters by 6 points. Today, Obama leads by 20. One week ago, McCain led among Independents by 21 points. Today, McCain leads by 4. 17% of Republicans today crossover to vote Democrat, up from 11% last week and 7% last month. 12% of Democrats cross over to vote Republican, compared with 10% in the two previous polls. Strikingly: week-on-week movement in the DC suburbs was to McCain; movement in the Shenandoah and Central VA was to Obama.
Most interesting, is that the SUSA poll is still undercounting the African-American vote in Virginia. It places it at 19 percent of the total electorate, when in 2004 it was 21 percent of Virginia's turnout, and that, for John Kerry. As I've mentioned before, it should be even higher this year for Obama.
The other interesting point is how the poll shows Obama picking up traction among lower-income white voters, particularly in the Appalachian "Shenandoah" region of the state, which highly suggests that as election day grows closer, economic concerns trump racial fears among many who, before, were hesitant to declare a preference for him.
This makes me want to go to Virginia even more as part of our upcoming reporting tour. I've heard that early voting begins September 19. If you're on the ground in Virginia, can you tell us more about that, and advise us on where, in the Old Dominion, we should go to report on early voting and new voter registration later this month?