A pollster for President Barack Obama is disputing the accuracy of the latest Gallup/USA Today survey that shows Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney tied at 48 percent among likely women voters in battleground states. Joel Benenson says this result "is an extreme outlier, defying the trends seen in every other battleground and national poll." Benenson argues that Obama remains ahead among women.
"In Gallup's current survey, Obama leads women by 53-44 among registered voters in the battleground states, which is closely aligned with results from other pollsters," Benenson said in a memo E-mailed to reporters. "It is only when the likely voter screen is applied that their results become so out of step."
Benenson said that two years ago, "the distortions in Gallup's likely voter screen were exposed, leaving Gallup's survey 9 points off the mark just days before the election. Gallup's likely voter model predicted a 15 point advantage for Republicans, 55-40, on October 31, 2010. The final result was a 6 point margin, 51-45."
For 2012, the Obama pollster says that in 14 state polls conducted across eight swing states since Oct. 4, Obama "leads among women in every single one." He cites PPP and NBC/Marist surveys both showing Obama with a 54-42 lead among women.
Benenson says that, among other problems, Gallup's screening process creates "a bias against groups inclined to support Obama. For example, Gallup asks voters both whether they have voted in their precinct before and where people in their neighborhood go to vote. This creates a bias against registered voters who [are] more likely to move from time to time, such as young voters, renters, minorities and urban dwellers, all of whom tend to lean toward the president."
Strong support among women is widely considered as essential to an Obama victory.
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Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," for usnews.com and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.