CHARLOTTE, N.C. –– A much-respected pollster who has no candidate in the presidential race concluded that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both running lower than they should among several key groups each needs to win the presidency.
Among the most intriguing results of polling that John Zogby disclosed during a presentation for reporters at the Democratic National Convention here was the unusually strong showing among younger voters by Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, a âdangerously lowâ level of support for Obama among Hispanics, and a sharp drop in support from evangelical Christians for Romney in 2012 from the level they were at for John McCain in 2008.
Zogby (who doesnât do âpushâ polling with likely voters) cannot say which candidate has momentum now. Â As he put it, âRomney didnât get a big bounce after his acceptance speech in Tampa and President Obama wonât get a bounce [even] if he gives one of the most stirring speeches of his career, which he is capable of doing. Â It isnât a âbounceâ election.â
As to who he thinks will win in November, the veteran pollster simply said: âI have no idea.â
âCENGA,â Hispanics, and the âCreative Classâ
Zogby described Obamaâs strong support in â08 among voters aged 18-to-29, noting they have a sense of âglobal sensibility, like no other ageâ and they turned out in ârecord numbersâ for the Democrat four years ago.
This group is still strongly for Obama but, according to Zogby, there is a new group emerging among the young that he calls âCENGAâCollege Educated Not Going Anywhere.â Â College graduates who are pessimistic about job prospects, he said, âare a small group and they donât really trust anyoneânot Obama, not the Republicans.â
Zogbyâs survey research did note a striking trend among members of the 18-to-29-age group, specifically that âabout 10 percent of them plan to vote for Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. Â I donât know if this trend will last but it shows a libertarian, anti-government trend growing among your people.â
Recalling how Obama drew 67 percent of the Hispanic vote against McCain, Zogby said his latest polling shows that figure down to 57 percent. Â However, he quickly added, âRomneyâs at 26 percent among Hispanics, compared to McCainâs 31 per cent in the last election, Â I donât see any evidence of the Republicans polling much better.â
Where President Obama could have a âhuge problemâ with Hispanic voters, says Zogby, is with the 16 percent who say they are undecided. Â According to Zogby, that figure could result in support for Obama among Hispanics that is âdangerously low.â
Another group that Obama scored decisively (61 percent in â08) that Zogby discussed is âthe creative classâthat is people who are creative and professional, in jobs such as entertainment, media and health care. Â They helped put him over the top in twelve swing states that had previously gone for George W. Bush in â04.â
Zogbyâs latest polling on the âcreative classâ shows Obama leading Romney by 51 percent to 39 percentââagain, not enough,â he said.
Romney has problems, too
Where John McCainâa candidate not closely identified to evangelical Christiansâreceived 70 percent of their votes in â08, Zogby said, âRomney has consistently been leading the President among this group by 54 to 33 per cent. Â Once more, not good enough.â
More interesting figures among the âundecidedâ cited by the pollster was that one-third of that group âsay they will never vote for him. Â Now I donât know what they mean by ânever,â but for many it may have to do with him being a Mormon. Â Maybe you canât talk that way, but I can. Iâm an Arab American.â
Zogby believes that Romney did what he needed to do in his acceptance speech (âHe said âIâm a fellow human beingââ).
What will dwarf whatever Obama says on Thursday, according to Zogby, is âthe unemployment figures that come out the next morning. When unemployment was at 9.3 percent, my polling showed an âunnamed Republicanâ leading. Â When it dropped to 8.2 percent, Obama had a plurality. Â At 8.0 percent, Obama had a majority. Â Now itâs at 8.247 percent and my polling says itâs a tie.â