It doesn't do anything for a poll's credibility to be seen as inept once the results roll in. Which made the UNH/WMUR poll for several months fairly inexplicable. I work in a business that brings people from all walks of life into a private room with me, and often topics not related to medicine crop up. With the election looming, politics was number one on that list. The number of people openly espousing a desire for four more years of President Obama was infinitessimally small. Almost everyone who brought the topic up expressed disdain for ObamaCare, disdain for the president, and disgust for the economic policies. (sidenote: I never bring these things up. The patient has to be the one to initiate that kind of conversation. And I never offer my opinion first if they do.)
So what had the state's opinion poll been telling us? Let's look back at results in the Real Clear Politics listing of New Hampshire data from the UNH/WMUR poll over the last 6 months.
- April 4-20: Obama 51, Romney 42 - O+9
- July 5-15: Obama 49, Romney 45 - O+4
- Aug 1-12: Obama 49, Romney 46 - O+3
- Sept 4-10: Obama 45, Romney 40 - O+5
- Sept 27-30: Obama 54, Romney 39 (!) - O+15
- Sept 30-Oct 6: Obama 50, Romney 44 - O+6 (they must have realized the previous poll was junk)
- Oct 17-21: Obama 51, Romney 42 (UNH Only) - O+9
That's pretty consistent. On average, the UNH/WMUR and UNH polls have Obama with a 7.3% lead. If you eliminate the one clear outlier, it still would leave Obama with a lead of 6% overall, including the most recent (to this point) polls at Obama at +6% and +9% respectively. And notice that that last poll listed was two weeks after the first debate, so it's not like that produced much movement, unlike other polling organizations.
Ah, but the election's getting close. What's more important, your credibility, or discouraging the opposition voters? For UNH and WMUR, credibility wins out.
- Oct 31-Nov 2: Obama 48, Romney 48
- Most Recent Nov 4: Obama 47, Romney 47
Twelve short days after the Oct 21 poll with a nine point Obama lead and now it's tied up in two consecutive polls? That much of a shift in polls hasn't occurred within any other NH poll. For example, at the virtually the same time (10/21-10/23 or therabouts) that UNH/WMUR had it O+9, ARG had it R+2, Rasumussen R+2, and even PPP had it O+1.
A few days ago I told you that Romney will win NH. I stand by that. And now the UNH poll, in order not to be made to look foolish, is finally reflecting what is really going on in the state. My prediction? Tomorrow they'll release another poll showing a Romney lead.