Amid Volatile Polling, Keep an Eye on Election Fundamentals
By the weekend, however — after the release of a favorable jobs report last Friday — Mr. Romney’s bounce seemed to be receding some. Tracking polls released on Monday by Gallup and Rasmussen Reports actually showed a shift back toward Mr. Obama, although another poll by Pew Research showed Mr. Romney with a four-point lead among likely voters.
Polling data is often very noisy, and not all polls use equally rigorous methodology. But the polls, as a whole, remain consistent with the idea that they may end up settling where they were before the conventions, with Mr. Obama ahead by about two points. Such an outcome would be in line with what history and the fundamentals of the economy would lead you to expect.
Because economic data can be as noisy as the polls, the FiveThirtyEight forecast model uses seven different economic statistics to calibrate its predictions. Some of these make a more favorable case for Mr. Obama than others. The stock market has shown very strong growth over the course of his term, especially in the past six months. Inflation has been low, although gas prices have sometimes been an exception. And the manufacturing sector of the economy has been reasonably sound.