In the last weeks of the 2012 presidential election, there is going to be an ever-intensifying look at the polling numbers coming out of the battleground states. For most people, that is. For the good people at Suffolk University's polling operation however, covering the historically important swing states of Florida and Virginia is just a hot bag of meh, and so they're not going to do it anymore. Sorry, everyone.
The Hill's Jonathan Easley has the story:
Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos, whose polls are aggregated into mainstream averages to show where the presidential race stands in the swing states, said he’s finished polling in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia because President Obama has no shot of winning those states.
“I think in places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, we’ve already painted those red, we’re not polling any of those states again,” Paleologos said Tuesday night on Fox’s "The O’Reilly Factor." “We’re focusing on the remaining states.”
Leaving aside North Carolina, which is a pretty big stretch for the Obama campaign to win in the current electoral environment, it doesn't make much sense to write off Florida and Virginia. But what informs Suffolk's decision? Oh, I see here that Easley reports that the "latest Suffolk poll in Florida, taken before last week’s debate, showed Obama ahead 46 percent to 43 among likely voters" and "late last month Suffolk found Obama with a 2-point advantage" in Virginia. So that definitely suggests no more polling needs to be done.
The latest polls conducted in Florida, by Rasmussen and We Ask America, give Romney a two and three point lead, respectively. In Virginia, the latest poll, from Public Policy Polling, gives Obama a three point lead. At the moment, the HuffPost Pollster poll averages in Florida and Virginia show Romney surging to slight leads in those states -- by 1.2 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. If Suffolk has polling numbers that suggest Romney is achieving some significant amount of escape velocity, those numbers would be incredibly useful to everyone who conducts poll averages. Since Suffolk isn't going to provide those numbers, the races in Florida and Virginia will be captured, in the rolling averages, as much closer than Suffolk insists that they are.
Asked for a comment on what's going on with Suffolk, HuffPost Pollster's Emily Swanson gave me a series of perplexed looks and eyerolls.
UPDATE, 1:29pm; As if on cue, Tampa Bay Times political reporter Adam Smith tweets: "UNF Fla poll: Obama 49, Romney 45."
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