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Obama, Romney in Dead Heat: Obama's Intrade Chance Remains Near 60%


On May 1, 2012, the Drudge Report linked to an interesting article from Gallup reporting that the 2012 US presidential race between Pres. Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is now in a "dead heat". Per Gallup's recent numbers, among registered voters asked for whom they would vote, 46 percent responded that they would vote for Obama and 46 percent responded that they would vote for Romney. The poll was taken from approximately 2,200 registered voters with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. It is significant to note that according to the historical Gallup polls between Obama and Romney, both candidates have had respective narrow leads over each other at various points since early September 2011.

Gallup's is not the only poll suggesting that the presidential race is in a dead heat. According to the poll numbers on RealClearPolitics on Wednesday, a Fox News poll of 915 registered voters from late April shows that Obama and Romney are in a tie with each candidates' enjoying 46 percent. Identical poll numbers are the result of a CBS News/NY Times poll in mid-April of 852 registered voters.

Despite the news of various polls showing that the candidates are tied, the current RealClearPolitics poll average from early April to early May shows Obama leading Romney by 3.7 percentage points. The poll with the largest difference between the two candidates is from a mid-April poll by CNN/Opinion Research of 910 registered voters: In that poll, Obama (at 52 percent) enjoys a 9 percentage point lead over Romney (at 43 percent).

I recently discussed how in light of Intrade statistics and the principle of the "wisdom of crowds", it appears that Pres. Obama has a good chance of being re-elected in November 2012. At that time, the RealClearPolitics poll average between Romney and Obama showed Obama have a formidable 5.3 percentage point lead over Romney. Interestingly, according to Gallup at that time, Romney had a narrow 2 percentage point lead over Obama; 47% Romney to 45% Obama.

In being the incumbent candidate, Obama has an understandable advantage over Romney. Perhaps the fact that Obama is the incumbent helps to explain Intrade statistics that continue to show Obama's having a whopping 20-plus point lead over Romney in terms of chances of winning the November election. News of recent polls suggesting that the presidential race is in a dead heat does not seem to have lessened Obama's chances of being re-elected. On Intrade, Obama currently has a 59.8 percent chance of winning the election in comparison to Romney's 36.9 percent chance.

Despite Obama's continuing formidable 20+ percentage point lead over Romney on Intrade, a lot can happen between now and November. Various upcoming events could hypothetically shake up the 2012 presidential race. In particular, the awaited Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, rising gas prices, and Middle East tension come to mind. Other major issues include another possible debt ceiling debacle and ongoing public discourse on student loans. In light of protests that may occur in the spring and summer, the Occupy movement may also affect have an impact on national political discourse prior to the election.

Despite the prospect of upcoming major news events, current Intrade numbers may already be taking into account the anticipation of such news events and potential Romney poll-surges. Thus, even in light of major news on the horizon and a perceived tie in some polls between Romney and Obama, with 188 days left until the election, the Intrade predictions market continues to suggest by a wide margin that Obama will probably be re-elected in November.

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