Gallup quietly published some stunning data this morning. Based on surveys conducted from October 1 through 24, Gallup finds that 36% of likely voters call themselves Republicans, compared with 35% who are Democrats. If leaners are included, the GOP advantage is 49%/46%.
How important is that? In 2008 the Democrats had a ten-point party ID advantage, 12 with leaners. If the data released today correctly reflect the voting population this year, you can throw away all of those polls that are D +9, D +7–or, for that matter, D +1. Substantially all polls show Mitt Romney with a wide lead over Barack Obama among independents. So if today’s party ID data are correct, not only will the presidential election not be close, but the Republicans will do better than currently expected in the Senate and House, too.
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