Seventh in a Series of Maven Surveys of Political Experts Now Available

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — September 10, 2012 – President Barack Obama’s reelection hopes continue to shrink, according to twenty-five top political insiders surveyed by Maven, the Global Knowledge Marketplace. Unlike “opinion polls” which measure political preferences among voters, Maven sought the opinions of influential political consultants, lobbyists, and government relations professionals about the outcome of the current campaign. Although the majority still believe Obama will prevail in November, continued economic woes have resulted in further tightening of the race.

Maven’s previous tracking survey conducted in July of the same group of experts showed Barack Obama beating Romney by a margin of 60% to 40% on the question of who is likely to win in November, a decline from a lead of 40 percentage points in the survey’s May edition. That lead has tightened to 12% percent in the latest survey, reflecting a boost to Romney from his selection of Paul Ryan as a running mate as well as the President’s declining popularity. 56 percent of respondents believe that Barack Obama will win reelection in November 2012, his lowest level of support since October 2010. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s climb continues, with 44% of respondents selecting him as the more likely winner.

“This is shaping up to be a very close race. Although Mitt Romney’s support continues to grow among our expert pool, he still hasn’t fully exploited the President’s weakness,” commented Maven Co-Founder and CEO Wyatt Nordstrom. “Romney is better funded and organized than John McCain in 2008, but the question remains whether he can ‘knock out the champ.’”

As in previous surveys, participants were asked to comment on the reasons for their selections. Highlights include:

  • Virtually all respondents agreed that 2012 will be much closer than 2008, particularly in the Electoral College. One respondent summed it up as follows:

This will be an electoral college battle where if Romney can take OH or PA, he should win. Polling indicates an exceptionally close race that means the electoral college and popular vote winners are not the same. It is really all about the swing states at this point.

Another respondent added:

President Obama will win by a very slim margin of electoral votes based upon the necessary swing state electoral college votes.

A third noted:

The challenge for Romney will be getting to 270 electoral votes. He does have a path forward, but will not be able to start with as solid a count as McCain did in 2008 given the number of GOP states that have turned purple. Moderate voters in those states, who Romney should have an edge in targeting per the explanation above, will decide the outcome.

  • A consistent theme among respondents who believe Barack Obama will win another term was the idea of replacing an unpopular President with a man with poor likability ratings. One Maven put it this way:

In an era of economic uncertainty, Americans will ultimately decide that replacing the current president with a man they like less…

Another noted:

While the narrow slice of swing voters who will decide the election are ready to fire Obama, they are not ready to hire Romney.

  • Those who believe Mitt Romney will win predictably cited the weak economy, but several also pointed out that Republican enthusiasm is often underrepresented in traditional voter polls:

Polls indicate that Obama and Romney are about even, but Republicans typically poll worse than actual vote tallies on election day, so I suspect that

[the] poll numbers are misleading.

…digging deeper into poll numbers, when you consider the combination of most likely voters with the “enthusiasm gap,” I think Romney will have much better turnout.

  • Finally, Romney’s surprising financial advantage could help him to overcome his personal unpopularity. One respondent summarized the remaining two months of the campaign as follows:

With a sub-50% approval rating for the President, continued dramatically- skewed right track/wrong track polling, and 8% unemployment, voters are ready to fire Obama. But they will only take the added step of ‘hiring’ a replacement if they think the person offering himself as a replacement is up to the job. With only 60 days to go, I think the President has few remaining means of demonizing Romney. Tens of millions of dollars in negative advertising have not yet turned voters against Romney the way the re-election team had planned. Despite a lackluster convention in Tampa, Romney is still in the game. His main task now is to avoid mistakes, turn in solid debate performances, and use his financial advantage to finish the job on the airwaves.

This is the seventh in a series of surveys conducted by Maven leading up to the November 2012 election. Results are tracked to illustrate how sentiment among the respondent population changes as events unfold.

Members of the news media interested in speaking with the Survey respondents should contact Maven.

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