2:00 pm ET
Here’s a preview from MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” of my interview with some senior Obama campaign officials in the Chicago headquarters on their views of the latest polling, Big Bird, the enthusiasm gap, and more:
ANDREA MITCHELL: Mark, you’re in Chicago, which tells that you’ve probably been doing a lot of reporting. What are they saying there at the Obama headquarters?
MARK HALPERIN: Well, Andrea, I literally came straight here from the headquarters where I sat down with some of the top officials on the campaign and talked through where we are today. And, I want to state this carefully, and factually. They said, in a response to a direct question, they feel just as good about where they are today as they did two weeks ago. They said that while there is clearly public polling that shows some change, they don’t see any fundamental change in the race whatsoever. That, in the battleground states, they’ve got a bigger gender gap than they do nationally. That, in the battleground states, they’ve won the voter registration war, state-by-state, and they still feel that they, while they know the President’s debate performance wasn’t what they wanted it to be, they still feel very much in control of this race. It’ll be tight. They say they’re not taking it for granted. But, if you took them at face value, they say no meaningful change based on the result of the debate.
ANDREA MITCHELL: You mention the gender gap, and one of the polls, I guess the Pew poll, showed a huge swing in the gender — it was dead-even among women. That would be a very big change indeed. Do you think that that’s an outlier?
MARK HALPERIN: Well, it’s a bit of a role reversal because now what you have is Democrats doing things like picking out things like the Pew poll that show the change in voter preference as well as the elimination of the gender gap with women and they say that just can’t be true. Clearly, the totality of the public polls suggest, both in the few battleground states we have so far, in advance of the NBC/Marist polls and in the national polls, clearly there seems to be an impact on the race. What they’re saying is — they’re never very forthcoming about what their data shows, their own research shows in particular — but what they’re claiming is the national polls, and to the extent the state polls are showing a change, it’s not that much. It’s not determinative. And it’s not something that’s going to sustain. They believe the arguments they’re making, the things that gave them a structural and message advantage before, they say they still have.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Mark, what’s your take on Gallup and these tracking polls, which are a seven-day running track?
MARK HALPERIN: Quickly on the ad, what the campaign just told me is that they think that this has got currency away from MSNBC and away from serious discussions of issues, but in entertainment television, and in comedy television. I think that’s where some of the buy is going to be. They’re trying sort of tap into the social media and the buzz about the Big Bird thing. The one thing, I should’ve said this originally, the one thing they were willing to concede came out of the debate that was helpful to Governor Romney was that his base is enthused. And, if you’re looking at the tally of the polling, one of the real concerns I think you’ve got to have if you’re a Democrat is the enthusiasm gap has seemed to shift a little bit back more towards the Republicans. And they concede that Governor Romney, at the Obama campaign, they concede that Governor Romney’s debate performance makes him more, generate more enthusiasm among the base. He has consistently done better in polling amongst likely voters than amongst registered voters, and as all the polling shifts now towards a screen that goes for likely voters rather than registered, I suspect that will cause a further narrowing of the gap, certainly nationally. We’ll see if the same is true in battleground states, where, again, the Democrats claim they’re over-performing what you’re seeing at the national level.
A transcript of my interview will be posted here later today.