Can Liberals Ignore Gallup Because of the Numbers in Southern States?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 18 2012 3:44 PM

Can Liberals Ignore Gallup Because of the Numbers in Southern States?

The criticism du jour of Gallup focuses on the regional sampling. Markos Moulitsas explains:

Romney's entire advantage in this poll comes from a massive lead in the South. Now sure, some of that may be Florida, but the state-level polling certainly doesn't show that. So Romney is driving up big margins in Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi and other such presidentially irrelevant states? Good for him!

You can read the Gallup crosstabs. It's true -- Obama narrowly leads in the East, Midwest, and West, while Romney leads by 22 in the South. So I asked Gallup which states were lumped in with "the South." The list:

Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
Georgia
Florida
Kentucky
Tennessee
Alabama
Mississippi
Arkansas
Louisiana
Oklahoma
Texas
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Three of these states -- Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida -- were won by Obama in 2008. In four of them -- South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas -- Obama markedly improved on John Kerry's vote, while still losing. The overall results shouldn't surprise us, because among southern whites, the president's as popular as a Dixie Chicks benefit concert for the William Tecumseh Sherman Museum. But it's not like Obama can safely write off the whole region.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.