The latest CNN national poll of likely voters, which shows a 49%-49% tie between Republican challenger Mitt Romney and incumbent President Barack Obama, is either absurd, or very good news for the GOP--or both.
Romney has gained 3 points since the last time CNN ran its poll, in late September, when Obama led 50%-47%. That is good news for the Republican ticket, especially since the poll was conducted after Hurricane Sandy.
Yet there is something odd--and even ridiculous--in the poll's sample: of the 693 likely voters in the total sample of 1,010 adults polled, "41% described themselves as Democrats, 29% described themselves as Independents, and 30% described themselves as Republicans."
In other words, the poll is a D+11 outlier. It presents a picture of an electorate that is far more pro-Obama than it was in the historic 2008 election. That is extremely unlikely.
Moreover, the polls's crosstabs indicate that Romney is winning self-described independent voters by a giant 59%-37% margin. A 22-point lead among independents virtually guarantees victory for Romney. Yet Democrats are so heavily over-represented in the CNN poll that Romney's 22-point lead becomes a mere 49%-49% tie.