Via Josh Jordan at the National Review:
But of all the polls that have been released, there are two polls that will have Team Obama waking up in a cold sweat knowing that if these polls are even somewhat accurate they might be on the other end of a dramatic victory on Election Day: The party-affiliation polls from Gallup and Rasmussen.
Gallup released a demographic poll of likely voters from October 1 through October 24. The poll is of 9,424 likely voters — a large enough sample that the maximum margin of error is one point. What that means is unlike smaller national polls, this is a very comprehensive poll of the electorate that has much more reliability, especially in the subgroups, than any current national poll. The headline of the poll, “2012 U.S. Electorate Looks Like 2008,” would make Team Obama want to pick up the phone and reserve Grant Park for election-night festivities, but looking at the data inside may have them preferring to rent out a Lou Malnati’s so they could drown their sorrows in a deep-dish pizza as the results pour in.
In 2008 Gallup found the party breakdown of the electorate to be 39 percent Democrats, 29 percent Republicans, and 31 percent independents. That ten-point advantage grew to twelve points when independents were asked which party they typically leaned to, with 54 percent identifying as Democrats and 42 percent Republicans.
From that sample, Gallup has predicted Democratic turnout to be ten points higher than Republicans, and that independents would break to Obama. In 2008 Democrats did outperform Republicans by a slightly smaller margin, seven points, and independents did break to Obama by eight points. So while they might have overstated Democratic support slightly, they were able to see the underlying trend which was a huge jump from 2004, an election that was just about even.
In the current tracking poll, Gallup finds the ten-point advantage for Democrats has now turned into a one-point Republican advantage. The current party breakdown is now 35 percent Democrats, 36 percent Republicans, and 29 percent independents. And just in like 2008, that one-point advantage increases when independents are asked which party they typically lean to, with 49 percent identifying as Republicans and 46 percent Democrats. That number backs up the trends in other polling showing Romney leading among independents by large margins.