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Then Again, Maybe Romney Can Pull It Off: Lindsey

Javier E. David | Special to CNBC.com
Tuesday, 6 Nov 2012 | 2:53 PM ET
Scott J. Ferrell | CQ-Roll | Getty Images

A Republican economist who previously predicted President Barack Obama would prevail over Republican challenger Mitt Romney has changed his prediction, arguing to CNBC on Tuesday that current polls may overstate Obama's support.

Larry Lindsey, a former national economic council director under former President George W. Bush, cited a criticism made frequently by other Republicans that most of the polling quoted in the media over-represents registered Democrats.

That, he argues, is skewing poll samples toward Obama while understating Romney's strength.

"The consensus view in the polls is a narrow win for the president, but if you look closely, they have an advantage to the Democrats in turnout of four points," said Lindsey, the CEO of the Lindsey Group. He added that in the 2008 election, Democratic turnout was seven points.

Lindsey Changes His Election Prediction
Lawrence Lindsey, The Lindsey Group, president & CEO, explains how conflicting poll assumptions caused him to switch his prediction to a Romney win.

"I really don't think that's very reflective of just how much less Democratic the country is today than it was in 2008," Lindsey said, given data showing a decline in Democratic registration and a rise in Republican voters.

Lindsay said the unskewed polling data was prompting him to flip his original prediction to a Romney win — even as markets appear increasingly positioned for an Obama victory. (Read more: Did Wall Street Just Give Up on Romney?)

Independent polling firms such as Gallup and Rassmussen Reports — both of which have shown Romney with a marginal lead in recent days — do a monthly review of all their respondents, they don't fiddle around with assumptions, " Lindsey said, leading to his change of heart.

"They found the Republicans are likely to have a one-point advantage so I think the consensus polls are off," he added.

The reliability of certain polls has been a sticking point amongst the supporters of both major party candidates. Romney supporters have charged that most polls are relying on models that inflate Democratic turnout. Democrats have been dismissive of that claim, although a top Obama campaign official was recently critical of Gallup's polling methodology.

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