At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows Barack Obama maintains a double digit lead over John McCain, he's now ahead by 11 points, 52% to 41%." However, the current Real Clear Politics average of polls, which includes the CBS/New York Times poll, only gives Obama a 6-point advantage. That is because all other polls range from Obama being up three to being up eight, the CBS/NYT poll is clearly the outlier.
In a report that followed, correspondent Jeff Glor looked at poll numbers on the economy: "A new CBS News/New York Times poll asked if the candidates would raise taxes on people like you. 50% said Obama would, 46% said McCain would. But when asked which candidate will make the economy better, 54% said Obama, 32%, McCain." In contrast to that 22-point gap, a recent Rasmussen poll shows that 48% of voters trust McCain more on the economy, while 47% trust Obama more. In addition, Rasmussen gives Obama only a 4-point lead nationally. Given such great disparity in the results and the fact that most other polls show the race tightening, one wonders about the credibility of the CBS/New York Times poll.
If Obama wins on Tuesday night, Chris Matthews's mocking this morning of the notion that the polls are tightening will be soon forgotten. But if McCain pulls off the upset, Matthews's smirking triumphalism will take its place in the halls of journalistic hubris near the famous photo of Harry Truman holding up the Dewey Defeats Truman front page.
Just before Matthews came on, Andrea Mitchell ended her set-up segment by mentioning that the McCain campaign had released internal polls showing the race tied in the battleground states. When Meredith Vieira opened the Matthews interview by asking him to comment, the Hardball host went into full mock mode.
Continuing the theme that John McCain has lost the election, Monday’s CBS ‘Early Show’ already began the post mortem as co-host Harry Smith declared: "This is the final full week of the 2008 campaign. Barack Obama is pressing in on states that were once GOP strongholds and John McCain is on the defensive about himself and his running mate." Later in the show, Smith interviewed McCain supporter Mitt Romney and asked: "So much time and attention has been spent talking about John McCain's running mate in this -- in this case and, now it's -- they're defending themselves about clothes and all of these other things. One wonders if there's a presidential campaign going on here. Is Sarah Palin, has she turned out to be a drag on this ticket?" In the 7:30AM half hour, co-host Julie Chen did an entire segment on Palin’s fashion purchasing habits.
Following Smith’s interview with Romney, fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, and asked about Palin: "One of the concerns that people have in your state, about Senator McCain, is his choice of running mate. Do you think that if he had chosen someone like, let's say, Mitt Romney, this would be a much tougher battle for Barack Obama?" That gave Kaine the opportunity to bash the Alaska Governor: "When you pick somebody who's in the midst of an ethics investigation in their own state legislature, called by the Republican legislature, you know, there's just going to be surprises, and I think the stories, as they come out about it have raised questions about Senator McCain and kind of his decision-making process." Rodriguez never asked about Obama picking Joe Biden, despite the Delaware Senator's numerous gaffes.
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Brand new numbers. A CBS News poll gives Barack Obama a 13-point lead. Can John McCain turn things around?" Co-host Harry Smith later introduced a report on the new poll: "A week and a half until election day and the latest CBS News/New York Times poll shows a commanding lead for Barack Obama over John McCain." Correspondent Jeff Glor then explained: "With Barack Obama now in Hawaii to visit his ill grandmother and John McCain in Colorado to campaign, the men are separated by 3,300 miles on the map and a 13-point gap in this poll."
Glor went on to detail the poll results: "It's unlikely both [McCain and Obama] like the results. Obama's 13-point overall lead is bolstered by a 15-point advantage as the candidate with which voters feel more personally comfortable and a 25-point margin on who has the right temperament to be president. While more do think John McCain is better prepared to be president, that divide has shrunk sharply since September." Glor then worked to discredit McCain’s efforts to gain support: "McCain is trying to leave that link behind and establish another, with his new Joe the Plumber tour...But even some Republicans feel it's tough to energize the every man when $150,000 is being spent to outfit running mate Sarah Palin." Glor then played a clip of former Reagan chief of staff, Kenneth Duberstein: "She's been campaigning as the candidate of Madison, Wisconsin, not Madison Avenue. And what this does is say to everybody out there, all the lower middle class and the middle class, ‘I thought she was one of us?’"
“Voters overwhelmingly believe that the media wants Barack Obama to win the presidential election,” a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey released Wednesday discovered. Specifically: “By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4. Another 8% say journalists don't favor either candidate, and 13% say they don't know which candidate most reporters support.”
The question (PDF of questionnaire): “Who do you think most newspaper reporters and TV journalists want to see win the presidential election -- Barack Obama or John McCain?” Unsurprisingly, 90 percent of Republicans recognized how journalists hope Obama is victorious, yet so did 62 percent of Democrats and independents.
Pew noted how “in recent presidential campaigns, voters repeatedly have said they thought journalists favored the Democratic candidate over the Republican,” but “this year's margin is particularly wide.” By comparison:
Associated Press lead reporter Liz Sidoti, other contributors (AP Director of Surveys Trevor Tompson, AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and AP writer Alan Fram), and the wire service's supposedly vaunted editors apparently don't understand what a polling margin of error is.
In a Wednesday story I found in four different places (CBS News, AP-Google, Breitbart, Yahoo! News), Sidoti et al let a paragraph stand claiming that a 3.5% margin of error in the poll results they were reporting meant that the real results could vary by as many as 14 points.
Here are the key paragraphs found in each story (bold is mine):
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed the congressional races with the editor of the liberal New Republic magazine, Michael Crowley, and asked: "Now, if the Democrats get to 60 seats, as they hope to, what would be significant about that?" Crowley replied: "...in the Senate the other -- the opposition can filibuster. And if you have 60 votes you can basically tell them to 'shut up and we're going to pass our bill, sit down.' So 60 votes is the magic number because the opposition, if they have 41, can draw things out and prevent you from passing a bill so 60 is a magic number and it's one Democrats are really hoping they can get..." Rodriguez never identified Crowley’s liberal leanings and Thursday’s segment marks his forth appearance on the Early Show since July, always depicted as a neutral political analyst.
Throughout the segment, Rodriguez highlighted possible seats that Democrats could gain: "In North Carolina, a seat that's been held by -- for 36 years by a Republican, could be in danger of going to a Democrat, right?" Crowley replied: "It's a sign of the kind of year we're in...North Carolina is becoming a more Democratic state. Democratic registration has just really exploded, outpacing Republicans...there's a lot of Democratic energy in that state right now." Rodriguez moved on to Kentucky: "Kentucky, red state through and through. John McCain will probably get it, but not necessarily Mitch McConnell, who's been there for two decades." Crowley responded: "McConnell, I think maybe seen as tied to the Bush Administration, helping them shepard some of their things through. Supported the bailout bill, which his colleague from Kentucky opposed. He's being tied to special interests. So really dramatic race there."
As if we didn't know already by the evidence of the left-wing media establishment's work, Pew Research unveiled a new survey that showed that John McCain has been on the receiving end of "heavily unfavorable" coverage. In fact, according to Pew, McCain's media coverage has become more negative over time with unfavorable stories about him outweighing favorable ones "by a factor of more than three-to-one." Pew finds that McCain's negative stories are the highest from among all four major candidates.
First of all, we should remember that the Pew survey was drawn from news coverage -- opinion pieces were not included. So, if we were to add all the opinion editorials emanating from the Old Media, the unfavorables for McCain and Palin would soar to unprecedented heights. But, Op-Eds aside and with the fact that we are talking "news," it is still amazing to note the highly negative tone leveled at McCain.
CNN's Presidential Debate Report Card echoes most polls offered by the main stream media. It involves 60% Democrats as a sample group, and if your response doesn't agree with their agenda, then some ‘alterations' are made. In other words, the results are weighted to provide liberals with an edge.
The Web site's latest report card allows the viewer to rate the performance of both Presidential candidates in Wednesday's debate. Seems pretty straight-forward, right? But things weren't working properly for some readers.
In fact, when visiting the Barack Obama side of the report card first, all is seemingly well. Votes are counted and recorded correctly. Everything seems just dandy. However, when one visits the John McCain side first, things can get a little peculiar.
This peculiarity occurred several times early Thursday afternoon, and will be outlined after the break.
When clicking on a choice of grade for McCain's debate performance, I went with an A, as can be seen here with the highlight:
Just in time for the final weeks of the presidential election campaign, Gallup has added a nuance to its polling presentations.
Instead of merely presenting "registered" and "likely" voters, the polling firm has decided to present a third category: an "expanded" version of likely voters. This third category is in addition to its "traditional" likely-voter presentation.
My look at Gallup's October 12-14 results indicates that the "expanded" version is indeed likely -- likely to find Obama voters, and that's about it.
Wednesday’s CBS Early Show began to declare the presidential race over as co-host Julie Chen touted new CBS News/New York Times poll numbers and proclaimed: "Obama surge. As the candidates head to the final showdown, Barack Obama opens up a 14-point lead. Can John McCain turn his campaign around in the final debate?" Co-host Harry Smith followed up with: "A lot of people say this is John McCain's last chance to really make a difference with just what -- two weeks and several days before the election." Correspondent Jeff Glor reported: "For 90 minutes, John McCain and Barack Obama will be sitting only four feet away from each other, which is about the only thing that's close about this race right now."
Glor later pinpointed the reason for McCain’s fall in the polls: "...independents, where there's been a shocking shift in the span of just one week, Obama turned a ten-point deficit into an 18-point lead. 21% of voters say they've changed their opinion of John McCain for the worse, citing the campaign's reliance on negative attacks and the selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate." At the top of the 8AM half hour, co-host Russ Mitchell reiterated that point in a news brief: "Meanwhile, it appears McCain may have hurt himself. 21% of voters say their opinion of McCain soured over the past few weeks because of negative attacks on Obama and his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate."
As Gallup polling organization says, race is a natural question to ponder with this election since Obama is the first black man to gain the nomination of a major party. But, instead of finding race to be a major factor among whites, the polling from Gallup has found that considerations about race is basically a wash making the issue practically meaningless as a factor in possible vote outcomes with white voters. So much for the Left's claims that whites won't vote for Obama because he's black.
Gallup found that only six and seven percent of white voters polled even found race a factor at all, with six percent saying they'd be less likely to vote for Obama based on race and seven percent actually saying they are more likely to vote for Obama because of his race. That pretty much cancels each other out, I'd say.
If Old Media can cook their numbers to make their favored candidate look good, they will.
Earlier today, I covered two cooked AP-GfK polls (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). The pollster dramatically changed the party-ID makeup of the second poll to include a much higher percentage of Democrats, and watered down the strong-GOP component of the Republicans sampled. As a result, the two poll results, taken together, fabricated an illusion of Barack Obama momentum, and John McCain decline. The results couldn't be more bogus; holding the mix constant from one poll to the next would have caused John McCain's lead from three weeks ago to shrink by about 1%.
Its also seems that if Old Media can't use a poll to fabricate its way to the result it wants, it simply ignores it. Two examples from the same poll will demonstrate this.
On Wednesday, NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock noted that ABC ignored its own national poll conducted with the Washington Post that showed a 4% national edge for Barack Obama -- down from 9% the previous week.
Yesterday, the Washington Post's Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta didn't totally ignore the poll (full results are here). Like ABC, they ignored the topside result just mentioned, which is pictured below:
In the kitchens of the Associated Press, it's almost as if the wire service asked its chief cook -- er, pollster -- GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media, to do the following:
Whip up a tasty, representative poll after the Republican Convention.
Three weeks later, make the same dish, but this time adjust the mix of ingredients by radically oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans, thereby creating a false illusion of momentum in the campaign of Barack Obama, and of decline in John McCain's.
Hope people don't notice the changes in the recipe.
Of course we don't know if the differences between AP-CfK's Sept. 5-10 and Sept. 27-30 results were created deliberately, but the results sure look suspicious (both polls are available at PDF links found at AP-GfK's home page).
The more recent poll shows Obama with a 7-point lead among likely voters, both with and without leaners; the earlier poll showed McCain with a 5-point lead with leaners, and 4 points without.
Almost all of this 12-point swing (11 points with leaners) is more than likely almost completely due to major differences between the two polls' samples:
I wrote about this poll on September 14th. It asks one question, vote for your candidate of choice. Two weeks ago the three day poll had amassed 321,168 samples, with 60% of the votes going to John McCain. The poll continues this week. As of September 25th the poll had counted 154,732 votes and McCain picked up 3 percentage points from the week before, leading Barack Obama by a 27 point margin, 63% to 37%.
On September 20, Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters posted on a misleading Associated Press/Yahoo poll on racism. The poll asserted that if Barack Obama loses, it will be because of "[d]eep-seated racial misgivings" held by "one-third of white Democrats."
Later that day, NB's Michael Bates criticized the AP's report on the poll for its historically inaccurate claim that the US "enshrined slavery into its constitution."
NB's Lyndsi Thomas got into the neighborhood of the concern I'm about to note on Sunday, when she noted that the pollsters tried to ferret out racism by asking questions that could be seen as purely political and having nothing to do with race.
But it seems to me that the pollsters engaged in a bit of hocus pocus. These three paragraphs from a story explaining AP's methodology carried at the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave me that impression:
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed BET Tonight host Ed Gordon about a recently released Associated Press-Yahoo! poll which found that forty percent of white Americans and one-third of Democrats and Independents harbor negative feelings about African Americans. The segment did not include any critique of the poll or the suggestion that such a large amount of people hold these negative feelings. Instead, Rodriguez asked Gordon questions such as, "In a race as tight as this one is, do you think race could be the or a deciding factor?"
To identify the percentage of certain demographic groups who have "negative feelings" about African Americans, inferences were made about how respondents feel towards the minority group from the answers they gave to certain questions. Some of the possible answers to certain questions, however, may suggest more of a disagreement with liberal policies like Affirmative Action and welfare rather than negative feelings towards African Americans.
For example, one of the questions asked respondents to indicate how much they agree or disagree with certain statements. One of these statements said, "Most blacks who receive money from welfare programs could get along without it if they tried."
UPDATE at end of post: Polling agency VIPs have contributed to Democrats including Obama.
Are you getting tired of the mainstream media meme that if you're white and you don't vote for Barack Obama it's because you're a racist? Or that if John McCain wins, it's because he's white and Obama isn't?
Well, on Saturday, the Associated Press and Yahoo News released results of a new poll, and the major take by AP writers Ron Fournier and Trevor Thompson was that if Obama loses, it's because of "[d]eep-seated racial misgivings" held by "one-third of white Democrats."
Sadly, like most polls this year claiming to deal with how racism is impacting this campaign, no questions were asked to determine how deep-seated racial misgivings of black Democrats are guiding their choice for president (emphasis added, h/t Hot Air headlines, photo courtesy CBSTV):
On August 31 at Newsbusters, Warner Todd Huston caught NBC political correspondent Andrea Mitchell's assessment about the kind of women who would be supporting the McCain-Palin ticket:
..... they (McCain-Palin) think that they can peel off some of these working class women, not college educated, who, the blue collar women who were voting for Hillary Clinton and may be more conservative on social causes.
Combining Mitchell's take with the statement by Eleanor Clift (noted by NB's Brent Baker) that "in many newsrooms" McCain's pick of Sarah Palin was "greeted by "laughter," you get the distinct impression that the media believe that women who are supporting McCain-Palin aren't very smart.
The Mitchell-Clift Maxim isn't passing the smell test in Ohio, at least if the results of the University of Cincinnati's Ohio Poll released earlier today (a PDF can be retrieved at this link; HT to NB commenter Dee Bunk) are to be believed.
UPDATE at end of post: McCain leads by ten amongst likely voters.
New polling numbers just released by Gallup show John McCain and Sarah Palin getting a huge bump in support following the Republican National Convention.
As media outlets seemed fascinated with Gallup's September 2 survey finding Barack Obama taking an eight point lead after his Party's convention in Denver -- a LexisNexis search identified over 100 reports on that poll, including eleven on television and radio -- we should expect similar press exposure for this one.
After all, McCain/Palin have now gotten an eleven point bounce since, and this poll still includes numbers taken before the convention concluded:
It's been a wild week, so how about a little comic relief? Turns out Howard Dean does his own personal polling—among his wife's employees. And, surprise! They tend to agree with him. The DNC Chairman was chatting with Tom Brokaw on MSNBC this afternoon.
TOM BROKAW: What did you think of Sarah Palin last night?
HOWARD DEAN: I think the first half was terrific. I thought she really laid out who she was. I was fascinated. The second half, she sounded like Dick Cheney, she really did. The same old attack stuff, the same old canards about Democrats that mostly weren't true.
If only Brokaw had thought to ask Dean to mention the canards that were true! In any case, a bit later Dean described how he keeps his finger on the people's pulse.
Wild swings in polling results have been an ongoing big story this election cycle. The LAT, as Dave Pierre pointed out a week ago, experienced a huge shift in their polling away from their man, Barack Obama, and were left scrambling to come up with a solution. But the LAT is not alone. Last month, P.J. Gladnick highlighted a similarly drastic shift in the Newsweek poll.
What, then, are we to conclude from this polling data? Are Newsweek and the LAT biased in favor of Barack Obama and other Democrats?
While Obama-loving media members gushed over the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee's choice as a running mate this weekend, the American public were clearly not as enthralled.
In fact, not only didn't this announcement give the junior senator from Illinois a bump in the polls, but according to a just-released Gallup survey, he's gone backward: "This is the first time since Obama clinched the nomination in early June...that McCain has held any kind of advantage over Obama."
I'm sure news outlets doing everything within their power to assist their candidate during this week's Democratic National Convention in Denver will be quick to report this polling data (emphasis added throughout, photo courtesy AP):
Just in time for the Democratic Convention in Denver this week, is the national press doing their best once again to tilt the playing field in favor of Senator Barack Obama? It would seem that that is indeed the case.
Case in point is an article in the USAToday online edition headlined Poll: More than half of Clinton backers still not sold on Obama. However, once the story passes its main focus of listing the challenges faced by Obama in uniting a Democratic Party thoroughly fractured by the rough campaign season, the story also manages to include points that are designed to be negative for the Republican candidate, Arizona Senator John McCain.
A study released today by the slightly left-of-center Project for Excellence in Journalism confirmed what many NBers have suspected for a while: the media's negative coverage of the economy affects public opinion.
According to PEJ, the public's concern about the economy as an issue has always outstripped that of the media. That's pretty normal considering that America's economy is one of the few large news stories that affects the average person.
Where things change, however, is in the public's perception. There seems to be a direct correlation between increases in negative media reports about the economy and lower amounts of public confidence in the economy:
"The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 55% believe media bias is more of a problem than big campaign contributions." As Tom Blumer pointed out when first reporting on this poll on Monday,
Saturday's Fox News Watch devoted a few minutes to the controversy, which was documented previously by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, over NBC's Matt Lauer claiming during an interview for the Today show that "some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life, something around 80 percent," but that in America, "only about 25 percent." Liberal panelist Patricia Murphy of Citizen Jane stated her belief that Lauer simply made an "error" in misstating a Pew Research poll which found that, when asked if they were "satisfied with the direction of the country," 86 percent of Chinese respondents said yes, but when asked about "personal satisfaction," that "the number was much, much lower."
Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton theorized NBC was being soft on China because the network is making money off the Olympics: "Could it be because NBC paid China a billion dollars to cover the Olympics? And they can't afford to have their reporters and sportscasters kicked out for telling the truth about China. So they have no choice but to cover up." (Transcript follows)