This presidential election, the reliability and fairness of pollsters has become a hot topic with both conservatives and liberals casting doubt on the accuracy of various polling firms. But what if the real problem with polling is more attributable to the people who respond to surveys than the polling companies themselves?
Thanks to a study examining the accuracy of polling, we now know that in some areas, surveys can be disturbingly inaccurate, in large part because people are willing to outright lie to a pollster. According to a report issued by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 60 percent of people who aren’t registered to vote will falsely claim to be registered.
On Wednesday’s Jansing & Co., MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing tried to establish that there is one question “we can all anticipate and not be surprised by,” and that is a question to Mitt Romney about the 47 percent comments, because it had a “very negative effect” on voters. Jim Lehrer must repeat Obama's TV ads in a question?
But what about the “other race speech” video of Obama from 2007? In perfect formation with the DNC line, Jansing asked disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather if that smacked of Republican desperation: [ video below the break, audio here ]
Reporting the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll numbers on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, political director Chuck Todd touted a rather obvious finding in the numbers, relentless media attacks on Mitt Romney have negatively affected how voters view the Republican nominee.
Todd proclaimed: "That 47% remark, it has left a mark, if you will. When we asked, 'Is there anything you've heard in the last few weeks that's made you more favorable or less favorable on Mitt Romney?', 51% said what they've heard has made them less favorable."
Appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box on Wednesday, NBC News political director Chuck Todd launched into a rant attacking Rasmussen Reports polling: "We spend a lot more money polling than Scott Rasmussen does. We spend a lot more money on quality control....I hate the idea that [NBC] polling, which is rigorously done, has to get compared to what is, in some cases, you know, slop." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Joe Kernen challenged Todd: "[Rasmussen] was right, though, the last couple of elections." Todd shot back: "He got right at the end. It's what happens in the middle sometimes that seems a little bit – a little bit haywire."
In an item which talks about a "secret retreat" planned by eight senators which is so "secret" that it's getting a two-page story, the Politico's John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman write that "If polls stay steady, (House Speaker John) Boehner will be at the helm of a House filled with Republicans disappointed that Obama will have another four years in the White House."
Uh, last time I checked, pollsters' results can hold steady or go in whatever cooked or uncooked directions they wish, and they still won't determine the outcome of the election. Ballots by voters and the presumably accurate inclusion and counting of such ballots will. Besides, as will be shown, there are even more valid reasons to question poll results now than in the past. Several paragraphs from the rest of B&S's BS, which is apparently designed to get the country ready to accept "revenue" (i.e., tax) increases, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post).
There’s that clichéd saying of “where’s there smoke, there’s fire.” Some in the media should have heeded that advice since a plurality of Americans sees a bias in the polling conducted between President Obama and Governor Romney. Oh, and, by the way, this information comes from a Daily Kos/SEIU poll, so it's hardly a right-wing source. Justin Sink of The Hill wrote today that:
The media were all atwitter Monday over a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finding President Obama eleven points ahead of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in key swing states.
Within 90 minutes of the Post's Jennifer Rubin exposing that the margin of error in the poll was - wait for it! - an astonishing eight points, the paper felt the need to publish a new piece explaining the whole thing.
Let's see. Who has the bigger problem with Libya and the Middle East? Is it the guy who's in charge with a foreign policy in disarray who has described the first murder of a U.S. ambassador in 33 years a "bump in the road"? Or his presidential campaign challenger Mitt Romney?
If we're to believe Mike Allen, Jim Vandehei, and Politico, it's Romney, where "Romney advisers at odds over Libya" was the only thing visible on my computer screen when I went to the web site's home page at 10 p.m. ET. You have to go almost all the way to the bottom of the home page to see stories about how "at odds" Obama administration advisers have been and still are about the U.S. positions on Libya, terrorism, Israel, and the Middle East during the past several weeks. Several paragraphs from the Romney story, wherein one learns that there really isn't much in the way of conflict, accompanied by yet another round of "the polls say Romney's doomed," follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Bill Maher isn’t scowling at conservatives on his HBO show right now, but on his blog, he has a new character on the political scene to attack: pollster Scott Rasmussen.
In Maher’s brain, conservatives are reality-deniers who live in the “Fox-Rush-Drudge” bubble who won’t listen to opposing views. "Because wingnuts can go for months and not talk to anyone who doesn’t think Obama is a bigger threat to America than Al Qaeda with airborne AIDS, but that’s because they live in rural Tennessee, and inside the information bubble.” Polls are the only political reality to snap them out of it – until Rasmussen came along and “deluded” them with poll results that disagree with the “mainstream” mob:
The facts show a similar trend in a pro-Democratic direction almost uniformly. Historically speaking, pollsters have underestimated how many people would vote for the Republican presidential candidate:
Rush Limbaugh brought up an important matter relating to polling Friday, which even beyond what is already known about party affiliation from Rasmussen and Gallup, further supports the notion that performing presidential preference polls based on 2008 presidential turnout is fundamentally flawed.
Read it below, because you can virtually bet what's left of the value of your home that you won't see this item mentioned anywhere in the establishment press, even though its ultimate source is a liberal group:
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Savannah Guthrie declared the presidential race in one key battleground state all but over: "Tonight, both candidates are in Ohio as a spate of new polls shows the all-important bellwether may be slipping away for the Republican challenger."
In the report that followed, correspondent Ron Allen reiterated that "new polls show Ohio slipping away" from Romney and quickly asserted the cause: "Romney down by ten points in a new poll out this morning, and nearly that in another recent poll, after that video of Romney talking disparagingly about the 47% who pay no income tax."
Veteran pollster Dick Morris who has worked for politicians of both parties has joined the fray in discussing recent polling featuring unusually large numbers of Democrats proportionate to Republicans.
Those polls produce doubtful results, not because they are being skewed to include more Democrats but because they are being artificially skewed to more resemble a 2008 electorate model. While most of the pollsters are refusing to weight their results against a party ID poll, according to Morris they are artificially weighting them according to various age and racial demographics:
Norah O'Donnell was ready to tie the toe tag on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, as the morning newscast hyped the latest numbers from the Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll, especially President Obama's 10-point lead in Ohio. After mentioning Romney's latest 60-second TV spot, O'Donnell twice wondered, "Is it too late? The voting in Ohio starts next week."
Charlie Rose spotlighted the President's "growing lead" in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, according to his network's poll. But it took the program more than an hour to mention only in passing that "Republican voters remain more enthusiastic about voting than the Democrats," without mentioning the specific numbers.
With no manufactured outrage to hammer Mitt Romney at the moment, liberal journalists are now eagerly touting a series of polls which appear to show President Obama pulling away from the GOP nominee in several key states.
Unfortunately, these polls are relying on sample sizes which are skewed tremendously leftward with far more Democrats than Republicans and as such, they are unlikely to be good predictors of actual Election Day turnout. Do the pollsters themselves actually believe in their own sample sizes though? At least one appears not to.
As of midnight, Real Clear Politics showed Barack Obama with a 2.9-point lead over Mitt Romney in the average of the most recent six presidential election polls. One of those polls is a P-U production of Pew Research Center which shows Obama up by 8 points among 2,343 registered voters. The preposterous weighting of the sample is 37.1% Democrats, 30.6% Republicans, and 32.3% independents.
Any time a poll reveals the Romney v. Obama breakout in each of those three categories, I can run the results through what I'll tentatively christen the NewsBusters/BizzyBlog Poll Decoder, showing what the result would be using party affiliation results found by Rasmussen as of early September and Gallup as of before the Democratic National Convention. Here's what happens when one removes the stench from Pew's poll:
More than an hour into the program, Wednesday's CBS This Morning finally acknowledged that "this race is not over for Mitt Romney," based on the network's own polling. Norah O'Donnell noted that "in our new polls...Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting this year in general, and that enthusiasm has actually...grown since early August."
O'Donnell's reporting came almost an hour after Bob Schieffer's apocalyptic spin about the Republican presidential nominee's campaign. Before getting to the poll numbers, she pressed Frank Luntz on whether the hidden camera videos were "a turning point in the campaign," and claimed that "Romney was suggesting that those people are mooching off the system. He wasn't offering a helping hand in that statement, or, at least, that's how they might interpret it."
Clearly, they didn't like what a properly weighted result would have told them, which is that Mitt Romney is in a deadlock with Barack Obama if one uses Gallup's party affiliation numbers from before Democratic National Convention, or that he's up by five points if one opts for Rasmussen's affiliation numbers. In their latest poll, with registered voters, CBS/NYT not only oversampled Democrats, but they took the number of actual responses and further weighted them towards Dems, as seen after the jump.
Like their colleagues on NBC's Today show, Monday's CBS This Morning forwarded a recent Politico report about supposed "turmoil inside the Romney campaign," which was stuffed with unnamed sources. Norah O'Donnell spotlighted "this finger-pointing that's going on...and whether or not they mismanaged the messaging in terms of Romney's big convention speech." John Dickerson hyped that "what's extraordinary about this, is that it's all happening in public."
O'Donnell also touted "four different national polls that show that Obama now has the lead on the issue of taxes over Romney. I mean, that has traditionally been where most people trust Republicans more than Democrats."
The New York Times is milking its latest poll, showing some good news for Obama, to maximum effect. Sunday's front-page featured a poll story from one of the paper's top Obama boosters, White House correspondent Jackie Calmes (pictured): "Challenged on Medicare, G.O.P. Loses Ground." Text box: "Polls Show Favor for Obama on Issue of Party Trust." Calmes writes from Orlando:
The health care debate is a great example of why Americans hate politics.
Both Republicans and Democrats pursue their plans with ideological zeal and reckless disregard for the truth in hopes of winning 51 percent of the vote. Voters hold their nose and choose but would rather have their leaders search for consensus. That would require taking a little bit from the president's plan, a little bit from the Republicans and a lot from what voters think should be done.
Bob Schieffer trumpeted "some of the best polling news that the President has seen in quite a while" on Friday's CBS Evening News, a day after NBC's Brian Williams played up poll numbers that were supposedly "ahead of the wildest dreams" of Democrats. Schieffer claimed that "the President's message that he is the one who can best help the middle class does seem to be getting through," even though one poll result is unchanged since July.
The veteran journalist gave these statements just moments after anchor Scott Pelley noted that "a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows just how close the presidential race is. Of the people who told us they were likely to vote, 49 percent said they favor President Obama, 46 percent Mitt Romney; and that three-point spread is well within the poll's margin of error."
After reading Ben White's "Morning Money" report at the Politico this morning, I went back to Real Clear Politics to make sure that I was up to date on the current polling. Currently, RCP has Barack Obama up by 3.2 points over Mitt Romney in an average of the five most recent polls -- and at least two of those polls are cooked.
But if we're to believe White, "bankers and their lobbyists" are already talking "about what went wrong with the Romney campaign, as if there is no chance the GOP nominee will turn it around and eke out a close win over President Obama."
Poll cooking season is officially in full swing. The headline today at the Washington Post reads: "Among likely voters, Obama-Romney close." Dan Balz and Jon Cohen report that in a September 7-9 poll, "the (presidential) race remains close among likely voters, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent, virtually unchanged from a poll taken just before the conventions." Ah, but Obama supposedly has a six-point lead among registered voters.
Based on pair's report, the easy choices on how to interpret the results are these: Either President Obama really didn't come out of the Democratic Convention with a polling bounce, or, if he did have a bounce, it disappeared after last Friday's dreadful employment news. There's a third and far more likely choice, which only becomes apparent once one sees the mix of respondents in the poll's final listed question.
The Daily Caller published two troubling stories by Matthew Boyle yesterday. The first, referring to email evidence, contends that senior Obama reelection campaign adviser David Axelrod has attempted "to subtly intimidate the respected polling firm when its numbers were unfavorable to the president," and that in August, "After Gallup declined to change its polling methodology, Obama’s Department of Justice hit it with an unrelated lawsuit" alleging that it has been overcharging the federal government on various contracts.
The second notes that DOJ has not yet formally served that lawsuit on Gallup, leading an unnamed "senior Gallup official" to theorize that "that Holder’s DOJ may be aware that serving the complaint before November’s election would appear politically charged." I'll note two other "little" things and excerpt relevant reports after the jump.
CBS News has talked quite about their latest poll released Tuesday, especially how Mitt Romney is trailing Barack Obama by 10 points among women voters -- bad news for the Republican, of course. But unstated in the network's on-air coverage is the rest of the story: that Barack Obama trails Mitt Romney among men voters by 9 points, by a 49 to 40 margin.
How come no discussion of how poorly Obama is doing with men? Is it because the Democrats have cooked up a "war on women" theme for this campaign, and talking about the male vote doesn't do anything to further that partisan objective?
A new poll by Rasmussen shows that 51 percent of voters think the media will, for the most part, attempt to help reelect President Obama rather than work to accurately and fairly report on the campaign. Only 9 percent of respondents believe the media are in the tank for Romney. That same poll found 59 percent of likely voters "believe Obama has received the best treatment from the media so far."
Filling in for Bill O'Reilly last night, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham discussed this poll and other evidence that the American public are wary of the media's liberal bias with NewsBusters senior editor/Media Research Center research director Rich Noyes. You can watch the full segment below the page break.
I was beginning to hold out hope that the Associated Press was tiring of its partnership with the polling firm GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications.
No such luck. The latest AP-GfK poll on the presidential race of 1,007 people of whom 878 are registered voters shows Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 48% to 44%. That four-point lead is down from 10 points in May and six points in June. The August poll only ended up with Obama in the lead because of extraordinary overweighting of Democrats and a ridiculously small percentage of people who describe themselves as strong Republicans.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams brought on political director Chuck Todd to give a "damage assessment" for Republicans in the wake of the Todd Akin controversy. Todd attempted to blame the conservative grassroots for the uproar: "...the Tea Party effect....will maybe cost Mitch McConnell a shot at controlling the United States Senate. Their own infighting has done this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
What Todd failed to mention was that Tea Party Express and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin backed one of Akin's opponents, Sarah Steelman, in the Missouri Republican Senate primary.
A Washington Post poll published on Monday shows that 74 percent of Americans favor requiring photo ID to vote. Significant majorities of African-Americans and the elderly -- two groups liberals claim are likely to be "disenfranchised" by such requirements -- support a photo ID requirement.
But as Mediaite editor Noah Rothman noted yesterday, in the 19 segments on voter ID that the liberal MSNBC cable news network aired on the issue between Monday morning and Thursday evening, none of them noted the results of the poll (my emphasis added):