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):
CBS This Morning on Tuesday played up how Mitt Romney's campaign had to conduct "a little more damage control" after the GOP presidential candidate held an event at a popular Miami establishment owned by a convict. Correspondent Jan Crawford highlighted how "Romney held an event yesterday at a well-known restaurant in Miami whose owner - get this - pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution in 1999, and was sentenced to three years in prison."
The program was the only Big Three morning newscast on Tuesday to report on the story. By contrast, CBS found it completely un-newsworthy when the other networks mentioned in October 1996 that convicted cocaine smuggler Jorge Cabrera had gained access to Al Gore and Hillary Clinton in 1995 after making a $20,000 donation to the Democrats. Why report this and omit that?
Debuting the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, political director Chuck Todd concluded that campaign "hits seem to be taking a greater toll on Romney" and proclaimed: "Call it a likeability gap. 46% of voters told us they didn't like Romney personally. That compares to just 31% who said the same about the President." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, on Wednesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, Todd admitted the poll was skewed: "...our sample was a little Democratic heavy."Hot Air examined the partisan breakdown of poll respondents and discovered just how "Democratic heavy" the survey was, with Democrats having a 12-point advantage over Republicans.
Over the past few weeks, President Obama and his campaign team have launched a furious attack on Mitt Romney's record as head of Bain Capital, a highly successful venture capital firm.
There is clear evidence that the attacks have had some impact. Forty-one percent of voters now see Romney's record in the private sector primarily as a reason to vote for him, but an equal number see that record as a reason to vote against the GOP challenger. That negative perception is up 8 points over the past couple of months.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley cherry-picked the most favorable result for President Obama in the most recent CBS News/New York Times poll. Pelley stated how "this campaign, of course, is, in large part, a battle for the middle class," and touted that "when we asked voters in our poll which candidate would do more to help the middle class, 52 percent said President Obama, 38 percent Mitt Romney."
The anchor failed to mention several negative findings for the President from the poll, including how 64 percent of registered voters thought the Democrat's policies were at least partially to blame for the bad economy, and that 60 percent say that Romney's leadership of Bain Capital won't effect the way they vote in November.
On Saturday's NBC Today, co-host Lester Holt pondered why President Obama's poll numbers were not lower given the poor economy: "...you look at the polls, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the President still maintaining a three-point lead. Is he defying gravity here, and if so, why?"
Holt directed the question to Time's Mark Halperin, who proclaimed: "Well, he is....People like the President. They still think he – they recognize what he argues, he inherited a lot of problems....people want the President to have more of a chance..." Halperin added: "Governor Romney is still introducing himself to the country....The President's arguing that Governor Romney's not the right way to bet on the country's future..."
A June 16-18 YouGov.com poll (at Page 25) reported that 47% of Americans in a sample of 1,000 U.S. citizens 18 and over had heard or heard about President Barack Obama's June 8 claim that "the private sector is doing fine."
The reaction of John Sides, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University, as picked up by Byron Tau at the Politico, is that this "low" percentage shows that "even after national headlines, some kinds of stories just don’t register to busy Americans who have more things to do than follow every jot and tittle of the news." You've got to be kidding me; 47% is amazingly high.
Apparently MSNBC's Thomas Roberts doesn't seem to get the importance of knowing the partisan breakdown of a poll's respondents to assessing that polls reliability. In the midst of a segment centered around President Obama's quasi-amnesty-by-fiat policy announced last week, token conservative panelist J.P. Freire poured cold water on a new Bloomberg poll that shows 64 percent of Americans agreeing with the president's announced halt on deportations. Freire observed that the poll doesn't break down how many Democrats and Republicans were sampled and that it is contradicted by other polls.
But for his part, Roberts seemed to believe that because the poll didn't get into the partisan allegiances of its respondents, it was evidence that the respondents were largely independent and hence a good sign for Obama's reelection in November. Roberts then hypocritically chided Freire for spouting unwarranted "assumptions" on his program. [video follows page break]
While CNN's Soledad O'Brien tossed softballs at Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, she was not so kind to her Republican guest during the next hour, on Thursday's Starting Point. O'Brien reported poor poll numbers for both the Romney and Obama campaigns, but went after only the Romney campaign's economic message in detail.
O'Brien teed up the Democratic mayor to respond to Romney hitting Obama for wanting more public sector workers. But she posed the same question of Romney advisor Jim Talent, putting him on the defensive, rather than bringing up, say, President Obama's remark that the private sector is "doing just fine," a statement he later retracted.
One of the most mystifying aspects of the coverage of the Wisconsin recall election has been the media's ongoing use of exit poll results in stories suggesting that -- despite Gov. Scott Walker's big win against the efforts of Democrats and Labor Unions to end his term early -- President Obama has a big lead over Mitt Romney in the crucial swing state.
The continued faith in the flawed Wisconsin survey is even more amazing when you consider the dreadful record exit polls have of matching up with the actual vote totals. In nearly every case of error, exit polls have oversampled Democrats, a fact almost never pointed out by the nation's news organizations.
Alternate title: "Surprise (Not): Barone Exposes How Exit Poll Samples Are Typically Biased."
Early this morning, at the Washington Examiner, Michael Barone casually put out what is apparently a well-known fact in polling circles. I'm thinking that it's not at all well-known to the general public (bold is mine):
On Sunday's CBS Evening News, John Dickerson candidly admitted that a failed recall attempt of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker "would be a big blow" to the unions, and that it "would be a sign to any Republican contemplating similar action to limit unions that you could survive, and Walker will become the poster child and hero of that effort." Poster child?
Dickerson predicted that there "would be a lot of infighting in Democratic circles, with unions saying the national Democratic parties and their president didn't do enough" if Walker won. But he immediately added a more sunny spin, that "it might galvanize union supporters for the presidential election, on the theory that they're under threat and they need a president who's on their side. "