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:
Even if you do your best to live only in the Fox-Rush-Drudge information world, you’re still going to get information about what people outside the bubble think through polling data. And it can be very disconcerting for Republicans, finding out that millions of other Americans exist in the “not real America” and think they’re completely bats--t.
Thankfully, Republicans now seem to have solved this problem. Enter Scott Rasmussen. He’s a Republican and a pollster. And a few years ago, it seemed Scott ran his polling outfit the way everyone else did. But somewhere along the line – and I’m guessing here – Scott saw which way the media winds were blowing and realized there was a new way to distinguish yourself in the world of political news: by taking a side.
You see, polls, when done accurately, have a way of creating a narrative about what people actually want or think, or what may eventually happen. And this narrative is largely immune from the partisans on either side because, well, it just is. Because polls are the temperature of reality.
If your candidate is down 8 points in a poll a few weeks out before the election, the story starts becoming about how you’re going to lose, and how everyone knows it, and how you might as well stay home on election day because it’s hopeless. Which is effective, or harmful, depending on which side you’re on. Because lots of people are looking for an excuse not to vote anyway and “My Candidate is down 9 points as of yesterday” is a pretty good one.
These narratives are particularly dangerous for Republicans. And that’s where Rasmussen polling comes in. By designing his to polls to lean Republican, he allows Republicans inside the bubble to continue breathing the air inside the bubble.
Obviously, Maher would prefer a mass (political) asphyxiation for Republicans.
But who is denying reality? “The Pew Research Center and Rasmussen Reports were the most accurate in predicting the results of the 2008 election, according to a new analysis by Fordham University political scientist Costas Panagopoulos.”
And: Rasmussen tells Byron York there's going to be a two- to four-point advantage for Democrat over Republican turnout in November.