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Why the Obama-Romney Race May Not Be the Dead Heat Polls Describe
US News and World Report ^ | September 4, 2012 | Clark S. Judge

Posted on 09/04/2012 8:34:22 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

As the Republican convention closed on Thursday night, a new poll pointed to the potential for a major surprise when Americans go to the voting booths in November.

Pollsters will tell you that they cannot always count on voters to level with them about which candidates they favor. For example, Gov. Scott Walker's victory in the Wisconsin recall election several months ago was predicted by the polls, but his margin was not. It was a larger margin than the surveys had forecast. Similarly in 2004, Sen. John Kerry went to bed on election night believing he would be the next president. He woke to a surprise, as did Democrats in 1994 and, to a lesser degree, in 1980. Note, in all these elections it was the Democratic who got the unwelcome surprise.

There are any number of hypotheses as to why. For example, on the 2004 election, one of the most knowledgeable men on political statistics in the United States, Michael Barone, has noted that when the media consortium that sponsored the exit polling delved in depth as to why their results were so far off the actual results, they found a remarkable coincidence. In many of the precincts where their samples diverged most markedly from the actual balloting, the interviewers—those who approached voters and asked for whom they had cast their ballots—were attractive, female graduate students. These exemplars of a heavily Democratic cohort may have telegraphed their personal preferences to respondents (particularly male respondents), who had fed them back the answer they so clearly wanted to hear. Makes you wonder whom the exit pollsters will hire for this year interviewing.

A less, shall we say, "exotic" explanation for the GOP polls-to-voting gap is that in big years when a lot of non-Republicans have planned to cast their ballots for the Republican ticket, a sizeable number of union members haven't wanted to take the chance of telling anyone that they planned to buck their leadership. Another explanation is that the distrust many conservatives harbor toward the mainstream media spills over to pollsters. They become less candid when elections are most fiercely contested.

In any event, whatever the cause of the gap, pollsters have asked, is there a question that gets around the candor deficits? And some believe they have an answer. People may not tell you their candidate preference directly. But in close races where there is no credible consensus about the likely outcome, they typically believe that their candidate will win. In other words, ask them which side is likely to prevail in the next election and their answer will tell you their real opinion.

Which brings us to this year. A quick glance at the presidential poll summary at shows an amazing confluence of the eight national polls the Web site tracks. As of this weekend, all but two find a 1-point difference between the president and Mitt Romney. The remaining two have a two-point spread. In other words, everyone is finding the national vote tied, that is, falling within the margin of statistical noise that goes hand-in-hand with all survey research.

This is new. Only a month ago, the spread between the most pro-Obama and the most pro-Romney poll on the RealClearPolitics list was 11 points. Both polls advertised a 3-point margin of error. Someone was wrong. Since then all the opinion samples have clustered around what the most pro-Romney polls of a month or so ago were reporting: a neck-and-neck race. But given the traditional GOP gap, is a dead heat the real story?

Maybe not. In a poll released on Friday, Rasmussen Reports found that "60 percent of likely U.S. voters believe the next president will be a Republican." Only a quarter thought it would be a Democrat.

Eighty-nine percent of Republicans said the president after Obama would be from their camp, and 55 percent of independents agreed. Surprisingly 38 percent of Democrats had the same view (versus 47 percent who said it would be a Democrat). The telephone survey was taken during the last two nights of the GOP convention and got answers from 1,000 voters, meaning it was a typical sample.

The Rasmussen team was quick to point out that they did not specify whether the "next president" would be elected in 2012 or 2016. But still, with Michigan, Wisconsin, and Colorado having moved from at least leaning Democrat to "in play" in recent assessments, something may be going on below the surface.

Here is one certainty: The Romney and Ryan presentations in Tampa put on display a pair of principled, compassionate, capable men, prepared to lead in a direction consistent with America's deepest values. Maybe, quietly, a much larger slice of the American people agreed than we have suspected.

November could be interesting.

TOPICS: Campaign News; Parties; Polls
KEYWORDS: obama; polls; romney; ryan
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1 posted on 09/04/2012 8:34:32 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Obama can’t answer the 4 year are you better off question.

Polls have over samples Democrats. Romney is up a couple points. Still up for grabs but looking good.

2 posted on 09/04/2012 8:37:27 PM PDT by TigerClaws
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I, personally think, that the internal polls are DIRE! If the platform at the DNC is any indication.......he’s TOAST.

3 posted on 09/04/2012 8:39:41 PM PDT by RushIsMyTeddyBear (Bocephus hits a home run!
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To: TigerClaws
The Polls are using the 2008 results as the sample.

He is only 50% of women

Getting killed by independents

How can it even be close

4 posted on 09/04/2012 8:41:22 PM PDT by scooby321 (AMS)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I go on record here:

Obama wins no more than 10-15 states, total.
He won’t break 200 on the delegate count.

People when harassed by the polsters will report they are voting for Obama, but in the privacy of the voting booth....

Add in the polsters lean democratic heavily, and you see what I mean.

Did you know supposedly Carter was leading Reagan “up to” the last minute?

Liars, they are.

5 posted on 09/04/2012 8:43:23 PM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The grist mill of everyday Americans is sour on obama, be they coal miners, steelworkers, truckdrivers, waitresses, etc.

Bible Believers will be out in force.

We all have to go vote, even in the most Conservative enclaves.. Take an old neighbor to the polls to preserve America! Get your kids registered! Fight!

6 posted on 09/04/2012 8:43:49 PM PDT by One Name
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To: scooby321

The dead ALWAYS vote Democrat. Twice.

7 posted on 09/04/2012 8:44:51 PM PDT by irishtenor (Everything in moderation, however, too much whiskey is just enough... Mark Twain)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

R&R will win with a good margin due to a number of reasons.

When a voter walks into their polling place and votes, a good campaign will know how he or she will vote within a few percentage points of error. Traditional exiting polling is dying. Real time analysis is where it’s at.

8 posted on 09/04/2012 8:46:15 PM PDT by 103198
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
If the question is, "If I asked if you're a liar what would you tell me?" An honest person would answer, "I'd say I'm not" and a liar would say,"I'd say I am."

9 posted on 09/04/2012 8:50:16 PM PDT by I see my hands (It's time to.. KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHER FREEPERS!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The way the commie ‘RATS are trashing the hell out of America and Americans (according to the headlines on Google and Yahoo) in Charlotte, I’d say THEIR polls must be really, really bad. They’ve all gone over the edge.

10 posted on 09/04/2012 8:55:37 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Had enough of the freaks running the show yet?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If I had to bet right now, I’d bet on Romney. But not by a lot. I’d say a lot of Obama voters have had their eyes opened. They don’t have to prove they’re not racists, and besides Obama’s awful record makes it easier to vote for Romney. The choice of Ryan has helped as well. Romney by one-two million votes.

11 posted on 09/04/2012 8:58:13 PM PDT by driftless2
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To: BereanBrain; All

It is nothing more than database query constraints that produce a desired result for whomever is paying for the poll. It is that simple. Polls are used today to do several things;

1. Keep the base energized and in such keeps the money spigots wide open.
2. Have the documented ability to shape public opinion.
3. Keeps pollsters gamefully employed to sell their database management skills to the highest bidder.

I could go on but when it is ready, I am developing my own random polling system in which I will show how out of a sample of 3000 individuals polled, the published result will be made whatever the criteria for the query formula variables dictate.

Remember this, no pollster works for nothing and somebody will need to pay for it, or he will not be in business for very long. Already we are starting to see the sample criteria change and the results are changing as well.

12 posted on 09/04/2012 9:02:20 PM PDT by mazda77 ("Defeating the Totalitarian Lie" By: Hilmar von Campe. Everybody should read it.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

2012 or 2016?

If Zero somehow wins in November, there is no way on God’s Green Earth he will be followed by a Democrat.

13 posted on 09/04/2012 9:06:55 PM PDT by Haiku Guy ("The problem with Internet Quotes is that you never know if they are real" -- Abraham Lincoln)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

First of all, I think exit polling is notoriously unreliable. I just don’t think you can get an accurate sampling by approaching people on the street. You can sit at a phone and call people all over the country, state, county, etc. Nobody would spend the money needed to duplicate that wide sampling in person. So, forget exit polls.

I’d guess that the maxim “undecideds break for the challenger” is true more often than not.

I never really buy the “people lie to pollsters” concept. I’m not saying it’s not true, but I question how big a phenomenon it is. For example, the article says Walker won by more than predicted, but was his margin of victory outside of the margin of error? I doubt it. Without checking I think he won the recall by about 6%. Most polls have a margin of error of at least 3%. So, if he was predicted to win by 3 and he wins by 6, that’s just the MOE. In fact, I think he could have won by 9 and still been within the margin of error, because I think it means they could be off by 3% each way, not in total. (I could be wrong about that, but what I mean is if they say a race is 50/50 it could really be 47/53 with a 3% MOE.)

Romney/Ryan need to do whatever is required to defeat Obama and we need to do whatever is required to help them.

Forget all the ideology, this economy is a mess and so is the rest of the world’s. I don’t think Obama has a single idea that will make it any better. 5 years of this cr*p is enough - it’s time to give another person a chance.

14 posted on 09/04/2012 9:17:17 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: mazda77

I wish I could get my hands on Obama’s/Romney’s internal polls. Those are the ones done with 100% focus on predicting the actual outcome.

15 posted on 09/04/2012 9:20:46 PM PDT by Private_Sector_Does_It_Better (I AM ANDREW BREITBART)
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To: driftless2

“They don’t have to prove they’re not racists...”

Yes, “vote for me to prove your not a racist” is a card that can only be played once.

Let’s call it the Dinkins card.

16 posted on 09/04/2012 9:23:47 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Could be. I still think this will be a nailbiter of an election, but I’d be happy to see a big Romney victory come November. Not because I love Mitt (I don’t), but because a definitive voter rejection of Obamanomics and his policies will give Romney/Ryan a mandate to act.

17 posted on 09/04/2012 9:31:03 PM PDT by DemforBush
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Maybe people are so overcome and fed-up with 24 hour news and politics they just ignore pollsters, lie to them, or only the freaks respond to pollsters (?)

18 posted on 09/04/2012 9:38:07 PM PDT by PGR88
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To: PGR88
For election after election the pollsters have ignored me. My number is not unlisted and I vote in every election.

That was in the past. This election cycle it seems that the pollsters have found my number. Maybe it comes from the fact that my state is suddenly 'in play'. Or maybe it's simply the luck of the draw, but this cycle I have gotten more calls from pollsters then ever before. Maybe one call every ten days or so. Different organizations, different questions and different styles of asking those questions. The only thing that remains the same are my answers. All lies. I never tell the truth to a pollster. It keeps 'em scratching their heads after the election, and most of 'em need to scratch their heads.

My two cents.

19 posted on 09/04/2012 10:15:33 PM PDT by Wingy (Don't blame me. I voted for the chick. I hope to do so again.)
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To: scooby321

The Polls are using the 2008 results as the sample.
He is only 50% of women
Getting killed by independents
How can it even be close

I agree. Obama had Independents by 8 points in 2008, and recent polls have him losing Independents by 10 points. Rasmussen polling this past weekend showed voters self-identified as Republican over Democrats by 4 or 5 points, while most polling samples still favor the Democrats by 10 or 15 points.

HillBuzz reports the Obamas are homeshopping in Hawaii for a 2013 move.

I see a blowout coming -- 59% to 39% -- not quite a record, but devastating enough to dismantle the Dem machine up and down the tickets.


All Voters


20 posted on 09/04/2012 10:33:31 PM PDT by meadsjn (Sarah 2012, or sooner)
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