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The Media Doesn’t Understand Races in the States
Weekly Standard ^ | 06/08/2012 | Jay Cost

Posted on 06/08/2012 12:59:14 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

This write-up from the Hill on a recent Pennsylvania poll is pretty similar to many others these days:

President Obama is retaining his commanding lead over Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, topping the Republican presidential nominee by 12 points in a poll released Wednesday by Franklin & Marshall College. Obama would win the favor of 48 percent of Keystone State voters, versus just 36 percent for Romney, according to the poll. 

And polls like these are producing frames like these, from Charles Babington of the AP:

…Republican presidential nominees have lost (Pennsylvania) five straight times despite substantial efforts. Some independent analysts say the same result is likely this year, even if few expect Obama to repeat his double-digit victory.

This is the wrong frame of reference to look at the 2012 election. Obama is not enjoying a “commanding lead” in Pennsylvania – not in any meaningful sense of the term. Nor is he necessarily favored to win it.

These articles illustrate how the media is making major mistakes in its analysis of the campaign in the 50 states. Here are four huge problems with its approach.

1. The president is under 50% in most swing state polling averages. It’s not an ironclad rule that Obama cannot rise in the polls, but common sense suggests that it will be tough. He’s been the president for three years – if you’re not inclined to vote for him now, what will five months of a campaign do?

It’s worth noting as well that most of these polls show the president getting roughly his job approval, which is all we should expect him to receive in the general election (maybe little less). And his job approval rating has consistently been under 50% for 2 1/2 years.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: elections; states; swingstates

1 posted on 06/08/2012 12:59:34 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
Excellent article. I would, however, take issue with the article's title. I think the media "understands" perfectly well -- they simply are not trying to predict the future. They are trying to affect the future.
2 posted on 06/08/2012 1:37:27 PM PDT by Da Bilge Troll (Defeatism is not a winning strategy!)
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To: Da Bilge Troll
Most Americans, it seems, don't understand basic statistics well enough to analyze the usefulness of a particular poll. As the article points out, polls of registered voters (or just adults) are absolutely useless in determining voter sentiment.

The media count on that -- though I don't know that it really makes any difference. Just gives 'em stuff to talk about.

3 posted on 06/08/2012 3:09:48 PM PDT by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: SeekAndFind
"These articles illustrate how the media is making major mistakes in its analysis of the campaign in the 50 states."

It's no mistake. They know exactly what they are doing and will continue to attempt boosting Obama to the public in the hopes of keeping up a flagging Democrat base. Obama could be down by 15 points a week before the election and they would produce a poll which gives him a solid chance of winning.

4 posted on 06/08/2012 3:39:26 PM PDT by scram2
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