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Are the Polls Skewed Toward Obama?
WEEKLY STANDARD ^ | July 20, 2012 | Jay Cost

Posted on 07/23/2012 8:56:37 PM PDT by neverdem

A topic that inevitably receives a lot of focus during election season is the partisan spread of the major media polls. Conservatives regularly complain that the polls are tilted against their side, and thus favor the Democrats.

They have a point.

To be sure, we can conclude that without accusing any pollster of malfeasance. In this essay, Mark Blumenthal of the Huffington Post correctly notes that the problem gets down to using registered voter polls. These tend to oversample Democrats. The argument in support of them is that, while a likely voter screen would draw a larger Republican sample, it would create more variability as pollsters would be guessing unduly at the final party turnout.

That is a fair point in some respects, although there is a cost associated with either choice. Using registered voter polls might cut down on variability, but they also create statistical bias. That is, the polls tend to oversample Democrats in a systematic fashion. And because partisan support is so strong – with 90 percent of Republicans supporting GOP candidates and 90 percent of Democrats supporting Democratic candidates – you regularly see the Democratic candidates’ margins overstated in polls of registered voters.

Let’s see if we can quantify this a little bit. To begin, we need to know the historical partisan tendencies of the electorate. For that, we can turn to the exit polls going back to 1972.



As we can see, the GOP position suffered enormously because of the Watergate scandal in 1974. Republican identification among voters plummeted 10 points, not to rebound fully until Ronald Reagan basically rebranded the party in 1984.

Ever since then, we have seen both parties pull a relatively constant range of support. This actually pushes back against Blumenthal’s point that there is an...

(Excerpt) Read more at weeklystandard.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: 2012electionbias; 2012polls; bho2012; cookedthebooks; dnctalkingpoints; obama; polls; zogbyism

1 posted on 07/23/2012 8:56:46 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Does a fat dog fart?


2 posted on 07/23/2012 9:02:42 PM PDT by West Texas Chuck (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. That should be a convenience store, not a Government Agency.)
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To: West Texas Chuck

Dogs fart? I’ve been blaming my Wife for years.


3 posted on 07/23/2012 9:08:49 PM PDT by Kickass Conservative (Confucius say, short note better than long memory....)
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To: All


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4 posted on 07/23/2012 9:11:35 PM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: Kickass Conservative

She always says the house is settling.


5 posted on 07/23/2012 9:12:59 PM PDT by exit82 (Pass the word: Obama is a FAILURE!! Democrats are the enemies of freedom!)
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To: West Texas Chuck
Does a fat dog fart?

"A final point: Presidential job approval polls are usually reported among all adults, aged 18 or over. These tend to have an even larger skew toward the Democrats than registered voter polls."

The title might seem obvious and dumb, but I didn't know that about job approval polls.

6 posted on 07/23/2012 9:14:22 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

It’s all about voter turnout. Harder to poll.


7 posted on 07/23/2012 9:21:13 PM PDT by Rio (Tempis fugit.)
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To: neverdem

All of the polling organizations mentioned are of the Ersatz variety, not real, phoney, something other than they seem. The news media employ polling organizations to manufacture news when actual newsworthy events are in short supply. These polling organizations provide that service and since their real clients are left wing advocates, they use various techniques to deliver the news that their client wants. Its all baloney until in the final days before the election when they must adjust their methodology to produce a credible result when compared with actual votes.

Real polling organizations sell their data to candidates, PACs, and people with skin in the game. Their data never appears in the media because it is too valuable. Even respected political pundits don’t routinely see their stuff, its too valuable to be put in hands of people not willing to pay top dollar for it. This is why candidates often act 180 degrees out from what the Real Clear Politics average is saying. They have the real data, and when its out of synch with what is out there for public consumption, they seems to be behaving irrationally.

Public polls will invariably skew left until the 2d week of October. On that you can depend.


8 posted on 07/23/2012 9:34:14 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: neverdem

...Are bears Catholic?...


9 posted on 07/23/2012 10:09:15 PM PDT by castlebrew (Gun control means hitting where you're aiming!)
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To: neverdem

You can get any poll to say what you want. If you’ll read the fine print, most of the polls favoring Obama are polled from “registered voters.” About 40% of them are not even going to vote. The polls that show Romney winning are polled from “likely voters.” Most of them will be at the polls on election day. Of course there are the polls that are heavily stacked with Democrats. The only poll that counts is the one on November 6th. What more can I say.


10 posted on 07/23/2012 10:23:19 PM PDT by Harley (O M G ! Obama Must Go!)
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To: neverdem

Polling is mostly left-wing oriented.

It will typically favor the Democrat in the early polls, hoping to demoralize the Republican electorate and encourage its favored Democrat base, and all the stuff that goes with that impression-building, like contributions from the moneyed groups who want to be with the winner, favorable punditry, etc.

The pollsters, even the left-wing ones, do know what’s going on with public sentiment, but they will keep that hidden lest it hurt their candidates.

However, these pollsters also want to preserve their credibility so they can be hired in future campaigns. So in the last two weeks of the campaign, they will start showing honest numbers hoping they will match well with the final election results.

You saw this in 1980, when the polls had Reagan and Carter in a dead heat, when anyone with a brain would see that Carter was toast. Then in the last two weeks, they claimed there was a great shift to Reagan. Really - did you know anyone who made their mind up in the last two weeks?

Likewise, they had Mondale in a dead heat, on his way to winning Minnesota (and only Minnesota, by a mere 10,000 votes). They had Dukakis up 17 points over Bush the Elder. The 1994 Congress? also a dead heat until the election came close.

So expect to see the polls have Obama, the Carter clone, running even or even slightly ahead of Romney up until Halloween. Then to preserve their credibility, the polls will show Romney slightly in the lead until election day. Thus after the election they can brag that they called the results, and claim that there was a huge shift in the independents and undecideds over to Romney.

Want a good indicator of this election? Do you know any people who voted for McCain who are now going to vote for Obama? Now, have you heard of any people who voted for Obama who are now sick of him and will not vote for him again? The traffic is all in one direction.

Unless he blows it by doing something dumb, like changing on illegal immigration because of RINO establishment pressure, the current polling means that Romney will win over 300 electoral votes.

Bookmark this so you can congratulate me on November 7th.


11 posted on 07/23/2012 11:09:21 PM PDT by oldbill
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To: neverdem; a fool in paradise; Slings and Arrows
Does a bear go inside a Pittsburgh Mall?


12 posted on 07/23/2012 11:12:21 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: oldbill

Brilliant analysis.

I agree in theory, but I think there might be a possibility that the liberal media will actually conspire to show Obama down 20 points right before the election to scare the Bejesus out of the Democratic base to get out the vote.

And even though I am not a conspiracy theorist kook, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this administration pulled out an October Surprise.

For example, they could use the opportunity to stage a phony terrorist attack by Syria against us, and that could be a pretext for war.

And you’d have that idiot John McCain leading the charge for Obama’s re-election because he is itching to go to war with Syria.

All presidents get 90% approval in the first weeks of war.

That being said, outside any long shot conspiracies, I think your analysis is on the money.


13 posted on 07/23/2012 11:28:22 PM PDT by radpolis (Liberals: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy)
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To: neverdem
Importantly, these polls show Obama with an average lead over Mitt Romney of 3.5 points. But if they have a 2.5-point Democratic oversample, then what we are really talking about is perhaps a 1-point Obama lead.

Incidentally, this puts these polls much more in line with the Rasmussen poll, which has consistently found a toss-up race. Right now, Rasmussen – a poll of likely voters – sees an R+1.4 advantage in party identification. That is entirely defensible, in my opinion, given the weakness in the economy.

A final point: Presidential job approval polls are usually reported among all adults, aged 18 or over. These tend to have an even larger skew toward the Democrats than registered voter polls. For instance, the CBS News / New York Times poll had a D+6 spread among registered voters, but a D+7 spread among all adults. This means that the job approval numbers are probably overstating Obama’s position by an even larger margin. So, the CBS News / New York Times poll had Obama’s net approval at -2, suggesting that among the electorate it’s perhaps around -6. I’d link this back to my consistent argument that presidents rarely win a share of the electorate larger than their job approval to justify my sustained bearishness on Obama’s reelection prospects. I suspect that the Rasmussen poll on job approval is closest to the electorate’s true feelings, and that regularly shows a net disapproval around -5 points, a very bad position for any incumbent.

This seems to be the meat of the article and it is fully in accord with the views expressed here on Free Republic with which FReepers have closely analyzed polls as they have come out. Our consensus has been that Rasmussen is the most accurate for the reasons expressed in this article.

I am optimistic in this election because I believe the momentum is on our side and expect that to gather force with time providing, of course, there is no major gaffe by Romney and no cleverly contrived October surprise by Obama. In the latter regard, I have one eye always focused on the Straits of Hormuz. But Obama could exploit Syria or contrive some sort of crisis with China to stimulate the patriotism reflex. I am also convinced that the economic news simply cannot get meaningfully better before the election and will probably become much worse.

I am concerned but not shaken by the stubbornness with which Obama retains his hold on those segments of the demographic which should be winnable for a Republican contender, especially single women. Romney has money with which to tell the story and he has a good story to tell. Obama has enough money to tell his lies but still he must construct a house of cards and when one strut in such an edifice gives way the whole implodes. We have enjoyed a taste of that in the reaction to Obama's gaffe in Roanoke in which he proclaimed that entrepreneurs did not build their own businesses. That gaffe approaches game breaker status because it crystallizes the subconscious understanding of much of the electorate about Obama's radicalism. These gaffes change elections when Joe sixpack reacts, "yes, that's the way he is." And Obama ceases to be the Messiah, or even cool, and becomes the author of our economic misery because of his radicalism. He loses his cool and becomes an enemy.

We have seen time and again in politics the phenomenon of politician being defined and electorate's mind is ever after closed. Thereafter, the electorate views the candidate through a different lens. Once the electorate sees Obama as a radical, they will understand that his goal has always been redistribution rather than recovery. The electorate will have an epiphany and see Obamacare as one more piece of the socialist puzzle. The indictment of Obama will ring true and his house of cards will implode. His likability quotient will plummet because he will be recognized as a very unlikable person, indeed the enemy of prosperity. He will get the blame he richly deserves for the failed recovery. Voters in the coal belt will understand why they are losing their jobs and see themselves as victims of Obama's radical ideology.

If Sarah Palin had been unleashed in 2008 to make the case then that Obama was a radical (if not a communist or socialist at least an Alinsky redistributionist radical) we would be well advanced in this process today. It is in this context that we can see the fatal damage John McCain did to his own campaign and to conservatism in general by telling the electorate that they had nothing to fear from Obama as President. Precisely the opposite was and is the case. He is a dangerous radical. When Obama indicts himself out of his own mouth as he did in Roanoke, the electorate begins to take the wrong end of the telescope out of its eye and accurately perceive Obama for what he is. Pity that the process is only gathering momentum a scant hundred days away from an election that could decide whether the Republic survives as a functioning representative democracy with portions of a free-market economy intact.


14 posted on 07/24/2012 12:37:28 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: nathanbedford
Voters in the coal belt will understand why they are losing their jobs and see themselves as victims of Obama's radical ideology.

Obama et al. have been putting the screws to the oil and naturaral gas industries also. This could result in the collapse of the "Jacksonian Democrats" considered by many as the soul of their party. The rats used to say that they were the party for the little guy.

15 posted on 07/24/2012 1:08:54 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
Are the Polls Skewed Toward Obama?

Whether they are or not, they are most definitely skewed towards Obama and Romney. We have had at least a dozen polling calls in the last few weeks, and never has any choice but those two pro-choice democrat socialists been offered. Not once.

16 posted on 07/24/2012 1:12:31 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (Those who support the lesser of two evils have already succumbed to the greater evil.)
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To: nathanbedford

Well done.


17 posted on 07/24/2012 3:08:34 AM PDT by 1035rep
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To: Rio

Voter turnout is harder to poll, that’s why “likely” voter polling is more accurate.


18 posted on 07/24/2012 5:11:57 AM PDT by beenaround
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To: radpolis

I agree in theory, but I think there might be a possibility that the liberal media will actually conspire to show Obama down 20 points right before the election to scare the Bejesus out of the Democratic base to get out the vote.

*********************************************************

This great a deficit would have the exact opposite reaction than the one you believe.


19 posted on 07/24/2012 5:12:12 AM PDT by beenaround
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To: neverdem

What I’ve said for two months now: while this will be “close” in terms of popular vote, it will be pretty big electorally in dozens of “close” state votes. “Close Romney victories in OH, FL, WI, MI, VA, NV, IA,, NH, and maybe a couple of other 2008 Obama states will amount to a pretty significant electoral lead.


20 posted on 07/24/2012 5:31:32 AM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually (Hendrix))
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To: neverdem

This information was very helpful LAST WEEK when it was put together by Jim Geraghty at National Review on line. This rip off without attribution is shameful.


21 posted on 07/24/2012 6:38:30 AM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)
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To: LS
while this will be “close” in terms of popular vote

I expect the truth is the Vote against Obama crowd is huge and can be depended on, with their passion, to get out and vote.

The Vote for Obama crowd will probably continue to say they want to vote for him, but on that first Tuesday in November, will find something else to do that day. Their passion is very low.

22 posted on 07/24/2012 6:46:02 AM PDT by Dustoff45 (A good woman brings out the best in a good man! A better woman might be just what this nation needs)
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To: neverdem

I find it interesting that how terrible these state polls are does not get commented on more. One can understand the MSM not commenting, but even sites which are either neutral or leaning right don’t often do so.

E.g., the RCP state polls show the election basically where it was in 2008, except for Romney flipping NC and IN. This can’t possibly be right, just by looking at the job approval numbers. Obama is running behind Bush in 2004, and Bush only won by Ohio. The state polls should basically be showing Romney ahead in the states which Bush won, excepting possibly NV, CO and NM, which have trended Dem, as Romney is about where Bush was in 2004. But they seem to be skewed, on the average, by about 5 percent.

Interestingly, even the Rasmussen state polls are showing Obama doing better on a state by state basis than the national polls would show. Perhaps newer polls by Rasmussen will show something different.

Besides Rasmussen, the Battleground polls are good, and Mason-Dixon. Some of the others too, sometimes, depending on the internals. To have internals with 7% more Democrats is ridiculous.


23 posted on 07/30/2012 12:07:40 PM PDT by TomEwall
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