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GOP, Dems both blame the messenger, allege bias in polling data
The Hill ^ | 10/17/2012 | By Jonathan Easley

Posted on 10/17/2012 5:00:06 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Cries of bias are getting louder as first one political party then the other reacts with dismay to polling data moving against it in the excruciatingly tense final weeks of the presidential election.

As Election Day, Nov. 6, approaches, movements even within the margin of error have President Obama’s and challenger Mitt Romney’s campaign teams wringing their hands or exchanging high-fives.

This week it’s Team Obama’s turn to suggest polling methodology is skewing opinion research against its man.

The allegations against reputable pollsters such as Gallup and Pew Research come just weeks after conservatives complained skewed polls were underestimating support for Romney.

The charges highlight the obsession partisans on both sides have with the polls, as well as the effort both sides are making to find every advantage they can in a campaign that increasingly appears headed for a photo finish. “It’s common,” Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport told The Hill. “The campaigns have a war room-type mentality, and both campaigns feel the need to quickly jump on any news of any type that could be viewed as negative for their candidate.”

Neither side wants a disappointing poll to turn off supporters and depress turnout in a key swing state that could be the difference between winning and losing.

“Absolutely, there’s the potential for this snowball effect,” said Dr. Costas Panagopoulos, director of the Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy. “But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t argue the polls are great when they favor your candidate and are flawed when they move against your candidate.”

The latest complaints have come from the Obama campaign, which on Monday issued a statement warning reporters to take with a grain of salt a Gallup poll that found Romney with a 4 percentage-point lead in 12 battleground states.

The poll was “an extreme outlier” that exposed “deep flaws” in how Gallup locates likely voters, according to Democratic pollster Joel Benenson. Gallup only started releasing presidential polls of likely voters this month.

Benenson argued Gallup’s likely-voter screening method “created a bias against groups inclined to support Obama,” and was the reason the candidates were tied among women, traditionally an Obama stronghold.

Newport shot back in a statement saying there was “no evidence” Gallup’s likely-voter model was disproportionately Republican. Panagopoulos said the claim was rubbish, and that the Gallup poll merely reflects the general enthusiasm gap the president has suffered in conjunction with his slide in the polls.

“These likely-voter screens are not flawed. This reflects a weakening enthusiasm among Obama supporters, and that’s how it works,” he said. “When Obama supporters are excited, they’re more likely to say they’re likely to vote. When Romney supporters are more enthusiastic, they’re more likely to say that they’ll vote. So these are compositional changes generating those differences in the polls right now — they’re not necessarily a change in candidate preference.”

Some liberal commentators launched similar complaints against a Pew poll earlier this month that recorded the first shift toward Romney after the first presidential debate.

The Pew poll, which showed Romney with a 4-point lead over Obama with likely voters, included too high a percentage of Republicans in its sample, some Obama supporters said.

Just a few weeks ago, conservatives were up in arms over polls that showed Obama ahead of Romney.

Republicans said the surveys relied on voter sample sizes that gave too much weight to high Democratic turnout. Even Romney’s campaign got in the act, arguing pollsters relying on the 2008 turnout to determine the makeup of the 2012 electorate were making a fatal mistake.

Nate Silver, the author of the 538 blog for The New York Times, wrote on Oct. 9 that he thought little of this argument no matter which side was making it, since party identification can be fluid.

While a number of polls in the last week have shown Romney with a lead, that hasn’t stopped his campaign from complaining about some polls.

On Tuesday, the Romney campaign circulated a memo from Republican pollster Rich Beeson citing “a myriad of public polls in Ohio that show the race within the margin of error.”

“Some are more credible than others, and some sample the race correctly, while others do not,” Beeson cautioned.

Panagopoulos said claims of polling bias were not unique to this election, but that they seem to have escalated in this cycle because of the sheer proliferation of surveys and the increased attention paid to the horserace aspect of the election.

Newport agreed, saying claims of polling bias go “back as far as George Gallup in 1936.” But, he added, it’s not just the campaigns taking issue with the data anymore.

“Now you have so many different sources — some skilled, and some having no idea [what] they’re talking [about],” he said. “They’re there, ready to make quick comments on blogs and opining on different forums.”

Most polling analysts recommend looking at a polling aggregate, or an average of polls, to get an idea of where the race truly stands and to eliminate statistical noise.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Obama and Romney are tied at 47 percent nationally, and the race appears just as tight in the bulk of battleground states.

Panagopoulos ran a study of final major polls from 2008, and found most were within 1 or 2 percentage points of the final margin of Obama’s victory over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — an impressive accomplishment, considering the unique nature of the election and the conventional-wisdom-shattering demographics that turned out to vote.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: democrats; gop; polling; polls

Or are the polls now, objectively, a reasonably accurate reflection of how the voters are going to vote?

1 posted on 10/17/2012 5:00:14 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

No extant political prediction model takes into account Obama’s signature odiousness.

2 posted on 10/17/2012 5:06:21 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t think they’ve biased. I think they are no where near as accurate as they claim.

3 posted on 10/17/2012 5:09:43 PM PDT by DManA
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To: SeekAndFind

Despite what many freepers think, I believe it is going to a close race like the 1960 and 2000 races.

I actually believe that Romney is going to win the popular vote even if Obama wins the Electoral College.

One of the problems we conservatives face is the fact of liberals and their voter fraud.

Liberals lie, cheat and steal and the ends justify the means. They have no integrity.

Our battle is against liberal evil and liberal evil is hard to prove unless we can document it with people on the ground.

4 posted on 10/17/2012 5:19:20 PM PDT by radpolis (Liberals: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy)
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To: radpolis; MinuteGal

Romney won the 2nd debate. Because Obama had a pulse this time, the MSM gives the win to Obama, however, it was all style, no substance. Romney won substance bigtime. The media wants the horse race. They would have declared Obama the winner even if he had sent Joe Biden in his place. Romney will win in a landslide. Oh woe to the Dems, their day of reckoning is drawing nigh.

5 posted on 10/17/2012 6:27:07 PM PDT by flaglady47 (When the gov't fears the people, liberty; When the people fear the gov't, tyranny.)
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To: SeekAndFind
The difference here is that the Republican charges of bias are verifiable true. The Democrat charges are attempts to coerce the pollsters into bigger lies.
6 posted on 10/18/2012 5:34:40 AM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)
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To: SeekAndFind; sickoflibs; AuntB; Liz; stephenjohnbanker; Gilbo_3; NFHale; DoughtyOne
So, do we have a case of -- IF YOUR PARTY's WINNING THE POLLS ARE NOT BIASED, AND IF YOUR PARTY's LOSING, THE POLLS ARE BIASED? Or are the polls now, objectively, a reasonably accurate reflection of how the voters are going to vote?

LOL, Dems bitching about polls now. Note that, at the moment, Gallup has better overall numbers for Romney than "GOP" pollster Rasmussen.

7 posted on 10/18/2012 6:17:12 AM PDT by ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas (Fool me once, shame on you -- twice, shame on me -- 100 times, it's U. S. immigration policy.)
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To: All
OHAHA PROPAGANDA IS RELENTLESS One report said: "Team O has to decide how to allocate what’s left of its campaign treasury down the stretch...."

Romney needs to be very very wary of these claims.

The Ohaha Team is plotting a very crafty strategy----lying about their campaign outlays-----the same callous cadre that blatantly lied about four Americans killed in Benghazi.


Ohaha's legislative tricks were intended to fuel his reelection: the so-called TARP stimulus hid zillions in several states---in NJ alone $17.6 Billion was sent and promptly disappeared when it landed there. Fact is, Obama and the Chi/mobsters running his campaign have zillions salted away.


Do not underestimate the dirty cash the Ohahas/Chi-mob can come up with to fix the election......remember, these are the kingpins of Chicago politics. At one time, conscientious FEC investigators verified money was coming from legal citizens....but if Obama wins there will be no investigations. Remember, there are billions unaccounted for in Obama's stimulus can be sure the Ohaha kingpins have tons of money stashed away.


<><> author Dean Koontz estimates there's about $90 billion missing from the US Treasury.

<><> Ohaha's ex-COS Chi/Mayor Rahm Emanuel is one Chi/mobster running the reelection campaign---this Wall Street turd knows where all the money is hidden. Rahm also controlled all US Treasury assets (at Obama's behest) when he was COS.

<><>The Ohahas took control of the census upon taking office----they have all the necessary CV to phony up contribution reports for the FEC.

THIS MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD Obama's ex-COS "Wall Street Rahm" "suddenly" discovered he wanted to be Chicago mayor---so the dancing little turd went before the mics and announced his mayoral campaign "raised $10 million in just a few weeks" .........(cue laugh machine).

Rahm also controlled the US Treasury as COS. This turd-o-crat knows where all the stolen Federal money is hidden....Wall Street knows how to make money disappear faster than a cream puff at a Weight Watcher weigh-in.


ROMNEY NEEDS TO WATCH FOR PHONY FEC REPORTS The Ohaha's "say" they added $45 million to reelection coffers in February.....raised jointly by the DNC, "Obama for America" and two other joint fundraising committees — the "Obama Victory Fund" and the "Swing State Victory Fund,"...and whatever other voter frauds they dream up.


Obama's open mic slip in Russia revealed his hidden agenda. He didnt say "after the election, or “after the next election.” He said: “This is my last election" ....... reassuring the Ruskis that he'll then have "more flexibility after the election....”

Clearly Ohaha's certainty WRT staying in offce is not based on his approval ratings or massive opposition to his cockamamie polices----mandated healthcare, trillion dollar stimulus, using aborted babies' brains in lab experiments, giving himself massive executive power over Americans, co-opting religious beliefs, $4-Plus gas, 16% real unemployment, trillion dollardeficits, escalating inflation at the supermarket, the GSA spending name a few.

No. Ohaha's certainty stems from his knowledge that he will stay in office---not by the will of the people---but by buying his reelection with federal money....using massive vote fraud.

Remember, voter fraud is the Chi/mobs' specialty---do NOT underestimate Rahm and Axelrod (both running O's reelection), and Valerie whatsherface in the WH.

Let us not forget----the minute they hit the WH, the Chi/mob went into action: the WH Chi/mob took over the census---and now have all the CV they need to file phony FEC reports using stolen federal dollars as campaign contributions.


2012 Ohaha deviates are using the 2008 Anita (Mao) Dunn strategy to manipulate voters, to downplay Ohaha's destructive policies ....and his scary plans for the next term. Dunn said THEY and only THEY decided what the media should know about 2008 candidate Ohaha.

The strategy is already in place---watch the Ohahas copping that "don't worry--we're harmless" attitude.

8 posted on 10/18/2012 6:34:27 AM PDT by Liz ("Come quickly, I'm tasting the stars." Dom Perignon)
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To: ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas; SeekAndFind; AuntB; Liz; stephenjohnbanker; Gilbo_3; NFHale; Impy
RE :”LOL, Dems bitching about polls now. Note that, at the moment, Gallup has better overall numbers for Romney than “GOP” pollster Rasmussen.”

Yes, earlier this year when all the polls showed Romney losing they were all rigged as part of a mass conspiracy, just as Rush told us they were.

But now that Romney is doing better we can start to believe them. Clearly everyone in the US always agrees with us, even if we don't agree with each other from time to time. That just makes sense.

In fact, how do I know that You all are NOT part of it?

I might be the only one who is OK, well Rush and me, and I am not sure about him....either...


9 posted on 10/18/2012 9:13:17 AM PDT by sickoflibs (Romney is still a liberal. Just watch him. (Obama-ney Care ))
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To: DManA

“I don’t think they’ve biased. I think they are no where near as accurate as they claim.”

They are as accurate as they claim given their presuppositions are correct. The accuracy is simply math. However, the presuppositions is where the rub lies. If they assume a +Dem turnout of 5 or 9 points, and it’s actually even, that makes a big difference.

I don’t know which polls are weighting their samples. It seems Rasmussen is, as he has Romney up 9 over independents, but only up 2 overall. The media polls seem to oversample Dems. Looks like Gallup doesn’t weight, but uses a likely voter screen, which is why it is much more volatile than Rasmussen.

It’d sure be interesting to see what the campaigns internal polls are showing, and what assumptions they’re using.

10 posted on 10/18/2012 9:43:33 AM PDT by TomEwall
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To: TomEwall

It is not “simple” math. It is extremely complex math.

But there is NO math to fix the problem they face where 40 -80% of their samples return null information.

11 posted on 10/18/2012 9:49:16 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

Not “simple math”, “simply math.” i.e “only math”.

As to whether or not one considers it complicated would depend on one’s math background.

12 posted on 10/18/2012 1:21:01 PM PDT by TomEwall
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To: TomEwall

I disagree but that is beside my point.

You don’t need a PHD in statistics to understand that you can’t tease information out of a vacuum. And a vacuum is exactly what squats in the middle of every exquisitely scientific, mathematically valid sample of every national poll.

13 posted on 10/18/2012 2:44:32 PM PDT by DManA
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