Skip to comments.“Dewey Defeats Truman,” Polls have fatal flaws that hidetrue Romney surge
Posted on 10/25/2012 12:50:19 PM PDT by Red Steel
While this topic has been covered, it is now time to put real meat on the bones to explain why polling in this years presidential contest, not just nationally but in many of the battleground states, may be off when compared to the actual results.
Looking at a vast array of polls coming out just two weeks before the presidential election, critically important states such as Florida and Ohio appear to be close and anyones guess as to the final result. And while some national surveys, such as Gallup, have shown Republican nominee Mitt Romney running ahead of President Obama by several points, most have the race very tight, and a few have Obama leading. Lets examine one poll, released as a series of continuing surveys by a large television network joining with a respected national newspaper.
This particular poll, conducted Oct. 17-20, has no intended bias, since it is conducted jointly by both a Republican- and a Democrat-oriented polling firm. But read on, and you will quickly realize how the old style of polling and the way many polls weight raw results may be setting us up for one of the biggest polling disasters since the infamous polling blunders that led to the Dewey Defeats Truman headline blunder of 1948.
Consider the following, using the above-referenced survey as just an example of how many big league polls are conducted. Lets look first at the questions asked of those who bother to answer the poll.
First, the poll has between 30 and 40 questions in it, depending on which questions a respondent is asked. Considering the fact that most questions take at least 30 seconds to read and some questions ask up to seven sub-questions, at bare minimum it takes 20 minutes to answer and more likely (just a guess) 30 minutes or more for some folks. So what hardworking, productive member of a family, taking care of a business, house or family, has time to spare for such an opus? Likely not the type that fits the profile of a Romney voter.
And its hard to imagine a modern and sane cellphone user staying on the line so long but this poll includes 300 of them. Yeah, that fits my concept of cell users not.
But lets continue. This particular survey asks plenty of questions, such as whether the person answering the poll approves or disapproves of President Obamas job performance and how they feel about both Obama and Romney.
The person responding to the poll has not only been trapped into opining on President Obamas job approval, but their general feelings about the candidates. Now the jury is locked in by seemingly leading questions that they likely feel they must reflect when they are finally, several questions later, asked how they would vote for president.
So by the time the one question that will be at the top of ballots nationwide is reached, so many other positions and feelings have been expressed in taking the poll that many taking it might not utter the gut response that ultimately becomes a resolute vote.
Interestingly, in this particular survey, people seem to have much higher positive or somewhat positive feelings for the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. But later when they are asked which political party they would like to see control Congress, the split is nearly even.
Toward the end of the survey, we see that the percentage of individuals who identify themselves as Strong Democrat or Strong Republican is relatively low. More say they lean one direction or another or are independent and either lean toward one of the two parties or are just plain independent.
Many surveys being conducted not just nationally but in battleground states are weighted with a larger percentage of Democrat identified responses than Republican. And many, if not most, underrepresent the percent of voters who say they are independent.
In this particular survey, its hard to tell how party identification is finally weighted. But plenty of other national and swing-state polls make it clear that Democrat responses are weighted higher and the percent of independent voters, who are marching in Romneys direction, are underrepresented.
Polling is an art more than a science, and pollsters do their best. Its just that 2012 is increasingly starting to look like a year in which the polls will have to catch up to reality quickly. There are fewer younger voters and not all voting Democrat this go around; less enthusiasm among the Democratic base; and a giant shift of independents from Obama in 2008 to Romney in 2012.
Anything can happen, but if the vote were held today, it might be a Dewey Defeats Truman moment for many pollsters.
Ironic this topic... Romney has run a Dewey-styled campaign...
Maybe but Obama is not Truman or is this 1948.
Exactly. Besides, Gallup corrected their polling flaw from the 1948 election, and has since been pretty accurate with their final polls for the elections since.
bleeeech.... not hardly...and O MUST be defeated. like it or not Romney is the candidate that can do that
Very interesting article.
I used to be a low-level poll taker in the early 1980’s and I was kind of surprised by how many people were willing to sit through a poll back then. But:
1. Our polls were shorter.
2. There were far, far fewer marketing calls back then; the idea of a do not call registry didn’t exist.
3. This will sound like a comment that applies more to the 1950’s than the 1980’s, but people were still in the habit back then of dropping everything for a phone call, much more so than today when people still do that but it is considered rude to the other people in the room. The phone just didn’t ring all day long.
... roger that.
But Mitt has run on platitudes almost as much as Dewey and avoided
the hard issues that must be addressed. Without running on those
things, there is no mandate if he wins. Nor am I convinced he cares
about those things. It would appear we have jumped the shark on fixing
the things that may destroy us as a nation of Constitutional guarantees
Debasing of the dollar
Monetization of the debt
Crony capitalism between federal agencies and private industry
Over-extension of our great military
Increasing police state
Excessive regulation (more than 300 new pages of laws and regulations a day added to Register)
Circumvention of our Constitutional guarantees
Invasion of our privacy in all forms
Loss of the freedom to travel
And on and on...
As has been stated over and over again, no candidate has been over 50% this late in the Gallup poll and lost the election.
“bleeeech.... not hardly...and O MUST be defeated. like it or not Romney is the candidate that can do that”
Given that all that is true, why not run on the issues that count?
Its a virtual certainty that the statistical poling models are underestimating the huge surge Romney is enjoying in the southern Ohio coal belt.In 2008 the area was 55-45 Obama. Now it is minimum 60-40 for Romney. That is a turn around of at least sixty thousand votes. Enough for Romney to carry Ohio.
Let's see: Mr. Obama was acclaimed for his "masterful" oration, campaigning and cutting-edge use of the Internet and social media in 2008, when he crushed Senator McCain. Fast forward to today, when we have to assume that Team Obama is even more up-to-date than four years ago and has the entire news media on his side. Yet Governor Romney is either leading or tied in almost every poll vs. Mr. Obama, even though most pollsters are wildly over-sampling Democrats and left-leaning Independents. So how is Gov. Romney winning with a "Dewey-style campaign" as you claim? You're saying a 1948 era campaign can beat the best the DNC, Chicago machine, Soros, Hollywood, NGOs and Obama people can throw at them? How is that possible?
File this under “telling conservatives what they want to hear to help guarantee more hits for my web site” column.
Potential for leftist violence is a direct correlation to how much of a surprise the Romney win is perceived to be.
And the CALLS this year...I get 5-10 political calls PER DAY.
If a legit polling company called me, I wouldn't know, because unless I know it isn't political in the the first two seconds, I ALWAYS HANG UP. Who has time for this stuff?
I went down to GOP HQ to volunteer. They wanted me to make CALLS. Insane! CALLS? Really? it's just harrassment now. Constant harrassment.
“Yet Governor Romney is either leading or tied in almost every poll vs. Mr. Obama, even though most pollsters are wildly over-sampling Democrats and left-leaning Independents. “
I believe that is exactly why Romney is running a “safe campaign”, like Dewey - both thinking that’s all they need to do.
That doesn’t mean Romney can’t end up the winner. It means just that he is playing not to lose - and giving up a mandate on specific issues except being for jobs and spending more money on the military. That’s it?
Dewey lost with that strategy. He lost because Truman was liked - despite his problems - and he fought like crazy. Obama has not done that.
That rings true [no pun intended.] My 88 year-old mother still panics if she can't answer the phone before it goes to voice-mail. Isn't it funny to watch old TV shows and see people answering the phone WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING WHO'S CALLING!
I mean, OMG.
I like it... from your photo to God’s ears
And they can't even take the phone into the other room, because it's <gasp!> WIRED INTO THE WALL!!
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