From today’s Morning Jolt…
Come on, Washington Post. Come . . . on. Come on!
As they say on ESPN’s NFL coverage, “Come on, man!”
You can’t make the basis of your headline — your screaming, top story, above-the-fold right-side-of-the-page headline, “Race Is Tight, But Not in Key States” when you’re working with a sample of 161 people. You just can’t.
Well, I guess you can, but when you do that, you strengthen the arguments of the folks who think all of the pollsters this cycle are corrupt, biased, putting their fingers on the scale, and putting out unrealistic or inaccurate numbers to help the Obama campaign create the perception of an impending landslide, trying to depress Republicans and win over undecideds with the bandwagon effect. I don’t think all pollsters are alike; I contended that much of what we were seeing was a combination of groupthink — that a political environment even better for Democrats than 2008 was quite possible, instead of extremely unlikely — and a steadfast refusal to acknowledge that conservatives and Republicans might be much more likely to refuse to respond to a pollster. To borrow a phrase from your former sportswriter Michael Wilbon, putting a poll with a margin of error of eight percentage points — and then not mentioning that to readers at all in the article — is “sorry, no-account” partisan spinning on your front page.
Look at every national poll in the Real Clear Politics average: at least 400 respondents, usually 500 to 600, sometimes many more. Look at all the state polls — roughly same sample size, roughly same margin of error — three, four, maybe five percentage points once in a while.
Bryan Preston: “The Post should probably have not published that poll at all. They could have published it honestly with a disclaimer that its sample size was among the smallest ever used in a presidential poll. But that disclaimer would have robbed the story of its shock value, and this is the MSM we’re dealing with.”
Apologies to Campbell Kaufman, whose earlier post today predicting an Obama victory was well-thought out based on the information at hand in the mainstream media, but this WaPo goofery is precisely what Pat Caddell was talking about over the weekend when he attacked the Powers That Be among the press for presenting a distorted sense of reality to the American people.
Obama isn’t winning this election, and he’s not winning those swing states the polls have him winning. It’s not 2008, Mitt Romney is not John McCain, Obama doesn’t represent Hope And Change and every college kid in America isn’t proselytizing to his or her friends to go vote Democrat.
But the samples of those polls are built as though it is. They’re skewed at least 10 percent too heavily to the Democrats in nearly every case. They’re built to reinforce a narrative that the mainstream media is trying to convince the public is true.
And like Geraghty says, it’s not necessarily the product of some grand conspiracy. What’s more likely is that groupthink is involved. The Beltway conventional wisdom has it that Obama is winning due to demographics, so running polls which say that’s not the case won’t cut it.
And so the polls are skewed D+8, D+10, D+6 as though the electorate will reflect a D+8 sample like it did in 2008.
There is no indication that Democrats are more excited about voting for Obama than Republicans are about voting against him. None. There is no indication that Democrat voting strength is on the rise; even in Ohio and other swing states, where the media continues to insist Obama is winning, Democrat voter registration is tumbling.
Voter registration in the Buckeye State is down by 490,000 people from four years ago. Of that reduction, 44 percent is in Cleveland and surrounding Cuyahoga County, where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than two to one.
“I think what we’re seeing is a lot of spin and hype on the part of the Obama campaign to try to make it appear that they’re going to cruise to victory in Ohio,” Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman Rob Frost said. “It’s not just Cuyahoga County. Nearly 350,000 of those voters are the decrease in the rolls in the three largest counties, Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Franklin.”
Frost points out that those three counties all contain urban centers, where the largest Democrat vote traditionally has been.
Ohio is not alone. An August study by the left-leaning think tank Third Way showed that the Democratic voter registration decline in eight key swing states outnumbered the Republican decline by a 10-to-one ratio. In Florida, Democratic registration is down 4.9 percent, in Iowa down 9.5 percent. And in New Hampshire, it’s down down 19.7 percent.
Those voters aren’t necessarily switching from Democrat to Republican. In fact, most are switching to independent.
But Obama carried 90 percent of the Democrat vote across the country in 2008. Can anyone think of a reason why Democrats who voted for Obama in 2008 would abandon the party yet still vote for him this time?
Not to mention the fact that traditional methods of polling are yielding far more unreliable results than in the past. Pew admits that response rates have fallen from 36 percent to nine percent in the last 15 years…
So anything based on these polls which say that Obama is somehow pulling away from Romney despite a catastrophic failure of his foreign policy, indications he has stalled out the economy with an avalanche of mismanagement and evidence of widespread corruption and mendacity from Benghazi to Ciudad Juarez – all of which are admittedly being dutifully swept under the rug by the majority of the legacy media – is simply not credible.
This race isn’t over. To the extent it is, it’s to Obama’s detriment – not Romney’s.
A prediction – tomorrow night, the Beltway conventional wisdom will be that Obama won the debate. Within a week the YouTube viral video coming out of the debate and energizing the electorate will be on either Obama’s gaffes or Romney’s zingers. And the polls will show no movement for Romney – but what they will show is the same Democrat skew, if not more, to reproduce their current results.