CBS Poll: Still skewed, still unreliable

posted at 11:00 am on June 5, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

CBS hits the ground first among general-election polls after the official end of the primaries, and no one should be surprised to see Barack Obama leading John McCain. The margin will surprise a few people, as McCain remains in throwing distance at six points back despite the usual skewing of the sample by CBS. McCain only trails by six, and Obama has a big problem among Hillary Clinton supporters:

Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama holds a six point lead over his Republican counterpart John McCain, a new CBS News poll finds. Obama leads McCain 48 percent to 42 percent among registered voters, with 6 percent of respondents undecided.

The poll contains troubling signs for Obama as he looks to mobilize the Democratic Party behind him following his long and sometimes bitter battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, however.

Twelve percent of Democrats say they will support McCain in the general election. That’s higher than the 8 percent of Democrats who defected to President Bush in 2004. Nearly a quarter of Clinton supporters say they will back McCain instead of Obama in the general election.

McCain leads Obama by 8 points among registered independent voters, considered a key voting block in November. The Arizona senator leads Obama 46 percent to 38 percent, with 11 percent of respondents undecided.

That last number should have tipped CBS that their sampling was off … again. If McCain leads among independent voters by eight points, it makes little sense that he would trail overall by six. When adding in the 12% of Democrats who plan to defect to McCain, the overall number appears impossible.

Of course, with the CBS poll, nothing is ever impossible; it’s just a matter of juggling the numbers. In their original sample, they surveyed 930 registered voters. The registration comprised 27% Republicans, 40.5% Democrats, and 32.5% independents. CBS thought those numbers looked incorrect, and so “weighted” the numbers to get a better representation of how CBS sees the electorate. The final breakdowns?

  • Republicans – 25.5%
  • Democrats – 41.5%
  • Independents – 33%

CBS expanded the gap between Democrats and Republicans from 13.5% to 16%, while edging up independents slightly. Small wonder, then, that the Democrat leads in this poll. And that is among registered voters, not the far-more-predictive likely-voter samples, which tend to disfavor Democrats.

Even with that boost, the numbers do not look promising for Obama. Only 63% of Hillary Clinton’s supporters plan on voting for Barack Obama, while 22% plan on voting for John McCain. Another eight percent won’t vote at all, and only 7% claim to be undecided or don’t know how they plan to vote in the fall. That looks like a solid bloc of Democrats for McCain, especially given the option to choose Undecided and Won’t Vote instead of a binary McCain/Obama option. In contrast, John Kerry held all but 8% of Democrats in 2004 and still lost the race to George Bush — and Bush isn’t running this year.


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Comments

Still needs to be said…..we’re farked either way.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 5, 2008 at 11:09 AM

It is stunning Lord Historic doesn’t lead by 60 after the media blitz. Goodness, what will Europe think?

Marcus on June 5, 2008 at 11:10 AM

the media wants him to win
scary as hellheck

tottoritodd on June 5, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Good point Ed.

I’ve been amazed at how skewed much of this polling is. But then again they were all telling us that John Kerry had a slim lead for ages in 2004.

McCain 2008

Pax americana on June 5, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Yawn. These guys had Dukakis leading Bush Sr. by 17 points in August, 1988. How did that work out?

perroviejo on June 5, 2008 at 11:11 AM

I’m feeling bitter.

subbottomfeeder on June 5, 2008 at 11:12 AM

This can’t be good for Michelle’s children.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 5, 2008 at 11:16 AM

Republicans – 25.5%
Democrats – 41.5%
Independents – 33%

is that not close to current Party ID right now in the country?

We need a 3rd party run that would appeal to Hillary supporters, their Barr or something.

jp on June 5, 2008 at 11:16 AM

I like it. Maverick needs to work hard for this. False intelligence on your opponent putting him ahead just makes you bring out the bigger guns and expend more ammo.

War time elections are nothing to hold back on.

Hening on June 5, 2008 at 11:18 AM

The narrative that scares me:
The polling shows Obama way ahead
McCain wins
We was Robbed

They still think Gore won

What would happen if Obama loses?

Social civil war!

With Obama as the leader of the stolen party…..

Pretty scary

tottoritodd on June 5, 2008 at 11:18 AM

the media wants him to win

tottoritodd on June 5, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Yep. Just as the media was worth fifteen points in favor of John Kerry.

How did that work out?

newton on June 5, 2008 at 11:19 AM

If Obama loses this election, the media will definitely blame the “bitter people,” just as they blamed the “angry white men” in 1994.

The Media Is The Enemy.

newton on June 5, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Maybe the Bradley effect is not real, just a side effect of the way the media covers black candidates, skewing their numbers upwards then claiming that white people did not vote the way they were polled. Hmm.

Theworldisnotenough on June 5, 2008 at 11:21 AM

CBS is a left wing propaganda machine and their polls are not only biased, they’re mathematical garbage. The best approach is to constantly warn the public about the reliability and validity of this trash.

rplat on June 5, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Hold it! I meant “Are.”

Dang!

newton on June 5, 2008 at 11:23 AM

This just in: 100% of CBS pollsters admire Goebbels’ propoganda machine.

tottoritodd on June 5, 2008 at 11:18 AM

If they knew what the hell they we’re doing they would have McCain up by 20 points. The last time polling data decided the outcome of an election was 1948. Many Dewey supporters stayed home because they thought it was in the bag.

NotCoach on June 5, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Still needs to be said…..we’re farked either way.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 5, 2008 at 11:09 AM

we are SO more farked with Barry….

max1 on June 5, 2008 at 11:24 AM

we’re=were

NotCoach on June 5, 2008 at 11:25 AM

I’m currently booking the number of lawsuits filed if Obama loses the election. Any takers? The current O/U is 100,000.

Bishop on June 5, 2008 at 11:25 AM

VOTE THE HERO NOT THE “O”

max1 on June 5, 2008 at 11:25 AM

CBS and others ran very skewed polls starting in 2005, almost weekly when Bush was around 50% approval to I think gradually make his numbers go down and him being “unpopular” a popular notion, etc. bush helped some with amnesty and what not, but it started with media propaganda like this, skewed polls as news stories.

jp on June 5, 2008 at 11:26 AM

So, if CBS had not skewed the polls, McCain would lead somewhere six to eight points—–Good News.

Meanwhile the New York Times is already working on the “race card” to play into the general election:

“But pride — in Mr. Obama and in white voters who had looked beyond race, in the view of many blacks — was tempered for many African-Americans by an unsettling concern. There remains a fear that race, which loomed large in some primaries and has previously been successfully employed as a political wedge by Republicans, might yet keep Mr. Obama from capturing the White House.” Link (emphasis mine)

I sure wish the Times would have expounded on this “previous success” the author insist we conclude to be fact. And this is just the beginning.

Might as well tie both of McCains hands behind his back— when anything is said against Obama—–it will be called racial.

Rovin on June 5, 2008 at 11:30 AM

What would happen if Obama loses?
Social civil war!
With Obama as the leader of the stolen party…..
Pretty scary

tottoritodd on June 5, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Ehhh does anyone see a problem here? They are the party who wants to ban guns.

If Obama loses i’m wondering if they can find a way to pin the loss on Bush. “Arrrg People hated him so much they were blinded while voting and walked into ditches instead of voting booths, IMPEACH”

Rbastid on June 5, 2008 at 11:30 AM

AsI said in a different post, I just finished “Liberal Facism” and it didn’t mention Obama once. But it scared me to death.

Fascism can be both left or right

Dennis Miller(Not exact):
“my fear is that while we are call everyone Hitler the real Hitler will waltz right on by”

Probably an overreaction but I just can’t shake this feeling of dread….

I hope I’m just paranoid….

tottoritodd on June 5, 2008 at 11:31 AM

No matter how the numbers are skewed, the mere fact that so many Americans have been taken in by Obama is disturbing. We’re used to candidates getting traction with vapid promises and Marxist rhetoric, but he takes it to a new level.

Depressing as the prospect may be to some conservatives, the best thing for both the nation and the Democrats would be the rejection of Obama’s empty-suitism by Nixon v. McGovern margins.

MrScribbler on June 5, 2008 at 11:32 AM

It’s a matter of keeping the material up front and personal through November’s election on behalf of the MSM that won’t. Rove wrote of the need to organize in order to win. So we keep the lake choppy as Berry skis and his boat flies the banner: he’s walking on water NOT.

Worse than any contender, Berry is for sale. He leased himself to Islam, Rezco, the SDS and Black Panther laureates, and Wright to get where he is. There is absolutely no reason to doubt Obama’s intent to sell out all that could be held sacred about the USA to Iran et.al. in exchange for prime property in Dubai, Qatar or elsewhere globally, and international business arrangements linking back to ties made during his first job following Columbia ’83 graduation.

That Berry would assume that he can handle the likes of Ahmedinejad is madness based upon how “easy” it was to link up with and then dismiss Rezco, Wright and the rest of Berry’s old posse. Berry actually thinks he can give Ahmedinejad the cold shoulder after sharing a warm bath together at spa? No, Berry has no intention of standing up against Ahmedinejad, ever. That’s why the nicey PC talksy now from the Democrat Flimflam Man. He might weasel out a whine when he rolls over playing dead under attack from jihad, but that’s as much a fight as Obama will muster under the gun given the deals he makes. Obama will be known for personal realty holdings around the globe. His Chicago mansion will be squat compared to what he aims to TAKE from the White House. At least as Hillary took what wasn’t nailed down when the Clintons left the White House, it remained standing.

maverick muse on June 5, 2008 at 11:33 AM

That last number should have tipped CBS that their sampling was off … again. If McCain leads among independent voters by eight points, it makes little sense that he would trail overall by six. When adding in the 12% of Democrats who plan to defect to McCain, the overall number appears impossible.

I guess you should have considered the roughly twenty percent of Conservatives who would rather slam a portion of their anatomy in a sliding glass door than vote for McCain.

Perhaps your candidate of choice isn’t as strong as you think he is. Perhaps you should stop using the word Conservative, I don’t think that word means what you think it does.

Snake307 on June 5, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Nazis blamed Jews

Liberals(progressives etc.) Blame Bush and when he is gone they will blame carbon (ie Global Warming) a element that all life produces just by breathing (being alive)

probably just worrying too much though

tottoritodd on June 5, 2008 at 11:36 AM

And once again, the only polls worth a damn, Gallup and Rasmussen, have Obama up 1 and McCain up 2, respectively.

RCP and the other indexes should just switch to Gallup and Rasmussen. They’re the only ones who even came close in 2004 or this year, so far. Look up CBS’s predictions in the primary this year. I doubt Obama’s internal polls were that rosy.

HitNRun on June 5, 2008 at 11:38 AM

Probably an overreaction but I just can’t shake this feeling of dread….

tottoritodd on June 5, 2008 at 11:31 AM

I know the feeling.

petefrt on June 5, 2008 at 11:44 AM

CBS and others ran very skewed polls starting in 2005, almost weekly when Bush was around 50% approval to I think gradually make his numbers go down and him being “unpopular” a popular notion, etc. bush helped some with amnesty and what not, but it started with media propaganda like this, skewed polls as news stories.

jp on June 5, 2008 at 11:26 AM

You have to be kidding, Bush helped somewhat? Do you remember a few short years ago? Bush’s poll numbers dropped with each death in Iraq, and his refusal to consider a change of plan for how many months? He kept political anchors that even his own party was telling him to cut loose out of loyalty. McClellan for example, who gave the administration the appearance that they didn’t give a damn what people thought. The completely asinine mishandling of Katrina by every level of Government was the nail in the coffin of the Republican Party in the elections of 2006.

Instead of responding with information, the White House stood there and just said they were looking into the matter.

Reagan would have stood there and said. “So far, FEMA has sent some 1,000 helicopters and crews, 800 Ambulances and paramedic crews. 500 Electrical Crews. 650 Army field kitchen sets.” Then the Reagan team would have said something like. “We’re sending the material, but the State of Louisiana has not employed it to assist the victims in New Orleans. It has been 48 hours, and the National Guard has not yet been called up. I’m therefor Federalizing the National Guard and going in to get those people.”

Instead Bush met with Governor Blanco and told her to activate the National Guard, and agreed to give her, and the Victims, and the bad press, another 24 hours while she considered the offers? Bush opened the damn door, and walked into the wall avoiding the doorway entirely. He allowed the ideal that FEMA was doing nothing. Instead of explaining that FEMA did not have an army of sport shirt wearing people to show up and clean up, but co-ordinated the response of the several states and paid for everything. It required the local authorities to have some clue as to what was going on to effectively accomplish anything.

Bush helped somewhat? What do you say to someone who’s just been in an accident and is laying there bleeding? “That’s probably going to leave a mark.”

Snake307 on June 5, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Snake307 on June 5, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Something I agree with you on. CBS’ polling does not actually change anything, it only highlights their apparent bias.

NotCoach on June 5, 2008 at 11:53 AM

I’ve been amazed at how skewed much of this polling is. But then again they were all telling us that John Kerry had a slim lead for ages in 2004.

Yeah, but I remember how often we told ourselves that the polling was hopelessly skewed before 2006, and that didn’t work out too well.

JohnW on June 5, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Hell, it isn’t worth turning on the TV anymore anyway. CNN is as “fair and balanced” as Fox news these days. I saw it coming when they kept Geraldo. Skewed, yeah we’re skewed all right.

And yeah, fake poll numbers do equal real votes over time. Maybe if we really had a conservative candidate we should demand equal fake poll numbers since CBS etal are campaigning for Obama.

Buzzy on June 5, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Almost as bad as the skewed polling samples is C-BS’s admission of the margins of error on those samples. They’re up around 6%

Del Dolemonte on June 5, 2008 at 12:02 PM

Rasmussen’s poll numbers consistently show a party ID differential of about 6 to 10% in favor of the Democrats, not 16% as in the CBS poll. Use a realistic sample of the electorate, and Obama’s lead disappears.

But these skewed polls might be a blessing in disguise–they might lull Obama and his supporters into a false sense of complacency, and motivate the McCain campaign to win over “independent” voters and “get out the base”.

Steve Z on June 5, 2008 at 12:08 PM

I guess you should have considered the roughly twenty percent of Conservatives who would rather slam a portion of their anatomy in a sliding glass door than vote for McCain.

I personally don’t believe that there are that many people who combine masochism and megalomaniacal self-importance to that extent, though I agree that it’s a good characterization of the anyone-but-McCain gang on the right.

CK MacLeod on June 5, 2008 at 12:13 PM

If my memory serves me correctly (big assumption to be sure) I believe I recall polls taken about this many months before the Kerry / Bush election showing Kerry about 21 to 23 percentage points AHEAD of Bush. Well we all remember how that panned out.

So if the silly obviously skewed polls being generated by the LEFT at this point are ONLY giving Obama a 6% lead over McCain, this probably means that Obama is more like 12% or more points BEHIND McCain.

How do I make that calculation you ask? I’ve been around the block a few times and seen it all too many times before.

The polls we are seeing now are not worth the paper they are written on, mark my word.

Maxx on June 5, 2008 at 12:13 PM

But Obama is the right color to finally win!

History must be mnade, at any cost.

Even the nation’s.

It’s time!

profitsbeard on June 5, 2008 at 12:14 PM

No matter how the numbers are skewed, the mere fact that so many Americans have been taken in by Obama is disturbing.

I am remided of the movie the American President:

Chief of Staff: People are thirsty for leadership, they are so thirsty that they will crawl through the desert on their hands and knees and when they find a mirage, they will drink the sand”

President: People dont drink the sand because they are thirsty, AJ, they drink it because they dont know any better.

Squid Shark on June 5, 2008 at 12:14 PM

Rasmussen’s poll numbers consistently show a party ID differential of about 6 to 10% in favor of the Democrats, not 16% as in the CBS poll. Use a realistic sample of the electorate, and Obama’s lead disappears.

But these skewed polls might be a blessing in disguise–they might lull Obama and his supporters into a false sense of complacency, and motivate the McCain campaign to win over “independent” voters and “get out the base”.

Steve Z on June 5, 2008 at 12:08 PM

McCain has always been good at getting the independents. That is his base. The Moderate/Liberals. If you mean the Republican Base, the twenty percent or so of Conservatives? Forget it, he’ll never stop dumping on us, so we won’t bother voting for him. Seems fair, he’s never had a use for us before.

Snake307 on June 5, 2008 at 12:15 PM

There are lies, damn lies and statistics.

rbj on June 5, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Snake307 on June 5, 2008 at 12:15 PM

You mean he hasnt been beholden to you like a slave on the plantation.

Squid Shark on June 5, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Never trust any poll until the final one before the election. That’s the only one people ever remember and the one the pollsters have to live with post election, so if they blow the results by 8-10 points, it can cost their future subscribers. Any polls before then can be tweaked whatever way the sponsoring group wants, and it will just go down the memory hole when the next poll comes out a week later.

jon1979 on June 5, 2008 at 12:27 PM

McCain has always been good at getting the independents. That is his base. The Moderate/Liberals. If you mean the Republican Base, the twenty percent or so of Conservatives? Forget it, he’ll never stop dumping on us, so we won’t bother voting for him. Seems fair, he’s never had a use for us before.

Snake307 on June 5, 2008 at 12:15 PM

John McCain isn’t that liberal. He’s a fiscally conservative hawk. I think he’s deeply mistaken on McCain-Feingold and immigration, to be sure. I am still on the fence over whether McCain was right to have joined the “Gang of 14” on judges. But there is a huge chasm between McCain and Obama on nearly every issue.

McCain’s big sin, in my view, is the viciousness he employs when disagreeing with Republicans on issues (e.g. immigration). And I don’t know the degree to which the nastiness in the 2000 primary process contributed to that.

Still, the legitimately “conservative” major candidate in the GOP field this time was Fred Thompson who, God love him, didn’t have the fire in his belly to get the job done. And so, in this year of terrible GOP brand equity, the party’s “maverick” stages a come from behind victory. We just need to deal with it, hold our noses, and vote McCain. Hopefully McCain will force the party to toe the line on wasteful spending and enlarging the size of government.

Outlander on June 5, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Michelle O. was overheard saying over her Wheaties this morning… “I hate America again. America is just so mean.”

Griz on June 5, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Still needs to be said…..we’re farked either way.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 5, 2008 at 11:09 AM

we are SO more farked with Barry….

max1 on June 5, 2008 at 11:24 AM

No we’re not. The Republican Party will pay dearly in the long run if Johnny Mac is elected. If Obama is elected the party may move to the right. Either way the election goes, we’re farked, just in different ways.

fossten on June 5, 2008 at 1:01 PM

And this happened in 1982 here in California in the governor’s race between Democrat Tom Bradley and Republican George Deukmejian. Because Bradley had a big lead in polls right up to election day, and he lost, the Dinosaur, Drive-by, Mainstream Media says it is because Bradley was black. What is never pointed out is that California had 16 years of Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown. Anyone think that the California electorate just wanted a regular guy who would not be on a presidential or vice-presidential short list? Someone who would just be a good governor? And, all of the DDBMSM polls will be heavily skewed to favor Obama. I only trust Rasmussen!

righty64 on June 5, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Still needs to be said…..we’re farked either way.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 5, 2008 at 11:09 AM

I got my bonus this morning. I started doing the math on what it might look like next year under President Barry.

Ill be sending McCain my first check later today.

Chuck Schick on June 5, 2008 at 1:30 PM

The poll is probably even more skewed by the people who don’t want to appear anti-black when talking to a pollster.

duff65 on June 5, 2008 at 1:50 PM

Republicans – 25.5%
Democrats – 41.5%
Independents – 33%

is that not close to current Party ID right now in the country?

We need a 3rd party run that would appeal to Hillary supporters, their Barr or something.

jp on June 5, 2008 at 11:16 AM

Well… I’m not sure what the Party Registration numbers are… but for comparison, in 2004 37% of the voters self-ID’d as Republican, 37% as Democrat, and 26% as Independent.

Now, in principle it might be true that more than a third of the Republicans who voted for Bush in 2004 will take their marbles and stay home in 2008. And it probably will be true that Democrats who stayed home in 2004 will come out for Obama in 2008. But if the numbers are really that large, then the importance of that far outshadows the results of this minor poll, and CBS has buried the lead, dramatically.

ClintACK on June 5, 2008 at 8:10 PM

Still needs to be said…..we’re farked either way.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 5, 2008 at 11:09 AM

No, we’re not. Mike Huckabee will be the next POTUS.

Red Pill on June 6, 2008 at 12:41 AM