The useless NBC/WSJ poll

posted at 9:50 am on March 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Today is likely to be Poll Day, as we try to analyze the potential outcomes the day before ten states hold their nominating contests in the Republican presidential race.  Let’s start on the lighter side with today’s NBC/WSJ poll, which is a great tool — for having a few laughs.  Neil King reports that Mitt Romney has taken a six-point national lead among Republicans, and that Barack Obama has again hit 50% in job-approval ratings:

Mitt Romney has regained the lead in the Republican presidential contest thanks to new support from conservatives, while evidence emerges that the bitter nomination fight has damaged the GOP candidates’ standing among the wider public, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

The resurgence of Mr. Romney, who hadn’t led the Journal poll since November, lays the path for a potential matchup against a president whose own position is strengthening. President Barack Obama’s approval rate hit 50% in the poll, its highest since last May, as more voters expressed confidence in the economy.

Why is this laughable?  The poll was taken among 800 adults, not registered voters or likely voters, the usual and more predictive models for political surveys.  In the case of Republicans, the sample data states that they needed an “oversample” of 185 voters (additional interviews above the 800 conducted in the main polling) in order to get to 400 interviews with GOP primary voters.  That would put the original sample at about 27% Republican, which is a fairly significant undersample.

But we don’t need forensic math to determine that.  Question Qf1b/c asks respondents whether they voted for Obama or McCain in the 2008 election.  The split from that question is 43/31 Obama, with 18% who didn’t vote at all (Obama won the national popular vote by seven points in 2008).  The next question on midterm election voting has 32% not voting at all in 2010.

Clearly, this is skewed toward Democrats and useless as a predictive model for voting in 2012.  One has to wonder why they bothered to publish the results.

Update: I missed Q13; Jazz Shaw pointed it out to me:

Strong Democrat ………………………   18
Not very strong Democrat ………….   9
Independent/lean Democrat ……….   16
Strictly Independent …………………..   18
Independent/lean Republican ……..   15
Not very strong Republican ………..   7
Strong Republican …………………….   13
Other (VOL) ……………………………..   3
Not sure …………………………………   1

So the D/R/I in this poll of adults is 27/20/49, which is even more risible.  If you include leaners, it’s 43/35/18.  Either way, it’s nonsense.  My apologies for missing it in the first place, though — usually this question gets asked with the rest of the demographic questions at the end of the survey.


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DHChron
Well got to get rollin, maybe I’ll see you later tonight.
Have a great day ppl’s

angrymike on March 5, 2012 at 11:06 AM

later angrymike

DHChron on March 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Well, this will explain to you. It’s from the same WSJ poll. People are not stupid, they know government can’t do anything about gas prices. It’s free market.

Salahuddin on March 5, 2012 at 10:32 AM

What free market are you familiar with that has the government restricting the production of a product? By definition, it ain’t a free market.

I guess we can change your quote to “SOME people aren’t stupid”

dirtseller on March 5, 2012 at 11:18 AM

These are the best posts, breaking down the polls and showing what smoke and mirrors is all is. Thanks so much!

perries on March 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM

These idiots are all like monkeys. Follow the big monkey around and be led by the nose. Like they say, monkey see, monkey do. Obamba leads these idiots the same way.

rjulio on March 5, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Great work Ed. We love fighters.

faraway on March 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Does NBC use the same polling methodology each time they post their results: use an only adult sample, similar partisan breakdown, because if they do than it does show some improvement for Obama since last May.

For the record, I very much dislike Obama.

earlgrey133 on March 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM

You’re right in the sense that people are not stupid. Because, unlike you, they are surely aware that when the leader of the #3 oil producer enacts an energy policy that does nothing but restrict the supply of oil, then prices are bound to go up. Simple economics. As you say, “it’s free market.”

WarEagle01 on March 5, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Dude, Oil supply in the US is 8 years high and demand is 15 years low. How can you explain that, “genius”?
Oil prices are set in the oil futures market by hedgers and speculators. The mere theory of supply and demand does not determine the price of oil. Otherwise how can you explain that while the US’s demand of oil is declining, which btw consumes one fifth of world oil, yet the prices are going up!

The world does not revolve around the US and the prices of oil are set by a world market. Regardless of what just happens in the US.

Don’t you think Iran threatening to close the strait of Hormuz has something to do with the current spike? or it’s just that as long as we can blame it on Obama?

Salahuddin on March 5, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Which is why whenever I see a poll used as a reference I take the time to actually find said poll and see the fine print at the bottom before I even think of considering the stats. After viewing the whole thing I find it easier to simply dismiss them 9 times out of 10……..my real poll will be the elections in Nov………

Karla1953 on March 5, 2012 at 11:35 AM

This is why I pay no attention to any of the polls. It’s quite possible that even a well-executed poll is missing a significant portion of the population on any side of an issue. But even more important: on any given day, anything can happen–that’s why they play the games (as in sports) and that’s why we vote. Nothing is predetermined, and if you believe it is you might turn out to be wrong so regardless what anyone says it’s important to exercise your right as a US citizen and vote anyway–no matter what the stupid insidious polls say.

stukinIL4now on March 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Ed:

“One has to wonder why they bothered to publish the results.”

Same reason they always do: to push an outcome they hope to have to those who are sheep and will not do the due diligence that you do of actual analysis.

If a poll says “More Americans approve of X than Y,” well who wants to be in the unpopular minority position when it’s safer to go with the majority, especially when you don’t pay all that much attention to the issues?

People are risk averse. Going against the grain is more difficult because it invites challenge or, worse, alienation. It’s peer pressure writ large, and the pollsters work for it. The readers here know this isn’t new under the sun, but a significant population doesn’t care enough to follow nuance or are too ignorant (and I don’t mean that as an insult) to understand.

I know this is all redundant and obvious, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to appreciate the meta of the process. Those soliciting for social molding know the importance of “trivial” polls.

AnonymousDrivel on March 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Can’t wait to see ythe face of rightwingers when Obama wins in November

I will guess the blog topic will be

“uselesss Voters”

liberal4life on March 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Clearly, this is skewed toward Democrats and useless as a predictive model for voting in 2012. One has to wonder why they bothered to publish the results.

One has to wonder? Then one hasn’t been paying attention.

This is part of the media’s “Obama is popular, and his re-election is inevitable” meme. They’ll be pushing it from now through November, using any means necessary (including phony polls).

They have to try and depress Republican voter turnout; it’s the only chance Barry/Baraka has.

AZCoyote on March 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

I like the pic of Baracka.

It just screams useless. Kind of like idiot4life.

HumpBot Salvation on March 5, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Former Agent: New Bill Effectively Outlaws Protests Anywhere Secret Service Deems Off Limits.

Could protestors unknowingly run afoul of the Feds and face prison for exercising their First Amendment rights?

Yes, according to some analysts, and all that‘s needed is President Obama’s signature for a new law to give the Secret Service powers more befitting the Praetorian Guard.

Even former 15-year Secret Service veteran Dan Bongino has raised alarms, as he told the Blaze that House Resolution 347 creates an America in which ”you could accidentally be in a cordoned off secret service controlled area and find yourself in jail.”

“This was done to send a message to both sides,” Bongino said, “Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party” could be affected by this. “It’s a very serious issue.”

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/former-agent-new-bill-effectively-outlaws-protests-anywhere-secret-service-deems-off-limits/

Zcat on March 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Dude, Oil supply in the US is 8 years high and demand is 15 years low. How can you explain that, “genius”?

FYI—-The 8 year high has everything to do with production on private lands. I think you’ll find that production on the lands Umbama controls id down quite a bit.

Oil prices are set in the oil futures market by hedgers and speculators.

And you don’t think that a pronouncement by the president of the United States that the production from public lands was opening up full throttle that the “hedgers and speculators” would respond in like kind? You know so much about free markets, you should be able to figure this out.

dirtseller on March 5, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Can’t wait to see ythe face of rightwingers when Obama wins in November

I will guess the blog topic will be

“uselesss Voters”

liberal4life on March 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

If that were to happen I would go with “useless idiot voters” myself.

HotAirian on March 5, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Can’t wait to see ythe face of rightwingers when Obama wins in November

I will guess the blog topic will be

“uselesss Voters”

If the Messiah loses will you ever come out of your Moms basement?

buckeyerich on March 5, 2012 at 12:24 PM

And this poll also shows that only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul run competitive with Obama (Romney -6, Paul -8). Both SweaterVest (-14!) and Gingrich (-17!!) get crushed by the Bamster.

Electability.

JohnGalt23 on March 5, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Dude, Oil supply in the US is 8 years high and demand is 15 years low. How can you explain that, “genius”?

One must assume that you believe demand is lower than supply.

Regardless of how much is being produced and how high the demand is, as long as demand is greater than supply the price increases.

Also, since oil is a world market the growing demand in China and India are cancelling out the decline in demand in the US.

In other words, world demand is rapidly increasing. Supply is not keeping pace. And yes, unrest in the future supply of oil drives up the price.

What is being done world-wide to curb the price of oil?

BobMbx on March 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Can’t wait to see ythe face of rightwingers when Obama wins in November

I will guess the blog topic will be

“uselesss Voters”

liberal4life on March 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

It will probably pretty similar to what your face will look like when you realize what Ameritopia really is.

earlgrey133 on March 5, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Former Agent: New Bill Effectively Outlaws Protests Anywhere Secret Service Deems Off Limits.

Zcat on March 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Not to worry. Captain Piccard will save us.

BobMbx on March 5, 2012 at 12:27 PM

They have to try and depress Republican voter turnout; it’s the only chance Barry/Baraka has.

AZCoyote on March 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

they have to TRY and depress Repulican voter turnout??

svs22422 on March 5, 2012 at 12:29 PM

It has been proved repeatedly that Rasmussen polls are among the MOST ACCURATE of all. Unlike the lunatic-left fake polls conduced by Washington Post, NYT, abc news, cbs, and the other lamestreamers, Rasmussen does an honest, real-life sampling – not a skewed mixed designed to favor the d-cRAT socialists by INCREASING the percentage of blacks and other lunatic-left leaning groups (as PPP, GfK/AP and the Washington Post, in particular, do) or INCREASING the sampling in blue-states and cities (as the NYT and A(lways)B(iased-socialist)C(lowns), in particular do), or inflating the percentage of d-cRAT socialists in the sample (as ALL of the leftist pollsters/propagandists/LIARS do).

Believe Rasmussen – ignore the others.

TeaPartyNation on March 5, 2012 at 2:25 PM

One must assume that you believe demand is lower than supply.

BobMbx on March 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Uh, that statement makes absolutely no sense. Supply and demand move independently of one another, and quantity supplied will meet quantity demanded at an equilibrium price.

JohnGalt23 on March 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Can’t wait to see ythe face of rightwingers when Obama wins in November

I will guess the blog topic will be

“uselesss Voters”

liberal4life on March 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

whistling past the graveyard

Conservative4ev on March 5, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Oil prices are set in the oil futures market by hedgers and speculators.

There they are again, the elusive but evil speculators. They always get blamed, but somehow I’ve never heard an explanation how speculation causes price increases. Suppose I drive by the gas station and gas is $3.99 and I think that tomorrow it will be $4.19 so I buy gas. Then further suppose that tomorrow it actually is $4.19, am I responsible for the increase in gas prices? I’m not exactly sure what’s wrong about that. Buying a commodity because you think it’ll be more expensive later seems pretty reasonable to me.

Goldenavatar on March 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Oil prices are set in the oil futures market by hedgers and speculators.

There they are again, the elusive but evil speculators. They always get blamed, but somehow I’ve never heard an explanation how speculation causes price increases. Suppose I drive by the gas station and gas is $3.99 and I think that tomorrow it will be $4.19 so I buy gas. Then further suppose that tomorrow it actually is $4.19, am I responsible for the increase in gas prices? I’m not exactly sure what’s wrong about that. Buying a commodity because you think it’ll be more expensive later seems pretty reasonable to me.

Goldenavatar on March 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Oh yeah, why doesn’t anyone blame OPEC? I mean, aren’t they a cartel whose very purpose is to set the price of oil?

Goldenavatar on March 5, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Ed:

“One has to wonder why they bothered to publish the results.”

Same reason they always do: to push an outcome they hope to have to those who are sheep and will not do the due diligence that you do of actual analysis.

AnonymousDrivel on March 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Yep. Eye on the ball. We should at least be aware that polls are published most often to manipulate the public. For the same reason that dictators hold pseudo-elections to pretend they have public support.

tom on March 5, 2012 at 6:15 PM

I know people like to bash the polls, but you know a candidate is in deep, deep trouble when his/her supporters use the tired refrain “the only poll that counts is on election day.” The fact of the matter is that the polls were right on the money when Bush narrowly beat Kerry and Obama destroyed McCain. In fact, was there ever a Presidential election where the polls were wrong (outside margin of error)?

gumbyandpokey on March 5, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Regardless of how much is being produced and how high the demand is, as long as demand is greater than supply the price increases.

Also, since oil is a world market the growing demand in China and India are cancelling out the decline in demand in the US.

In other words, world demand is rapidly increasing. Supply is not keeping pace. And yes, unrest in the future supply of oil drives up the price.

What is being done world-wide to curb the price of oil?

BobMbx on March 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Oil prices are set in the oil futures market by hedgers and speculators.

Both of these are correct to some extent–if supply decreases or demand increases, oil prices tend to increase, and oil-futures traders do tend to exaggerate whatever trend supply/demand would indicate. Oil prices are also being driven up by uncertainty over oil supplies from the Persian Gulf, if Iran blocks the Straits of Hormuz.

But oil-futures traders can move prices in BOTH directions, including downward if they anticipate increasing future supply. This is what happened in late 2008 after President Bush opened offshore areas for drilling–traders anticipated an increase in oil supply from the United States over the following years, and oil prices dropped 60% within 6 months from July 2008 through January 2009.

Obama’s closing the Gulf of Mexico and refusing the Keystone XL pipeline gave traders a reason to anticipate decreasing future supplies, which is helping to drive up prices. If Obama or his successor were to reverse these policies, oil-futures traders would anticipate increasining future supplies, and the price of oil would decline sharply.

Steve Z on March 6, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Only a little less than 24,000 to go . . .

Trochilus on March 6, 2012 at 9:56 AM

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