Quotes of the day

posted at 10:44 pm on September 26, 2012 by Allahpundit

Dean Chambers, founder of unskewedpolls.com, is expanding his empire after receiving calls of encouragement from Republicans this week.

Since his website caught fire this week for ‘unskewing’ presidential polls — Chambers re-weights national polling data on the assumption that more Republicans will vote than poll results show — the blogger has purchased two additional domain names: unskewedpolitics.com and unskewedmedia.com.

The websites will “essentially unskew the bias present in political events and media coverage of political events,” Chambers told BuzzFeed. “And not only will I continue with the [polling] project, I’ll be growing it too,” he said.

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The latest New York Times/CBS/Quinnipiac Poll shows Barack Obama trouncing Mitt Romney by 9 percentage points – 53 percent to 44. But is there a single objective political professional in Florida who actually believes Obama is leading by 9 points? In Florida?! Maybe I’ll eat my words on Nov. 6, but I loudly echo Florida GOP Chairman Lenny Curry’s sentiments on Twitter earlier today: “If you believe this mornings Fl Q poll I have swamp land to sell you. Come on man! This is Florida.”

So this brings us back to a complaint we’ve heard constantly from Florida political consultants on both sides of the aisle: Too many polls are based on an assumed electorate that has zero chance of occuring and therefore give a flawed view of the political landscape.

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[HUGH HEWITT]: Michael, the reason I called is the latest round of Quinnipiac polls for the New York Times shows Barack Obama with big leads in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. But it also shows a sample of plus nine Democrats in a turnout model for Ohio and Florida, and plus eleven Democrats in Pennsylvania. How do you assess the predictive validity of these polls?

[MICHAEL BARONE]: Well, I think, you know, I think there’s some serious questions about them. You know, we have to put this in context, Hugh. There’s some real problems with public opinion polling as an instrument. First of all, it’s inherently inexact. You know, random selection theory tells you that there’s an error margin, and that one out of twenty polls is outside that error margin. So let’s always keep that in mind. Second, there are low response rates now, which are a real problem. The PewResearchCenter reports that only 9% of the people that it calls are responding to polls. That’s way down from historic levels, and it raises the question are those people representative of the population as a whole that they’re trying to sample? You know, one thing that polls can’t tell you is the characteristics of people who won’t be polled. So that raises some serious questions. Are we getting skewed samples? We know from the exit poll phenomenon over the last many cycles that the exit poll results tend to come in more Democratic than the actual vote does, and measured at the same precincts. So there’s a question there. And third, we have an increasing population of cell phone only individuals, or households, who are probably tend to be younger, and probably in this election more Democratic than the population as a whole. Pollsters cannot use robocalls to call these people. They have to make expensive calls to cell phone exchanges, hand dialed, and this poses a real problem for public opinion pollsters. It’s more expensive. How many cell phone only people do you call? If those, if that population is, as the pollsters believe, significantly more Democratic, the decision on how many you call is going to affect the outcome of your poll. So and the fact is that we don’t know, because we’ve had an increase in the cell phone only population, what percentage of the voters they will turn out to be. So those are three problems that the pollsters face. Having said all that, looking at, for example, these Quinnipiac results, as you note, we see that they are more Democratic now than went Democratic in the 2010 electorate, which nationally was 35% Democratic, 35% Republican in party identification, but more Democratic than the 2008 electorate, which was 39% Democratic, 32% Republican by party ID. That’s out of line with what most political observers would have expected the outcome to be this year. Up until the Democratic convention, polling showed a consistently higher degree of enthusiasm, significantly higher, among people identifying as Republicans than among people identifying as Democrats. That gap has diminished, and I think I’ve seen one Gallup poll that said that self-identified Democrats actually expressing more enthusiasm after the Democratic convention. So it’s possible that we, you know, that Democrats are more likely to pass through the screens as likely voters or registered voters, or people interested in voting through the pollsters’ screens than they were prior to the Democratic convention. But we’ve seen these kind of polls all along, and they’re, you know, I think that you want to look at them with an asterisk in mind.

***

RUSH: I think we’re beating them in early voting. I think we’re beating them in absentee. I think our people can’t wait to show up. I’ll tell you, there’s another segment out there that nobody will ever poll, at least not the Gallups and the CNN’s and the New York Times and all that. There are a lot of people out there who are not happy at all over the encroachment on their religious freedom. There are a lot of people who do not like Obama telling the Catholic Church where to go and to get off doing that and so forth.

They do not like that. They’re never gonna be polled, but I will guarantee you (call ‘em the Values Voters) they are sitting out there and they, too, want to vote. They are chomping at the bit waiting to get to the polls. So I don’t think the suppression effort is going to work. However, the reason I spent time today addressing this and the reason I decided to is because there’s genuine fear that others will sit home.

I hear from people, friends of mine. “Oh, gosh, Rush! Do you see this? I’m worried our people aren’t gonna show up.” Nobody is worried about themselves. Nobody tells me, “I’ve had it! I’m fed up. Screw Romney. Screw Ryan. Screw voting.” Nobody’s telling me that. They’re still saying, “Screw Obama. To hell with Obama.” But they’re worried that people they don’t know are gonna be affected by it and will sit home.

***

On the same day that polls in two key battleground states — Ohio and Florida — showed President Obama growing his lead over Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate acknowledged that he is “pleased with some polls, less so with other polls.”

“Frankly at this early stage, polls go up, polls go down,” Romney said in an interview on Wednesday with ABC’s David Muir on the campaign trail in Toledo, Ohio…

“I’m tied in the national polls, both Gallup and Rasmussen have the numbers at even,” he told ABC News. “State by state you’ve got some advertising going on from the Obama people , which expresses their views on my positions which frankly, I think are inaccurate, and in some cases, dishonest.”

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