Which polls are, or aren’t, legitimate?

posted at 6:45 pm on September 26, 2012 by Allahpundit

I want to hear from commenters on this, as I think all bloggers are dealing with some variation of this problem right now. Standard practice on the site is for Ed and I to post any poll that we think you’ll find interesting, whether the numbers are good or bad; normally the readers are fine with that, if only because they can use the thread to goof on me for being a dirty, dirty eeyore. But for two months every four years, the calculus changes for some and they start screeching that posting bad numbers is an act of treason that might actually damage the GOP nominee’s chances. And in fairness to those readers, there’s a wisp of truth in that, sort of. As pollster John McLaughlin said to Jim Geraghty:

What Obama and his allies are doing now: “The Democrats want to convince [these anti-Obama voters] falsely that Romney will lose to discourage them from voting. So they lobby the pollsters to weight their surveys to emulate the 2008 Democrat-heavy models. They are lobbying them now to affect early voting. IVR [Interactive Voice Response] polls are heavily weighted. You can weight to whatever result you want. Some polls have included sizable segments of voters who say they are ‘not enthusiastic’ to vote or non-voters to dilute Republicans. Major pollsters have samples with Republican affiliation in the 20 to 30 percent range, at such low levels not seen since the 1960s in states like Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and which then place Obama ahead. The intended effect is to suppress Republican turnout through media polling bias. We’ll see a lot more of this.

The “anti-Obama voters” whom McLaughlin has in mind are swing-state undecideds who either voted for Obama in 2008 or stayed home and are now persuadable by Romney due to their disgruntlement over Hopenchange. They’re low-motivated fence-sitters. People who read partisan blogs every day are not. My guess is that our readership consists of two groups: 99 percent of you would walk barefoot through a snowstorm to get to your polling place to vote for Romney even if I was following you in an Eeyore costume, rattling chains and moaning, “Dooooon’t vooooote.” (I won’t actually do that, except maybe to Ed.) The other one percent are media types and/or liberals who are curious about what righty bloggers are saying on a particular issue. Neither of those groups will be discouraged by poll news, whether good or bad for their guy. Nor should they be: In case there’s any ambiguity as to the point of posting these polls, needless to say it’s not to discourage anyone from voting for Romney. You must vote, and the worse the numbers are, the more determined you should be to get out there because the deficit will have to be made up in higher turnout. Ed and I have spent four years explaining why another four years of Hopenchange dreck would be terrible; why you’d suddenly lose your determination to vote O out now because of bad numbers from the NYT or wherever is utterly beyond me.

The point of posting polls is to track trends in the race and try to get a rough sense of which states will ultimately decide the election, which strategies are working or aren’t, whether one side or the other has momentum, etc. Sometimes, like today, you get some highly dubious samples and you toss them out. Sometimes you don’t. My question is, if for some reason you’re not convinced that partisan blog readerships are essentially immune from being discouraged by polls, what should the rule be on filtering them? There seem to be three schools:

1. The “give us everything” crowd. These are the people who want the good and the bad. They’ll decide for themselves whether a poll is credible or not, but they want the data so that they can make a judgment.

2. The “give us bad news too but make sure you debunk it” crowd. They’ll accept discouraging numbers if a case can be made against the partisan split in the pollster’s sample to debunk it. Ed and I oblige on that whenever we can, but I’m not sure what to do with a poll like, say, today’s Gallup tracker, which has Obama suddenly out to a 50/44 lead among registered voters. Five days ago we were high-fiving over Gallup when they had Romney tied. Is the poll suddenly less credible now than it was then? Rasmussen seems to be the gold standard in credibility on the right, but what should we do if Romney’s numbers tick down there too? And what are we to do with the fact that Romney’s own pollster recently told Guy Benson that he’s expecting a national turnout advantage on election day of something like D+3? Should we be demanding a more even sample from pollsters than even Team Mitt is?

3. The “give us only good news” crowd. They think that posting bad numbers legitimizes those numbers and gives them wider reach, even if there’s an effort to debunk the sample. Essentially, they want a total blackout on downers until election day in the interest of leaving nothing to chance. Question: Does it mitigate the problem if we post a downer poll and post thoughtful analyses like Jay Cost’s and Brandon Gaylord’s that challenge the assumptions of the downer polls lately? If it doesn’t mitigate it, what are we to make of the fact that conservative warriors like Newt Gingrich, Erick Erickson, and Michael Walsh all seem to think that Romney’s campaign is underperforming and that the polls are a reflection of that? (Read Walsh’s conclusion, especially.) Is that higher or lower treason than posting a bad poll in the first place?

Those three schools broadly represent the spectrum of opinion on whether a partisan news site should be more newsy or more partisan. Group one wants to know what’s driving the news, even if it doesn’t trust the underlying data; group three wants victory above all else, even if that means suspending normal operations and ignoring bad news entirely. Group two wants a compromise. I prefer group one, especially since I think the fears of influencing the race by posting glum polls is baseless, but I have a lot of sympathy for group three even though they tend to be the nastiest with their criticism. We all want to win (even Eeyore!), and if you’re a sports fan, you know the special agony of being heavily invested in a contest whose outcome you’re helpless to influence. You’re not helpless in this one, of course — you can vote, and should — but the idea that merely mentioning bad news might sink Romney’s chances when we have fully seven weeks and four debates still to go is like sincerely believing that the Yankees lost because you forgot to wear your rally cap.

Like I say, I’m interested in reading your comments. I’ll leave you with this, from senior Romney advisor Ed Gillespie. Quote: “We have a no-whining rule in Boston about coverage in the media.” Click the image to watch.

Update (Ed): I was thinking about writing a post along these same lines after my analysis of the WaPo/ABC polls in Ohio and Florida.  I’m in Camp One, at least theoretically, and I’d hope most of our readers would be as well.  Otherwise, if we’re blowing sunshine up your skirts all year long and then it doesn’t end well, we’re all going to have that apocryphal Pauline Kael moment and wonder what happened.  I have sympathy for Camps Two and Three, and in practice I’d say we’re probably Camp One Point Seven Five anyway.

Polling really isn’t that mysterious, as I tried to explain in this post yesterday, but there is one other thing to keep in mind: you can have a good, predictive poll sample and still get the wrong conclusion.  Talking to 1,000 likely voters in Florida with a D+1 split is still just talking to 1,000 out of 8.2 million voters, roughly the number of ballots cast in the 2008 presidential election in that state.  There is a ton of math and statistical analysis that can estimate how well a poll can predict an outcome, but it’s a snapshot in time, and it can still come up with an outlier even with the most predictive sample.  That’s why it pays to watch all of the polls, even the ones with questionable samples, and keep an eye on intraseries trending at least as much as a single outcome. (RCP is a great resource for that purpose — as well as a great site overall.)

Just to reaffirm what AP wrote, we’re going to err on the side of more coverage rather than less.  That means not all of the news will be rosy, but you won’t get blindsided by the ups and downs that way, either.  One final thought to leave you with: we probably have a 42/42 split of die-hard partisans, with the middle 18% still open to be convinced.  Wait until after the first debate for numbers to actually start firming up.


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Overreact much?

KingGold on September 26, 2012 at 6:53 PM

Think “KingGold, whenever the name ‘Palin’ is uttered.”

JannyMae on September 26, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Here’s the way I see it:

People like us live and die (daily!??) with these polls. People who aren’t engaged don’t know Quinnipiac from Dairy Queen. They aren’t listening to the news about the election, nor are they feverishly discounting the absurdity of of a D+10 poll in Ohio.

Personally, I’m thinking all this great Barack-is-leading-in-the-polls-this-race-is-over news might actually backfire by motivating otherwise lethargic voters to vote him out and persuade the folks who may be inclined to vote for Barackabama, but won’t go out of their way that to vote for him that their votes aren’t needed.

SouthernGent on September 26, 2012 at 7:15 PM

The polls are facts: accurate or inaccurate, biased for, or against. So show us what they say, and we’ll see how things turn out. BUT sisters and brothers, I’d suggest you don’t waste emotional energy on them because they will change as we get closer to the only poll that counts. Of course many here enjoy wasting emotional energy, so have at it.
Randy

williars on September 26, 2012 at 7:15 PM

All of them. With a link to unskewed polls if you please.

Even the the polls that are bad for Romney are fun. The ABR’s and 0bama supporters (but I repeat myself), are fun to watch when they swap spit, and other bodily fluids, over bad Romney polls.

The rest of us are big boys and girls…for the most part.

cozmo on September 26, 2012 at 7:16 PM

The good, the bad, and the ugly – otherwise, you are spoon-feeding.

OldEnglish on September 26, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Let’s make this simple. The poll on November 6, 2012 is legitimate. The rest are not.

besser tot als rot on September 26, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Bingo!

JannyMae on September 26, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Wow, pokedinthegumby seems pretty excited about Zero’s chances in Wisconsin…

I guess we better just call it a day.

BigWyo on September 26, 2012 at 7:16 PM

And just what would that accomplish besides empowering the Democratic Party for a generation?

The GOP is steadily moving rightward in its policy stances. If that’s not fast enough, the problem is with you. As Reagan said, “a political party cannot be all things to all people.”

KingGold on September 26, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Sorry King but losing to the worst ever with high unemployment, all these food stamps, disabilities, world on fire and 380k jobless claims you need to be fired for being a dope, and if we lose they are all weak dopes with no balls

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Allah

1. Cover the polls.

2. Be honest about the samples and trends.

3. The problem is you going off all hyper-spastic on a regular basis over little. It pisses people off because it seems like you’re trolling for hits and replies.

4. Check your pessimism at the door. Unless the info is truly, unquestionably bad, put your hand in your lap, find your bag, squeeze, and show some restraint.

budfox on September 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

You can ignore specific numbers from polls you feel are slanted, but when there are clear trends (gallup, even Quinnipiac), those should not be ignored.

Don’t know if you like Jay Cost much, but I did find his take on the polls very interesting, and not sure if you are a Breibart fan, but this is also an interesting take.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/09/26/obama-struggles-with-independents

uncommon sense on September 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

cmsinaz on September 26, 2012 at 7:04 PM

I agree but it is too early to go for the jugular. You need to do it when it is too late for the Obama press and campaign to respond. What I would do is absolutely hammer him using harsh words like “failure” and specific events and not hit him with all of them at once.

For example, about 2 weeks before the election I would hammer Obama on his failure to show any support at all for the Green Revolution in Iran. I’d let that begin to simmer in the news cycle for a while. Then once the media gets spun up on that topic trying to twist it to Obama’s advantage, I would hammer him on his failure to support Democracy in Venezuela. Then I would hammer him for his failure on trade deals. Other than the South Korea, Panama, and Columbia deals that he signed but were negotiated by the Bush administration, Obama has done exactly nothing on trade. And so on. I would space these out so that by the time the media gets spun up on one topic, they are getting hit with a new one. I would make the criticism very bold so it attracts a lot of attention with words like “failure” and “disaster” and I would do it in the last two weeks of the campaign, just as economic numbers for Q3 are being released.

Right now there is no reason to do that. Romney is probably running ahead right now so there is no need to do that.

crosspatch on September 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

SouthernGent on September 26, 2012 at 7:15 PM

from your keyboard SG

cmsinaz on September 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Allah,

I think you left out an important variable. Geographic location.

Between the never-ending “news” on polls and living in a swing state I’m sick of most everything except what the candidates say and do in real time.

And it isn’t just the national race. Virginia has a critical Senate race where both candidates are well known by the electorate and Maryland (in the same media area) dealing with gay marriage, dreamers, a screwy redistricting scheme, and the desire to add another casino.

November 6th cannot come soon enough because you can’t watch television or listen to the radio without being innundated with these ads. One will tell you that Mitt Romney wants to kill women and the next one will tell you that the rat-eared bastard is anti-business. Whatever truth there is in any of these is lost among the noise. I hold the constant reporting on the polls in the same light. Fewer such polls on HA would be welcome respite. Especially the unreliable ones. There is no way that “Oiho” went from toss-up to game changer in this past week but that is the way the story is being played.

Happy Nomad on September 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

I want it all. The good, the bad and the empty chair.

Curtiss on September 26, 2012 at 7:18 PM

If these polls are right then there is nothing we can do.The country is lost now and forever.The freeloaders and takes have won and will continue to take until there is nothing left to take.Then they will get mad and burn the place down.AKA Greece and Spain.

logman1 on September 26, 2012 at 7:18 PM

JannyMae on September 26, 2012 at 7:15 PM

What, you think the campaign should issue a press release complaining about their treatment every single day, including putting “poll” in quotes each time it’s not Romney-by-10?

Why don’t you ask how the “poor me,” eternal victim campaign worked out for O’Donnell, an expert practitioner in that style if there ever was one?

KingGold on September 26, 2012 at 7:18 PM

I want it all

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM

1. The “give us everything” crowd. These are the people who want the good and the bad. They’ll decide for themselves whether a poll is credible or not, but they want the data so that they can make a judgment.

I vote for “give us everything.”

It seems to me that those in favor of items two or three want Hot Air to a nanny, and guide its readers to “right” thinking. In short, they want Hot Air to protect the weak willed from getting discouraged.

Presumably we’re voting to stop the “Nanny State”. I don’t think we’ll accomplish that by insisting on “Nanny Reporting”. People need to make up their own minds.

MessesWithTexas on September 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM

I’m tracking all the absentee ballot requests in Ohio if anyone is interested.

http://tinyurl.com/bvfsb7u

Marked improvement over 2008

commodore on September 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM

I’m just worried about a preference cascade, like the uncomfortably gleeful way every ratings-hungry and self-serving pundit is pouncing on Romney and his campaign right now. If crappy polling data keeps getting promulgated, the media runs with it, and each time that happens, more and more voters get peeled off.

KingGold on September 26, 2012 at 6:50 PM

That’s what I’m afraid is happening…

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Finally! A poll on polls!
see you on the next thread

OTTO on September 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM

99 percent of you would walk barefoot through a snowstorm to get to your polling place to vote for Romney even if I was following you in an Eeyore costume, rattling chains and moaning, “Dooooon’t vooooote.”

Note to our Salem overlords: I would pay very good money for video of this.
pookysgirl on September 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM

LOLOL! Hilarious! I would also definitely pay to see a vid of this. In fact, Allahpundit, you ought to make it your avatar until Election Day. Shouldn’t be too hard to find some rags, chains and money boxes, a la Jacob Marley.

PatriotGal2257 on September 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM

crosspatch on September 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

i don’t know about that, early voting has already started….

we’ll see where he goes…

cmsinaz on September 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM

I’ll quote Eastwood somwhat ” If they (GOP) dont do the job you have to let them go.”

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM

OT: Now on Drudge, the funniest photo layout I’ve seen in a long time. Hillary, Zero, Putin, and the school lunch Nazi! ROTFLMAO!

ElectricPhase on September 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM

My mom just called all panicked about the Gallup poll. I told her don’t follow polls they are full of crap.

How many people don’t know that though?

gophergirl on September 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM

I think group three is flattering us by thinking our reach — or any blog’s reach — is much, much, much greater than it is.

Allahpundit on September 26, 2012 at 6:54 PM

That’s called leading from behind. :)

We’re craving leaders.

faraway on September 26, 2012 at 7:21 PM

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM

oh yeah

cmsinaz on September 26, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Any poll that has a weight anywhere close to 2008 is immediately discarded. For example, in Ohio, the supposedly bad polls have a Democrat weight of five points more than 2008. That is not reality. Discard any polls with national turnouts of anywhere near D+7

picklesgap on September 26, 2012 at 6:52 PM

R’s have a Voter identification Advantage of +4 and an enthusiasm advantage which was +10 last time I saw it measured. Discard all polls which aren’t at least R+ 5. A D+9 poll is actually D+14, at least.

Basilsbest on September 26, 2012 at 7:21 PM

How many people don’t know that though?

gophergirl on September 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Read the thread. :P

Axe on September 26, 2012 at 7:21 PM

More than a few commenters claim that the polls themselves are being deliberately manipulated to produce a false/misleading result.

I’m not talking about the complaints over sample weighting. I’m talking about the outright accusations that 1) the polls are phony, 2) the people doing the polls know that they’re phony and 3) that the pollsters are deliberately promulgating data to produce results that they know to be false, in order to somehow influence how voters will cast their ballots on Election Day.

What I’d like to know is: where’s the evidence?

If I call 1000 people and get 10% more Democrats than Republicans on the phone, then I toss out some of the Democrat responses at random and don’t use them for the poll. So if I get 500 Republicans and 555 Democrats, I have the computer select the desired number of each party to maintain the expected ratio.

If I DON’T do that and if I produce a poll where I *know* the sample is completely unlikely, then I am deliberately skewing the poll.

crosspatch on September 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

The “both Obama and I care about the middle class” and “Obama’s a nice guy” crap from Romney is milquetoast rhetoric for losers. I’m not suggesting a scorched-earth campaign of rage but the McCain-staffer Romney campaign is too concerned about being perceived as mean in the eyes of single white females aged 35 to 60 with no kids and a degree.

The polling trend in the swing states, weighted wrong or not, is not good for Romney. Anything can happen but I’m getting a queasy McCain deja vu feeling.

Obama’s team has NO scruples about knifing Romney in the ribs at every single opportunity while Romney and his team aren’t willing to tell Ohio and Florida voters point-blank that Obama is going to destroy them if he gets another four years.

Romney and company think they can win by citing statistics about unemployment. Obama knows that he can and will win with emotional manipulation and vicious lies (just like the crypto-fascist that he is). One side can punch hard, the other just doesn’t have it.

Django on September 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

My mom just called all panicked about the Gallup poll. I told her don’t follow polls they are full of crap.

How many people don’t know that though?

gophergirl on September 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Madam, I have been putting out fires for 2 weeks and I’m getting exhausted

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Read the thread. :P

Axe on September 26, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Let me guess, a mix of trolls and ABR’s saying Romney sucks! Obama rules!

Am I close?

gophergirl on September 26, 2012 at 7:23 PM

That’s called leading from behind. :)

We’re craving leaders.

faraway on September 26, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Then turn your ass around and fall in! :)

(I get queezy when people underestimate their influence, but it would be a hijack.)

Axe on September 26, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Sorry King but losing to the worst ever with high unemployment, all these food stamps, disabilities, world on fire and 380k jobless claims you need to be fired for being a dope, and if we lose they are all weak dopes with no balls

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Can you really not fathom the possibility that the country is indeed lost if that’s the case?

If over 50% of the voting population becomes dependent on the government and perceive the Democrats to be their sugar daddy, then it’s only a matter of time before conservatism goes extinct as a governing majority anyway. In that case, not even a Reagan could win. I pray we reverse course before that happens. Otherwise, this may very well be the last election we have a decent shot of winning.

Stop assuming that the Republican Party is so powerful that we could only possibly be losing because of our own failures. We’re running against the parasite class, the urban liberals, and the biased media all at once. Cut the party just a little slack.

KingGold on September 26, 2012 at 7:23 PM

OOOHHHHHH Allah following Ed around in an Eeyore suit!

An answer to fan-girl dreams.

Although you will always be a candy@ss Rino to me, AP.

Lily on September 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Am I close?

gophergirl on September 26, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Nah. Not that bad. Though, if you check back in an hour or two …

Axe on September 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Madam, I have been putting out fires for 2 weeks and I’m getting exhausted

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

No kidding. I am encouraged though – my coworkers keep asking questions about Romney and Obama. Good questions too.

If they are asking – that means others are too.

gophergirl on September 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Give it to me straight, AP.

peski on September 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Django on September 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

I Agree

You can’t be nice and I dont want nice as a President.

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

A crappy candidate waging a crappy campaign, so instead of admitting you were wrong to support this guy (like you DIDN’T do back in the primaries….remember that?), you blame it all on bad polling.

Back in the primaries, you KNEW Mitt was a joke, but you reluctantly supported this guy after every other looney dropped out simply because you hate Obama more. And now that your bad dream is coming true, you’re just too cowardly to admit you were right all along.

cornfedbubba on September 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Hey AP!! Why not just outsource the whole polling operation to Nate Silver?

*ducks*

abobo on September 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM

As it stands, the claims of conspiratorial falsification seem unsupported. I can understand hating a poll result that’s not to your liking, or having complaints about methodology, but when you’re accusing an organization of outright fraud, you should have at least a shred of proof of that. Does anybody have some?

Drew Lowell on September 26, 2012 at 7:09 PM

I’m not going to take a side on this one way or the other…..but really, who’s going to stop them from doing just that???

Is there a law against it???

The only thing that keeps them honest is what their polls are reporting right before the election…and even then they can say “We don’t understand what happened..”

BigWyo on September 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM

…so the more incompetent that JugEars shows himself…the better his poll numbers get!…I think I understand!

KOOLAID2 on September 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM

I never watch ABC, NBC, CBS news…but tonight flipped through all their lead stories…..total hatchet job on Mittchurian….all 3 lead with their cooked poll showing Romney down 8 to 12 points in FLA, Ohio and Pennsylvania;

cut to Romney clip about 47% percent…..then Romney response is edited with talking head (who isn’t even present with Romney pretending he is looking him in the eye), pretty much telling him game is up…and Romney response is edited to some blather…

cut to a stupid new ad by idiot Romney…where he says….”both the president and I care about the poor and struggling but our policies are different”, jackass…..

nothing on mideast burning and economy on life support….

vilebody on September 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Polls are for strippers, so spin away.

faraway on September 26, 2012 at 7:26 PM

gophergirl on September 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

See we shouldn’t have to do that though the Romney Campaign should of been done with this already, we are way behind if we are explaining

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 7:27 PM

I prefer you posting all the polls you see fit. Your analysis of the internals is helpful and give reference points on how credible I end up thinking a poll to be. We really won’t know until Nov. 6th how accurate any of them are and then we’ll have this year’s polls to gauge the next election, I guess.

poli-nana on September 26, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Give us all the intersting polling news, good and bad, and (where appropriate) praise or critique the methodology.

I’m trending toward Eeyoreism myself this week, but I read this and it cheered me up a bit. From Slate in mid-September 2000, on why the polls mean Bush is toast and Gore is a lock to win:

Since Labor Day, the media have released about 20 polls on the presidential race. Three show a dead heat, one shows George W. Bush leading by a single percentage point, and the rest show Al Gore leading by one to 10 points. In the latest polls, Gore leads by an average of five points. It’s fashionable at this stage to caution that “anything can happen,” that Bush is “retooling,” and that the numbers can turn in Bush’s favor just as easily as they turned against him. But they can’t. The numbers are moving toward Gore because fundamental dynamics tilt the election in his favor. The only question has been how far those dynamics would carry him. Now that he has passed Bush, the race is over.

acasilaco on September 26, 2012 at 7:27 PM

vilebody on September 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Yea I see Mccain all over again it’s pretty much over

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 7:28 PM

3. The problem is you going off all hyper-spastic on a regular basis over little. It pisses people off because it seems like you’re trolling for hits and replies.

4. Check your pessimism at the door. Unless the info is truly, unquestionably bad, put your hand in your lap, find your bag, squeeze, and show some restraint.

budfox on September 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Give me an example of me going truly, sincerely “hyper-spastic” over a poll. I don’t mean shtick, where I’m doing the “dude, I’m nervous” eeyore routine. I mean a genuine example of me saying, “No fooling, guys, I think we’re finished” or something like that.

Allahpundit on September 26, 2012 at 7:28 PM

As it stands, the claims of conspiratorial falsification seem unsupported. I can understand hating a poll result that’s not to your liking, or having complaints about methodology, but when you’re accusing an organization of outright fraud, you should have at least a shred of proof of that. Does anybody have some?

Drew Lowell on September 26, 2012 at 7:09 PM

I’m not going to take a side on this one way or the other…..but really, who’s going to stop them from doing just that???

Is there a law against it???

The only thing that keeps them honest is what their polls are reporting right before the election…and even then they can say “We don’t understand what happened..”

BigWyo on September 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM

We’ll find out soon enough. I frankly think this “pollster conspiracy” talk is nonsense. The nation was stupid enough to elect Obama once – there is no reason they can’t be stupid enough to do it again. The debates are probably Romney’s last chance to turn it around.

Doomberg on September 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM

I count myself among the second group (and assumed that’s how you and Ed had been approaching this). Hiding from bad news or polling isn’t good, but it should all be taken with a grain of salt. People also need to use it as motivation to double, even triple what they’re doing now to turn these numbers around and make everyone on MSNBC very sad on Election Day.

changer1701 on September 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM

I say just keep doing what you’ve been doing. You do an excellent job of breaking done the internals of the polls. Sure, sometimes I want to shoot Eeyore. Okay, maybe not shoot him, just hide his tail for a while. I want you to post all the polls, because,I’m sure like most die-hards here, I will see it anyway and I do want to hear your opinions. Even when they are wrong. :)

tbrickert on September 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM

70% of ballots will still be cast on election day. Early voting matters, but many of the mail-in ballots that are considered “early” are actually dropped off at polling places on election day. Many states have no early voting.

Oregon is considered 100% “early” votes because their elections are 100% mail in ballots but don’t have to be marked early.

crosspatch on September 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM

vilebody on September 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM

and the folks who don’t pay close attention will believe that tripe…

dang it

cmsinaz on September 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Allah, good questions. I have nothing to add to your post. But there is a much larger question lurking in the background. How can we, as voters trust the information, if the base of that information is false. Trust is a choice too.

flackcatcher on September 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Django on September 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

I didn’t like what you said, but I tend to agree. I hate that I agree, and I just don’t know where THAT Mitt Romney is. The Mitt Romney that took a sock and stuffed it so far down Gingrich’s throat that Newt was speechless. Where the eff is he?! In a way his laid back attitude makes me think his internal polling says he’s doing O.k..

In any case, he needs to broom the neglected Nellie old maids and worry about all the rest of the “undecideds”. The single woman who think Obama is their savior are the same dummies who think they’re going to meet a nice guy in a bar.

BettyRuth on September 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Media polling is just a variation of the tactic of releasing misleading early exit polls. If it didn’t work to some degree, they wouldn’t be doing it.

mpthompson on September 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

I just uncovered the media/Dem’s polling instructions:

- Keep calling until Obama’s ahead.
- Add 6%
- Issue ‘Obama inevitable’ talking points to journolist

faraway on September 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

This is how Romney can turn things around. You must talk to what’s important to the American people so you make a commercial sayying that Obama is going to Ban the Iphone 5 and he supports the NFL Ref Replacements. People will go beserk because nothing else matters

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

I like the internals and the polls so I have information if someone like my eeyore husband talks about them. But it is a rollercoaster and Im not sure what to make of it all. I live in a red state and the majority of my friends and relatives are conservative. I have two liberal friends one that never votes and one that says she will never vote republican no matter what. Shes talking about just not votine this year because she is so disappointed in Obama. Im waiting for the debates and am hoping Romney comes out swinging and does a good job.

ldbgcoleman on September 26, 2012 at 7:31 PM

I’ll consider any national poll up to a D+7 legit.

JimLennon on September 26, 2012 at 7:31 PM

the best thing imho is to pay attention to likely voter screens and how mitt does in Indies/Rs.

however national polls don’t do much for me at this point. I want OH, VA, WI, etc. Basically I want likely voters in the swing states…with no weighting (exc. demo)

gallup can be swayed by an outpouring of luv from NY, CA.

having said that, i’m sorry to say i tend to agree with Walsh. There are a lot of demagogues in the world, because demagoguery works.

Machine politics works. Patronage works. and, in the long run we’re all dead…per Keynes

r keller on September 26, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Oregon is considered 100% “early” votes because their elections are 100% mail in ballots but don’t have to be marked early.

crosspatch on September 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Quite true. And if it’s the case that Oregon winds up close, we may as well just call the election for Romney right there.

KingGold on September 26, 2012 at 7:31 PM

I take it the majority of you have forgotten one of the standard rules of the never ending ‘Drinking Game’ here at Hot Air…


“156a. During any election, any time a poll is posted… DRINK!

*clinky!*

:)

Seven Percent Solution on September 26, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Sauce for the goose. I don’t care about polls – I just want to watch the “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment on MSNBC, election night.

DarthBrooks on September 26, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Report them all. Only sissy Republicans, like Joe Scarborough, freak out over the polls. But, I think the polls are irrelevant and shouldn’t take up too much of your news coverage. Turnout will decide this election. Conservatives will not be deterred from voting, because we all know this is our last stand. Let the left fool themselves. It could backfire on them on election day.

GMO on September 26, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Rather than picking and choosing based on good/bad news, use data from pollsters who achieved better than average results +/- 1.97% last on cycle election.

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/05/pollster-ratings-v311.html

Its a good mix and eliminates many/most media polls. (Fox, ABC, CNN, Gallup). Who don’t do a great job at polling.

If you have that kind of standard, the good news/bad news issue is moot.

NextGen on September 26, 2012 at 7:34 PM

I tend to think that national polls are accurate. That Jimmy Carter +9 over Reagan a week before the 1980 election was pretty spot on, wasn’t it?

joejm65 on September 26, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Seven Percent Solution on September 26, 2012 at 7:32 PM

*clink*

:)

debate #1 next week…
oh yeah

cmsinaz on September 26, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Pollsters have long Presidential historical turnout data to rely on. In the last 10+ presidential Elections, 2004 was the closest Republicans got and it was still Democrats +1. Even During Reagan years, it was Democrats +5 in average.
Why are you all insisting in using the 2010 model where conservatives turned out big and overal turnout was down 1/3 and the minority vote down about 40% (compared to 2008)? Does anyone here believe that Blacks and Latinos are not gonna turn out close to their 2008 numbers? That’s why it will be more likely D+5 (if the Romney campaign has it D+3, it’s the best case scenario). The minority and young people vote gives Democrats a big lift during presidential Election years an dthat’s what pollsters are RIGHTFULLY factoring. For example, the reason North Carolina is still competitive is because of the likely black turnout.

Anyone here believe that Mitt Romney is ahead? Take a campling of white men, white women and minority and see how many will vote for Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney is not connecting with the average American (besides conservative and moderate white men) and is currently losing. The FIRST debate is his only chance to turn it around…Blaming polls is not going to change anything.

jules on September 26, 2012 at 7:36 PM

I can understand hating a poll result that’s not to your liking, or having complaints about methodology, but when you’re accusing an organization of outright fraud, you should have at least a shred of proof of that. Does anybody have some?

Drew Lowell on September 26, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Does “JournoList” ring a bell?

mpthompson on September 26, 2012 at 7:37 PM

btw, romney has had lots of money to spend..tons.

and i hope, big time, that a good chunk of that has gone into really good polling. The cell-phone stuff is a hard change…and it is really expensive to do good polling on cell phones

i hope like hell that they have really good internal polls on OH etc, i mean like 1000s of respondents

the pollsters like gallup will get sober real quick at the end of October

r keller on September 26, 2012 at 7:37 PM

I didn’t like what you said, but I tend to agree. I hate that I agree, and I just don’t know where THAT Mitt Romney is. The Mitt Romney that took a sock and stuffed it so far down Gingrich’s throat that Newt was speechless. Where the eff is he?! In a way his laid back attitude makes me think his internal polling says he’s doing O.k..

BettyRuth on September 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

This is likely the problem: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/yahoo-exclusive-republicans-disclose-private-call-too-dangerous-175828684.html

Doomberg on September 26, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Answer: it is higher treason.

douglucy on September 26, 2012 at 7:38 PM

I’m in the ‘pollsters lie to fit an agenda save when the agenda is doing so bad they can only outrageously lie and hope not to be caught at it’ camp.

There are some exceptions:

- Asking the exact, same question year after year at roughly the same relative sample size to population.

- Anything not remotely related to politics that isn’t sponsored by someone with skin in the game,

- Rasmussen who gives you lots of data, lots of polls, and covers not just here and there but day in, day out, every day, three day tracking, weekly tracking, monthly tracking and demographic tracking, which is nearly impossible to find anywhere else.

That first exception is demonstrated by Pew doing the gun law tracking question since the 1960′s, and seeing a slow and steady decline for more gun laws over decades until it went from a majority to minority position back under Clinton. A fascinating long term trend. Similarly the ‘trust in government’ poll done since the Nixon administration. Apparently people trust themselves with guns more and government less and by a wide margin, too. That tells you a lot about America.

The second is tracking of trends in popularity of items (say soda vs coffee vs bottled water) over years. Generally frivolous, but only useful to Nannystaters who want to show just how bad it is that people buy things Nannystaters don’t like… which is just about anything…

Rasmussen plays it straight up, takes heat from all sides and has a good pulse of the electorate. The organization appears to be genuinely interested in the American people’s political trends which is refreshing. Even with that their 1-day and 3-day poll tracking is very noisy, the weekly less so and the monthly tends to get the long-term trends. Rasmussen is rarely off by more than a 3 point margin… of course most of the polls are within that save when you have a candidate truly on fire or in flames.

The rest… meh.

Its trollbait.

ajacksonian on September 26, 2012 at 7:38 PM

The only problem is the volume of the ‘poll posts’.

Hotair shoult limit itself to one or 2 poll posts a week. In that poll post they should cover as many polls as it thinks appropriate.

This will allow for all the polls to be included without burying people with an endless string of ‘hot poll’ posts that tend to be trying to create an opinion rather than report one.

To me, ALL of these polls are useless at this point. Virtually all of them will be wrong by more than 10 points when the actual votes are counted.

Freddy on September 26, 2012 at 7:39 PM

No fooling… just give us everything. But… give us the splits. And tell us what a reasonable split is for this poll..

faraway on September 26, 2012 at 7:39 PM

2. The “give us bad news too but make sure you debunk it” crowd.

Me. I can get all polls on the net. Debunking is why I’m here.

petefrt on September 26, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Unfortunately Willard is all about the polls.

As Mark Steyn said, Mitt’s consultants have organized his campaign message around the likes and dislikes of 50 “soccer moms” sitting in a focus group in an Ohio PR firms conference room. There will be no “breakthrough moments” for Mitt in the debates. His responses will be crafted for the focus groups and will be as bland, inoffensive and inauthentic as Willard has been to date.

kingsmill on September 26, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Regardless of what the polls indicate
Mutts for Mitt all agree …
Better in the crate than on the plate.

timberline on September 26, 2012 at 7:42 PM

The debates are probably Romney’s last chance to turn it around.

Doomberg on September 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Well see, there ya go…uhh…

Turn what around???

BigWyo on September 26, 2012 at 7:42 PM

timberline on September 26, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Better on the roof of the car than on the roof of the mouth.

ajacksonian on September 26, 2012 at 7:45 PM

I’m in the first camp. Let’s see them all. However, honeslty, I don’t put a whole lot of value in polls for some of the reasons Ed mentions. It’s actual votes that matter.

I may be jaded because I’ve taken a bunch of stats for my field and the more you learn the more you realize how easily mistakes are made and/or how easy it is to manipulate results. That goes for polls and all stats the media et al regurgitates without actually caring about the methodology used. My feeling is that most statistics fall into the ‘garbage in-garbage out’ category.

Journalists should really be required to take a couple of stats courses for their degree – they are constantly reporting piss poor stats and their associated “conclusions”.

batter on September 26, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Live and die by Rasmussen Reports. Thats what I am doing. They have been the most accurate in the past, so I am going with them and ignoring all other polls. With leaners, Mitt is two points ahed nationally. Obama is one to three points ahead in some important swing states. Thats where the election currently stands.

Jack_Burton on September 26, 2012 at 7:47 PM

One thing I would suggest is to totally quit reporting any PPP polls. They are pure partisan garbage.

Mark1971 on September 26, 2012 at 7:48 PM

I’m in group 1, but want to know what the pollsters are doing to the data…for purely selfish, emotional reasons. I’m trying to plan my life around the outcome of this election…I’m a nervous wreck right now thinking about Obama getting back in for 4 more, hellish years. It looks like there is going to be no relief in reading the polls.

The only poll I trust is Rasmussen…everything else is highly suspect. When Rasmussen says things are bad, I assume they are…and vice-versa. Doesn’t mean their right, but at I doubt they’ll buckle to pressure from Obama.

BTW, I do straight ticket voting…never have and never will vote for a Democrap.

AUINSC on September 26, 2012 at 7:49 PM

“I tend to think that national polls are accurate. That Jimmy Carter +9 over Reagan a week before the 1980 election was pretty spot on, wasn’t it?”

Reagan actually consistently lead Carter from mid-Sept on in the average of all polls…

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/debunking-a-myth-reagan-was-leading-carter-long-before-that-final-october-debate/

gumbyandpokey on September 26, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Weekly Rasmussen is fine. Just the numbers, readers can supply the commentary.

Anything else is chumming the waters for hits.

Less polls, more content that requires thought, please.

ajacksonian on September 26, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Look at the world around you, Grasshoppers. Look at the faces on Drudge. See the empty stadiums and the sparsely attended rallies; the tired, mechanical action of the media lapdogs as they do their daily spin; the pathetic expressions of the flacks as they lie and stonewall, trying to run out the clock. This isn’t a matter of polls but of passion. The liberals already know they have lost this one. Their internals probably show them down by at least 5 nationwide. Only a Mitt meltdown or a Wag the Dog Military Strike on Iran or Wherever can retrieve the Dear Leader’s prospects at this point.

O Allah, Merciful and Compassionate, report all polls but clearly show the numbers. For verily I say unto you, Behold, a poll that trendeth much to Democrats showeth no truth, but thou shalt love the poll that is reputable and reflecteth current party self-identification of R+3 or R+4, for so it was in 2010, so it shall be in 2012, and the GOP kicketh much ass in the fields of the Lord. Amen.

spiritof61 on September 26, 2012 at 7:52 PM

1. The “give us everything” crowd. These are the people who want the good and the bad. They’ll decide for themselves whether a poll is credible or not, but they want the data so that they can make a judgment

Sign me up for this one AP. I always want to know what the other side is up to. Good thread too.

bluefox on September 26, 2012 at 7:52 PM

I’m a cup of Camp 1 with two packets of Camp 2 stirred in to sweeten things up. I can take bad news, but I want the assumptions behind it. If you are going to weight a poll towards 2008 turnout, as if 2010 didn’t happen fine, but let me know.

All’s fair in love, war, and politics, so I accept that the other side, which includes the media and most of the pollsters, are going to try to surpress Republican enthusiasm and turn out. Fine, why don’t we do it to them, too?

Run ads that don’t mention Romney or the Republicans, but which attack Obama for his failed promises to the left. It’s not like there isn’t a ton of material to chose from. Run ads in lefty college enclaves praising Obama for drone strikes, the Bin Laden kill, and keeping Gitmo open. Run Spanish language ads highlighting Obama’s meaningless promise of immigration reform. Run ads during Oprah’s show reminding women what Barack Obama did to their dream of Hillary becoming the first female President. African Americans, Latinos, Commie College kids, and liberal women are never going to vote Republican in any meaningful way, but we can get them riled up, and willing to withhold their vote. Every non vote for Obama is a vote for Romney.

Mr. Arkadin on September 26, 2012 at 7:55 PM

This is likely the problem: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/yahoo-exclusive-republicans-disclose-private-call-too-dangerous-175828684.html

Doomberg on September 26, 2012 at 7:37 PM

It was an interesting article, and I’ve no doubt that the Romney campaign is scared to death of being perceived as “mean”, but they’re wrong. Anyone who still holds this Gawdawful man in high esteem is too stupid to be allowed to vote, and is not really a potential, “turn”. They’re going to listen to their trusted NBC, or CNN, and vote accordingly. Obama is a born con man that has been enabled, first by affirmative action and now by the media, and thanks to these low information, Kardashian wannabe, lazy leeches, we stand to have America go straight off a cliff. Romney HAS to risk being ripped by the media and go full ugly all over Obama.

BettyRuth on September 26, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Have you seen CNN/MSNBC muslima-pundit Mona Eltahawy being arrested for vandalism in the NY subway? Delicious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=P0jSSLleGiY

rayra on September 26, 2012 at 7:55 PM

I prefer to deal with reality, so I am fine with the way HA has been covering the polls. Sticking your fingers in your ears doesn’t do you any good in life.

McDuck on September 26, 2012 at 7:56 PM

1. The “give us everything” crowd. These are the people who want the good and the bad. They’ll decide for themselves whether a poll is credible or not, but they want the data so that they can make a judgment.

I’d prefer more than less, but even if you provide everything, there should be at least some analysis of what’s good vs. what’s suspect or just plain bad. I thought that Pew poll a while back that had a redonkulous +19 Dem sample was worth reporting to call out garbage polling.

Conversely, omitting all bad polls is foolish. We are not Liberals. We’ve all seen first-hand what happens when folks live in their own bubble where nothing gets through. Obama has done that to himself and it’s been an unmitigated disaster. Pass. I’ll take as much as you can give me, good and bad.

rcpjr on September 26, 2012 at 7:56 PM

35% of the total votes cast for the Presidency in 2012 are from early voters? Wow. Anyone know what that might mean for the outcome?

gracie on September 26, 2012 at 7:56 PM

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