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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I say post everything…and say if you believe it or not, the partisan breakdown, etc.

We are smart enough to figure out the rest.

neoavatara on September 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Any poll more than dem +3

any poll that has less than 25 percent independent

also suspicious but not always.

high percentages of blacks and hispanics in states that don’t have
high percentages of blacks and hispanics.

any poll higher than 53 percent women

gerrym51 on September 26, 2012 at 7:58 PM

” Romney HAS to risk being ripped by the media and go full ugly all over Obama.”

That’s what he would do if he truly wanted to win. IMO, he’s more concerned about losing gracefully. But McCain ran this kind of campaign, too, so why is anyone surprised. Nominate a spineless RINO, and this is what you get.

gumbyandpokey on September 26, 2012 at 7:58 PM

I wrote to RCP a few weeks ago on this issue. We have legitimate reason to believe that some polls are better than others and historically are so. As a result of that, I recommended that they do the responsible thing and WEIGHT the polls.

While I watch ALL the polls, I only really run with the Rasmussen polls – they (and only they) have my confidence. They poll only LIKELY and they tell you why they are weighting what they weight. I guess starting on Oct 1, they are including leaners in their polls. I think that some pollsters have figured out that they can ‘warp’ the RCP average with their Obama + 10 polls – and RCP should protect itself from that.

As for HA, well, to be fair … you should be fair. Report them all. And as I often see, rip those apart that are clearly partisan or have an agenda.

I would hope that RomRyan can spend some cash and INFORM the public in 10-15 minute commercials that outline reality and why they are truly a better choice. Polling is just a subset of the bias in the media and they have to get their message out around the mainstream media.

1_more_opai on September 26, 2012 at 8:00 PM

gumbyandpokey on September 26, 2012 at 7:50 PM

He’s referring to Gallup, which had Carter ahead in Oct.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/111451/late-upsets-rare-happened.aspx

Nice try, propagandist.

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Oh and this posting by allahpundit is completely stupid. The point is to examine and analyze the content, methodology, histoic biases and improper sampling of the polls, not idiotically censor or shun them. The unspoken converse of course being to blindly accept ANY of them. Which is just as stupid.
Allahpundit and Ed still don’t seem to get it. The polls are political theatre. Contrived opinion makers for the most part, not mere mirrors of reality.
The issue is not too few or too many or which ones, the issue is YOUR GULLIBILITY AND INTELLECTUAL LAZINESS in accepting ANY of them at face value.

rayra on September 26, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Nonscientific Poll:

Do you believe that Obumbles has ever “Butt-chugged” his white house ale?

If you answered yes to the question above, who do you believe participated with the president in this adventure?

Tim_CA on September 26, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Well, you’ve push polled the wording in your post to make Camp 1 the good one, so it’s obviously going to win.

But I’m in the camp where you don’t repeat liberal propaganda, except occasionally to laugh at it. Focus mainly on conservative issues since it is a conservative blog.

sauldalinsky on September 26, 2012 at 8:01 PM

gumbyandpokey on September 26, 2012 at 7:58 PM

No one cares what you think, Jim Messina. Go play in your van.

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 8:02 PM

I am worried about Ohio. I have no idea why Ohio would vote for Romney other than they may not be happy with their Governor. The auto-bailout is not a sufficient reason.

Ca97 on September 26, 2012 at 6:53 PM

The only one that Ohio is unhappy with is Obama. Our Gov is just fine and if it wasn’t for the great things he’s done in this State, B.O. wouldn’t be taking credit for it.

Evidently you didn’t live under Gov Strickland that left the State with a huge deficit.

bluefox on September 26, 2012 at 8:02 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

Eh, good catch. I was looking at just Gallup, which had Carter way ahead in late October.

joejm65 on September 26, 2012 at 8:03 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

Loool :) Billary looks like Nanny McPhee in that pic :)

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Quinnipiac Pollster Admits: ‘Probably Unlikely’ That Electorate Will Feature Big Dem Skew

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-sheffield/2012/09/26/quinnipiac-pollster-admits-probably-unlikely-electorate-will-feat

rayra on September 26, 2012 at 8:06 PM

We keep hearing there are no ads in Wisconsin, no yard signs, etc.

Is there ANYONE here that lives in a swing state that has seen MORE Romney stuff than Obama?

Remember when Dole destroyed the gop primary opponents…….and his campaign was merciless?

Remember when McCain destroyed the gop primary opponents…….and his campaign was merciless?

Remember when Mitt destroyed the gop primary opponents…….and his campaign was merciless?

Notice a pattern here?

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Just pretend its 2016 and insert the new RINO of choice in that previous post.

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:08 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. Blogs speak to a few thousand like-minded readers. You guys are all voting Romney, no matter what. What’s the harm in mentioning the Gallup tracker, then?

Allahpundit on September 26, 2012 at 6:54 PM

I think HA’s reach is greater than you think AP. I read and monitor many blogs/forums and you’d be surprised how many Dem voters quote HA threads and articles by you and Ed and others:-)

You are held in higher esteem than some other conservative sites!

bluefox on September 26, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Any poll that samples Democrats equal to or higher than 2008 exit polls is illegitimate.

Any poll that samples Democrats equal to or higher than the average of 2008 and 2010 exit polls is probably illegitimate, but those inclined might want to investigate further. I wouldn’t bother.

Elections results are all that matters and the election trends from the fall of 2009 through the most recent support this assessment. I’ve seen no contrary evidence.

Any other poll may or may not be legitimate depending on other factors and analysis.

farsighted on September 26, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Nonscientific Poll:

Do you believe that Obumbles has ever “Butt-chugged” his white house ale?

If you answered yes to the question above, who do you believe participated with the president in this adventure?

Tim_CA on September 26, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Libfree???

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Well, you’ve push polled the wording in your post to make Camp 1 the good one, so it’s obviously going to win.

But I’m in the camp where you don’t repeat liberal propaganda, except occasionally to laugh at it. Focus mainly on conservative issues since it is a conservative blog.

sauldalinsky on September 26, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Speaking of laughing at things. The only thing ‘conservative’ about this blog is its color scheme. And about a third of its posters-customers. The rest is RINO-Liberal at best.

rayra on September 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Cool story bro.

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Just pretend its 2016 and insert the new RINO of choice in that previous post.

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Neah, maybe santorum and gingrich are still available…

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM

rayra on September 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Feel free to leave, then.

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Notice a pattern here?

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:07 PM

No, and u r a pain in the patoot, chicken-little.

gracie on September 26, 2012 at 8:10 PM

O/T Gov Kasich coming up on O’Reilly

bluefox on September 26, 2012 at 8:10 PM

I am late to this poll of polls; however, thank you both for asking! So, I am going with this one…

I say post everything…and say if you believe it or not, the partisan breakdown, etc.

We are smart enough to figure out the rest.

neoavatara on September 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Give us the facts, and let us intelligently and emotionally comment on them. Everyone here, with the exception of the trolls, has decided that O must go. So maybe bad polls will motivate some of us to do what we can to make sure that happens! If O wins than I am glad to have a place like Hotair to come to. We will have to gather to save America’s a$$!

texgal on September 26, 2012 at 8:12 PM

I’m a give us everything with the supporting data so we can see where the numbers came from…. and when possible I like to see how the questions are posed and what the choices were for those polled.

We all remember that wonderful poll that declared Fox News viewers were uneducated hicks – but it turned out that the pollsters had selected the right answers on topics such as TARP, the stimulus and Global Warming. You only agreed with their answer if you knew absolutely nothing about those topics.

Personal preference for a standard is Rasmussen – he’s been within a .5% on 2004 and 2008.

2nd Ammendment Mother on September 26, 2012 at 8:12 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.

BettyRuth on September 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

I don’t really like it either. ;-) But I’m pretty sure it’s true, unfortunately.

Another factor (that I don’t particularly like):

I’ve lived in California all my life but I have some relatives in the Midwest. They are older, middle-class white people. They’re all over their Facebook accounts calling anyone who opposes Obama a racist.

It’s as if they think the old, warmed-over political correctness washing in from California is “hip” and the truth. They want to jump on the bandwagon. Never mind that California is now a total freaking catastrophic disaster, both financially and socially, and people here in California can no longer deny it.

I get the feeling they are so eager to tell themselves they’re non-racists who think the “correct” way that they will do anything, including destroy the country, to get that pat on the head.

I’m worried that Ohio and Michigan and Minnesota are full of those types of people. They can vote for big union socialism and tell themselves that they’re morally superior while doing it.

Django on September 26, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Mitt…….another graceful loser…..in the great tradition of Ford, Dole and McCain.

America—–pull trigger, bullet to head. Superpower suicide complete.

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Aww..baby sad? If you’re going to be all negative nancy, then be quiet.

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 8:18 PM

I say no evil.

Have at it guys.

Steveangell on September 26, 2012 at 8:18 PM

AP and Ed, I’m of the opinion you guys should cut back on posting so many polls altogether. Not so much because I believe polls to be deliberately biased for Obama or that I can’t take bad news, but because not every poll is politically relevant, even if it’s methodologically sound.

jas88 on September 26, 2012 at 8:18 PM

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM

more stupid stuff. go get some sleep.

gracie on September 26, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Steveangell on September 26, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Must be break time at the nuthouse. Steve’s here.

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Can either Ed or Allah, in a post or article, discuss campaign internal polling? I’d like to know what the two campaigns are seeing in polling that voters and pundits are not seeing. How is campaign internal polling different from MSM sourced polling?

Cavalry on September 26, 2012 at 8:20 PM

I get the feeling they are so eager to tell themselves they’re non-racists who think the “correct” way that they will do anything, including destroy the country, to get that pat on the head.

I’m worried that Ohio and Michigan and Minnesota are full of those types of people. They can vote for big union socialism and tell themselves that they’re morally superior while doing it.

Django on September 26, 2012 at 8:12 PM

The sad part is that younger generations (possibly their own kids and grand kids) will pay the price for their stupidity…as you said, they are older and I guess they can still afford their own political inanity, but their grand kids will have very few choices, and none of them good….this type of long term blindness or opacity kills me…

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Must be break time at the nuthouse. Steve’s here.

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Must have been break time for three hours at all nuts house in the coutry simultaneously…all the crazies are out in force on the other thread…

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 8:22 PM

I’m in Camp 2, not so much for the “debunking” but because I want to see the clockworks. In fact, AP, why don’t you, Ed, et. al. come up with a standardized poll post, following a regular format in which you list all the internals– or lack thereof– and throw in a few contrast-and-compares with other recent polls or previous editions of the same poll. Ideally in charts or a graphic format.

You more or less do this already, with inimitable commentary, but it would “useful” (for what, who knows) if we could skim through a poll post– okay, meticulously pore over every word– knowing that paragraph one always contains the introduction/executive summary, paragraph two the details, paragraphs 3-7 the breakdown of the internals, and so on.

Forcing every poll in to the same mold may not be entirely fair to the polling companies, but it certainly would highlight the deficiencies and discountability of a lot of polls. Pick a gold standard. Rasmussen.

And maybe head up each poll post with the same cautionary title, some variation on Twain citing Disraeli: “Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics and Polls: The [date] [name of pollster] Poll.”

de rigueur on September 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM

“Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.” — Patrick Henry

SomeCallMeJohn on September 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Well at least we were told by the GOP that Romney was the most electable, what they forgot to tell us was he runs the worst campaign ever and has no fight because Obama cares about the poor and is a nice guy, it reminds me of Mccain’s you have nothing to fear from an Obama Presidenency..

Well America I guess we will leave the light on for you if we still can use coal.

Conservative4ev on September 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Mitt…….another graceful loser…..in the great tradition of Ford, Dole and McCain.

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM

I hope that doesn’t turn out to be the case but it’s remarkable how the Republican Party is almost as against plain-speaking conservatism as the Democrats are. It’s often been pointed out that Reagan was despised by the GOP establishment, although, they’re happy to claim him now.

Has their ever been a victorious RINO? Dubya maybe?

The GOP just can’t stand conservatism. They act as if conservatives who defend conservatism are filthy lunatics that they have to keep in the root cellar.

Django on September 26, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Carter beat Reagan in 1980. The polls said so. Same players circa 1979

From American Spectator

Pull quote from somewhere tonight: “The MSM is using their own polling as a political weapon”

Key West Reader on September 26, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Must be break time at the nuthouse. Steve’s here.

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Not taking the bait. Sorry no fish this time.

Steveangell on September 26, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Mitt…….another graceful loser…..in the great tradition of Ford, Dole and McCain.

America—–pull trigger, bullet to head. Superpower suicide complete.

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Oh, well, here’s some solace (albeit a platitude too) for an eeyore like you: empires raise and fall and there’s not a darn thing you can do about it :)…. hope this helps a l’il :)…

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 8:27 PM

I’m sorry, this is just dumb.

Knott Buyinit on September 26, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Report all polls that are interesting. Disclose EVERY TIME when they are partisan such as PPP. And then do what http://www.unskewedpolls.com/ does, only do it more accurately and reasonably and report the actual likely result from each poll by adding or subtracting from the final results based on a DEM +3 turnout model, which is a very reasonable turnout expectation.

So if a poll has a DEM +9 turnout, subtract 6 points from the result and give that to us. If its DEM +5, subtract 2 points from the Obama advantage. And if its DEM +2, add a point for Obama. Its very easy to do and would give us a very accurate guage as to the race.

Of course, we can do that ourselves, but it would be helpful if you did that every time just to let those people who are not aware of the meaning of a skewed poll and how impactful it is to the results.

Like others, I believe at least half the pollsters today are propagandists more then pollsters. And they are trying to manipulate the public.

Right now, the only polling firm I absolutely trust is Gallup. And until they go to a likely voter model, they are not that informative.

KMav on September 26, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Speaking of laughing at things. The only thing ‘conservative’ about this blog is its color scheme. And about a third of its posters-customers. The rest is RINO-Liberal at best.

rayra on September 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM

You must only read the liberal troll comments. All the main guys at Hotair (Ed, AllahP, Erika) and 80% of the commenters are strong conservatives. About the only issue I can think of is maybe Allah with gay marriage. Allahpundit self-deprecates that he’s a RINO, but it’s only his passive aggressive New York sarcastic tone…in his opinions fiscal, social (other than gay marriage), and national security he’s a solid conservative down the line. Plus, there’s never any doubt that he truly despises The Won. You’ll never get any “Obama’s a nice guy” bs from him.

sauldalinsky on September 26, 2012 at 8:28 PM

We can panic or we can analyze and rebut. Does anyone seriously believe Obama is winning when he is losing Independents?

Via Breitbart – Obama struggles with Independents in Ohio and Fla

Basilsbest on September 26, 2012 at 8:28 PM

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Dang! Where’s your sarc tag?

Oops LOL, I see what you did there.

Key West Reader on September 26, 2012 at 8:29 PM

That’s a legit concern, but whether a blog posts or doesn’t post on it doesn’t affect that. The NYT and CNN etc etc are running with it no matter what Hot Air says. In an odd way, I think group three is flattering us by thinking our reach — or any blog’s reach — is much, much, much greater than it is. Blogs speak to a few thousand like-minded readers. You guys are all voting Romney, no matter what. What’s the harm in mentioning the Gallup tracker, then?

Allahpundit on September 26, 2012 at 6:54 PM

.
There’s your problem, right there in bold.

In 2004, a little known blogger took apart the CBS/Rather Paper-gate in no more than two days.

Do you think anybody at CBS had ever heard of that blogger before he pointed out the FACTS!!!

/SARC ON

What’s the harm in spreading a lie, then?

/SARC OFF

PolAgnostic on September 26, 2012 at 8:29 PM

A perfect illustration of the problem in the polling industry.
A graph showing a distribution of major brand polls, x axis is their oversampling of Dems, y-axis is Obama’s lead. Every single one of them lays below a 45-degree slope, with their Dem oversample exceeding Obama’s lead. Take away the oversample, and Obama’s lead vanishes.

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b191/fugitivemind1990/graph2-620x379_zpsdd71e2b7.jpg

rayra on September 26, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Which polls are, or aren’t, legitimate?

Many HotAirians resoundly respond to that question, “EASY! The ones that say what we like are legitimate and the ones that don’t are illegitimate! How hard was that?!”

/

Boomer_Sooner on September 26, 2012 at 8:29 PM

All I can add is that there is clear evidence that those who seek to discourage the Romney Vote are still out in force. For their sake, I hope Obama will end up with the funds to pay these pathetic anti-American traitors.

Happy Nomad on September 26, 2012 at 8:33 PM

this type of long term blindness or opacity kills me…

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Same here. It’s especially frustrating because it seems sort of willfully irrational. They don’t respond to logical argument. That’s partly why I think Obama is successfully running an emotional campaign while Romney is not-as-successfully running a rational campaign. Or, as Rush puts it, Obama’s going for “the moron vote.”

I’m creeped out by the strong suspicion that more and more of America’s electorate are propagandized, “low information” types who vote on emotion and are slaves to politically correct shaming about stupid, fake issues like gay marriage. And Romney and the RNC generally have no clue how to deal with that.

Django on September 26, 2012 at 8:34 PM

As a constant “poll complainer” it’s not complicated. As Rush and others have explained frequently many/most of the polls are NOT designed to capture opinion but SHAPE OPINION…ie Depress turnout. So reporting total BS over and over is doing more than informing…you are playing into the MFM/DEM efforts.
If you must report every poll…CAVEAT the he*l out of the results…”This is BS that we are passing on”. It’s a balance and by saying “some people don’t want the BAD polls” is a straw man/BS as well…accurate info is the goal….IMHO

winston on September 26, 2012 at 8:36 PM

In an odd way, I think group three is flattering us by thinking our reach — or any blog’s reach — is much, much, much greater than it is. Blogs speak to a few thousand like-minded readers.

Allahpundit on September 26, 2012 at 6:54 PM

You are wrong. You guys get picked up by Rush and Sean which reaches far more than a few thousand and not necessarily like-minded audience.

Happy Nomad on September 26, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Which polls are, or aren’t, legitimate?

Many HotAirians resoundly respond to that question, “EASY! The ones that say what we like are legitimate and the ones that don’t are illegitimate! How hard was that?!”

/
Boomer_Sooner on September 26, 2012 at 8:29

You just confirmed the old saying: ‘it’s better to remain thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt’ :)….

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 8:37 PM

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?

Conservative warriors don’t wear panties.

VorDaj on September 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Actually, what I’d prefer is day after day big letter headlines screaming that the polls are rigged. I’d like one article to say “Why D+11 is like the Cubs Winning the World Series”. I’d like another to say that “Quinnipiac’s own pollsters know they’re lying”. I’d like another one to read “Obama +9 in a D+9 Poll Means He’s Losing”. And yet another that says “Obama expected to win all electoral votes in D+26 model!”.

No more eeyore-ing. No more “gentlemanly reporting”. This is fourth and goal from the one foot line and it’s got to be about elbows and eye gouges. We have to slap down EVERY dirty trick with as much energy as we can muster. We have to make it hurt every time they try something sneaky.

AJs future is on the line. He’s only eight and he doesn’t know his country is being stolen from him. He didn’t do anything wrong, he doesn’t deserve four more years of Obama, and I need you all to help me fight for him.

AJsDaddie on September 26, 2012 at 8:41 PM

” Romney HAS to risk being ripped by the media and go full ugly all over Obama.”

That’s what he would do if he truly wanted to win. IMO, he’s more concerned about losing gracefully. But McCain ran this kind of campaign, too, so why is anyone surprised. Nominate a spineless RINO, and this is what you get.

gumbyandpokey on September 26, 2012 at 7:58 PM

You are as credible as a Quinnipiac poll. You wouldn’t post this garbage if you wanted to appear to be sane.

Basilsbest on September 26, 2012 at 8:42 PM

In some ways by posting every “bad” (sloppily run) poll the blogs do the work that is intended – to misinform or discourage.

If this site wants to post all the polls (and since you asked for opinions in your first sentence), then I’d recommend that breakdowns be included and be explicit if there isn’t one offered.

kim roy on September 26, 2012 at 6:57 PM

.
Good post but it spares you some of the shame you guys deserve.

Putting up the massive D+ skewed polls is lower on the moral scale than repeating “whisper campaign” slanders.

Everybody hearing the “whisper campaign” sleaze knows they are dealing in trash.

The skewed polls are a “lowering of the standards” effort by a small, biased group of Obama supporters (i.e. the MSM) which for some reason you need others to tell you what is wrong with it?

Seriously? You can’t see the problem in propagating lies?

PolAgnostic on September 26, 2012 at 8:43 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

Noo…..

In September Carter started to open a lead on Reagan, increasing to 8 points by October….until the last two weeks.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/09/flashback-gallup-had-carter-up-4-points-over-ronald-reagan-in-september-1980

The key to this prevarication is the “average of all the polls”.

The facts are that the media had Carter ahead of 7 out of 9 key battleground states…

http://spectator.org/archives/2012/09/25/how-carter-beat-reagan/1

itsspideyman on September 26, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Oh and this posting by allahpundit is completely stupid. The point is to examine and analyze the content, methodology, histoic biases and improper sampling of the polls, not idiotically censor or shun them. The unspoken converse of course being to blindly accept ANY of them. Which is just as stupid.
Allahpundit and Ed still don’t seem to get it. The polls are political theatre. Contrived opinion makers for the most part, not mere mirrors of reality.
The issue is not too few or too many or which ones, the issue is YOUR GULLIBILITY AND INTELLECTUAL LAZINESS in accepting ANY of them at face value.

rayra on September 26, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Wow… don’t sugar-coat it, tell us how you really feel. You could at least show some gratitude to 2 terrific people who bust their butts to make HA what it is… personally, I expected you to get the ban-hammer for this, but I guess they are more magnanimous than I would be in their shoes.

The question(unanswered by you) was not asked to give you carte blanche to spew your self-righteous declaration of their intelligence nor their work ethic, which, on both counts, you are utterly mistaken. Answer the question.

OT – Did I just feed a troll?

TASS71 on September 26, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Yeah it’s blasphemy to point out that MITT IS LOSING!!!!

Behind 25 points among women in Ohio. Even if its skewed by half it’s a horrible number.

I thought Mitt was supposed to fix all this after he got that bazillion dollars in public funding?

What happened Mittbots!!

If being shrill in the defense of Conservatism and the future of the country hanging in the balance is a crime then I’m gladly guilty.

Maybe I’m wrong…..I hope so but I keep pointing out week after week that TIME IS WASTING. And another week goes by and Mitt is still even or behind.

And another week goes by, and another, and another. If this continues we may wake up and see on Drudge that Eric Holder has been nominated Chief Justice.

MITT……where is the fire in the belly FOR AMERICA!!!!!

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Cool story bro. Go whine somewhere else.

wargamer6 on September 26, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Here’s a question I would like the answer to: What percentage of registered Democrat voters requested absentee ballots this year in states that have not changed their absentee voting since 2008 compared to the percentage in 2008? That might give some indication of Democrat enthusiasm. I am not talking about absentee ballots actually returned, just requested. If a smaller percentage of Democrats requested absentee ballots in 2012, we might expect the same turnout delta at the polls.

crosspatch on September 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM

This was posted on the QOTD of last night.

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/09/25/quotes-of-the-day-1156/
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AvEOdIaw0fPNdHVOZnFENDdDYVFTRi1UMlgxQ0F4OVE#gid=0
commodore on September 25, 2012 at 11:46 PM
This was for OHIO and quite interesting.

Even tho this isn’t what you are asking for, thot you may find it helpful.

bluefox on September 26, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Any poll that is D+3 or worse, or tries to pigeon hole every single respondent into one party or another is illegitimate.

NotCoach on September 26, 2012 at 8:56 PM

There is an ironclad excuse for media to skew polls: The election 4 years ago. Just pretend it wasn’t an unusual year. Base all your turnout models on 2008, because it was the last Presidential election. 2010 was an anomaly, really, and the electorate is going to be so much different in 2012 from 2010, because it’s a Presidential election, whereas 2010 was not.

And if Journolist 2.0 is active, and still has pollsters on it, imagine the echo chamber: The War on Women, is like, going to be sooo effective. Single women will hit the polls in 2012 just like the blacks did in 2008, yeah, totally, man. Like, there are even more single women than there are black people, like totally. And look at all the new minorities. Anybody check to see if they were legal and actually able to vote in the states in which they reside? Naah, who cares? More minorities, and the wimmens are gonna be the Pookettes who are gonna totally get off the couch and pwn Romney, duuude. Forget about D+7, it’s gonna be like, D+over 9000, man.

It’s not a conspiracy, it’s an echo chamber of py$$-poor assumptions.

Sekhmet on September 26, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Any poll that is D+3 or worse, or tries to pigeon hole every single respondent into one party or another is illegitimate.

NotCoach on September 26, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Especially when more people than ever before break away from their parties and register as independents…

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Yeah it’s blasphemy to point out that MITT IS LOSING!!!!

Behind 25 points among women in Ohio. Even if its skewed by half it’s a horrible number.

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

And when you think that either Santorum or Gingrich would have been ahead 25 points among women in Ohio :)…what were we thinking….

jimver on September 26, 2012 at 9:06 PM

There is an ironclad excuse for media to skew polls: The election 4 years ago. Just pretend it wasn’t an unusual year. Base all your turnout models on 2008, because it was the last Presidential election. 2010 was an anomaly, really, and the electorate is going to be so much different in 2012 from 2010, because it’s a Presidential election, whereas 2010 was not.

You can bet any liquid assets you have that, should Romney win, in 2016 it will be considered important to weigh the last two or three Presidential elections to provide a more balanced picture of what the electorate may look like.

And if Obama wins, the 2014 polls will be weighted to reflect 2012, not 2010, even though it completely contradicts the entire rationale of this year’s polling.

Sound familiar?

HitNRun on September 26, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Yeah it’s blasphemy to point out that MITT IS LOSING!!!!

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Yes it is blasphemy. BEGONE TROLL!

gerry-hope i spelled blasphemy correctly

gerrym51 on September 26, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Just to reaffirm what AP wrote, we’re going to err on the side of more coverage rather than less.

“Ewww. The food is disagreeable at this restaurant!’
“Yes, but you can refill your plate as many ties as you want!”

whatcat on September 26, 2012 at 9:08 PM

IMO a big part of the problem is that those being paid big money don’t have a clue about the dynamics of this election. They keep forecasting the 2008 numbers without regard of the 2010 turnout.

They use the model that all those that turned out to vote for the rat-eared coward will do so again and that those who stayed home instead of voting for McCain will remain at home.

Well in 2012, we’ve got Obama voters living at home in their race car beds because they cannot find a job. We’ve got independent voters that don’s see Obama as an agent of change. We’ve also got the recently jobless who hate the fact. This is still a referendum election and a vote on how many want to give the rat-eared coward another four years.

Happy Nomad on September 26, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Arizona Cardinals to win superbowl. D+15

gerrym51 on September 26, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Au contraire my dear eeyore. I send many people here who have not yet made up their minds who to vote for.

That said, far be it from me to deign to tell you what and what not to post.

Flora Duh on September 26, 2012 at 7:05 PM

I do as well.

ccrosby on September 26, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Behind 25 points among women in Ohio. Even if its skewed by half it’s a horrible number.

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Maybe it’s because SoCons and Teavangelicals have so poisoned the well with all their bleating about abortion 24/7. I don’t like abortion either, but of all the thing that are wrong with the country, abortion doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 (nutters like Akin aren’t exactly helping matters either).

JFS61 on September 26, 2012 at 9:12 PM

OT – Don’t know if anyone has mentioned it but Greta has Ann Romney on tonight.

ccrosby on September 26, 2012 at 9:12 PM

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.

I am definitely not in the ‘stick our heads in the sand’ camp. I enjoy very much your fisking of these polls with ridiculous sample demos Ed. They educate and enlighten, which hopefully trickles out to the less informed.

NotCoach on September 26, 2012 at 9:14 PM

The problem Ed and AP with giving the good and bad news is that you may not prevent voting but you ARE IMHO causing infighting about whether Romney is a good candidate, the latest “gaffe” should make them change direction etc.

The polls are creating self-doubt if this were warfare would be a perfect weapon against an opponent. Getting them to question their direction when they have the right strategy is one example. Telling you that you better stay in Ohio because you have problems there and not in Wisconsin is another. The Obama campaign wants the campaign to spread to state they didn’t compete in 2008? Don’t bet on it.

No, these debates and effect of the biased polls is not harmless. Even on the base.

Conan on September 26, 2012 at 9:17 PM

Earlier today I suggested one of the regular posters on the subject of poll weighting put more effort into his current product and put up a web site with the folowing:

Poll | Poll Splits | 2008 Splits | 2010 Splits | O % | R % | Und %

If a poll does not publish its splits – publicly dismiss the poll and the pollsters as working an agenda.

One question regarding the motivating factors of the Hot Air staff – Who are you trying to impress?

a) the MSM by bending over backwards to not offend them about the trash they choose to publish.

b) your bosses and the metrics they have established to determine your success (i.e. page hits, etc) which can be proactively influenced by posting the provovacative and outlandish.

c) your mothers (and no, I do not mean that sarcastically – I mean it in the “Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your mother proud” sense)

d) your own sense of integrity/accomplishment

e) some other standard – if so please share it with the rest of us.

The single Most Corrupt Administration Ever in my experience and knowledge (i.e. GM, Solyndra, Corzine to name but a few) is intent on doing ANYTHING they have to do to win this election …

… and the Hot Air staff is dithering about “harsh criticisms” and deliberating about how the Marquis of Queensbury Rules should be applied to misinformation as recognized by 60% of the electorate.

Time to face the facts of life.

You are either part of the problem of part of the solution.

PolAgnostic on September 26, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Which polls are, or aren’t, legitimate?

None are legitimate.

Dante on September 26, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Entertaining.

Steveangell on September 26, 2012 at 9:22 PM

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

.
Very well said.

PolAgnostic on September 26, 2012 at 9:23 PM

“Can either Ed or Allah, in a post or article, discuss campaign internal polling? I’d like to know what the two campaigns are seeing in polling that voters and pundits are not seeing. How is campaign internal polling different from MSM sourced polling?”

If a campaign’s internal polls are markedly different from MSM polls that they think are inaccurate, then they usually leak them to a trusted reporter. Harry Reid was behind in Rasmussen and a few others to Sharon Angle, and had his internals (which he was very confident in) given to the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Jon Ralston because his being behind was becoming a story. His own polls showed him winning by a decent margin and the actual election confirmed his internals were correct.

If Mitt Romney had internals showing him leading in OH, VA or FL, they would be leaked to someone to counteract what is becoming the conventional wisdom/preference cascade. The fact that all we heard is Preibus saying the polls are skewed and they are within a “field goal” is not good news at all, imo.

gumbyandpokey on September 26, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Mitt…….another graceful loser…..in the great tradition of Ford, Dole and McCain.

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM

I hope that doesn’t turn out to be the case but it’s remarkable how the Republican Party is almost as against plain-speaking conservatism as the Democrats are. It’s often been pointed out that Reagan was despised by the GOP establishment, although, they’re happy to claim him now.

Has their ever been a victorious RINO? Dubya maybe?

The GOP just can’t stand conservatism. They act as if conservatives who defend conservatism are filthy lunatics that they have to keep in the root cellar.

Django on September 26, 2012 at 8:24 PM

And that’s why November 7 is NOT the end, but the beginning of some real work in either cleaning up the GOP of beginning a viable conservative party.

Why would a bunch of entrenched pigs at the trough remove themselves from the trough? We have to do it for them.

kim roy on September 26, 2012 at 9:24 PM

I’m in with group #3.
Listen to Nancy Pelosi when she says “Oh, Mitt Romney will never be president, I think we all know that.” I don’t give that woman one ounce of respect except when it comes to knowing how the game is played. She leaves no room for doubt. Or listen to a fighter like Ali when he says, “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize”. Ha! Why follow what the hand-wringing so called Republican pundits are doing? Psych-ops works both ways and our side should be doing it where ever and whenever possible. You can never be sure just how far your reach is. We all know R&R could lose…and we’ll deal with that if necessary…but it’s crunch time….play the game!

lynncgb on September 26, 2012 at 9:28 PM

kim roy on September 26, 2012 at 9:24 PM

I agree!!..The FIRST mission is to win November!!..:)

Dire Straits on September 26, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Group one for me.

The reason Romney is losing? Can’t attack Obama on Obamacare. If you remind people how upset they were how they jammed that bill down our throats, they won’t vote for Obama.

mrscullen on September 26, 2012 at 9:31 PM

I guess the question is, do you think that the Democrats damaged their brand in 2009-2010 when they controlled the levers of power?

2008 was the high-water mark for democratic affliation. When everybody was fed up with Bush, it was cool to be a democrat. Now, not so much, unless you’re comfortable being a socialist.

Pew has democratic party ID down 4 from 2008. Rasmussen down about 2. Gallup was down 4 until very recently – now it’s even. I’m sure the DOJ lawsuit has nothing to do with their recent come to Obama stats.

Any poll that has a larger democratic turnout that 2008 is strictly BS.

lymond on September 26, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Behind 25 points among women in Ohio. Even if its skewed by half it’s a horrible number.

PappyD61 on September 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Maybe it’s because SoCons and Teavangelicals have so poisoned the well with all their bleating about abortion 24/7. I don’t like abortion either, but of all the thing that are wrong with the country, abortion doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 (nutters like Akin aren’t exactly helping matters either).

JFS61 on September 26, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Because Romney’s been beating the abortion drum, while George W ignored social issues? Come on.

Economic Conservatism, not Social Conservatism, is what’s losing here. And as for abortion, when you’re engaging in mass murder at home, that’s issue #1.

Stoic Patriot on September 26, 2012 at 9:33 PM

I vote for camp 1 here. As long as we get the sample data and weighting and if possible the internals we should get all the polls and let the chips fall where they may.

Skwor on September 26, 2012 at 9:37 PM

I am for giving us everything, but remember (and explain) most of these polls are done by people who are Obama groupies and have basically sold out their reputations for this man. I say let us help them in their journey to cement that reputation as the complete frauds they are. Don’t fawn over people like Nate Silver (for example)…crush him! Actually we need to be more like Democrats on this…no mercy and no let up on our “enemies”.

William Eaton on September 26, 2012 at 9:39 PM

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?

Yes. When Gallup shows Romney trailing, it’s because Gallup is a DNC front. When Gallup shows Romney ahead, it’s ELECTABILITY, BABY!!!!! REAGANESQUE LANDSLIDE!!!!!! BOOYAH!!!!!!

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?

Just say something like “the only poll that matters is on November 6!!!” and wait for Romney to tick back up in the Ras daily.

It never ceases to amaze me how ironic it is that Romney’s whole “electability” aura was built on polls that were never given so much minute analysis; but now that he’s the nominee every poll that dorsn’t show him ahead is automatically suspect.

ddrintn on September 26, 2012 at 9:41 PM

If you were ahead by 9 or 10 points in Ohio then why in the hell would you be spending valuable time and money there.

logman1 on September 26, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Thread winner!

Lord of the Wings on September 26, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Maybe it’s because SoCons and Teavangelicals have so poisoned the well with all their bleating about abortion 24/7. I don’t like abortion either, but of all the thing that are wrong with the country, abortion doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 (nutters like Akin aren’t exactly helping matters either).

JFS61 on September 26, 2012 at 9:12 PM

The only ones who “bleat about abortion 24/7″ are squishy lib-lite types who just despise having to share a party with those icky conservatives. Dudes, if it bothers you so damn much, go over to the Dems where you truly belong. Really.

ddrintn on September 26, 2012 at 9:44 PM

If you were ahead by 9 or 10 points in Ohio then why in the hell would you be spending valuable time and money there.

logman1 on September 26, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Because you know if Romney loses it, he’s done. That’s why.

ddrintn on September 26, 2012 at 9:45 PM

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AvEOdIaw0fPNdHVOZnFENDdDYVFTRi1UMlgxQ0F4OVE#gid=0

Has this spreadsheet been updating???

Someone posted this last night, it looks good for Romney so far…

MGardner on September 26, 2012 at 9:47 PM

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