posted at 1:36 pm on September 21, 2012 by Mitch Berg
Have you noticed something?
There’s been no “Minnesota Poll” yet this cycle. Ditto the proprietary poll from the University of Minnesota’s liberal think tank, Humprey Institute. (If you’re not from Minnesota – well, stay tuned. We’ll go national in a bit).
Usually by this point in an election cycle, they’ve run a poll showing the Republican candidate down by some absurd amount that turns out to be many times greater than the eventual margin of victory (or defeat) for the DFLer.
Now, I’ve been writing about the HHH and Strib “Minnesota” polls for quite some time. I noted that since 1988, the Strib Minnesota Poll has consistently shorted Republicans by a consistently greater margin than Democrats in their pre-election polls – and that the discrepancy is even greater in elections that end up being closest. I noted that the HHH poll is even worse – but that in polls where the DFLer appears to be in no danger, their polls end up being more accurate.
It is my contention that the Strib and the Humphrey Institute are allied – at least at the executive level – with the DFL, and use their polls to further the DFL’s ends; everyone involved is certainly aware of the “Bandwagon Effect” – the phenomenon by which voters who believe their candidates have no chance of victory will stay home.
So we’ve seen no “Minnesota” poll so far this cycle; Amy Klobuchar – perhaps the greatest beneficiary of media bias in the history of Minnesota politics, as the daughter of a former Strib columnist – seems to be in no great danger, so the polls say, from Kurt Bills (not to say I won’t do everything I can, personally, to fix that). I’ll bet dimes to dollars the Strib polls wind up pretty darn close to the election totals, in fact!
But the “Bandwagon” effect is going nationwide; Minnesota in 2008 and 2010 showed that it can keep juuuuuuuuust enough people home, if it’s relentless enough, to tip a close election.
And so you see the mainstream media already declaring the election over, based entirely on polling that is entirely based on the Democrats getting turnout they didn’t even get in 2008.
It is, in fact, the flip side of the “Low Information Voter” strategy they’ve run on their own side – convincing the ill-informed, the querulous and the not-bright that there’s a “war on women” and Obama “stands with the 99%” and “the economy was Bush’s fault but it’s almost back, any day now”. The flip side involves trying to convince people, especially independents, who might be sick to death of Obama and possibly thinking of voting GOP that it’s all hopeless and they should stay home.
Think about it. Why else would they run polls that are transparently false? That rely on assumptions that probably didn’t even occur during the post-Watergate election in 1976, much less 2008, much less today?
Because only the high-information voters either dig into the partisan breakdowns (or read the bloggers who do), and the record in Minnesota shows there are just enough incurious, too-busy, ill-informed, and just plain un-bright people to sway the matter if it’s close enough.
The media at all levels – bald-faced cheerleaders like the LATimes and the Strib and the supposedly-ethical ones like NPR alike – are going to be beating the “it’s over” drum constantly ’til the election.
The well-informed people know it’s baked wind.
But it’s not aimed at them.