• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Debunking The Poll Denialists

Nate Cohn pushes back on the idea that the polls showing President Obama leading on both a national and state level are, either intentionally or unintentionally, oversampling Democrats:

Consider the “media” polls that have received scrutiny over the last few weeks. With the exception of Fox News surveys that appear to push independent voters, there are fewer Democrats than there were four years ago. So how are Democrats retaining a large advantage in party-ID? Because fewer voters are describing themselves as Republican, as well. Instead, voters are flocking into the “independent” column.

Could this be true? Sure. After all, the Republican Party hasn’t really made a positive case for itself over the past four years, and the Republican nominee hasn’t even really made a case for himself, let alone the party. Put it this way: the Republican Party is not popular, the Republican Congress is not popular, and the Republican nominee is not popular; so how could anyone be especially surprised if a couple points worth of Republican leaners have now decided to characterize themselves as “independents.”

Remember: party-ID can fluctuate without any changes in the political views of voters. After all, voter ideology has remained remarkably stable for decades, despite big swings in party-ID. And it’s not hard to envision why: plenty of voters sit on the fence between a party or independent, and they sway back and forth depending on whether the news, prevailing issues, or major candidates make them feel comfortable about aligning with a political party. I suspect that nearly everyone knows someone who falls into this category (I do). I wouldn’t be surprised if several of my Republican-leaning friends are calling themselves independents right now.

An influx of Republicans into the “independent” column would also explain why Romney remains close among independents despite trailing nationally. It’s also easy to envision how a few independents who lean-Democrat might have switched to the Democratic column following the DNC, which would prevent Obama from gaining among the remaining independent voters who would lean slightly more toward the GOP. If true, Romney’s strength with independent voters and the Democratic advantage in party-ID might not be contradictory, but inextricably and coherently linked.

In other words, what we’re looking at here isn’t necessarily the result of pollsters who are intentionally oversampling their polls in a manner designed to produce favorable results for the President, it could be capturing something that is actually happening in the minds of the American electorate. Keep in mind, for example, that when the Tea Party movement first started out many of its members steadfastly identified themselves as “Independent” rather than “Republican,” largely I suspect as a way of signaling that they wanted to set themselves apart from a Republican Party that they believe had become corrupted and strayed from the Constitution. Now, obviously, they were Republican-leaning Independents, but that doesn’t negate the fact that, if asked in a poll whether they consider themselves to be “Republican,” “Democrat,” or “Independent,” it’s likely that hey answered “Independent” and many may continue to do so. For different reasons, there are a host of “Independents,” mainly working class whites in states like Ohio, who identify more with the Democrats but are also alienated from the political system in one way or another.

This brings up another point that I think is rather important with regard to this Party Identification issue in polling. As anyone who as taken the time to read through an actual polling report knows, different pollsters ask their questions in different manners. Some ask the demographic questions — age, gender, income level, education, Party ID, etc — at the beginning of the poll, some leave those questions for the end of the poll script. Some pollsters ask a respondent whether they “consider” themselves a “Republican,” “Democrat,” or “Independent,” some ask whether the respondent is “registered” as a member of a specific party, a question that is actually meaningless to people such as me who live in a state where there is no official registration by party.  As Scott Rasmussen himself noted in an interview earlier this week, how that Party ID question is asked, and when, can have a huge impact on how it’s answered, so it strikes me that conservatives may be putting far more emphasis on this data point than it deserves.

One of the arguments that what some people are calling the “Poll Denialists” are making is that pollsters are intentionally weighting the polls they produce based on Party ID to produce results that favor the President. However, as Cohn points out in a separate post, most pollsters don’t weight by Party ID at all:

Most pollsters don’t weight their polls to match a preconceived electorate. Instead, they take a demographically representative sample based on actual figures from the US census and then let respondents speak for themselves about whether they’re voting for Obama or Romney. For illustrative purposes, consider the Bloomberg/Selzer poll. They started by taking a sample of all American adults, weighted to match the demographics of all adults in the US census, like, race, education, and marital status. To produce a likely voter sample, they then would have excluded adults who weren’t registered to vote and then asked a series of questions to help determine who was likely to vote.

Ultimately, Selzer’s sample found Obama leading by 6 points, by 49-43. Whatever you think of the outcome, it 2wasn’t the result of Selzer imposing her assumptions upon the sample; she let her sample speak for itself. Did she take a good sample? We’ll find out on Election Day. But if she’s wrong, it won’t be because she used the “2008 turnout model.”

Rasmussen, and some other pollsters, use a different approach. Regardless of what they actual results the polling they do in a specific case might be, they take those results and apply a proprietary algorithm to it so that it complies with what they think the 2012 turnout model will be. This isn’t necessarily an invalid practice, but it requires one to have some faith that the pollster is right about what they think the 2012 electorate is going to end up looking like. This is because the pollster is substituting his or her judgment for the raw numbers that are actually in front of them. Now, it could be possible that a particular polling run could have ended up with what clearly looked like a non-representative sample. The response at that point would be to either rerun the poll, or substitute your judgment for the facts in front of your face. In other words, if anyone is skewing the polls, it’s the pollsters like Rasmussen who apply “weighting” to their poll results based on assumptions that may or may not be correct.Additionally, Rasmussen bases his Party ID assumptions on polling he has done, and his polling does not call cell phone numbers, which clearly causes support for President Obama to be understated to statistically significant number. Finally, it’s worth noting that the R +2 isn’t the only Party ID model out there, Pew Research has been polling Party Identification for years and their current numbers have Democratic identification leading in the high single digits. Why should we accept Rasmussen’s numbers when Pew’s show us something entirely different?

Another point that calls what Rasmussen and those pollsters who weight by Party ID into question. If the data that pollsters are gathering is showing that certain percentages of people are identifying themselves as Democrats, Independents, or Republicans, why should that information be “weighted” in order to comply with what essentially a guess on the part of the pollster about what voter turnout is going to be on Election Day. Isn’t the actual data that they are getting from actual Americans a better indication of the Party ID breakdown in that regard?

Even if the major pollsters were weighting their polls, though, you’d have to believe some truly incredible things in order to believe that they are intentionally skewing their polls to make it appear that President Obama is pulling away in the Presidential race. None of these polling companies major the majority of their money with these public polls that make the evening news. The largest amount of their work is done in private, in polls that are never released to the public. They conduct polls for corporations, trade groups, charitable organizations, and a wide variety of other organization. To believe the Poll Denialists, you’d have to believe that these polling companies are knowingly trashing their reputations, upon which their private business is based, for some obscure political reason that they wouldn’t even profit off of. It makes no sense whatsoever.

As I said in my first post on this topic, I do not discount the possibility that individual polls may be outliers for one reason or another. Most recently, I thought that the CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac poll showing the President up by nine points in Florida to be questionable simply because it was so out of line with all of the other polls that had been taken in the state recently which showed a much closer race. That’s why giving undue attention to a single poll is a bad idea. However, you cannot deny the trends. President Obama is ahead in the national polls, he is ahead in the Electoral College projections, and he is leading, albeit mostly within the margin of error, in all of the battleground states.

Pushing back against polling is a long political tradition, especially among supporters of a candidate who is clearly on the wrong side of the poll results. In that sense, I’m not at all surprised to see Republicans engaging in an effort to discount the current polling results. On some level, it makes sense from the point of view of the campaign because consistently bad news tends to demoralize supporters and make it less likely that the candidate will be able to overcome the poll deficit. I’ve seen it happen in countless campaigns at every level. This time around, though, it seems to be different, it seems to almost be an effort to deny reality:

[N]ow, the mere fact of poll-taking is “a subtle means of Republican voter suppression,” as Simon Maloy put it over at Media Matters. And the latest whine—this cupboard somehow never runs bare—is that conservatives don’t like taking polls. So said Scott Walker to Fox on Wednesday. Yes, of course! Because conservatives are people of action, busy people, who have neither the time (like the indolent 47 percenters) nor the inclination to accept phone calls from lamestream media pollsters. Honestly. Scott Walker can’t really believe this.

And finally, the last refuge of these scoundrels, bashing the librul media. Did you catch Rush Limbaugh’s pathetic rant on Tuesday after the famous blown interception call? Packer fans should just shake it off, he said, because the true aggrieved party is conservatives: “We’re lied about every day. The media gets it wrong on purpose against us every day. Now, I think it’s a good analogy.”

It’s a ridiculous analogy, and it’s not lies with which Limbaugh and Morris and their ilk are now coming face-to-face. It’s the truth. Americans like Barack Obama. They don’t like Mitt Romney. They really don’t like Paul Ryan. And they don’t want any part of the ideology of callousness and make-believe facts and pigheaded warmongering—and economic crisis and big deficits and all of that—that the Republicans are peddling. Of course these people will never come to terms with all that. But right now, boys, you’re running out of targets, and excuses.

That comes from Michael Tomasky, who obviously has a bias here, but I think he makes a good point. The truth of the poll results we’re seeing is that the public has become turned off by Republicans in general and Mitt Romney in particular and the polls are reflecting it. Indeed, Stan Greenberg, who is admittedly a Democratic pollster, noted recently that the GOP lost five points in Party Identification over the past month. That’s not pollster bias, that’s reality.

Perhaps everyone else will be proven wrong. Perhaps Scott Rasmussen’s projections about Party ID turnout in 2012 will be proven correct. We won’t know that until we examine the results and the exit polls after November 6th. However, it strikes me that when pretty much every other pollster is producing results that indicate not only that more people are identifying themselves as Democrats than Republicans, that the number of self-identified Independents has increased largely due to a drop of in self-identified Republicans, and that the President continues to lead Mitt Romney in all respects, then it’s probably time to question the assumptions and consider the possibility that reality may be more accurate than an algorithm.

Update: Gallup’s Editor In Chief, Frank Newport, addresses the Party Identification issue in a new post:

Party identification is basically an attitudinal variable, not a stable population parameter. It is designed to vary. This is distinct from demographic variables such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education, which are, generally speaking, stable indicators measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. The only issues relating to demographic variables are measurement concerns — e.g., how the census, which creates the targets, measures ethnicity versus how individual pollsters measure it. But, generally speaking, these are fairly stable targets.

Party identification is not measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, nor are there any other official state or national standards for what party identification “should be” in terms of the percent per party as it relates to the general population.

Many people use the exit polls as a standard. But exit polls use a distinct question wording, a different methodology (in person interviews at the polling place as opposed to telephone interviews), a different environment (people are asked their party identification just after having voted, which could affect how they answer), and different sampling techniques to develop who it is that is asked the question. So party identification figures as measured by a specific poll aren’t easily compared to party identification as measured by an exit poll because of these and other potential issues.

Party identification changes as political tides change. General shifts in the political environment can affect party identification just as they can affect presidential job approval and results of the “Who are you going to vote for?” question.

There’s more at the link about how Gallup handles the Party ID issue and what it really means at the link.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    hys·te·ri·a [hi-ster-ee-uh, -steer-]
    noun
    1. an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter, weeping, etc.

    Republicans have become so desperate that they are now allowing Romney to brag about Romneycare…even as he promises to repeal it immediately upon taking office.

    This country elected George Bush. Twice. I still expect Romney to win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  2. Fiona says:

    All this ongoing poll nonsense has convinced me that ” conservatives” are trying to construct a post-election narrative that will blame Romney’s loss on media bias and voter fraud. A Romney loss will actually be quite profitable for folks like Limbaugh and his cohorts at Fox News and on right wing talk radio. Four more years of victim hood! Four more years to foment rage, drive up ratings, and sell more books! Hallelujah! Most of these folks can’t stand Romney anyway and will be happy to look for another conservative savior.

    And, if perchance, Romney wins, they can feel justified in their critique (even though, if there is movement toward Romney, those same polls conservatives now decry will likely show the momentum moving his way). This whole poll thing is but a cynical game on the part of conservative pundits.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  3. Tano says:

    My prediction is that when Obama wins, the Republicans will claim that the results prove that the grand conspiracy was real, and that it succeeded in stealing the election for the illegitimate one.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  4. Jim Henley says:

    This is a good piece.

    The most recent episode, prior to the current moment, of poll discourse abuse I noticed was the weekend before Scott Walker’s special recall election, when, I think MoJo’s Beat the Press blog said that Walker’s opponent had him in “a statistical tie” because Walker’s lead was “within the margin of error.” That was crap for the same reasons claims of “a statistical tie” are pretty much always wrong, and was one more in a long line of partisans on the losing side of a poll claiming the polls didn’t say what they said. I called that out too, on Twitter, just because the “statistical tie” nonsense bugs me.

    The Unskewed Polls people probably find what they do particularly satisfying because it involves so much work. I mean, they take a surprisingly large number of transforming steps to get to their end result, and I suspect it has all of the excitement of real science without the actual science. In fact, they are simply bundling their predetermined conclusions into several places in an elaborate schema, which has all the validity of simply tacking it onto the single step of saying, “Well, I think Romney’s leading by 8, because the American people will never elect a radical anti-American socialist like Barack Obama. Twice, I mean.” But it sure feels like doing something.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  5. Just Me says:

    I do not expect there to be a better democratic turnout in 2012 than there was in 2008 which a lot of polls are indicating.

    I do think democrats are being more heavily weighted.

    However I do not think Romney is tied or leading. I think Romney is likely losing and is going to lose, but the final results are going to show a much closer race than many of the polls are indicating, and a closer race than 2008. Obama is going to lose some of the states he won in 2008, but he is going to keep enough of them to still win the election.

    Whining about the polls is generally the losing side’s last ditch efforts. The democrats did it when polls didn’t go their way back when Bush was president. I remember lots of complaints about polls not counting voters with cell phones or voters with no phone who were voting demcratic, but in the end polls proved out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  6. Scott says:

    Voters have to motivated to vote. It is easier to motivate by appeals to resentment and victimization which require blame being thrown around. By blaming conspiracies to fudge the polling is just one way to this kind of motivation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, you don’t need any analysis to know that polls alleging Obama up by 9 and 10 points in Fla. and OH are bunk. You just need not to be flatlining your EEG. But if Obama wins who’ll care about it? Ultimately I doubt after the election there will be any real deconstruction of the more egregious elements of the media’s polling. Not by anyone with anything other than a tiny, tiny audience. Hell, after the election, if Obama wins, regardless of the final margin, the left side of the chattering classes will be busy celebrating, preening, gloating and posturing. The right side of the chattering classes will be busy fuming, barking, foaming at the mouth and eating its own. It’s not as if WaPo nor CBS/NYT will give a rat’s ass about not being ship-to-shore close to the actual margins. And if Romney manages to pull off the upset the rolls simply will be reversed and instantly the 24/7 meme will be about voter suppression and such. C’est la vie.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  8. C. Clavin says:

    “…I do not expect there to be a better democratic turnout in 2012 than there was in 2008 which a lot of polls are indicating…”

    But contra the polls…Obama has gotten more contributions from unique donors than in ’08.
    Time will tell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. C. Clavin says:

    “…Well, you don’t need any analysis to know that polls alleging Obama up by 9 and 10 points in Fla. and OH are bunk…”

    Well obviously you don’t need analysis…wait…yes you do.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  10. gustovcarl says:

    I like to read Nate Silver’s blog on polls. Very accurate..
    Kevin Drum had a good article on this subject today which says a lot of the same things.

    As for party identification: for the last 40 years, I’ve called myself an Independent. However, I’ve never voted for a Republican. I have had many disagreements with the Democrats, for a variety of reasons, but I have many more with the Republicans.

    Generally, I classify myself as a “quirky left-libertarian”. Fit THAT into a party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. mantis says:

    @Just Me:

    I do think democrats are being more heavily weighted.

    You are commenting on a post that explains that isn’t done by any major polling outfit except by Rasmussen. Are you trying to embarrass yourself?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  12. mantis says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Ultimately I doubt after the election there will be any real deconstruction of the more egregious elements of the media’s polling.

    You can be damned sure that Nate Silver and other intelligent people like him will analyze the accuracy of the polling. It’s idiots like you who think how you personally feel about the president dictates the opinions of the entire country who won’t be looking back in any intelligent way.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  13. Stan says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: More de haut en bas commentary from the aptly named Tsar. My own opinionated guess is that the political class underestimated the effect of the 47 per cent video on independent voters and that BHO will win by a landslide. Romney is a bad campaigner with an unpopular program and a toxic running mate. It’s a perfect trifecta.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  14. Gromitt Gunn says:

    This poll denialism is just the latest virtual reality construction of the 27%. Add it to climate change denial, birtherism, etc.

    If the 27% was actually around 15%, we could all just smile and nod and back away slowly from the crazy. Unfortunately, they’re enough of a significant minority that they do actual damage to the Republic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  15. nitpicker says:

    It’s worth mentioning, whenever stories like this come up, that Rasmussen polling doesn’t conform to reality very well.

    Their surveys usually have a Republican lean, but it seems to have gotten stronger in the last few weeks. It has also been stronger in some years than others. Rasmussen got reasonably good results in years like 2006 and 2008 when their polls were close to the consensus. However, their polls were the least accurate of the major polling firms in 2010, when they had an especially strong Republican house-effect. The same was true in 2000, when they had a three- or four-point statistical bias toward Republican candidates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Rafer Janders says:

    Keep in mind, for example, that when the Tea Party movement first started out many of its members steadfastly identified themselves as “Independent” rather than “Republican,” largely I suspect as a way of signaling that they wanted to set themselves apart from a Republican Party that they believe had become corrupted and strayed from the Constitution.

    Ahahahahaha! Hahahahaha!

    Oh, you poor naive idiot.

    No, the it was not that they “wanted to set themselves apart from a Republican Party that they believe had become corrupted and strayed from the Constitution.” They didn’t seem to give a damn about their precious Constitution, or the debt, or the deficit, or massive corruption, etc. the entire time that the Bush regime was in power. Somehow this concern only managed to ignite itself once a Democrat was sworn in.

    No, the Tea Party identifed itself as “Independent” because the GOP had so thoroughly trashed the country — and its own brand — at that time that they knew that no one would take them seriously if they called themselves Republicans. They were always Republicans, but they rebranded themselves for a while to fool the gullible public, reporters – and political pundits. It was the equivalent of the Blackwater mercenaries renaming themselves Academi.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    the Republican Party is not popular, the Republican Congress is not popular, and the Republican nominee is not popular; so how could anyone be especially surprised if a couple points worth of Republican leaners have now decided to characterize themselves as “independents.”

    Now why would that be?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  18. James Young says:

    @Tano: Probably not, Tano, because Republicans are not deluded moonbats. We ACCEPT the results of elections.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 22

  19. Jr says:

    I do not expect there to be a better democratic turnout in 2012 than there was in 2008 which a lot of polls are indicating.

    Did you read what Doug actually wrote?

    The Democrats party Id numbers really haven’t changed, the GOP party Id numbers are in free fall.
    That is the reason why the Dems are at a +8 or 9, people are distancing themselves from the GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  20. @James Young:

    You mean like the Republicans who, four years later, are still filing birth certificate lawsuits?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  21. MM says:

    As I askedin the last “poll truthers” thread, why? Why would polling firms cook the books for Obama. Just because we hear about them most during elections, that doesn’t mean that that is all they do. There’s zero incentive for them to be intentionally inaccurate here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  22. mantis says:

    @James Young:

    Probably not, Tano, because Republicans are not deluded moonbats. We ACCEPT the results of elections.

    What about those of you who accept that ACORN stole the 2008 election?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  23. mattb says:

    @mantis:

    What about those of you who accept that ACORN stole the 2008 election?

    don’t forget the black panthers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  24. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @James Young: I nominate this for Most Unintentionally Hilarious Comment of the Day. My keyboard and monitor would appreciate it if you would refrain from making spit-take worthy comments in the future. Diet Coke is a bitch to clean up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. Anderson says:

    If Obama is up 6 in Ohio and a poll with a 4-point margin of error shows him at +10, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the poll — they just drew an outlier pool.

    So the polls finding Obama up by 9 or 10 in Ohio or Florida aren’t so much indicators that he really is up that high, as they are evidence that the lead of 5 or 6 points is correct. Just as when polls show Obama down to +1 or +2 in those states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. grumpy realist says:

    Well, let them lie to themselves however they want. At some point this starts reading like The Lost Cause and other similar self-delusions in history.

    You can’t convince Mama Nature to make the critical mass of plutonium 400 kg by ads and waving flags. Reality exists, and if you don’t admit reality, it has a tendency to bite you in the ass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  27. PJ says:

    @Anderson:
    I’d say that that poll is within the margin of error and not an outlier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. PJ says:

    In today’s Gallup seven day poll, Obama is 6 points up.
    He’s been 6 points up three days in a row.

    And Romney is about to go into hiding to prepare for the debate, I guess no Romney for five days will help Romney’s numbers….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  29. jukeboxgrad says:

    young:

    Republicans are not deluded moonbats. We ACCEPT the results of elections.

    You must be describing some other planet. Here on Earth, I notice this:

    … Majority of GOP voters think ACORN stole election for Obama

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  30. Jim Henley says:

    I read the Examiner column where Unskew guy runs down differences among himself, other Examiner guy, RCP, Karl Rove & Nate Silver today.

    First off, the guy is kind of adorable. It’s like when my pre-schooler would pretend to have an “office conversation” on the cordless handset – striding around with adult purpose, furrowing his brow with great seriousness, bringing terrific intonation to nonsense words and snatches of real vocabulary floating free of any sensible context. Chambers’s self-refuting conviction that he is somehow at the very least a member of a community of experts with the other four is just unself-conscious enough to be charming rather than tedious. In small doses.

    I like it so much I have boiled his method of projecting battleground states down to a few simple steps. If you find yourself without access to the Examiner’s website at some point, you can do these yourself.

    1. Does the poll show an Obama lead outside the so-called margin of error? The poll is skewed and you should ignore it.
    2. Does the poll show an Obama lead inside the MOE? That’s a “statistical tie.” Project it for Romney on the basis of undecided voters breaking disproportionately his way.
    3. Does the poll show a Romney lead inside the MOE? Don’t call this a “statistical tie.” Call it a Romney lead*. Project for Romney since he’s ahead.
    4. Does the poll show a Romney lead outside the MOE? No. In fact, this basically never happens. So we never have to consider this case. We also never have to consider whether it’s bad that battleground states sometime show Obama with large leads, but never show Romney with one.
    5. If, after steps 1-4, there’s a battleground state you did not project for Romney, project it for Romney now.

    It may seem like you could just skip to step 5, but the truth is you won’t feel nearly as

    * This is actually what you should do, since “statistical ties” are a buvllsh;t concept. Stopped clocks, yo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  31. jukeboxgrad says:

    bringing terrific intonation to nonsense words and snatches of real vocabulary floating free of any sensible context

    This reminds me of what Krugman said about Newt: “he’s a stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.”

    The GOP loves this kind of charlatan. Paul Ryan is another example.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  32. sam says:

    Kevin Drum gets to the heart:

    This [poll revisionisim] is to put it bluntly, nuts. And it suggests a fundamental difference between left and right, one that Chris Mooney wrote about earlier this year in The Republican Brain. Neither side has a monopoly on sloppy number crunching or wishful thinking, but liberals, faced with a reality they didn’t like, ended up accepting reality and deciding to learn more about it. That’s the Nate Silver approach. Conservatives, faced with a reality they didn’t like, invented a conspiracy theory to explain it and then produced an alternate reality more to their liking. It’s a crude and transparently glib reality, but that’s apparently what the true believers want.

    Losers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  33. Jim Henley says:

    @PJ:

    And Romney is about to go into hiding to prepare for the debate, I guess no Romney for five days will help Romney’s numbers….

    Well it very well may, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  34. al-Ameda says:

    @James Young: You guys certainly did not accept the election results of 1992, 1996, and 2008. As soon as Clinton was elected you set out to take him down by any means. Ecessary and you impeached him. Obama? Please the Birther Movement was not borne of anything having to do with acceptance. Republicans have NOT accepted the last two democratically elected presidents as legitimate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  35. nitpicker says:

    @James Young: Well, that’s just not true.

    As his hopes of winning the congressional election in New York’s 23rd district fade, conservative candidate Doug Hoffman is clearly getting desperate. Today he’s blaming his loss on “ACORN, the unions, and the Democratic party” who he alleges, without a shred of evidence, tampered with votes to rig the election against him. Never mind that ACORN told David Weigel that they didn’t have volunteers in the area, or that it largely operates in poor urban communities, which NY-23 is not. For conservatives, ACORN is shorthand for the evils of the left.

    On the heels of that news, Public Policy Polling released this shocking nugget on its blog: “a 52% majority of GOP voters nationally think that ACORN stole the Presidential election for Barack Obama last year, with only 27% granting that he won it legitimately.” Say what? More than half of Republican respondents believe the president was elected fraudulently! That’s a stunningly high number. It’s disturbing, not only as a demonstrable lack of faith in America’s democracy but as an expression of wanton ignorance. Worse, it illustrates the effectiveness of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, et al., alongside a well-funded “Stop ACORN” campaign, in creating an atmosphere where unquestioned lies become received wisdom.

    Emphasis mine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  36. jukeboxgrad says:

    it illustrates the effectiveness of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, et al., alongside a well-funded “Stop ACORN” campaign, in creating an atmosphere where unquestioned lies become received wisdom.

    And it was not just people like Beck and Limbaugh who promoted this baloney. It was also promoted by so-called GOP ‘moderates.’ Recall that McCain said this:

    ACORN … is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.

    As WP said:

    If ACORN or any other group has engaged in a scheme to submit phony registrations, by all means that should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. What Mr. McCain’s alarmist attack ignores, however, is the enormous gulf between improper voter registration — whether fraudulent or merely erroneous — and actually committing fraud at the ballot box. Evidence of fraudulent voting is scant, though there is always a risk. But there is a far greater risk of citizens entitled to vote being turned away from the polls — and the real threat to the “fabric of democracy” is the McCain campaign’s effort to stir up unfounded suspicions of massive voter fraud, casting unwarranted doubt on the legitimacy of the election.

    I think McCain’s statement is remarkable, because the speaker was not just Rush or Sean or Bill, but the candidate himself. And the claim he made, using extreme language, was so out of proportion to the underlying reality (since “evidence of fraudulent voting is scant”).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. PJ says:

    From TPM:

    Here’s what the site’s founder, Dean Chambers, does. He changes the baseline assumption on how much of the electorate is Republican and how much is Democratic. Initially, he used Rasmussen’s real numbers on party identification to re-weight various polls. Rasmussen’s numbers break down to 37.6 percent Republican, 33.3 percent Democrat and 29.2 percent Independent. As of Thursday night, Chambers began using party identification numbers from his own web-based poll.

    Rasmussen isn’t enough anymore, lets make up our own numbers!

    After the election the pollsters will continue with their work, Dean Chambers go down into his basement to blog and no one will care about him. At least he got his 15 minutes of fame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. Eric Florack says:
  39. PJ says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Townhall, the site that argues using online polls?
    They are sooooo believable when it comes to understanding polls….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  40. jukeboxgrad says:

    Florack, the awful reasoning in that Townhall post is addressed here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  41. Eric Florack says:

    And what of the fact that Democrat registrations are dropping, vs GOP registrations, at a rate of 10 to one? It doesn’t seem to affect the polling results at all. Wouldn’t you think it should?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  42. Eric Florack says:

    Fox:

    The off-hand call to vote may be by design. It comes amid a precipitous decline in Democratic voter registration in key swing states — nowhere more apparent than in Ohio.

    Voter registration in the Buckeye State is down by 490,000 people from four years ago. Of that reduction, 44 percent is in Cleveland and surrounding Cuyahoga County, where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than two to one.

    “I think what we’re seeing is a lot of spin and hype on the part of the Obama campaign to try to make it appear that they’re going to cruise to victory in Ohio,” Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman Rob Frost said. “It’s not just Cuyahoga County. Nearly 350,000 of those voters are the decrease in the rolls in the three largest counties, Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Franklin.”

    Frost points out that those three counties all contain urban centers, where the largest Democrat vote traditionally has been.

    Ohio is not alone. An August study by the left-leaning think tank Third Way showed that the Democratic voter registration decline in eight key swing states outnumbered the Republican decline by a 10-to-one ratio. In Florida, Democratic registration is down 4.9 percent, in Iowa down 9.5 percent. And in New Hampshire, it’s down down 19.7 percent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  43. jukeboxgrad says:

    And what of the fact that Democrat registrations are dropping, vs GOP registrations

    And what of the fact that this question has been addressed, and you posted it so quickly that you obviously didn’t even bother to look?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  44. jukeboxgrad says:

    OK, maybe you posted your 13:13 before you had a chance to see my 13:11. But you should look at it now, if you want to see the answer to your question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  45. Eric Florack says:

    I’ve seen the answer and discount it.
    What else can you offer.?
    Hint: Fact, this time, not wishful thinking and trying to create your own reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  46. jukeboxgrad says:

    “Wishful thinking and trying to create your own reality” is a good way to describe what you’re doing. You “discount” the answer doesn’t go very far when you don’t lift a finger to explain any basis for doing so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  47. An Interested Party says:

    Hint: Fact, this time, not wishful thinking and trying to create your own reality.

    This from someone who predicted a McCain win in 2008…Florack provides endless amusement…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  48. jukeboxgrad says:

    trying to create your own reality

    And that’s hysterically funny in light of your track record as a brazen liar (example).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  49. Eric Florack says:

    Oh, please. I told the truth there and you can’t deal with it. Your debunk attempt was bunk to begin with.

    And as to the topic here, (since you insist on changing it, I’ll change it back once again…) should we mention that only 9% of people cooperate with pollsters?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  50. jukeboxgrad says:

    I told the truth there and you can’t deal with it.

    The claim you made (“Obama has added more debt than all the other presidents COMBINED”) is true only on a planet where 5.4 is greater than 10.6. Link.

    as to the topic here, (since you insist on changing it

    Your track record as a liar who doubles down on his lies is quite relevant.

    should we mention that only 9% of people cooperate with pollsters?

    Only if you want to keep proving you’re a fool. Tell us what that number was in 2008, and then tell us why the polls were right. Then do the same thing again for 2004.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  51. jukeboxgrad says:

    Also, try really hard to not notice that you are linking to an article which links to an article which says this:

    A new study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that, despite declining response rates, telephone surveys that include landlines and cell phones and are weighted to match the demographic composition of the population continue to provide accurate data on most political, social and economic measures. This comports with the consistent record of accuracy achieved by major polls when it comes to estimating election outcomes, among other things.

    It also says that if there is any effect, it’s the opposite of what you’re supposing:

    One significant area of potential non-response bias identified in the study is that survey participants tend to be significantly more engaged in civic activity than those who do not participate … People who volunteer are more likely to agree to take part in surveys than those who do not do these things. … Republicans and conservatives are somewhat more likely than Democrats and liberals to say they volunteer, but this difference is not large enough to cause them to be substantially over-represented in telephone surveys.

    Sorry to burst your latest ignorant bubble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  52. Eric Florack says:

    Why the polls were right in 08? They were not, first of all. THe polling data showed McCain gaining momentum in the last weeks. Which proved incorrect, as you will recall.
    As I explained in a recent post, the polls under-estimated the Democrat base turnout by several points. The problem with the current polling is that they’re using the 2008 results to weight “Likely voters”, and that would mean that Obama would have to have the same base turnout as he had in 08… which is at the least highly unlikely. Democrat internal polling suggests the turnout won’t be nearly as great.

    As you say, Sorry to burst your latest ignorant bubble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  53. jukeboxgrad says:

    THe polling data showed McCain gaining momentum in the last weeks.

    No, that’s not what “THe polling data showed.” See here. McCain had a lead in the RCP average for a brief period (9/7 to 9/16). Then Obama pulled ahead.

    We can add this to your list of brazen falsehoods. Previous examples here and here.

    the polls under-estimated the Democrat base turnout by several points

    No, they didn’t.

    The problem with the current polling is that they’re using the 2008 results to weight “Likely voters”

    No, they’re not.

    Democrat internal polling suggests the turnout won’t be nearly as great.

    No, it doesn’t.

    What a pathetic joke you are. Have you considered a career in fiction?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0