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The press clearly thinks these four men are in a dead heat. Are they right about that?

Over a week ago, at the height of the post-Democratic Convention Obama surge, I posed the following question during the nightly Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap:

Is there an active effort to minimize the Obama convention bounce?
That question was inspired by a number of media reports. First, there was the curious decision by Gallup to measure the Obama bounce simply by the change in Obama support, rather than the change in the margin between the two candidates. This had the causal effect of essentially halving the bounce, in Gallup's assessment. This was followed by ABC's decision to fixate on the rather small change in the margin of their likely voter screen (which moved three points in Obama's direction), while totally ignoring the far larger change in the margin of their less restrictive pool of registered voters (which had moved a total of seven points in the direction of the president).

Then, just two days later, CNN upped the ante when they declared Obama leads of five points in the states of Florida and Virginia to be a "tie." Such a characterization is not only absurd on its face, but it also is counter to how the Associated Press advises polls to be reported. Indeed, the words "tie" or "statistical dead heat" are only supposed to be used when the race is actually ... well ... tied.

Ironically, this week continued the trend of using (or, more appropriately, misusing) data to paint a picture of a toss-up where the data seems to suggest otherwise. This week's effort, ironically, was perpetrated by none other than the aforementioned Associated Press, who received an enormous amount of attention for their poll of the presidential race.

In what was a fairly good polling week for Barack Obama, it was the AP that set off Drudge Sirens midweek, and warmed the hearts of Republicans everywhere. They did so by declaring the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney to be merely a one-point race.

That poll result has found its way into countless efforts at analysis of the current state of play of this election. Journalist after journalist has cited the AP poll as a solid piece of evidence that this race is, indeed, far from over.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

Here is a representative example, courtesy of the Fix's Aaron Blake:

As we wrote Tuesday, Gallup polling shows that the bump Obama got from the Democratic convention two weeks ago has subsided. And another new poll, released Wednesday by the Associated Press and pollster GfK, shows basically the same picture, with 47 percent of likely voters supporting Obama and 46 percent backing Romney — a tie ballgame nationally.
A closer look at the AP poll, however, shows that it is highly unlikely that Obama/Romney is really a one-point race. Indeed, only a small handful of responsible reports of the AP poll offered up a key missing detail: namely, a yawning gap between registered and likely voters that almost certainly was the result of an aberrant likely voter screen.

And, lest this seem to be simply a matter of opinion, there is ample evidence to buttress that point:

  • Responsible analysis of polls should be wary any time there is a chasm between the result of a poll among registered voters, and results among the smaller pool of "likely voters." Some gap, to be sure, is to be expected. Routinely, for example, Nate Silver has posited that the likely voter screen should move polls about 2-3 points to the good for Republicans. A small gap like that would seem, on the surface, to be reasonable. After all, if you assume that the voters who would be the quickest to stand down are younger voters and ethnic minorities, a likely voter screen would probably shed those voters. And those are two voting subgroups that tend to favor Democrats.

    In the case of this AP poll, however, that gap was cartoonishly large. While the likely voter result was Obama 47, Romney 46, the gap among the larger pool of registered voters was Obama 50, Romney 40. That is a nine-point movement towards the GOP when the likely voter screen is employed. A nine-point gap should invite a lot of scrutiny. The only way that comes even in the ballpark of plausibility is if there is a demonstrated, and sizable, enthusiasm gap between the parties. The problem with that: The data this week has actually confirmed precisely the opposite. A Pew survey released this week actually found Democrats to be more engaged than Republicans at this rather late point in the cycle. With that in mind, it starts to feel less and less reasonable to assume that the voters that are excluded from a "likely voter" screen would tilt so decisively to the left.

  • Now, for the sake of argument, let's accept the presumption that those "unlikely" voters are disproportionately Democratic. As I said earlier, given the groups that tend to be less habitual voters, that might even be plausible.

    Even factoring that in, a close look at the AP poll shows an even bigger flaw in its likely voter screen, and one that threatens to discount the poll entirely.

    Let's look at the numbers: AP's pollster (GfK) polled 1512 adults for their presidential poll. Of those adults, they found 1282 of them to be registered voters. From that pool of registered voters, they identified 807 likely voters.

    Among those adults, Obama had an enormous lead (52-37!). However, a poll of adults is fairly meaningless, given that a certain ratio of them aren't registered to vote. Sure, some of them may register between now and November, but that is far from certain, and a reasonable case can be made to discount their vote preferences. Likewise, it has become common practice to discount the registered voter topline results, as well. Why? Well, of course, we also know that not all registered voters will actually turn out on Election Day. This, as anyone reading this likely already knows, is why pollsters turn to likely voter screens.

    But some quick math underscores the absurdly restrictive tendencies of AP's likely voter screen. Out of a pool of 1,282 registered voters, they only counted 807 likely voters. That would seem to assume that only 63 percent of the registered electorate will actually vote for the presidency. A Census Bureau study in the wake of the 2008 election found that the turnout has been far higher than that, even in the lightly attended 1996 election of Clinton-Dole. The range, according to the Census Bureau, has been between 82-89 percent. In the name of full disclosure, other estimates of turnout by registered voters are considerably lower. It is worth noting, though, that even the lowest turnouts were still north of 63 percent.

    Therefore, in order for AP's turnout model to be true, even by the most pessimistic estimates of past turnout, voter turnout would still have to be lower than 1996, when less than half of the eligible electorate turned out. That would seem to be unrealistic, to say the least.

  • What has been most criminal in the media coverage (and this is not wholly AP's fault) is that everyone is apparently assuming that the registered voter topline results simply did not exist. Virtually all of these breathless reports of a one-point race failed to note the far wider gap that existed with the less restrictive registered voter screen.

    This is based on the long-held media assumption that likely voter screens inherently are more accurate than simply polling registered voters. However, a limited research effort I did on that subject for a 2010 Sunday Kos piece noted that, in 2006/08, that was not actually the case. Indeed, the RV screen actually got closer to the final result. In the coming week or two, my to-do list will include a full research sample of 2008 presidential polling, seeing if the LV or RV screen was more accurate in the Obama versus McCain race (look for that in an early October edition of Sunday Kos).

Cynical Democrats and fans of the president have long complained that the press seems to have a vested interest in portraying the Obama-Romney election as far closer than it "really is," in order to maintain a sense of tension that would (of course) drive viewership and readership.

When you see the AP poll being covered in the way that it was, and when you see the AP (via their pollster, GfK) employ a likely voter screen as restrictive as the one they used, and when you see media outlets cherry-picking close polls while discounting blowouts, it is hard to paint those cynics as silly conspiracy theorists. To be sure, the polling landscape (in part because of the sheer volume of numbers we are now seeing) is more varied than a lot of Democrats would care to admit. But the overwhelming preponderance of data looks better for the Obama team than it does for the Romney team. And it is more than a little bemusing to see how few members of the traditional media are willing to say that out loud.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I never knew the power of Gallup, but after (79+ / 0-)

    This week now I know it. The dumb media ran rampant with the, the race is tied nonsense thanks to Gallup's garbage tracking poll. Do these people even take a look at their own swing state polls? Romney is currently trailing in every swing state, some like Ohio in my opinion is even no longer a swing state. But the media has to play the dishonesty game.

    Gallup and Rasmussen are the worst pollsters out there.

    •  Yep, and it is the swing states that matter (5+ / 0-)
    •  The PROBLEM is that ALL pollsters (15+ / 0-)

      run their raw numbers through varioius sieves to arrive at the figures they release.  And when obvious PR pollsters (Rasmussen, who doesn't offer honest poll results but public relations crap for the GOP) produce weird, outlier numbers (such as a dartboard would give you) all the legitimate pollsters think there must be something wrong with their "sieves" and they adjust them accordingly.

      The result is that garbage pollsters (Gallup, Rasmussen et all) have a HUGE influence on the decent ones who are simply trying to do a good job measuring the mood of the country.

      The solution?  Stop averaging Gallup and Rasmussen's results into any calculus of where things stand at any given moment.  The other pollsters will remain nervous about why their raw data data varies so widely from G & R, but eventually this effect should diminish on its own.

      Isolate Gallup & Ras for the same reason you take the rotten apples out of the barrel before they do any harm.

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity." --W. B. Yeats

      by Pragmatus on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:28:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, they don't mention polling by state, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psnyder, Willinois, poetic bird, Pragmatus

      because they're losing there.  They mention the national polls, because those make it look like they have a shot.  Since we don't elect the President by popular vote, the national poll is meaningless expect to give hope to those who have no hope.  

    •  The problem (9+ / 0-)

      is the news organizations are businesses, and they are all highly invested making it appear that the race is closer than  it actually is, for ratings...

      and for eyes on stories.

      That is why they will play loosey goosey with likely voter numbers, margin of error, play up questionable polls with extremely high margins of make it appear the there is some suspense here.

      They did it to a similar extent in 2008, and this has to do with the fact that questions are framed in order to get a desired response, a socially acceptable response, and that now you even see newspaper polls which leave out links to methodology or even margin of error.

      Gallup within the polling community has been on a decline for at least fifteen years....

      and it has to do with their failure to adopt standard practices which most of the opinion research community has put into normal practice.

      Also Gallup does a terrible problem with weighting oversamples.

    •  Editorial in KC Star (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, The Nose

      Today, a local editorial writer (extreme conservative) ... made this point exactly. He said the only polls for Republicans to pay attention to ... is of course, Gallup and Ras.  So, not to worry, race is close and Romney will win.

      People like my independent husband, will believe Gallup.  Ugh.  

    •  We can get all riled up about this....but..... (3+ / 0-)

      there are benefits:

      Even if we do sense things are swinging our way, media claims (even rottenly computed media claims) that this is still a horse race, keeps more of our troops in the game....greater chance that they feel their individual vote could be a decider and less chance they stay home because "It's in the bag."
      Everyone agrees this is going to be decided by turnout.  By all reports, the Obama team got on the grassroots organizing bandwagon right out of the gate and if those reports are believed, have in place a plan that is light years ahead of four years ago.

      Yes, there are reports that folks like Ralph (nothing I do is too low to get me thrown out of the GOP) Reed, have themselves organized a very sophisticated system to get out the evangelical vote.

      But as I noted in another post on this subject, the evangelicals  are currently a big chunk of the GOP base.   They were going to come out regardless.  At the same time however, even some of evangelicals, plus increasing numbers of more moderate Republicans (such as are left) and independents, seem to be peeling away from Mitt on the run up to election day.

      The one big question mark right now is how much impact Voter ID is going to have on the bottom line.

      Bottom line....organize, GOTV, tell the story, every last vote is is.

      And best of all, if Obama is successful in making the case, just maybe we get majorities in BOTH houses of Congress.  Just imagine the joys of a world without Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Eric Cantor in control.

      Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

      by dweb8231 on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:29:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yup .. Mandate Forward ... ! ! ! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Humanity is one family ... with one heart.

        by abarefootboy on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:37:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Amen to that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MRDFS, vernonbc

        I don't even care what "likely voters" say. Today I attended a marathon 3 hour training session with OFA for GOTV. I promise you, we have brand new scripts that were developed by behavioral scientists to target voters with specific language to improve the likelihood they'll vote. We ARE lightyears ahead of 2008-we've already registered more voters than we did then, and we'll turn them out like never before.

        "No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters." --Elizabeth Warren

        by foreverblue on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 07:22:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The closer the national polls, (6+ / 0-)

      the easier it is to steal the election. I worked hard for the Kerry campaign in 2004 - even traveling to FL (on my own dime - twice) to get out the vote. It was about that time I stopped watching CNN because of that Gallup dude who came on to explain their polls. It was shameless manipulation of data! Proud to say that I never turn on CNN to this date!

      ps The rethugs have gone so bold with their election strategies of stealing the vote that even when the exit polls showed stark differences from the election results - in favor of dem contestants, they got the media to back down and stop doing exit polls. This democracy is in serious danger.

      "Where do we go from here, chaos or community?" - MLK

      by Aint Supposed to Die a Natural Death on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:54:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      Recommended by:
      keetz4, The Nose

      Didn't you hear Ed Gillespie just last week when he proclaimed that the most important polls at this point in the election are the national ones?  I couldn't believe it.  Yet the reason is obvious:  They are getting killed in the state-by-state polling.  SQUIRREL!!

      The question I have, though, is why is the Gallup now a 7-day rolling average?  Is this the first time this has been employed?  What effect does it have on the general perception by the electorate of what the Gallup tracking poll means?  I call BS on their constant 47/47.  In the midst of all the swing state polls going off the charts, they remained at 47/47.

      Another strange thing I noted about Gallup was around the 100-day mark they did not even release polling data.  At  that time, pundits were noting that statistics showed that whoever is leading at the 100-day mark, was the eventual winner a greater percentage of the time.  I found it curious that Gallup did not release tracking results then.  

    •  Media reports what they want to hear. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Truth and facts be damned.

    •  Sorry - a 5 point lead with Voter ID laws and 2... (0+ / 0-)

      ...more jobs reports coming is DEAD EVEN. He needs at least  7 point lead in each state to stop GOP efforts to steal it.

  •  Could 2010 Be Influencing the LV Assumptions? (16+ / 0-)

    I realize it was a midterm and so probably wouldn't be used to model a presidential race.

    In any case the low Dem energy has been mostly rectified since mid summer.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:06:46 AM PDT

    •  If you check out the wingnut blogosphere, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssgbryan, TexasTom

      they think the pollsters should be using 2010 models, presumably because "we're all teabaggers now" or some such nonsense. It's a way of sustaining false hope in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

      That said, I am worries about complacency on the Dem side. I think the DNC convention, with M. Obama's and Clinton's great speeches, may have helped to address that somewhat, but Republicans have always had an advantage on the enthusiasm gap side of things. Their voters, after all, believe that [insert Democratic incumbent here] is the Antichrist incarnate.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:30:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only if you first realize that 2010 produced (5+ / 0-)

      some of the most shit-filled polling ever.

      Rasmiussen virtually screamed, doing hundeds of polls right up to election day, that Sharron Angle was going to trounce Harry Reid in Nevada and Meg Whitman was going to beat Jerry Brown in California.   Neither happened.  Both Reid and Brown won by 10+ percentage points.

      The MSM, or at least DailyKos, should stop giving Rasmussen a platform from which to spew their nonsense.  Report their results, fine, but don't add them in with everyone else's.  That's a recipe for the kind of wildly fluctuating polls we've been seeing.

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity." --W. B. Yeats

      by Pragmatus on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:35:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The polling aggregates at DKos routinely exclude (5+ / 0-)

        both Ras & Gallup.

        •  I know there has been an effort in that direction (0+ / 0-)

          but it is not always consistent.  Rasmussen has a way of dangling results that make it look as if they are finally getting on track (such as recent rolls showing Obama up by several points nationally) which makes people take them seriously again, only to have them pissing in the water supply once more as soon as they are able.

          "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
          Are full of passionate intensity." --W. B. Yeats

          by Pragmatus on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:43:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Flooding the zone (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beetwasher, Pragmatus

          Even Nate Silver has pointed out that Rasmussen (in particular) and other RW outfits will "flood the zone", giving large numbers of biased polls to give a false impression that GOP candidates are doing better than they really are. And because the networks need the money and need people to watch as a result, they'll cling to this mirage of a "close race." A 5-point lead in this day in age is not close at all, and it's more than 5 for Obama in most contested states in non-RWpolls.

          And remember that Gallup had a national ballot on the eve of the 2010 elections that had GOP +15. In reality, the national vote was more like GOP +7. It's hard to unintentionally miss by that much.

          Sure, we latch onto polls where we like the results, but we also notice that the RW organizations were clearly off in 2010, and seem to be doing so intentionally.

  •  Lies, damn lies, and politcal polls (11+ / 0-)

    Should be the update to the old expression. It seems they're always looking for ways to spin numbers. Likely voters v. registered voters. Finding different ways to balance D/R/I voters polled. And on and on. That's why none of them in isolation mean a hill of beans. Meta-polling is slightly more usable. But in the end, who cares about national numbers, only the EC matters for the President, why don't they publish those numbers for a change?

    If we got Mitt to be slightly less dishonest and gave him some personality he could pass as a used car salesman.

    by ontheleftcoast on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:06:58 AM PDT

  •  I'm fine with it... (32+ / 0-)

    keep the narrative of a close race until Election Day...don't want any voters deciding they don't have to bother.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:07:20 AM PDT

  •  As Maddow and others have pointed out (17+ / 0-)

    Localized Trad-Med copy AP stories verbatim thus the AP's ability to twist is far more dangerous than any random news source.

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:07:44 AM PDT

  •  Reporting of a competitive race… (16+ / 0-)

    …helps us all-around. It keeps GOP attention on the top of the ticket and not downballot races. It will prop up our turnout if the average punter still thinks the race close, instead of, "Obama has it sewn up, I can stay home."

    Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

    by DemSign on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:07:56 AM PDT

  •  Let them misrepresent the polls (7+ / 0-)

    It will only serve to further engage the Democrats and will give the Rethuglicans a nice warm feeling which may lead to less of a right-wing turnout on Election Day. Besides, the voters who are registered are already damned determined to vote and know for whom they will be voting already. I'm definitely not getting complacent and am still feeding truthful information to those who haven't seen the light yet. Let the press distort all it wants - it isn't going to change the outcome! At least that's how I see it.

  •  does it matter? (6+ / 0-)

    So if they want to call it a tie, let them. It will make Dems work even harder, which is good. And if the truth is that Obama is far ahead, that's fine too.

    Obama 2012...going to win it with our support!!!

    by mattinjersey on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:08:51 AM PDT

  •  Ok let em (4+ / 0-)

    Political junkies know better. If this scares the people who don't follow politics closely to get involved and work to GOTV for President Obama. Then it is a good thing. Turn lemons into lemonade.

    When the devil shows up with a truckload of promises it's harder than you think to walk away.

    by kiki236 on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:09:47 AM PDT

  •  Because a Democrat isn't allowed to have momentum (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RoniLee, skod, Sherri in TX, keetz4

    Oh, and a black man isn't either> Definitely not.
    ANd I'm not convinced the massive misrepresentation is just to allow mouth breathers like Wolf Blitzer to widen their eyes every day and breathlessly declare its a toss up/a horse race/a squeaker/etc. Because when low info voters (ie morons) go in the voting booth, they tend to want to vote on the 'winning' side. So they can brag about it to all their moron friends the day after.

  •  Evidence this is not a close race (16+ / 0-)

    Go to the HuffPost electoral map.

    Click on each of the swing states. Then look at the bar graphs that show the state of the race in each of those states from January till now.

    With the exception of North Carolina, Mitt Romney leads in exactly ZERO of them at any point this entire year.  Zip Nada None.  And that includes Florida.

    That is not indicative of an indecisive electorate.

  •  gallup finally moved (9+ / 0-)

    They have Obama up 48-46 and Obama approval jumped 4 to 51%. Gallup never makes much sense. The national trackers make no sense since state polls don't support a race this close.

  •  Don't tell too many Republicans this! (3+ / 0-)

    Yes I understand the point of this, and agree that the pollsters and news media want to keep their audience by claiming it's too close to call.  But do progressives want conservative money to abandon Romney and switch to backing senate and house candidates?  Keep 'em spending their bucks on a lost cause, and let's keep the Senate and retake the House!

  •  I don't get the national numbers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani

    at this poibnt myself. The only "big" state that's beyond relatively close is Texas, and that's overcompensated by CA, NY and IL for Obama. Okay, Romney's ahead in parts of the south and midwest, but those are compensated by places like NJ, MD, MA, HI, WA, etc.

    •  Mitt not winning much in the midwest. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, Delilah, keetz4

      Obama leads in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio,
      and Iowa, which is a pretty big bite out of the Midwest.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:50:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but those polls are very close in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        IA, MN, OH and WI.

        Meanwhile, Romney is up 15-20 pts in TN, KY, GA, MS, AK, LA,and SC. These are not big states but they all have sizable populations. And there are all the small red states.......ND, SD, ID, WY, KS, NE, MT, and UT. And he's still leading in MO and NC. There is a lot of red in this country.

    •  I wouldn't call Texas "relatively close"... (0+ / 0-)

      ...because I don't consider a likely 10 point minimum victory for Romney here to be especially close.  That said, I would expect California, New York, and Illinois to more than compensate by being landslide states for the president.

      The only big state that I'd actually consider to be close is Florida.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 01:11:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It all comes down to rating... that's sad indeed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crashing Vor, Pragmatus

    A poll is a poll is a poll.... Nothing should change that.

    But it appears that if you have enough desire to prolong the contest and drag out the election like it was a super bowl then you have to go with your sponsors.

    AP should be ashamed of themselves for pushing the numbers that far from what they collected. There is always going to be some percentage of error between the predicted outcome and the actual outcome. But 9 or 10%? That's whitewashing it!

    These guys reporting on the election night voting do more with 3% of the ballots counted than the AP with a ton of polling numbers.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:20:03 AM PDT

    •  Yup.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Most of it is to prop up $$$$ the media gets from every show analyzing, ad nauseum, the campaigns.  
      Print/TV/Radio all have vested interests to keep this thing as competitive as possible, even though, it very definitely may not be.
      Fine, keep us on our toes, let Mittens keep popping off with his mind numbingly stupid campaign, let Lyin' Ryan keep getting booed at every appearance by seniors.  
      Wonder what they'll say about the debates, some of it is probably already written.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:28:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Precisely. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pragmatus, NoMoreLies, wishingwell, Ender

      If you announce the Super Bowl winner two weeks out, that's a lot less beer and Go Daddy web hosting sold.

      We've been wondering how to get through the clutter and reach low-information voters. Mitt haz it.

      by Crashing Vor on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:32:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, It's Not Ratings, Unless You Honestly Think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If Romney had the lead Obama has, they would also be calling it close.

      They wouldn't. If Romney had Obama's lead, they would all be trumpeting that the race is over. Everyone knows that's the damn truth.

      This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: []

      by Beetwasher on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:09:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A tie? But I just read this on Fox: (8+ / 0-)
    This summer, Romney advisers anticipated three key moments in the race. The first two – choosing a running mate and the national convention – have come and gone with Romney taking the lead. They are now pointing to the debates.
    AP's mischaracterization is weak by comparison.

    Proud to be a Truth Vigilante

    by Calvino Partigiani on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:21:08 AM PDT

    •  Romney has never had a real lead (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calvino Partigiani, skod, keetz4

      Neither Nate Silver nor Sam Wang have ever shown Romney ahead during the entire campaign. Not once.

      In other words, if you look at all the data and not just a cherry-picked number, this race has never been a race.

      But hey, sometimes Mitt is ahead in a daily tracker number ... sometimes even for days at a time.  So clearly Romney might win it! Stay tuned for more thrilling election coverage after a word from our sponsor.

    •  In what universe is Romney in the lead? (4+ / 0-)

      "OK everyone, here's what we're going to do. Our new, GOP-friendly poll model is going to assume:

      -- that any positive Obama numbers south of the Mason-Dixon lines are in error;

      -- that the best voting model is one that combines 2010 with 1994;

      -- repeat after me: "behind by ten" = "within the margin of error"; "behind by five" = "tied"; "tied" = "ahead by five."

      -- our FL and OH polling algorithms are adjusted to reflect the local GOP's plans to use a time machine to transport the entire swing state electorate from 2004 to the present. This will rip the fabric of the space-time continuum, but hey! We got an election to win;

      -- our Nov. 6 polling models incorporate an assumed appearance at the debates of the ghost of Ronald Reagan, who will tag-team Mitt Romney in the middle of the debate.

      That should be everything, folks. Remember, we want as accurate a reflection of empirical reality as possible. NOT!"

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:45:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Media (0+ / 0-)

    The media has an interest in keeping the race close. In reality, Romney was never going to be President. He lies too much.

  •  polls (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, bridav58

    they factoring in the suppressed voters

  •  Helpful AP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NativeSonKY, Philly526

    They are doing us a favor. We need to keep working as if it were a dead heat. This is no time for complacency.

    •  "Complacency." (8+ / 0-)

      Sorry, but for the love of God, can we quit with that threat?

      Why do so many people here doubt that being on the winning side is a momentum builder, not a momentum killer?  When your favorite sports team is winning, do you get complacent, sit back in you chair, and say I don't feel like cheering them on anymore?  

      One thing all the polls I've seen agree on, is that the Dems now match or out do the GOP in enthusiasm. And with every day that the polls look better for Obama, that enthusiasm is going to grow, not decline.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:00:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That "work like we're 10 points down" is total bullshit. If Mitt Romney was winning by 10 points in the polls, I'd be making plans to flee the country, not be energized to work for Obama.

  •  And about the TV media ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... Could their motivation be EYEBALLS?  If they can [mis]repressent the race as close, in their meme of constant conflict, they may hope to retain viewers.

    Much as NFL-game announcers shift from "What a blowout this is ..." to "We see signs of a comeback!  This thing's getting close to being tied!!!" -- probably at the promptings of someone in the media organization who doesn't want a lot of people switching channels to someone else's commercials.

    Nah, it couldn't possibly be anything so crass and cynical as that!

    "Equal rights for gays." Yeah, it's just that simple.

    by planmeister on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:26:05 AM PDT

    •  You hit it (0+ / 0-)

      Folks ... the polls are purchased by the media.  And how do they make money... lots of money...ADS!  The closer they can make it look the more money they make.  

      As Deep Throat said, follow the money!

  •  You want ABC to focus on people who won't vote? (0+ / 0-)

    When you have two samples from the same larger sample and one group says they are likely to vote, that means the other group is unlikely to vote.  Because they just told you that.

    You want ABC to highlight that number because it is better for Obama?  Talk about denial.

    •  Gallup tracking now has President Obama (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, bridav58, Beetwasher

      +2 ( 48 - 46)  with a 51% approval rating (up 4):

      •  Ok.. I wasn't arguing (0+ / 0-)

        that Obama is up in most polls.  It's been a 2-3 pt race in his favor for a long time.

        I was pointing out Steve's calling ABC out on not playing up RV tots in favor of LV.  LV is all that counts at this point.

        •  Because of the huge difference between LV (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and RV is simply not in line with historical turnout. ABC is using a filter for LV that is a 63% turnout but presidential elections are in the 80%+ turnout. It is not arbitrary defensiveness of Dems. It is simple stats. Likely voter choices are based on historic voting patterns but this election they seem to be changing thier sieves every poll to encourage candidate spending... kinda cynical BS.

          Doesn't matter if POTUS gets the electoral college majority.

          How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

          by boophus on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:54:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Did you read the diary? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Likely voter models are often no more accurate than polls of Registered voters.

      •  See my comment jsut above this (0+ / 0-)
        •  and too which I ... (0+ / 0-)

           using your own info/website/link showed why AP's poll was screwy they have only 63% of RV's showing up to vote this year whereas in 2008 itwas more like 72%,in 2004 it was 69.96%(not the 60% you stated above),in 2000 it was 67.5% and in 1996 65.97%.

             I'll say it again it looks like RV are getting more engaged every year with more & more of them being non-whites(13% of the electorate in 1992,26% last time in 08). So again where does AP get that 63% of RV showing up that seems to be the lowest number dating back to 1960 again according to your link in your post above.

  •  On the ground in VA (7+ / 0-)

    we are seeing some movement but many of the same Romney supporters are staying put.  They are mad though--they are hanging up on phone calls and slamming doors in people's faces.  Its the same thing they did when McCain was losing.  Stoopid never stops being stoopid but we need to stay focused on our ground game and never let up.  

    Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. ~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

    by Tchrldy on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:28:24 AM PDT

  •  Does everybody participate in polls? (0+ / 0-)

    I know I usually don't.

  •  Let them believe it. It will only increase their (0+ / 0-)

    disappointment and bewilderment on November 6th. I think Republicans will make it to the polls no matter how bad the polling really is or how even they may perceive it to be, so I don't think this will affect turnout much one way or the other.    

  •  People vacate stadiums as soon as one team leads (8+ / 0-)

    by a tremendous score, and then no one buys refreshments and trinkets. So every professional sport tries to induce parity into their competition to keep the crowd in it.

    Same here: Who is going to watch TV or read papers about a match that is already hopelessly decided. This is their bread and butter at stake and they are outright groping to keep us spellbound.


    I just enjoy it all. But I wear my politics proudly and honestly and I enthusiastically try to get out the vote. It seems that for any Romney or Ryan plug on Facebook, I have two reality checks and a good-natured slap down. Trying to persuade with kindness — a lot of people are not stupid, just underinformed.

    I voted for McGovern (just to give you my time/age reference) and this is my absolute favorite election season ever.

    But like the sergeant said to close the opening of Hill Street Blues every week: "...oh, and Hey! Let's be careful out there."

    skipping over damaged area

    by Says Who on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:33:25 AM PDT

  •  Just register and vote for Christ's sake (4+ / 0-)

    And get 10 of your Liberal friends to do the same.

    I don't care about anything else.

  •  Too much early celebrating. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pragmatus, notanoldlady, keetz4, bridav58

    We haven't won shit yet.   I fear that the early celebrating will cause more than a few people to sit on their asses on election day because "we've got this in the bag".

    When the going gets rough, the average go conservative. --Henry Rollins

    by Beelzebud on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:34:01 AM PDT

  •  Until Nate Silver says this race is real close--- (6+ / 0-)

    I'm going with the notion that Obama has a fair lead, and will win!!

    He knows numbers better than anyone.....

  •  When even the party faithful desert your loser (0+ / 0-)

    of a candidate, you can always try the Potemkin Bandwagon.  

    "Everybody loves the Mittball. Really, truly!"

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:34:55 AM PDT

  •  None of these "experts" know what the American (0+ / 0-)

    people are thinking any better than Romney understands that his campaign for Billionaire Rights is an abject failure.

  •  Yellow Journalism (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notanoldlady, Philly526, Ender, elphie

    n. "Journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers."

    "Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?" - General Jack D. Ripper

    by wilder5121 on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:37:56 AM PDT

  •  They're doing us a favor, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    however unintentionally.

    Once you deduct all those who will not be allowed to vote and those whose votes will not be counted, Obama will be fortunate to have any Electoral College lead at all, at current figures.

    If you want Obama to be reelected, fight as if he were losing by two percent.  

    •  It's hard to know exactly.... (0+ / 0-) much voter suppression will hurt us, but Nate Silver estimated that it would around the margins, but not enough to stop us if we're winning solidly. Of course, we have to fight back against it even if it didn't cost us a single vote, just because of the principle of the thing.

  •  Maybe its just good old-fashioned avarice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    at work here. If the race appears close, both campaigns will spend like crazy to get ahead. But, if there was a wide gap, the leader could back off a bit and the apparent loser might decide not to drain the coffer?

  •  Yes, the US media is horribly corrupt. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notanoldlady, Ender

    They spin whatever narrative suits the economic objectives of their owners regardless of facts, sometimes to the point of pure fabrication and alternate-universe reporting.  Where presidential elections are concerned, they want a horse race - and they want the Republican to win in the end.

    Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

    by Troubadour on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:50:40 AM PDT

  •  All over the sunday shows this morning (6+ / 0-)

    every conservative was saying, "The race is still tied nationally."

    It's really not, but it's all they got.

    And apparently the GOP apologists have settled on the talking point that the "47 percent" comments were being taken out of context and misconstrued.

    Good luck with that. Everyone can watch the full video, and many, many people have. And it's really not any better in context.

    I suppose that's all they really can say since Romney refuses to apologize or say he was wrong or misspoke. So they kinda have to run with telling people "What you heard is not what your heard."

    Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

    by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:52:29 AM PDT

  •  I have no objection to this mischaracterization (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    candideinnc, Philly526

    Dems need to act like this is a close race to the finish and turn a statistical lead into a route.


    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:53:09 AM PDT

    •  True and we continue to GOTV no matter what (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      any polls says. We continue our phone banking and door knocking and registering new voters and helping voters know what they need for states with new Voter ID laws.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:50:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The AP/GfK voter screen was unsupported by their (3+ / 0-)

    own data.

    The 1282 registered voters were all asked about intention to vote. The voter intention numbers nearly mirrored those for did you vote in '08 (about 72-73%) - which should have resulted in a maximum number of likely voters of 936.

    But AP/GfK only counted 807.

    How did they come up with such a low number? Nobody knows.

    What is clear is that their screen ALSO had the effect of tilting the party ID of the smaller universe AP/GfK printed to 31-30-30-8 (D-R-I-None of These), a significant shift from their registered voter universe of 32-25-30-13.

    It is a baffling censoring of data - for which I think the press should demand an explanation.

    I know, unlikely to happen.

    •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ItsSimpleSimon, bridav58

      The AP asked each registered voter how likely they were to vote, on a scale from one (not likely) to ten (extremely likely). They also gave the percentages for each number on the scale. I figured that AP's screen would make the cutoff between registered voters and likely voters at six or seven on the scale.  But if you run the numbers, the total number of AP's likely voters was less than the number of respondents who answered with a ten (extremely likely)! Unfrickenbelievable!

    •  also.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Jerry J linked to a website in one of his post above which showed the % of RV who showed uop to vote as 65.97% in 1996,67.5% in  2000 and 69.96% in 2004 plus the 72-73% figure for 2008. So where in the hell did they pull out that 63% figure? IMHO even the  1996 figure bodes very well for Obama.

  •  not a real bad thing (0+ / 0-)

    I understand your consternation.  The fact is, though, that I think worrying about a close election works to Obama's favor.  At this point, with Romney tanking, the worst thing that could happen is for Democrats to think the election is a foregone conclusion--and stay home.

  •  the "convention bounce" is holding ROF LMFAO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, wishingwell

    let them try to spin that

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up ! ! !

    by Churchill on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:00:52 AM PDT

  •  ~140 million should vote, 1 pt=1.4 million voters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up ! ! !

    by Churchill on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:02:18 AM PDT

  •  Ryan/Romney ticket promises to fuck women on D1 (4+ / 0-)
    Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Saturday derided President Obama's space program and called his administration's requirement that hospitals and universities, including Catholic ones, be required to offer contraception an "assault on religious liberty."

    Ryan promised at a town hall meeting in Orlando that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would reverse the contraception mandate on "Day 1" if he is elected president. The mandate requiring all insurance plans to include access to contraception was part of Obama's health care overhaul.

    Kiss my white Irish ass, Ryan.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right. I'm riding for MS in September. Please donate here if you can.

    by darthstar on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:02:59 AM PDT

    •  that will certainly inspire women to vote ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      Women have started getting contraceptives with no copay.

      I imagine they are getting used to it, and won't want to go back to the "good old days" of having to pay.

      That's the real fear the republicans have of Obamacare.
      That people will like it, just like they do medicare and s/s.

      Today's problems are yesterday's solutions. Don Beck

      by Sherri in TX on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:29:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama won '08 by 9 mil votes; s/b 5-10 mil in '12 (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up ! ! !

    by Churchill on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:03:33 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Kos!! (2+ / 0-)

    "Is there an active effort to minimize the Obama convention bounce?

    "That question was inspired by a number of media reports."

    Thank you, Kos, for reminding me again why the only media that I give any time to are the NBC and CBS evening news shows and Daily Kos.  If Gallup is willing to juice up their own data in order to achieve the results they want, then Gallup does not deserve to be considered as a valid and reliable poll on ANY issue.

    And of all the sites on the Net, Daily Kos has earned my respect for its honesty.  In other words, if I read it here, then I generally believe that it is true.  Keep up the great work!

  •  Reporting the election as close leaves (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    plenty of room for Republican shenanigans in vote tallying. No one can be surprised if it looks like the candidates are neck and neck up to the wire.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:06:41 AM PDT

  •  Call Me A CT'er, But It's Clearer, And Clearer (7+ / 0-)

    That there IS a concerted and deliberate attempt by various corporate media entities to cook the polls in favor of Romney via their Likely Voter models.

    Sorry, but it's just to damn flagrant at this point to ignore.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: []

    by Beetwasher on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:06:53 AM PDT

  •  This morning on Meet the Press (8+ / 0-)

    Chuck Todd did the math on the Electoral College and said that while it was not impossible for Romney to win, it wasn't likely.  When a media tool like Todd can see it, you know it's probably true.

  •  By keeping it close it keeps viewers watching (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oracle2021, wishingwell

    Ratings ratings ratings

  •  It's never over until it's over. Saying it's over (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    doesn't make it so.   It only convinces the weak minded and the lazy that it's over.  
    Motivated voters (likely voters) know better.  

    Keep working.

    He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason. - Cicero

    by SpamNunn on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:14:39 AM PDT

  •  Balderdash! (0+ / 0-)

    That's my first response to the assertion that the media are artificially interpreting results in order to keep attention to the election high and to inflate viewership and page-hits.

    Hell, I was so disgusted I decided to get out of here and go to to read up on the pennant races ... but then I decided not to, because since my team - which still looked good for a playoff spot 2 weeks ago - has fallen off, geez, I don't visit that site nearly as often at all.

    Which suggests ... something something something I may be crazy!

    Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

    by Clem Yeobright on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:18:15 AM PDT

  •  Everyone knows MR is toast but............. (2+ / 0-)

    I agree with the majority of posters here. How can one gain in Swing States substantially and still be tied or up by one. Repubs swear by RAS and GAL but I've been turned off by them because they simply REFUSE to report or reflect what is currently happening.  I will stick with Sam Wang at Princeton for true reporting. Nate Silver second.

  •  It's easy to manipulate the message (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when you own the news. As most of you know Bain Capital owns clear channel, Which Romney bought right before his previous failed attempt at the Presidency. So Romney literally owns: Rush Limbaugh, Jim Rome, Casey Kasem, Ryan Seacrest, Glenn Beck, Bob (Kevoian) & Tom (Griswold), Delilah, Steve Harvey, Blair Garner, George Noory, John Boy and Billy, Big Tigger, Dr. Dean Edell, Bob Costas, Sean Hannity and others.

    Clear channel is one of 6 major corporations that own and control the vast majority of media in America.  In 1986 there were 50 companies. This is a dramatic shift of power and influence. All in all that means that 90% of the media consumed in America is controlled by only 6 corporations.

    Business Insider has a great article about this.

    News isn't news, it's carefully crafted propaganda, and talking points that are re-iterated by the corporate controlled meda.

    "Today we say all art is political. But I'd say all art has to do with ethics. Which after all really comes to the same thing. It's a matter of attitudes." ~Ingmar Bergman

    by Digital Auteur on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:20:58 AM PDT

  •  The scientific concept of robustness is apropos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Robustness is a property that allows a system to maintain its functions against internal and external perturbations. In another sense, an experiment is said to be robust when parameters are changed and the results still support the same general conclusion. This is important, since the results obtained from experiments or studies attempting to elucidate the same phenomenon will inevitably differ as a result of the approach, methods and materials used by the researcher and the biases that all researchers carry with them as "baggage."

    Experimental results are said to be robust when they support a similar conclusion, regardless of the researcher[s] involved or experimental parameters.

    It is not trivial to point out that as researcher bias increases, credibility of individual experimental results suffers. And, this denigrates the overall robustness of the collective theory. Bad science drives out the good science.

  •  this could help obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NewDealer, jimmylutherking

    by not having his supporters get over confident and help romney by not having his supporters get discouraged, who knows, but one thing we do know, ap is a fraud and the msm is ditto to that on most occasions.

  •  poll results are nothing but talking pts (0+ / 0-)

    some say "its a statistical tie'  some dont

    some say "obama only up by 1" some say more

    some say.... that the effort to make it seem like this is a close race is more about insuring there is a significant audience for the upcoming debates then handicapping the actual race.

    I fall into that last category...  because it is a fact that the more people who think this race is, for all intents and purposes, over the fewer people will tune into the debates and the debate ad buys are BIG BUCKS if a large enough audience is expected to tune in...which is why we now hear about how 'everything hinges on the debates' and predictions that 'this will be THE most watched debates in history'  these are Point of Sale pitches to advertisers, not election outcome predictions.

    I would warn the right, though, to not take solace in the poll numbers... democrats (like me) are tired of what we have had to endure over the last decade and especially the last 3.5 years, from republican obstructionists, and we are not so much fired up to re-elect Obama as we ARE fired up to hand republicans crushing defeats at the polls, at ALL levels of government soooo if Democrats think we are only tied with republicans we will work that much harder to get the job of defeating the right done.

    "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

    by KnotIookin on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:34:29 AM PDT

  •  Here's the thing if those polls are right or they (0+ / 0-)

    do change the Race into being close by creating a perception among voters then these corruptions well not change much but if those tricks don't change things then when it becomes impossible for the Corrupt Pollsters to twist the numbers then the bounce for obama will be enormous literately overnight.So the Pollsters run the incredibly dangerous risk of complete discreditation of the whole polling system to the point that it might even bring 'em down into Bankruptcy.Question to Pollsters:Is Romney,Republicans and a Tight Race so important you risk ruination of your Business Model?  

  •  Yet another iteration of media "balance." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jake formerly of the LP

    These analysts say it's a tie. Those analysts say it's a romp. The media has shown both sides and avoids the responsibility and the cost of doing its own analysis or of thinking about the merits of the differing analysis.

    New media motto - We report whatever people say; you can't blame us.

  •  In a sad state of affairs the fourth estate (0+ / 0-)

    has become as run down as last years running shoes. This week suddenly they have become obsessed with defining who actually pays taxes, who doesn't and who are the 47% despite that the fact that the GOP has been harping on that for months and Limbaugh for a couple of years.  Where were they?  Kessler was handing out wooden noses just Friday on the Fast and Furious issue with the White House despite the fact that the investigation had been wound up the day before and the major culprit was found to be some sludge in AZ. Several have been speculating, almost fantasizing about a war with Iran (yesterday what would Obama do if Israel bombed Iran), now that may be legitimate speculation but in my opinion only continues to stir up the hawks and keep the thinking about going to war instead of speculating on the long term devastation to the societies, people, environment, the refugees and living conditions.  Those are the things that need to be talked about before a war is started, how many generations will it take to recover if ever.  

    As far as polling goes it has always been my belief that the questions are written with a predetermined outcome.  If the poller wants to show that Limbaugh is a great guy they ask questions and give choices to, well that may not be a good example, because there are no questions that would put him in a good light unless you ask his Mom and Wife if they like the money.  

    So it is not surprising that the polls appear tilted to the interests of the poller.  I am sure there is some financial incentive for the pollers or they would write the questions to actually tell us something and so that they were objective.

    In the long run though isn't it OK if we as readers and voters use our brains to interpret the campaign's directions and make our own conclusions?  Do we really need polls to tell us which way is up or if it is raining BS from the GOP?

  •  This is a GOOD thing (0+ / 0-)

    Having polls showing a close race will probably encourage more Democrats (and Republicans, but whatever) to get out and vote.  And encourage more volunteers to work harder on the GOTV efforts.

    The greater the percentage of the eligible electorate votes, the greater the likelihood that the Democrat will win.

    So, the reportage may be, as usual, reality-challenged.

    But in this rare case, that may be to the Democrats' advantage.

    But don't tell the media, or their corporate bosses.  Let them keep working on our behalf.

    In Washington, whenever anyone does something wrong, everyone else gets punished.

    by Noziglia on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:48:45 AM PDT

  •  About outliers.... (0+ / 0-)

    It's important to note what an outlier is.

    An outlier is not a datapoint outside the MoE.

    Sampling error is distributed (more or less) normally - in a bell curve.  Most of the time, the result will be in the hump of the bell.  Some of the time it will be a bit outside the hump.  Sometimes it will be way out on the flanges.  None of these are "outliers", and as the MoE is based on 95% confidence interval, one in 20 polls will be outside their MoE.

    An outlier is a poll that is weird for some other reason - a mistake in the counting, sampling from the wrong population, whatever.

    And "house effects" are not randomly distributed, and not necessarily normally distributed either.  You can't assume that the firms with house effects near 0 (i.e. close to average) are more accurate than firms with big house effects.  It could well be that all firms are biased in one direction, and that the firm that most consistently favours Obama (or Romney) is the leased biased.

    Just thought it was worth noting...

  •  Actually, I'm not all that upset by this because (0+ / 0-)

    it really may be a good antidote for complacency on our side. I have frequent disagreements with my old colleagues at OFA, but I do so agree with "running like we're 10 points behind".

    If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

    by MikePhoenix on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 01:18:08 PM PDT

  •  Willie Brown (0+ / 0-)

    wrote in today's Chronicle that Obama could face an October Surprise. Brown seems to believe the stories about how tight the race is.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 01:47:41 PM PDT

    •  He's been around a long time... (0+ / 0-)

      And he knows the GOP will literally do anything to win.  Most people have forgotten but in 1980 a copy of Carter's debate briefing book was actually pilfered out of the White House and given to Reagan before the debate.  Our hapless press was so tired of Carter, they didn't do much with it.  

      Republican foreign policy types also had back channel contacts with the Iranians urging delay of hostage releases.  

      John Kerry remembers the Al Queda video rush-released just in time for the election.  

      This time around?  Recognize the multi-million dollar ad campaign running the last couple of years featuring  the "brilliant" wealthy individual who is predicting doom for the economy?  Expect more of that.  And gas prices rising at the end of summer?  Why do you think that happened?  There will be more, they are desperate.

  •  Take the Gift (0+ / 0-)

    You use this as motivation. You don't argue with it. If Republicans want to think this is a 1-point race and keep doing what they are doing, good for you.

    Besides, the networks and other news organizations are telling this lie for one reason, to keep interest in the campaign high, for ratings. More interest in the campaign benefits Democrats.

    If the AP were reporting correctly, that this race is a win that might become a blowout, then a lot of Democrats might go to sleep and stop working hard for the President and for the party.

    The fact that they didn't do that is a gift. Take the gift. Then shove it down their throats on November 6. Make that your gift

    by Dana Blankenhorn on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:48:03 PM PDT

  •  Conspiracy Theory (0+ / 0-)

    Just a thought from the darker places of my mind, but what if the "race is tight" pattern is being put in place so when the election comes out for Romney the people will except the pundits' explanations about voter turnout and enthusiasm.  

  •  I'm not sure how much this matters. (0+ / 0-)

    If Romney's supporters think that the election for President is over, then they'll just shift their money, resources, and volunteers to protecting the House and retaking the Senate.

    But then again, I'm no strategist.

    18, FL-24 (home) MD-07 (heart). UCF sophomore, Organizing for America Summer Organizer, politically ambitious, vocally liberal--what else could you need to know?

    by tqycolumbia on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:24:15 PM PDT

  •  Yes... all is normal here.... nothing to worry (0+ / 0-)


    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 07:25:26 PM PDT

  •  This has been standard practice since 2000 (0+ / 0-)

    The hard-core polariziation kicked in during the "Lewinsky scandal". Since then, the Press has engaged in a consistent campaign of driving as many elections as close to 50:50 as possible. Being so close increases interest in the election, and more people "tune in" -- which allows Press companies to charge more for ad time.

    The problem now is that several "red states" are going blue -- Ohio and Florida most prominently. The Electoral College tilt should be quite noticeable this year, and will result in Republicans whining (as they always do) that the "Democrat Party" has somehow cheated ... and that it's unconstitutional!

  •  Just priming to call FRAUD (0+ / 0-)

    When Obama blows (R)money out of the water, watch how quickly they change the narrative to VOTER FRAUD--even though they are doing everything they can RIGHT NOW to ensure that certain people can't vote.

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