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The presidential horserace since September 1st, all pollsters included...yes, even Rasmussen.

We already knew that you can make a tricorn hat out of tinfoil. Now we know that those shiny hats aren't just reserved for birthers anymore.

Kevin Drum:

One of the odder little subplots of the 2012 election has been the growth of poll denialism among Republicans. As Mitt Romney's chances have grown ever dimmer, a cottage industry has sprung up on the right claiming that presidential polls suffer from liberal bias and Romney is really doing better than they say. "When the published poll shows Obama ahead by, say, 48-45," explains conservative pundit Dick Morris, "he's really probably losing by 52-48!" [...]Their patron saint going into the last few weeks of the 2012 campaign is Dean Chambers, a blogger who runs a site called UnSkewed Polls. Chambers does not dig deep into the numbers. He doesn't explain sample sizes and cell phone biases. He does just one thing: he reweights all the polls so they have the same proportion of Democrats and Republicans estimated by Rasmussen Reports, a pollster with a longstanding Republican house effect. Then he announces what the numbers are after his reweighting is done. Romney is a big winner every time.

Chambers doesn't even pretend that his approach has any rigor. He adopted it, he told BuzzFeed, after seeing a poll that "just didn't look right." After a closer look, he decided that none of the others looked right either. And what does he think accounts for this widespread blundering among the nation's pollsters? Not simple incompetence, Chambers says. It's all quite deliberate. "Any poll that says NBC, CBS, or ABC is going to be skewed and invested in trying to get this President re-elected," he explained.

This is, to put it bluntly, nuts.

It's the new birther era where Republicans are even questioning the circumstances of  poll origination. Clearly, given the strength of Mitt Romney's candidacy, the awe-worthy competence of his campaign, his genial personality and his ability to relate to the 99% of Americans without car elevators, Romney should be leading Obama. Therefore, obviously, any poll that doesn't show a Romney lead must be part of a fraudulent scheme by independent media outlets co-conspiring out of a hut in Kenya...right?

Eugene Robinson has more on the conspiracy theory and the skewers (do we have a better label for them yet?) that believe it:

So why is Romney acting like a man who’s behind rather than comfortably ahead? Because he’s smart enough to know that the conspiracy theory is nuts.

[...] If pollsters look at a demographically representative sample of registered or likely voters and find fewer Republicans than might be expected, it could be that voters who once might have called themselves Republicans no longer feel comfortable with the label.

If a polling sample shows Democrats outnumbering Republicans by, say, 32 percent to 24 percent (with most of the rest calling themselves independents), GOP partisans shouldn’t worry about a conspiracy. They should worry that this is a snapshot of how Americans feel about the two major parties.

It’s not the polls, it’s the policies. Now that’s a reason for Republicans to be depressed.

Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald makes an excellent point:
[S]omeone does have numbers showing Romney doing better than in the mainstream polls — the Romney campaign. Rich Beeson, Romney’s political director, told reporters on the campaign bus that they have internal polls showing Romney in good shape: “The only point I want to make is that we trust our internal polls.” “I kind of hope the Obama campaign is basing their campaign on what the public polls say,” Beeson said, suggesting the public polls are wrong. So what do the internals say? “I’m not going to get into the specifics of what our polls say or don’t say,” Beeson said. [...]

Now, Romney could easily dispel the media narrative that he’s losing, or at least put an asterisk next it, by releasing the internal polls. There’s a long precedent for this. Candidates often make a big splash about their surprising internals, such as the release today from Democrat Christie Vilsack’s campaign showing her within just 2 points of Tea Party Rep. Steve King. But in the absence of that data from the Romney campaign, it’s easy to assume the worst.

Speaking of polls:
With five days left before a pivotal first debate between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney, a series of new polls shows the White House incumbent with the lead in key states that could decide the election. [...]

Obama leads Romney by 2 percentage points in Virginia, 46 percent to 44 percent, according to a Suffolk University poll released late Thursday. The president also leads Romney in New Hampshire, 51 percent to 44 percent among likely voters, according to a new NBC News/Marist/Wall Street Journal poll released late Thursday as well. The same poll shows Obama up in Nevada, 49 percent to Romney's 47 percent, and in North Carolina, Obama leads 48 percent to 46 percent. Both the Nevada and North Carolina results are within the survey's margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

David Lynch at Bloomberg:
If President Barack Obama is trying to spread the wealth, he doesn’t have much to show for it.

Republican Mitt Romney has attacked the president for supporting the use of government programs to redistribute income and for a free-spending response to the 2008 financial crisis.

Yet since Obama took office in January 2009, wealthy Americans have continued to pull away from the rest of society. In the aftermath of the recession, income inequality in the U.S. reached a new high in 2011, Census Bureau data show. [...]

The president has pressed unsuccessfully for other taxes - - including the Buffett rule’s minimum 30 percent levy for millionaires -- to raise revenue and curb inequality.

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