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So people are freaking out about the polls. There was a Pew poll that seemed pretty good for Romney, and the same was true of a DailyKos poll.

I have something that's going to make everyone feel better, and that something is called Math. The math says that Romney has had a bounce, but that Barack Obama is still winning.

Follow me over the great orange swirl for more.

First, I'm going to quote what Nate Silver had to say about the Pew poll.

[I]s it really likely that Mr. Romney leads the race by 4 points right now? The consensus of the evidence, particularly the national tracking polls, would suggest otherwise. Instead, the forecast model’s conclusion is that the whole of the data is still consistent with a very narrow lead for Mr. Obama, albeit one that is considerably diminished since Denver.

It might be granted that the situation is more ambiguous than usual right now. But our forecast model looks at literally all of the polls; it estimates Mr. Romney’s post-debate bounce as being 2.5 percentage points, not quite enough to erase Mr. Obama’s pre-debate advantage...

The last thing to consider is that the fundamentals of the race aren’t consistent with a 4-point lead for Mr. Romney. Instead, the most recent economic numbers, and Mr. Obama’s approval ratings, would seem to point to an election in which he is the slight favorite. We don’t use approval ratings in our forecast, but we do use the economic data, and both the monthly payrolls report and the broader FiveThirtyEight economic index would point toward an election in which Mr. Obama is favored in the popular vote by around 2.5 percentage points.

So that's my three paragraph limit for quoting, and if you want more you should go read what Nate has to say.

Let's look at what Markos has to say about the Daily Kos poll. He pointed out that the poll was conducted at the height of the post-debate bounce.

PPP does call-backs: It identifies a random range of numbers and begins calling them on Thursday. If they get no answer, they keep trying the same numbers on subsequent days until they get the required number of responses (we ask for at least 1,000). This avoids the old tropes about young liberals being out partying on Friday nights, while conservatives are at church on Sunday mornings, etc.

So this week, 47 percent of responses were on Thursday, 28 percent on Friday, 17 percent on Saturday, and just 8 percent on Sunday. Romney won Thursday 49-48 and Friday 49-44 before losing steam over the weekend. While Romney won Thursday and Friday by a combined 2.5 points, he won Saturday and Sunday by just 0.5 percent.

Nate Silver says that there's a lot to what Markos says here, and that this is a valid critique of the poll data.

You cannot take one poll, or two or three polls, completely out of context and think that you understand what's going on. One poll is mathematically meaningless. Five polls start to give you a better picture. 50 or 60 polls start showing you what things might actually look like, and that is why I trust Nate Silver: he's aggregating all of the data into a big picture.

This is really important. If you don't understand that one or two data points are statistically meaningless, then you don't understand statistical data collection like polling.

Here is where I start getting furious with some of my fellow Liberals when we talk about math and science. If a single study comes out showing that green beans are actually red, some people will assume that the study is the Word of God, when it is in fact one study. Science being what it is, there will eventually be a consensus of studies proving that green beans are in fact green. The one "red" study, or even two or three studies in question are called outliers.

Two polls conducted immediately after the terrible horrible no good very bad debate which show a pretty clear Romney bounce are not all of the evidence, or even most of the evidence. They are two data points that seem to be outliers when compared with the rest of the polling.

Or to put that another way, even Rasmussen doesn't show that big of a bounce for Romney. These polls are so good for Romney that they are outshining Rasmussen, and that's a good sign that they're outliers.  Other polls coming out show pretty clearly that there is not a +4 bounce for Romney.

Let's take a look at a group of swing state polls that came out on the same day:

Now lets look at the TPM poll tracker, which currently puts Romney up two points:

See all those dots way up high and way down low? That's statistical noise, and the dots that are way far in either direction are outliers. But let me show you another thing that you're missing when you look at that data. It's a couple of graphics down and to the right from the TPM polltracker:

The same data that shows Mitt Romney ahead shows Barack Obama winning the election with 270 electoral votes.

Polls don't exist in a vacuum. You have to look at every single poll. You have to extrapolate the national polls based on data from state polls. You have to look at national polls and fill in the gaps in your state polling. You have to account for when the polls were conducted, such as in the middle of the moment when Americans have felt better about Mitt Romney than at any other time in polling history.

It's going to take polling into next week to see what happens. Yeah, the polls could have tightened. That's what I think is happening: conservatives are pulling themselves together and starting to actually fight us. We're going to see some poll tightening because of that.

It's also possible that this is Romney's dead cat bounce, and will be the high water mark on the Romney campaign, but I don't like making predictions like that, even when I hope they're true.

What I can say is that all is not lost. Barack Obama is still winning this election, which will come down to, as it always does, who gets their people to the polls.

That's how elections are won, by volunteers running the ground game and getting people to the polls. We have a huge advantage when it comes to a fired up, activated base.

The math says Obama is still winning, because Barack Obama is still winning in the swing state polls. That's not something that can really be debated, that's a mathematical fact. In order to keep that a mathematical fact we need to keep working on getting out the vote.

If we make phone calls, knock on doors, and keep fighting, we will win this thing.

And the republican party knows it, which is why there are so many concern trolls bouncing around trying to convince us that there's nothing we can do, and that all is lost, because they want to shake up our ground game.

We need to keep doing what we've been doing. This election is ours to win Kossacks, and we're still winning it. We just have to keep on trucking and not let our morale collapse because some people are having an unwarranted freakout over two data points that aren't in step with the rest of the data.

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#### 28comments | Permalink

• ##### Tip Jar(42+ / 0-)

An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

• ##### rMoney = in/outlier & in/outliar /nt(10+ / 0-)

yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

• ##### This is hilarious and you are now one of my (6+ / 0-)

favorites forever.

An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

[ Parent ]

• ##### Keep Calm(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
assyrian64

And at least TIE the next debates Obama!

That is all.

Is there any room for Obama moderates around here?

• ##### Ollie can you repost that picture of Colbert from (5+ / 0-)

your diary last night here or I can always look it up later on..if you are busy. But that picture was absolutely terrific as it perfectly those who were setting their hair on fire and who were weeping, wailing, gnashing their teeth.

Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

• ##### The CNN Poll Today Has Obama 51/47 In Ohio.....(11+ / 0-)

& his approval back up to 53%.  The debate was Wednesday, most of the polls hit Romney at his high water mark which started to recede on Sunday when Obama started to bounce back.

If we can get thru this week & if we stop listening to Chuck Todd, we'll feel better in a few days.

• ##### Ohio is almost all that matters.(3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
Cedwyn, Wee Mama, fou

As long as the President holds on there, and avoids some unlikely disaster like losing PA, he has all sorts of very plausible paths to victory. Wisconsin + either Iowa or Nevada would do it, for example. Even if Mittens wins, say, Florida, Virginia, N. Carolina and Colorado--not too likely a scenario--he still falls short. With Ohio, he has a real shot, but that's not gonna happen.

"Chill" is right. This isn't really close in the way that counts.

When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

[ Parent ]

• ##### The math...(8+ / 0-)
Chill the F*!K out everyone, let's look at the math
But panicking is much more fun. ;)

Andrew Sullivan's Obama Meltdown In 8 Key GIFs

"Patients are not consumers" - Paul Krugman

• ##### Did it ever occur to Andrew Sullivan that(4+ / 0-)

maybe he's a Romney supporter after all?

• ##### Sully is off his meds(5+ / 0-)

Hard to believe the freakout he's going through.

• ##### Has he calmed down yet?(3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
OllieGarkey, FG, assyrian64

Sullivan has always been a little wobbly and politically all over the place.

"Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

[ Parent ]

• ##### He is worse than ever...(0+ / 0-)

Read his latest if you want a laugh.

"Patients are not consumers" - Paul Krugman

[ Parent ]

• ##### 37%. The most Important Number (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
fou

from PEW is Obama winning only 37% of the likely white vote. He will lose if the number is this low on November 6. It is pretty clear from the polling that Obama's support among minority voters is intact but he has lost significant support with the white swing voters.

• ##### Again, those numbers seem to be receding.(9+ / 0-)

That may be part of Mitt Romney's lily strategy, to win 66% of the white vote, but that doesn't really happen.

Way more than 37% of white folks are going to vote for Obama, and I think the rest of the polls prove that.

An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

[ Parent ]

• ##### There's always wiggle room with "likely voters"(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
OllieGarkey, Wee Mama

it's tea leaves there.

Obama needs a high Latino turnout. I suspect he'll have more in 2012 than 2008 because of some of the policies implemented and the general Latino hatred of Romney, which seems to exceed what it was for McCain.

He needs a high African-American turnout.

And a high youth vote turnout.

And he needs to keep women in his court.

To me, this seems all pretty good.

That's what I think anways. Also, I think as an incumbent, he may pick up more mainstream, low-info Americans in general (thus more "white vote").

• ##### We don't know for sure if it(0+ / 0-)

is receding. PEW polled between Thu-Sun. Other national polls have Romney in the 48-49% range. Once this number starts coming down only then we will know.

• ##### Are you entirely sure?(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
Wee Mama

I know Obama won 41% of the white vote in 2008, but I thought that was considered high, with Clinton winning 38% and Carter about the same?

It's very close to prognosticate there.

• ##### Nope. No Democrat has won less than(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
OllieGarkey

40% of white vote since 1988. Obama won 43%.

• ##### Might be, every source seems to give(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
OllieGarkey

a slightly different number.

I was lead astray by the Daily Mail, admittedly a rag, coming up as my first search hit, perhaps... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

I have Clinton at between 37-42%, depending on the source.

Thus said, it's tea leaves since this is likely voters only. And that has a handsome MoE still. Obama isn't outside of the realm of possible here, I don't believe. Also, he brings an unusually high number of minority voters into the ground game. That's good.

• ##### If he indeed does as poorly as he's doing in (0+ / 0-)

this poll, he will lose. But it's a single poll a month before election. Let's not get too obsessed with it.

[ Parent ]

• ##### Thanks for the math(5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
OllieGarkey, Tonedevil, KenBee, Wee Mama, fou

When sanity falls into a slurry, math is always there to reorient you. Maybe I'm obtuse, but unless this persists over time, I am not too concerned by one poll or another, although I'm looking a bit to them all.

• ##### You're welcome.(3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
KenBee, mahakali overdrive, Wee Mama

Math is important. I wish Americans did more of it. We need to start teaching recreational mathematics from an early age, to help folks get over their hatred of math.

An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

[ Parent ]

• ##### Why don't I(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
OllieGarkey

Feel better after reading this?

• ##### I can't speak to your emotions, but panic never(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
Wee Mama

helps.

Let's say that there's suddenly a bear, and you panic. You've just made the situation worse, because the bear's still there and now you're panicking.

An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

[ Parent ]

• ##### Should be on the rec list but not enuf ONOZ (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
OllieGarkey, Wee Mama

If I knew it was going to be that kind of party, I'd have stuck my ---- in the mashed potatoes! - Paul's Boutique

#### Permalink

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