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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as President Barack Obama listens during the first 2012 U.S. presidential debate in Denver October 3, 2012.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Who will be president next January? Evidently, it depends on whom you ask.
On Thursday's edition of the Polling Wrap, identifying the frontrunner in the race for the White House was a tougher task than one might think. And that is because of an extraordinary stat from the polls that night.

Three pollsters (Gallup, Ipsos/Reuters and Monmouth) were kind enough to provide two topline results to their polling. For one topline, they took the temperature of the race among all of the registered voters who responded to their polling. In the other topline, they applied (as virtually all pollsters do, at this point in the cycle) a likely voter screen.

The amazing stat? President Barack Obama led in none of the three polls, where the likely voter screen was employed. But Mitt Romney led in none of the three polls, when the universe was registered voters.

There are, of course, two fairly logical explanations for this. For one thing, the national polling of the presidential race has grown extraordinarily close: Romney's margin in the three polls among LVs was a mere 1.7 percent, while Obama's margin with RVs was only 2.0 percent. For another, it has long been assumed that a likely voter screen is going to benefit the GOP, because of the (likely correct) assumption that more habitual voters are going to lean conservative.

With the end of the marathon in sight, however, and everyone eyeing the polls with ever-increasing intensity, today's dose of Daily Kos poll analysis is going to look at some assumptions about polling invoking the likely voter screen. Some of the things we think we know about utilizing this common polling technique are absolutely true, but there is also no shortage of mythology.

Below the fold, you will find the common rationale for tightening to a likely voter screen at election time, some of the potential pitfalls of doing so, and a study I conducted of 2004-2008 presidential election polling which will reinforce some assumptions about likely voter screens, and contradict others.

(Story continues below the fold)

THE CASE FOR POLLING LIKELY VOTERS

The rationale for invoking a "likely voter" screen in polling is inherently logical. It is an absolute fact that not every person who is a registered voter will actually participate on election day.

Even in that, however, there is some legitimate dispute. What percentage of registered voters don't actually participate on election day? Hard as it might be to believe, there is not an indisputable answer to that question, even when looking at one election for data. Turnout figures are usually somewhat reliable (they may vary slightly, depending on whether people are calculating signing in to vote vs. presidential election votes, undervotes, etc.). But there is substantial disagreement on accounting for "registered voters." A late 2008 study pegged it 184 million voters, while the Census Bureau put it at 146 million voters. So, if you want to put it as a percentage, apparently somewhere between 11-29 percent of registered voters did not vote in 2008.

Nevertheless, that is a substantial reason to winnow the field down from all registered voters, since we know that somewhere between 1-in-10 to 1-in-3 of those responses are going to be invalid.

THE PERIL OF SCREENING FOR "LIKELY VOTERS"

Of course, the fundamental problem lies on two fronts. For one thing, overall turnout is going to shift from election to election. As much as the left would like to assume that 2012 turnout will mirror 2008 turnout, and as much as the right would like to believe that 2012 turnout will mirror 2010 turnout, there is simply no way to know for sure what the composition of the 2012 electorate will be (which is why that whole GOP unskewing phenomenon was such incredible nonsense).

For another, the constantly shifting demographics of the nation at-large also will alter the electorate as time goes on, making it difficult to get a legitimate bead on who will eventually vote, and who will not. Assuming a 78-percent white electorate may have been a safe bet in 1992, for example, but today it would be an invitation to ridicule.

So therein lies the challenge for pollsters. While, in theory, it would be to the benefit of accuracy to weed out non-participatory registered voters, to do so invites a lot of assumptions and speculation by the pollsters themselves. And that speculation could be errant.

Even by trying to winnow the field by simple means (like asking about voter enthusiasm or likelihood of participation), there are pitfalls, as Republican pollster David Hill noted earlier this week:

The most common question simply asks: Are you almost certain to vote, will you probably vote, are the chances 50-50 or don’t you think you’ll vote? Seems straightforward. If you want to know whether someone will vote, just ask . But this doesn’t work very well. A recent Kennedy School of Government study, looking at more than 10,000 pre-election interviews and actual turnout, determined independently from election records, demonstrates that many who say they’ll vote don’t. And even more surprising is many who say they won’t vote eventually do. In this study, 13 percent of those “almost certain to vote” didn’t. But more disturbing is that of voters who self-reported only a 50-50 chance of voting, a category most pollsters dismiss, 67 percent voted. Even more disconcerting is that 55 percent of those who said they probably wouldn’t vote eventually did. Almost no pollsters using likely-voter methodology would have kept these respondents in their samples. But they voted.
So, while there is a clear and compelling reason why you would want an election poll to reflect those who will actually show up, it should be evident that narrowing the field does come with legitimate peril, as pollsters make their own assumptions about who will show up and who won't. PPP might have the best method for doing so (they simply say at the beginning of their poll that if you aren't voting, hang up).

What we will examine now, however, is whether the likely voter screen leads to ... pardon this expression ... a skewed view of elections. To do so, I examined polling from the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, using the polling compendium at D.C.'s Political Report. If there is an obvious flaw in the study, it is in the smallish data set. Because most pollsters use a likely voter screen, and do not release RV data, there were only 50 late polls (defined as Oct. 1 through election day) from those two election cycles.

Nevertheless, there is at least some data to look at as we consider the LV/RV divide. For those interested in playing with the data, you can access the database here.

ASSUMPTIONS versus EVIDENCE: THE RV/LV DIVIDE

ASSUMPTION #1: Likely voter polls are more accurate than ones of registered voters

ASSUMPTION: Incorrect

Of the 50 state presidential polls conducting during the final month of the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, the RV result was closer to the final outcome than the LV result in fully half of them. In just 38 percent of them was the LV screen closer to the final outcome than the RV screen. In six of the polls, incidentally, there was no difference between the RV/LV results in a poll.

For what it is worth, those numbers track closely to a study I did of downballot polling in advance of the 2010 midterm elections.

ASSUMPTION #2: A likely voter screen always favors Republicans

ASSUMPTION: Inconclusive

The polling toplines in this study among LVs were, hard as it might be to believe, just as likely to err on the side of the Democrats as it was to err on the side of the GOP. In fact, it was split perfectly down the middle—50 percent of the polls gave margins that were more favorable to the Republican candidates, but 50 percent of the polls gave margins that were more favorable to the Democrat.

ASSUMPTION #3: A registered voter poll always favors Democrats

ASSUMPTION: Partially True

With only a registered voter screen in place, the polls did err on the side of the Democrats slightly more often than not. The ratio, as it happens, was 60-40, with the majority of RV polls missing to the benefit of the Democratic candidate.

ASSUMPTION #4: There is always a broad enthusiasm gap between RVs/LVs

ASSUMPTION: False

One of the unique things about the 2012 election cycle is that there is often a fairly wide gap in the results of the polling, with the results for Obama among LVs being substantially worse than those among RVs.

The odd thing about that is that it defies the results of this study in two ways. For one thing, the gaps were not particularly wide. In 72 percent of the polls in the study, the LV/RV gap was three points or less. For another, there were a reasonable minority of polls where the LV/RV gap either didn't exist, or the Democrat performed better with likely voters. Indeed, the GOP candidate overperformed with LVs compared to RVs more of the time (64 percent), but in almost a quarter of the polls, the Democratic candidate actually saw his margins enhanced by the LV screen. That has been a phenomenon that has essentially been absent in this election cycle.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So what, in the final analysis, can we take from this data set in relation to the current election standing in front of us? There seems little doubt, from the available evidence, that this year's likely voter screens seem more hostile to the Democratic president than past screens have been for Democrats, given the preternaturally wide gaps seen in many of these polls. But, a note of caution: That does not mean that they are wrong.

One of the true travesties of the "unskewed" movement, and one that regrettably is also occasionally parroted by supporters of the president, is to automatically presume that a poll with something anomalous to it is automatically, and simply, wrong. To use a far-too-often quoted film cliché, "It's a trap."

In 2010, I swore up and down, including on this very site, that the enormous gains for the GOP could never happen, because the Republican brand name was crap. Which, of course, it was: The GOP had a lower fav/unfav ratio in the 2010 exit polls than did the Democrats. All of which, as it happened, mattered very little in what was one of the most glaring examples of "clothespin voting" in recent American history.

It is entirely possible that pollsters in America are seeing a broad enthusiasm gap where none exists, and that these chasms between likely voters and registered voters are wildly understating popular support for the president.

But Obama supporters have to account for the fact that if a number of pollsters are seeing it, it might (at present) exist.

And, in fact, my first maxim of poll analysis comes into play here, and not in a way that will make Obama supporters happy. That rule is: If everyone has the race in one place, and you have it in another, chances are that everyone else isn't the one that's wrong. The corollary here: If pollsters across the board are seeing this gap, the chances of it existing are actually pretty decent.

Of course, the primary goal of Team Obama, between now and Nov. 6, is to alter that. Much has been made about the oft-ballyhooed turnout machine of the Obama campaign. And if early voting and voter registration numbers are any indicator, that could well be more than hype. Clearly, votes in the bank, coupled with a different partisan balance in states than previously thought, could go a long way towards diminishing (or even reversing) any "likely voter" gap that might exist. A sterling Obama debate performance on Tuesday could also go a very long way toward closing any "gap" that might truly exist in the electorate.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Headwaters.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am not a "likely voter"... (37+ / 0-)

    I am a definite voter!  Would I be excluded from these polls?

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:04:47 AM PDT

  •  I guess what I don't understand is what voter (29+ / 0-)

    would take the time to participate in a poll if they wouldn't participate in the voting process?  Sometimes, it takes longer to take the poll than it does to vote.

    •  Getting you ass up and voting (14+ / 0-)

      requires just that, ass->up->voting. Answering a poll lets one express their opinion and then go back to the Tee Vee. That may be an answer, they feel like they voted.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:16:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I vote. I don't respond to pollsters. (6+ / 0-)

      There are many disreputable organizations and people fishing for information and besides, I don't have the time.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:37:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Generally that is my practice but this year I feel (5+ / 0-)

        I need to balance the polls so I have been responding.  I was in an IPSOS poll.

        Mitt Romney's moral compass points to the Cayman Islands.

        by captainlaser on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:48:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Been answering weird calls for same reason (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, pHunbalanced

           Polls are the only reason I answer strange phone numbers nowadays. I know under-40, cell-phone only liberals like me are undersampled, and so that might mean we have to answer the phone more than we otherwise would care to.

             And the biggest reason why I care to do that is that I know our idiotic MSM defines its coverage based on these flawed polls, so if we can keep sending the agenda that Obama and Dems are winning (and they still are), it helps the end result, as low-info voters are the ones most influenced by the horse race coverage.

    •  This is why you will hear that popular saying (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wary, mahakali overdrive, dfe, Delilah, ozsea1

      "You have no right to complain, if you don't vote" because their are literally millions and millions of American registered voters who love to complain and bitch but will never get up on Election day and actually vote.  

      They LOVE to tell a pollster how they feel, they LOVE to bitch and moan in my classes. they LOVE to make a statement but on election day...."I got to work" or "I don't like neither one of them"...or "I have a class" or "I got homework"  or whatever.

      Millions.

      •  why wouldn't a non voter have a right to complain. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        ....when the are only offered 2 choices.  Both of which might not be acceptable.  There is more to voting than selecting one from column A or collumn B.  There are lots of problems with ballot acces.  I am a very liberal person and it seems that the last  few presidential elections were between hardcore right and moderate right candidates.  It is very hard for me to be enthused when I vote.   And I do vote.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:48:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you vote, you have a right to complain. If you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neilgj

          don't...you don't.  

          If you don't like the top choice, write in.   If you don't want to vote in the presidential because you don't like the choices....vote down ballot or local, so maybe in time your choice will make it to the top.

          If you don't vote...I do not want to hear your bitching. You lost your right to complain.

          •  I don't agree... (0+ / 0-)

            ...your

            'if you don't vote you can't complain' is a usless old trope.

            I could argue if you vote you don't have a right to complain because you were part of the bad result that came about.  You know like only the disintrested spectator is truly undiased enough to judge.

            So stop hectoring people and try to inspire them to believe a candidate can make a difference.

            That is a big problem with Obama with my friends.  He inspired them to think he could change things and as soon as he got into office he became a typical politician.  That is what I hear every time I try to convince them thier vote is needed.  That and 'I live in Illinois,  my vote won't matter either way'

            We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

            by delver rootnose on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:05:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It matters down ballot and in local. Your vote (2+ / 0-)

              always matters.

            •  Of course you can complain, but when you are (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ozsea1

              unwilling to act in any way on your complaints, they acquire a special status.  It's called whining.

              I live in Illinois, too, by the way.

              At the presidential level, neither of our votes matter very much.

              In 2010, however, both gubernatorial and Senate races were decided by a relative hair's breadth.  They split, btw, in case you weren't watching: the former Obama seat to Republican Mark Kirk and the Governor's seat to Democrat Pat Quinn, helped in no small part by a third party candidate.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:46:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  seems stupid to... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis

                ...to continue to participate in a system so obviously rigged to serve the current power bases.  I still vote but it seems more pointless each time.  You can call me a whiner if I can blame you for supporting a system that serves the well to do and screws the poor.

                We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

                by delver rootnose on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:55:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree in large measure with you. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ozsea1

                  It's one reason why I don't belong to a party.

                  It seems clear to me that continuing as we have isn't working.

                  What's far less clear is what will work, but...

                  I don't think it's hopeless.

                  As big a mess as the Tea Party Congress has been, the Tea Partiers actually did get in and make some serious changes.

                  Whether the changes are for the good is unimportant --

                  The new Congress made life hell for John Boehner and cost the GOP at least two Senate seats (not to mention the addition of Rand Paul).  Probably had a lot to do with the difficulties in reaching a budget deal, ...

                  but did demonstrate that you can screw up party leadership and move things your way.

                  And Tea Partiers were never a majority of anything.

                  I suspect that the ultimate weapon is fear -- legislators' fear that they will lose their seats, their power, and their ticket to millions to be made lobbying.  That might mean a temporary emphasis on sticks over carrots and willingness to hold one's nose in the process.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:39:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The man staved off a great depression (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rube Goldberg, eps62

              and got the foundation laid for universal health care in this country despite opposition not only from the the most intransigent opposition in a century, but from doomsayers and purists in his own party.

              Tell all the people with pre-existing conditions that he hasn't "changed" anything.

              Tell these friends of yours if they want more dramatic change, vote Romney.  I GUARANTEE you a whole lotta change. Not the good kind.

              •  what makes you think... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis

                ...i don't already have a pre-existing condition.  Actually i have enough of them that I am uninsurable.  i have 'insurance' through a state program that costs nearly $4000 a year, which at 46 i am ashamed to say my mother helps me pay, that has a $5000 per incident deductable.  I cannot afford to go to a doctor.  And I really need to.  But remind me how great Obama's INSURANCE reform is when he should have been doing HEALTH CARE reform.  But I digress.  I do understand the difference between Obama and Romney.  And if it mattered in my state I would vote for him.  But don't blow smoke up my ass and call him liberal.

                We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

                by delver rootnose on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:19:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think you need to read the benefits (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  eps62

                  of obamacare more carefully to make sure you understand what you stand to gain.

                  I'll call him a liberal. You can blow smoke up your own ass if believing you won't benefit from Obamacare makes you feel better.

                  And if you want Canadian-style health care instantly, without working through the American poltical process, Manitoba is still taking immigrants.

      •  Who WANTS them to vote? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, Vote4Obamain2012

        Check Jefferson.

        "I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, 1820
        I'd just as soon have a highly informed electorate making as intelligent choices as they possibly can. Doesn't sound like a Tea Partier, does it?

        Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

        by TerryDarc on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:55:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, but the same could apply to young voters too. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1

          I teach young adult and you would be shocked at the amount of young adults, who also vote, but who could not name you one member of congress. Students who could not tell you the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.  Young adults who could not tell you in a paragraph how our government works.  

          •  I think we can suffer youth... (0+ / 0-)

            ...to make the mistakes of youth, even as we suffer the old to make their particular mistakes.

            Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

            by TerryDarc on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:07:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Except that it Does sound like a Tea Partier (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          Informed and intelligent does not require you to be in agreement or even to be right.

          Which, btw, is a great indictment of what we call 'politics' these days -- lots of name calling, little useful discussion outside of echo chambers.

          So much easier to preach to the choir.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:48:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it takes a heap of information & intelligence (0+ / 0-)

            to deny evolution and anthropogenic global warming and Obama's birth certificate and...

            Not all, just most. The intelligent ones may be doing it out of greed and denial is a great blinder of the truth.

            Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

            by TerryDarc on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:10:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Something I Have *ALWAYS* Said... :) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      If you've ever participated in one of these things, man...they can be a total pain. I was on one that took over 30 minutes! Who would sit through that, and then NOT vote. You have to have a pretty open schedule, that's for sure!

      :)

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:01:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Read (15+ / 0-)

    Polling is such a complex topic. Thanks for this easy-to-understand post on some of those complexities. I'd love to see something about the effect of momentum on poll results. At what point do the poll results drive the next polls? If Obama starts to rise again, is it harder for Romney to embark on a second surge?

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:08:39 AM PDT

  •  Well done. (9+ / 0-)

    I'm still rather partial to the RV number when I can get it and when I can see it. Especially in the swing states, registered voter turnout will likely approach 90%. That means it is going to pretty closely track the RV number.

    Keep in mind I'm saying not that eligible voter turnout will be that high. But registered voters....when the campaign is engaged, they do actually vote.

  •  Not to beat a dead horse, but... (18+ / 0-)

    Polls that do not include cell phones cannot be taken seriously in 2012.

    I have no landline and I'm 56. I cannot imagine that voters under 30 keep one now.

    Also, wouldn't it also be true that in the case of last week, Romney's supporters were very excited about the debate and happily answered and Obama's didn't?

    Dig the new single from Papa Knuckerhole himself: http://soundcloud.com/jangellamf/my-les

    by Johnny Wendell on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:10:01 AM PDT

    •  PPP doesn't call cell phones (5+ / 0-)

      and they seem to be alright.

      I like to take the robopoll and the cell phone sensitive interview type polls together and just look for trends rather than preferring one over the other.

    •  We have a landline but don't keep it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, Wary, Egalitare

      turned on very often. It's for outgoing calls only. I have to say that maybe it's just where I live, but more people I know have no land line and just have a cellphone.

      When I was phonebanking in '08, some states obviously had this issue because no one would pick up, like in NY and stuff, whereas in the South, they seemed to all pick up. We were only given land line numbers.

    •  Is there a way (0+ / 0-)

      That people with cell phones can "opt in" to getting calls from polls? Will polls be able to call cell phone users in the future?

    •  To the excitement = answer the phone issue (4+ / 0-)

      My impression is that poll analysts generally assume that someone excited enough to answer the phone is also more likely to vote. I'm not sure they always make that caveat though, so it could be more that they are lucky phone answering excitement tends to equal voting excitement. It should be a big issue, but doesn't seem to get much attention (probably because pollsters don't want to undermine their own polling).

      Data I'd like to see would be the hang-up rates and non-answer rates for each poll (i.e. number called versus number reached versus number participated). This could give you a better read on how much of the population the poll is missing. So many people have caller i.d. now (especially on cell phones) that there must be a huge number of people that ignore pollsters, is this a biased sample of the population?

      •  Also, if you don't speak English well, (0+ / 0-)

        you might be uncomfortable speaking on the phone to a pollster.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:14:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  this is 100% true. both my husband and I (0+ / 0-)

      have no land line and haven't since 2004. (or 2001 if you count VoIP). And we're 44 and 50 years old. His kids living in our FL home are in their 20s. Also with no land line phone in the house. All four of us, rabid Obama voters. And my husband and I are contributors and I am a volunteer.

      So.

      There.

      For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

      by mdmslle on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:03:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ok but don't you think the whole cell phone issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mdmslle

        cross party lines?  If everyone you know doesn't have a landline....don't you think everyone they know doesn't have one either?  

        I personally think it is pretty much a draw on that.  You can argue that  poor people are more likely to only have cells...but honestly does that really apply anymore to an extreme.  For one,  poverty crosses the same party lines, they just happen to vote against their own self interests.  Two, the wealthy now also carry cells in place of land lines.  I would argue there is almost just as much a chance that wealthy people have no need thus do not own land lines any more than anyone else in this day and age.

        You can argue the older generations might have more land lines and thus get polled more...but their age alone is already weighted accordingly in polls and they vote more conservative.   You can also argue that minorities are more likely to have cells and not land lines but then again they too are already weighted on minority status and they vote more democrat.  

        So, IMO, pretty much a draw.

        •  I wanted to also add that I am a black, almost (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mdmslle

          middle-aged female and I have always owned a land line and a cell.  When I lived in Texas, I was never once polled, on either.

           I moved to Nevada ( a swing state) and in 2010 and this year, I have been polled numerous times on the land and the cell, and it is about equal in amount.

        •  my 83 year old dad has a land line. (0+ / 0-)

          what I'm saying is maybe in certain age groups yes. i'm not aware of the cell phone issue being about "poor". I do know that AA's are much more likely to have cell phones only. I'm not aware if that's a poverty issue or a racial difference, to be honest.

          and as far as the very rich, their homes usually do have a least a land line or VoIP line. When they aren't at home, their help is.

          For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

          by mdmslle on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 05:51:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Right. I am nearly 62 and I almost never (0+ / 0-)

      use my landline. I almost never answer it.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:12:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's an interesting thing, isn't it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HudsonValleyMark

      I'm a few years older than you and also have no cell phone.

      So -- a million questions come to mind:

      Do you simply adjust to match young people on the assumption that most land-line free folks are young?

      Do you try to find out (somehow) if landline-free old folks are different from old folks with landlines?

      Do you assume that landline-less young folks are like landline using young folks?

      And -- given that your polling techniques exclude cell phones, exactly how are you going to get all this.

      The mind boggles.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:52:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm too sleepy to link, but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac

        Pew -- which does call cell phones -- has some great reports on this topic.

        Yes, if you don't call cell phones, then probably you weight your demographics to adult demographics -- which tacitly assumes, among other things, that cell-phone-only folks are more or less like landline folks with comparable demographics -- and hope for the best.

        Even if you call cell phones, you still weight to adult demographics, hoping that non-respondents are more or less like respondents with the same demographics.

        This is imperfect, but apparently not awful so far.

        Election protection: there's an app for that!
        Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

        by HudsonValleyMark on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 01:07:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder whether a gap might exist but not so much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, Steve Magruder

    in the battleground states given the respective GOTV efforts and massive advertising.  While I am no expert on the matter, my guess that some people might 'tune out' if they could, but in Ohio, Virginia, Florida etc they simply aren't given the opportunity.  As such my guess is that where things are left to nature - yes - there is a difference between LV and RV.  However in 'unnatural' situations like the current election cycle, you'd have to ask 'are you certain you are not going to vote?' rather than the other way around.  Maybe that's an exaggeration but the basic idea is that the respective parties are going to make it far more difficult on the disaffected and I think we see some of that reflected in Ohio and Iowa insofar as there are already an abnormally high early voting requests.

  •  I doubt I'd be a likely voter (4+ / 0-)

    I'm a decline to state voter, first and foremost, and I've only voted for President once, in the last Presidential election.

    Would they actually consider me a likely voter?

  •  The RV polls do tell us one thing THIS cycle..... (13+ / 0-)

    ........that if we GOTV, that we have a better chance of being successful. It really is about turnout and we all owe it to ourselves to make that happen. I'm not so worried about distilling just what these RV vs. LV polls mean, albeit an interesting topic - I am more focused on what we can do to affect the outcome of the election.

    "Because only three percent of you read books - and only fifteen percent of you read newspapers - but right now there is a whole and entire generation that didn't know anything that didn't come out of this tube." - Howard Beale

    by Audible Nectar on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:23:36 AM PDT

    •  Yes. That's why we need polls. (6+ / 0-)

      Polls are useful in GOTV. One doesn't want to waste resources.

      For example, there is no point in getting out the vote here in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Obama is going to get 95%+ of the vote here and New York is a safe blue state. How do we know? Polling!

      So instead I go down to Philly where I know it will actually make a real difference. How do we know? Polling!

      •  Yep, yep, yep. (0+ / 0-)

        I've been reading Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium blog, and he has identified states where GOTV can be most meaningful by calculating the "value" of one vote when you can only get out a finite number of votes.  Here's what he comes up with:

        NV    Obama +1%    100.0
        OH    Obama +1%    97.0
        NH    Tied    61.7
        WI    Obama +2.5%    60.9
        VA    Romney +1%    56.1
        CO    Romney +1%    44.7
        MI    Obama +3%    40.6
        PA    Obama +3%    37.8
        IA    Obama +4%    27.2
        FL    Romney +3%    9.7
        NJ    Obama +15%    6.9967E-10

        IOW, neighboring GOTV should be going to NV, OH and NH.  He figures the result should be relatively equivalent for ad buys, as well.

      •  True but that could pad our popular vote total. (0+ / 0-)

        Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

        by Micheline on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:12:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You should really talk about the Rand poll (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brn2bwild, Lightsource777, mdmslle

    I teach market research and it is the only national poll I take seriously this cycle.

    •  Why? (3+ / 0-)

      Interesting comment.

      But I'm wondering WHY it's the only poll you take seriously.  I'd certainly prefer it myself, because it does show Obama in the lead.

      Do you have evidence that Rand has a greater predictive success than other polls?

      •  good question. I'd be interested in his answer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        delver rootnose, blueoasis

        too. But one  thing I like about Rand is that the sample size is HUGE. 2500 people. And they ask the same people every day so it seems like it would be a better indicator of how people perceive things on a day to day basis. I think the value is in the fact that they use the same people everyday so it give you an comparison. and apples to apples thing.

        If this person was feeling bad last week (ahem, me) but today they feel better (ahem, me), I think it's interesting data to have that you probably just can't quite get from random polling of 400 different people every day.

        For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

        by mdmslle on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:08:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Biggest problem in survey research is nonresponse (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mdmslle, DMentalist, blueoasis

          30 years ago the state of the art was to generate a random sample of the US population and call each respondent until you got a valid response. Response rates were often 80% or higher, so if you replaced the few non respondents with demographically similar additional samples you could be reasonably sure that your sample was representative of the underlying population and use the standard statistical results to measure sampling error.

          Today response rates for commercial surveys are usually in the single digits, and political polling firms have to be content with 30% response rates. When nearly everyone in your sample responds you don't have to worry about the the correlation between response rate and the polled question, but when the rate is under 50 it becomes very important. If the folks who like Obama respond 78% of the time and the folks who favor Romney respond 82% of the time, the bias in your poll is pretty small, a point or two. If the response rates are 28% and 32% then that generates a 15% spread in the sample. The controls for this sort of bias are not very attractive, because they require knowing the response bias, which in turn requires knowing the true percentages, which is what you want to measure in the first place.

          In professional survey work, the solution has been increasingly to use prescreened panels of respondents who agree to participate in advance. These are extremely expensive relative to random calling, but give unbiased results, so are really the only way to get meaningful quantitative results. For survey work where a couple percentage points around 50 is significant as is the case here, this is the only accepted methodology.

      •  Rand has an entirely different methodology (6+ / 0-)

        They have a panel of almost 5000 respondents who agree in advance to respond to surveys. In March they asked for participants in their election tracking poll and got 3500 that they divide into seven groups. Each group gets polled (by email) on the same day each week, so 500 get polled every Sunday, 500 every Monday and so on.

        Each time they are asked the same 3 questions -
        What is the probability you will vote for Obama, Romney, Someone else (adds to 100)?
        What is the likelihood you will vote in the presidential election?
        What is the probability the Obama, Romney, Someone else will be elected (adds to 100)?

        Rand has collected data on panel members previous voting - who they voted for in 2008 (Obama, McCain, someone else), if they did not vote but were eligible, if they were not eligible for age or some other factor. They use this data to weight their sample for both demographic distribution and the known distribution from the 2008 vote. This almost completely eliminates sampling error that results from random errors in the percentage of subgroups surveyed and selection bias which results from correlations between response rates and candidate preference.

        They combine the weighting with the expressed voting likelihood to get a vote share model of likely voters which involves essentially no pollster judgements.

  •  Has the emergence of OFA had an impact (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheLizardKing

    on democratic performance vs likely voter screens at all?

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:28:10 AM PDT

  •  I don't know if all those... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    merrily1000, itsnotbutter

    ...early votes are a good thing.  They could 'accidently' go missing.  I think Ramney will win not because he will get the most votes but he will make it close enough that they will not look into the 'strange' things that happen in key states.  like in 2000 and 2004.  The reality now is that the Democratic candidate has to win by 5% to win in reality.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:29:58 AM PDT

  •  great post (0+ / 0-)

    It is THIS type of analysis I wish Nate Silver would talk about.  Instead of the horse race.  

    Look if the polls show O up 4-5 on election day he will win.  If Romney is up 4-5, HE will win.  Polls are unlikely to be that inaccurate.

    IN 2004 Bush had 2-3 point lead in polls and won.  I believe he had 1-2 point lead in 2000 and lost popular vote.  

    It is for these type of races, where this type of academic analysis NEEDS to be done.  And Nate Silver doesnt.  

  •  Prez needs some good debates to refire the base. (4+ / 0-)

    If nothing else.

    Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

    by Bush Bites on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:35:09 AM PDT

    •  We can count on the Boss doing a LOT better... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, Vote4Obamain2012

      ...but it will be very interesting to see if that gets reflected much in the polls. It was almost as if people were looking for an excuse to vote for Willard M. Robme. Very strange indeed!

      Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

      by TerryDarc on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:06:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting comment -- closing the barn door after (3+ / 0-)

        the animals are gone effect.

        There is one respect in which I believe that to be true: Romney gave voters permission to consider him.  Prior to the debate, he had been pretty heavily demonized.

        As I have posted before, I was stunned to hear that my oldest daughter was considering (which is different from leaning) Mitt.  She was an enthusiastic Obama supporter in 2008,  and cares very much about issues like the environment and education.

        I still find it hard to believe that she will go R-squared on election day, but something has definitely changed.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:59:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I certainly hope she comes to her senses (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Micheline

          Still think racism given permission to come out has something to do with the precipitous drop in O's stats. That and some heavy steering by Ras and other R pollsters.

          Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

          by TerryDarc on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:47:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Easy to call racist when you don't want to (0+ / 0-)

            see your own failings.

            The current administration has not done a good job.

            If it has done the best possible job with regard to jobs and employment, then it has failed miserably to convince those affected of the fact, and that's an important part of the job.

            FDR thought so, at least.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:23:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  While Obama has not been perfect, there is however (0+ / 0-)

              there are double standards that are being applied.  We came from a deep steep caused by a financial crisis, which by the the way takes a long time to recover.  In fact, Nate Silver says that at the moment Obama is underperforming  given the current   economic indicators.  This quote from Joe Conason illustrates the point:

              lobal Index Praises U.S. As ‘Sole Bright Spot’ In Sluggish World Economy

              By Joe Conason

              ——————————–

              Unemployment is still too high, income is still too low, and the recovery is still too slow – but the United States is faring considerably better than other developed nations against the threat of a renewed recession and remains “the brightest spot in the world economy,” according to the latest indicators tracked by the Financial Times and the Brookings Institution. Known as TIGER, or Tracking Indices for the Global Economic Recovery, the comprehensive data report compiled by the London-based business daily and the centrist Washington think tank provides a factual context for the U.S. presidential debate.

              Favorable comparison with other nations, in a faltering world economy, may reinforce President Obama’s argument that his policies are working despite jobs statistics that remain deeply troubling. Moreover, criticism of Obama by Republican Mitt Romney may well be regarded as less credible if the U.S. economy is in fact performing better than every other developed country — especially those pursuing the austerity policies advocated by Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan.

              Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

              by Micheline on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:54:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If Obama were white this would not be an issue. (0+ / 0-)

                Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

                by Micheline on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:54:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Really? Really? (0+ / 0-)

                  Perhaps you've forgotten all the crap George Bush (both 41 and 43) got over the economy and --- Guess what? --- them boys were white as snow.

                  Rich, too.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 01:11:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  With the case of 41, the economy started improving (0+ / 0-)

                    until after the Bill Clinton was inaugurated so he fell victim to circumstance. Whereas with the son, the financial crisis begun in 2008 hence the reason Bush being still blamed for the economic crisis.

                    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

                    by Micheline on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 01:19:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I was referring to the "If he were white" (0+ / 0-)

                      comment.

                      Too easy and too lazy.

                      Presidents get blamed when the economy stinks, whether it's fair or not.

                      Heck -- you can go back even further to Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's first midterm elections.

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 01:59:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes but Presidents would get credit if the (0+ / 0-)

                        unemployment rate went down to 7.8.  I am sure that if the president was a white man then he would not be under-performing.

                        Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

                        by Micheline on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 02:05:15 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Don't know where you've been, but that 7.8% (0+ / 0-)

                          has been all over the news as a sign that things are getting better.

                          Never mind that a more careful look reveals otherwise.

                          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                          by dinotrac on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 02:12:07 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Look at October 2004 jobs report (0+ / 0-)

                          +96,000 jobs, 5.4% unemployment rate. Here is how the New York Times reported it.
                          "Employment growth in the United States slowed last month, falling far short of expectations, the U.S. government reported Friday.

                          The new jobs report cast doubts on the strength of the U.S. economic expansion and appeared to bolster Senator John Kerry's case against President George W. Bush's handling of the economy just hours before the second presidential debate.

                          The Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added just 96,000 jobs in September, substantially less than the roughly 150,000 needed to keep pace with the expansion in the labor force and start absorbing the slack in the job market."
                          http://www.nytimes.com/...

  •  What I like about listing both Registered and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrismorgan

    Likely breakdowns is that the eventual result most likely lies somewhere in between.  Likely voters mainly represent whose most interested right now.  By election day, quite a few more of those registered voters will turn into likely voters.

    •  Another good thing about RV and LV numbers (0+ / 0-)

          Is that when it's very close (like now), if the Republican candidate is ahead in the LV and the Democrat is ahead in the RV, there is a rhetorical point to be made that the leading candidate is not REALLY the people's choice.  

           This in turn may motivate more people to vote, because I think most people see it as unjust and undemocratic when they know a candidate has the real majority and yet is at risk of losing to the minority of "likely" voters.

           It's also a great motivator for GOTV, because even if your guy is behind in the LV, everyone can see that the needed votes are THERE in the RVs, and we just have to go out and get them.

           I suspect that if the media were to always report both LVs and RVs with every poll, this motivational effect would evaporate the LV/RV gap.  

  •  I've alway believed ... (9+ / 0-)

    GOP voters will crawl over flaming broken glass to vote against the Socialist Kenyan Usurper.

    It's why Markos' continual 'even Republicans don't like Romney' struck me as a so-what observation.

    That's why the Ohio early votes are so important and encouraging.

    We do hear a lot about OFA's 'ground game' but the other side is under the radar with theirs.  I hope ours is superior because ... see my first point above.

    •  Yeah, they would have had to shoot me... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TerryDarc

      ....to keep me from voting against Bush in 2004 and 2006.

      I could see some on the other side being the same way about Obama.

      Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

      by Bush Bites on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:42:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  2004 and 2006???? (0+ / 0-)

        was there a presidential election I missed.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:55:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe he meant voting against Bush by proxy in 06 (0+ / 0-)

              He didn't say voting for President, he said voting against Bush, which could also mean voting against his agenda.

              2006 was the year the Democrats retook the House, if I recall correctly.

               Actually, it would have been nice if EVERY voter of 2008 saw their vote in the 2010 Congressional election as another chance to vote for Obama by proxy.

               Then we might not have had to watch everything going off the rails with the Tea Party taking the House.  

               Too bad we don't have a parliamentary system, where there is no separation between voting for a legislator and voting for the head of state.  

    •  They will vote like that and we should not doubt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kpardue, mdmslle, PALiberal1

      it for a second.  To do so will be to our peril.  The baggers, the real GOP...they will ALL be there.  No doubt, they will vote.

       This is very obvious now, since Romney is now quickly  squirming his self back to the middle and yet they are all coming home and throwing their "Don't Thread on Me" flags under the bus while they come.

      They will all vote with friends in tow, don't doubt it.  We have to do the same.  GOTV is what this election has always, always been about.

      I honestly believe it will be at least somewhat of a  landslide one way or another.  Whoever wins...it  will be because their base showed up in droves.    

      •  Teabaggers have no policy ideas (0+ / 0-)

        All they care about is hating Democrats. That's why they loved Mitt after the first debate even though he ran to the center, because he "put that uppity negro in his place". That's all they care about.

  •  Pres year is more Dem than off year elections (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kpardue, blueoasis

    2010 results should not have been a surprise. That said the turn out this year should be closer to 90% than 70% because people who move can be counted in some registration figures but they cannot answer polls twice. Dead people don't answer phones. Therefore I don't believe that 1/3 registered voters talked to don't turn out in presidential election years. The 1/3 number likely includes dead people and people that moved.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:43:27 AM PDT

  •  It is all about GOTV. (9+ / 0-)

    We need to stop looking at whether something is a pimple or a goosebump.  We need to knock doors.  

    I was in Virginia yesterday and R/R forces are very busy there.  

    If you live in a battleground state or are in a nearby state and can drive in to help, we need to get to those voters.  Yesterday, we ran out of walklists at the field office I worked out of because we had too many volunteers who wanted to walk.  That is a GREAT SIGN.    But leave nothing on the road.  These elections could depend on the several hundred people you talk to.

    Mitt Romney's moral compass points to the Cayman Islands.

    by captainlaser on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:47:37 AM PDT

  •  It seems to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    that when "winnowing the field" by trying to determine enthusiasm, especially after reading the stats re percentage who eventually vote, one would want to consider that merely completing the survey is a measure of enthusiasm.  Participation = measurable enthusiasm.  I assume that's what PPP is doing with their "hang up" method.

  •  Steve's last point is the most important (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, Nice Ogre

    Any poll is a snapshot of the race on the day it is taken, regardless of the screens employed.  And the only poll that really matters is the one that happens about three weeks from now.

    That's plenty of time to change perceptions of the candidates and to guarantee the reelection of the president.  Of course, the man himself has a huge task ahead of him right now...

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:57:50 AM PDT

  •  I'm curious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dharmafarmer, mahakali overdrive

        If there ever has been an attempt too weight LV screens differently based on the public perception of the stakes in a particular election?

         For example, I might expect that people are less likely to vote across the board in off-year elections than in Presidential elections, both among LVs and RVs.

         Perhaps in an election like the Presidential election of 2000, when there might have been a widespread myth that there wasn't much difference between the two candidates, even the "likely voters" might not have bothered.

         Or perhaps in the 2008 election, when the election was perceived as a chance to make history, both LVs and RVs would be even more likely to vote than usual.  

         Or perhaps in the 2012 election, when the availability of healthcare for so many millions of Americans is at stake, people are more likely to vote because the stakes are so high.

         Some good screening questions might be:

        "Regardless of who wins the election, do you think the outcome is likely to make a difference in your life?"

         "Do you perceive the candidates as being substantially different, or as mostly the same?"

         "Do you think this election is much more important than other elections, or as no more or less important than any other election?"

         "Do you think your vote will make a difference in  this election, or will likely make no difference?"

        I guess what I'm wondering is, has anyone ever considered trying to measure the "likelihood that likely voters are really more likely to vote" based on public perception of an election's importance.

         

  •  LV screens seem more like playing darts (0+ / 0-)

    First off, thanks for the lesson of LV v. RV.

    I am thinking that the LV voter screen has more flaws in it that would make its outcomes highly suspect. I am not saying that it's corrupt, but it depends on a high degree of honesty and credibility from those polled. (I don't think half the public can be trusted with someone's lunch money!)

    It would be more credible to gauge the overall enthusiasm for a particular candidate in a given region then apply that against the polling of registered voters. But I wouldn't put a whole lot of value to this either. The lion's share of the polling should come from past elections on turnout. I would assume that given a few elections we could get a reasonable range on turnout based on what we gauge the enthusiasm to be at during that period.

    Where I am from in NH there are many people that consistently vote each year and there are those that pop up if there is a popular election at hand. So if we consider there to be a threshold enthusiasm level where these fairweather voters turnout we can then predict their behavior somewhat. It all comes down to the last day of the election. (BTW even the weather up here doesn't dissuade people from going to the polling booth!)

    "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 Oct 14, 2012 at 09:02:46 AM PDT

  •  Why "Inconclusive" on Assumption #2? (0+ / 0-)

    What results would you need to conclusively say that the belief that Republicans always benefit from a likely voter screen is false?

  •  WaPo basically calls it for Romney, right now?!?! (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    This was at the top of the Google News Feed right now.

    This is propaganda!

    Mitt Romney leads President Obama in national polls, and the president is approaching his all-time low in the RealClearPolitics average. Romney leads in some key swing states (e.g., Florida, Colorado and North Carolina) and has largely erased the deficit in others (Ohio, Virginia, Nevada). His approval rating (the likability rating so many liberals have obsessed about) is in positive territory; the gap between the two candidates’ approval ratings has all but disappeared.

    -cut-

    The New York Times grudgingly concedes that Romney continues to surge. His “bounce” from the Oct. 3 debate hasn’t faded. His state polling in swing states has followed his national surge.

    -cut-

    With Romney’s extraordinary debate performance, it now becomes nearly impossible to vilify him.

    -cut-

    Romney has not won this race yet. A rotten debate performance could reset the race once more. Obama and his Chicago political hacks may have an October surprise or two up their collective sleeves. But now time and momentum are on Romney’s side. He appears to a plurality of voters to be not just an alternative to Obama but a good one. Unless that changes and changes fast (remember early voting is ongoing), Romney will win.

    I would like to talk about this.
    •  what's to talk about? and why would we talk (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dharmafarmer, blueoasis

      about it?

      whoever wrote it has one vote. did they convince you of anything? what type of potential voter is reading that article? is it someone who has to be phone-banked to be convinced to vote? hardly.

      there's nothing to talk about. the only people who read washington post political blog posts are partisans. it's a waste of time to "talk about the article".

      For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

      by mdmslle on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:16:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They might have, and that concerns me (0+ / 0-)

        Did they convince anyone that the race was all wrapped up? If I were a low-info voter, I might easily sit out the election with such irresponsible (and also, false) information.

        I think it's important to see examples, clear examples, like this of people spreading false polling information for the purpose of depressing the vote. In this case, I would suggest amongst Republicans who vote for Obama, which are a sizable bunch, at least in '08.

        •  I tend to think (4+ / 0-)

          it would be Republican voters, who, for the most part, aren't enamoured with Romney who would decide to sit it out if they thought he'd sewn up the race already.  And I think mdmslle makes a good point when she says it isn't low-info voters, but partisans reading Rubin.  Confirmation bias and all.

          •  That's also what my husband said (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mdmslle

            when I sort of just shrieked about this.

            I don't like it one way or another. It is a desperate and cheap tactic. But why would she go out of her way to depress turnout with her own intended audience then?

            Thanks for putting up with me. For whatever reason, this has me more ruffled than anything this entire election cycle (maybe it's just the worst piece of "journalism" I've been unfortunate enough to read).

            •  Because she's not bright (5+ / 0-)

              enough to realize that Republican voters aren't all that thrilled with Romney as their candidate?  I dunno.  But there's been a lot of effort expended this election to try to drive the narrative.  I'm thinking especially of the Republican leaning pollsters who've flooded us with polls immediately after the debates.  They're attempts to manipulate perceptions.  I don't like it either.

              Hang on, mo.  We'll make it through this.

              •  I'm hanging tight! (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dharmafarmer, mdmslle, Supavash

                Sorry if that sounded upset. There's been a lot of that going around on this forum, I know. I haven't felt ruffled until just now, and I'm over it thanks to everyone chatting with me (I'm really hard to ruffle in general, not sure what got me with this one... maybe because I don't have TV, so I'm not always used to tuning out endless RW lies from pundits and quasi-journalists.)

                The Republican pollsters are exactly like this! Perfect analogy and yes indeed.

                I wish that we could just have the election already.

                On the brighter note, my husband just brought our California ballots in from the post box. Must've come yesterday. I'm going to go vote in a few minutes! That will cheer me up some, hey?! :)

        •  And what I'm saying is low info voters (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          Don't read that shit.

          You know what they're doing this morning? Having brunch and going to a movie. That's what makes the low info. They don't follow this stuff and essentially don't give a shit until the last week or so. I know. I used to be one. I had a life back then and by god I'm determined to get back there again. Being a political junky sucks balls in comparison.

          For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

          by mdmslle on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:37:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  No, (10+ / 0-)

      that's not WaPo, it's Jennifer Rubin's opinion...which she presents as fact.  I think it's most disturbing because it's obviously part of a systematic effort on her part to control and to drive the narrative and she has the forum to attempt it.

      •  Exactly, thanks... it's propaganda (5+ / 0-)

        and it came up as the TOP story on my Google News feed (not just in the "election" section). On a Sunday morning no less, when everyone is reading the paper.

        This is a horrible moment in irresponsible journalism, and I really hope someone swats back at such mendacity.

        She doesn't even have good poll info (which is why I posted it to this diary). But do people know that? Nope.

        Argh.

    •  This isn't "The Washington Post." (5+ / 0-)

      It's one columnist.  Rubin doesn't speak for the Washington Post any more than Douthat speaks for the New York Times.

    •  it's jennifer rubin (6+ / 0-)

      WaPo's official Romneybot, and always worth reading for that reason alone.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:29:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Apparently I've been missing out on all the fun (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brn2bwild, dharmafarmer

        with WaPo and this columnist; before now, I hadn't heard of her.

        Live and learn!

        I am glad I posted this because it HAS resulted in my learning something: not only will Romney lie to win an election, but his media stooges will lie about his electoral standing too. Is there anything that not only Romney, but his acolytes, won't lie about? I'm starting to think no, especially after seeing the last two "Romney Debates Himself" videos!

    •  Was that Jenifer Rubin? 'Right Turn'=Thug (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dharmafarmer, mahakali overdrive

      She is btw a 1% campaign staffer yet that is rarely disclosed when she bloviates.

    •  This is not a WAPO front page story or editorial (3+ / 0-)

          It's a blog post by WAPO's hack conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin, arguably the DUMBEST Republican commentator in the mainstream media.

           Yes, there are competitors like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter, but they aren't quite mainstream, and while I'd say Limbaugh or Coulter might get the award for Meanest/Bitchiest commentator, I'd still give it to Rubin for dumbest.

           She thought that Eastwood's argument with the chair was the Republican Convention's finest hour (for the Republicans, not the Democrats).  If you search her name on the Kos site, you'll find a litany of idiotic things she has said.

           Frankly, if this woman is predicting the inevitability of Romney victory, I'm relieved.  The only person more likely to be WRONG is Dick Morris.

      •  Yes, I'm gathering this from the replies (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Supavash

        Not being much on Republican punditry, I had no idea how notorious she was. Apparently very much so! Well I hadn't seen anyone with the mendacity to CALL IT for Romney yet. I mean, day-um, I had visions of complete MSM swiftboating by just "calling it for Romney" based on the difficulty of poll interpretation. That was sort of like seeing my life flash before my own eyes. I guess I just found out exactly how poorly I'd respond to Romney winning... !

        Not really too well!

        This has inspired me to start making more calls to battleground states. I'm not going to sit back and let hacks like this be the only one driving perception. I'd planned to try to do some GOTV soon (busy working seven days a week at this point, although on the computer for some of it). Nope. I'm starting today, if possible. I made about 3,000 calls during the '08 election and haven't made any yet for this one. Wake-up call time. So in this sense, I'm glad I read this. Visions of a Romney Presidency are, for me, completely unbearable... and have just hit home finally.

  •  I'm a lot less interested in polls and more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash

    Interested in what's happening in my mailbox.  In one day, my Iowa registered no party address got six anti-Obama glossy mailers ( including the Lessons fromMy Real Father DVD).  I got nothing from the Dems.  Two other mailers from Iowa Republican Party for congress and local candidate.  

    I think it will be worse than we expect.

    I can’t decide who’s cuter – the dead guy with the arrows in his chest, or the guy in the ditch with the seeping wound. -- Game of Thrones (Heard on Set)

    by prodigal on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:09:49 AM PDT

    •  You could be right (0+ / 0-)

         I think the Obama campaign believes that the online world of New Media is a better way to communicate than traditional mail, but that might be a mistake.  

           On the other hand, I'd best most people throw out their political junk mail without even opening it.  Bombarding people with junk email and robocalls can actually annoy people enough to lose their votes.  

      •  oops (0+ / 0-)

        I meant to say:

        On the other hand, I'd best most people throw out their political junk mail without even opening it.  Bombarding people with junk mail and robocalls can actually annoy people enough to lose their votes.  
        Not "email."  See what I mean? Traditional mail is so last century that I'm habitually conditioned to type "email" when I'm thinking of mail!
        •  Oops again (0+ / 0-)
          On the other hand, I'd bet most people throw out their political junk mail without even opening it.  Bombarding people with junk mail and robocalls can actually annoy people enough to lose their votes.  
          bet, not best.  My typing really sucks.
  •  How does the LV/RV balance work State by State? (0+ / 0-)

    Are LV's more accurate in some States than others?

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:11:18 AM PDT

  •  The whole idea of margin of error becomes nonsense (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Economaniac, blueoasis

    when you have a likely voter screen, or any screen at all on your raw data.   The assumptions made by the mathmetics are that sample is unbiased.There is really no way to account for a "random" sample where the researcher decides to throw out some of the results because they don't fit a preconcieved model.  

    I'm not saying that the polls are uninteresting but you cannot do any legitimate statistical analysis of them, and pollsters should not throw around terms like "margin of error" if they engage in this conduct.   When we say "its a coin toss" we don't mean it if there is a likely voter screen on the sample (or any screen that "corrects" for assumed participation by groups.)

    •  I think it's trickier than that (0+ / 0-)

      You want the sample to be an unbiased sample of actual voters. If some people tell you that they have already voted, and others tell you that they don't plan to vote, it is wishful to assume that ignoring that information will produce an unbiased sample. The truth is that no method is guaranteed to produce an unbiased sample.

      Good polling reports routinely point out that the "margin of error" reflects only random sampling error, and that other sources of error should be considered as well.

      Election protection: there's an app for that!
      Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

      by HudsonValleyMark on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 01:46:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i hate tossing this in here. (0+ / 0-)

    it's way late, but very substantive. i was delayed in reading it until just now, and need to stress that it was deliberately published on the owner's website BEFORE reading any other stuff about the debate, so that there would be nothing to influence the scoring made, and that goes a long way to making me proud to be promoting it.

    my little green sidekick scores - and covers - the Biden/Ryan debate.

    like a pro.
    -------------

    * Join: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:29:25 AM PDT

  •  Strong poll for Obama in Ohio (3+ / 0-)

    PPP has him up 5 points (51-46) over Romney with a Likely Voter screen.  Well outside of the margin of error.

    A couple notes:

    (1) The poll slightly undersampled Democrats, so the true lead is likely to be a point or two higher.

    (2) Among reputable polling firms (and I include Rasmussen), Romney has never been up in a poll in Ohio since 29 May.

    Anyone who is getting emo or nervous or whatever about this election needs to convert that into pure unbridled energy to work towards getting the President reelected.  We are going to win this thing.

    •  The RAND poll and our follow-ups also favor BHO. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brn2bwild

      and we missed the huge/decisive/Everest of a Sea Change whatever that followed the first debate.

      Our target population stayed where they had been. Relatively few of them watched the whole debate -- more like 15 to 30 minutes of it.

      The big Romney word: "loud."

      People are bored by this crap. They're not believing anything from the attack ads, either. Gotta love 'em.

    •  Ohio is the only state Obama must win... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Supavash

         ...to win the election.

          With Ohio being the third largest state for automobile manufacturing, I really don't think they're going to elect the guy who said "Let Detroit go Bankrupt."

  •  No pollster has called us in Texas.I feel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012

    left out.

    Is it possible that a lot of undecideds are really Ron Paul and other extreme rightwingers that can't admit that they are going to vote for Romney?

    Or the most likely scenario, low-information voters who don't follow politics as intensely as we do and say
    "I'm not a Democrat or Republican, I just vote for the individual candidate."

    There are also a lot of young voters casting their vote for the first time that have their mind completely open and undecided that set a pattern of party affiliation for life with their first vote.

    "We must be the change we wish to see in the world" - Gandhi
    "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little" – FDR

    by smokey545 on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:46:00 AM PDT

  •  Makes little sense IMO that BO loses if his approv (0+ / 0-)

    al is 50+%.  Gallup him at 48% 2day btw.

  •  If seniors are historically more likely (0+ / 0-)

    to vote, and seniors are turning more GOP as a result of the baby boomers (and the death of the civic-minded WW2 generation) then perhaps that explains some of this gap.

  •  The point is that we need to depress GOP (0+ / 0-)

    enthusiasm.

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

    by Micheline on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:06:32 AM PDT

  •  Habitual voters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DMentalist

    My experience comes from running campaigns in my city for many years.  I know where the heavy turnout comes from and where the weak turnout comes from.  I know that election after election, the voters who habitually vote are very reliable and those who don't...well, they are equally reliable.

    Every so often we get a new campaign manager who maps out a strategy for winning based on getting out "low-pro" voters (low propensity voters).  I have never seen that strategy work at a local level.  

    Obviously, many low-pro voters voted in 2008, but I'm not convinced that it was the full margin of victory in that election.  

    My point is that asking someone if they are definitely or probably going to vote in the next election is part of the solution of defining "likely voter".  Of greater importance is defining the universe of habitual voters.  

  •  Time zones (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder what the effect is on RV vs LV in western states when east coast whales like Florida and Virginia get called. 5pm in Nevada, the polls close back east, you hear a couple of exit poll results.

    If Obama has already locked up Ohio or Florida, do some voters in the west skip that trip to the polls after work? Would that tend to hit one side more? As Dems are less reliable in turnout, would thst hit the left harder?

    It makes me wonder if a string Obama showing in the east could hurt on down ballot races in the west. Hurt Dem Senate chances in places like Arizona, where Carmona needs a huge turnout to win.

  •  Cell vs. Land line (OH) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, pollbuster

    In 2008 my phone rung off the hook. Last year (2011) I disconnected my land line. This year silence. Therefore, I am not counted as an Obama voter in the current polls.

    Side note - I have already voted. I live in a Republican county. When I pulled up to the polling place the car beside me had a bumper sticker that said I luv Obamacare. I looked at my daughter and said Romney is done.

  •  Likely Voters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash

    I just read a book by Greg Palast, "Billionaires and Ballot Bandits," predicting Romney's win. The amount of voter suppression detailed in the book is frightening, and seems to be present in most states.  So these national polls, Gallup, Rasmussen, etc. are not worth much.

  •  Here is a message from Jeremy Bird: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, pollbuster

    I’ve got to share some numbers with you, because they show incredible progress in all aspects of our grassroots organization. This week, you came through big time, making sure this campaign had the resources needed for some of the final decisions we’re making today about our ground game. Thank you.

    Here’s the latest:

    We’ve out-registered Republicans in every battleground state for the past THREE months.

    Right now, we’ve got a total of more than 14,000,000 registered Democrats in battleground states like Florida and Nevada — that means we have a 2,400,000-person lead over Republicans where it matters the most.

    And when it comes to voting early in battleground states, we’re in the lead in important states like Iowa and Ohio — and ahead in ballot requests in Nevada.

    In Iowa, we lead in vote-by-mail ballots cast, in-person early voting, total voting and total ballots requested. We also lead by a wider margin than we did at this point in 2008 in both ballots requested and cast.

    This is all possible because of more than 4 million people — about 1 in 75 Americans — owning a piece of this campaign. That’s a record for American politics.

    We can’t stop now! This is a tight race, and we need to give it everything we’ve got.

    Sign up now to join the campaign on Dashboard, our online organizing hub, and get involved right away.

    Prefer to help in another way? Chip in $13 or more to help strengthen our ground game in the states we need to win.

    These figures tell a story about a grassroots movement that, with your help, has been growing stronger every day since 2007. They tell us that our work on the ground is paying off in a big way, but more than anything, they tell us that when supporters like you pitch in, you move the entire campaign and the entire country forward.

    We’ve got to keep that momentum going until the last ballot is cast on November 6th.

    If you really want to lean into the finish line, join Dashboard today and help get out the vote:

    http://my.barackobama.com/...

    Let’s do this!

    Jeremy

    Jeremy Bird
    National Field Director
    Obama for America

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

    by Micheline on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:31:02 AM PDT

  •  Obama's fight with the devil. (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    guinea

    Mitt Romney is the Devil incarnate. He speaks with a forked tongue.  He tells the other rich-folk like he that he doesn't care for the 47% of Americans, then he tells America that he does. He says he is for America, yet puts his money outside America. He pays less in taxes than the average American.  Yet he is calling on more tax cuts for the rich. He says he is full of new ideas, yet won't divulge any of them.  He speaks of math, but his math doesn't add up.  And he is non-Christian - which every Southern Baptist and Fundamentalist Christian knows.

    Obama has to fight like his life depends on it, because it does.  He is in a fight with Satan, the ultimate devil's advocate, Mitt Romney.

    Obama needs to take the same pills that Joe Biden took before his debate with Damian Paul Ryan. Obama has to show who is THE MAN. Like Michael Douglas in The American President.  

    Obama needs to tell Satan Romney, "This is a time for serious people, Mitt, and your fifteen minutes are up.  My name is Barrack Obama, and I AM the President."

  •  Do RV and LV gaps tighten? (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks very much for this terrific LV/RV analysis.  Seems to me I've read the gaps narrow as election day approaches--which has been some solace seeing 4 or 5 point gaps on Gallup.  Or that 5 or 6 point gap in the recent CNN survey of Ohio (+10 for the forces of good on the RV; +3 or +4 on LV--I forget which).  I also think I've read on Silver's site that the typical RV/LV gap in presidential years is about 2 points.

    Can we expect narrowing of the gap that we are minding?

  •  LV's mean more than RV's unless they don't (0+ / 0-)

    Somehow reading this well-written and careful analysis reminds me of the times I've read through an economist's prediction of the future: "We are heading for a recession unless we're not."

    Thanks for writing, but it's all about GOTV and how much effort progressives put into it.

    "You know what's the difference between Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan? Lipstick." - Charlie Pierce in Esquire

    by ebrann on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 01:03:47 PM PDT

  •  Only Actual Voters Count (0+ / 0-)

    I don't get the point of articles like this.  Here are the pool numbers, here is why they are wrong and we are still winning.  Be happy.  You're on the winning team.  

    Here's the thing.  You don't have to tell me it's sunny and warm when I am drenched by rain and am cold and wet.  If the poll numbers suck and several independent pools suck in the same way, I wouldn't spend any time attacking the pollsters, because the reality is, our team is sucking.  It's time to double down on our message and work harder on that!  

    The only poll that matters in on Nov 6. Vote, dammit.

  •  Has early voting ever done anything? (0+ / 0-)

    Wouldn't these people be the ones that would be as likely to vote on election day? I suppose from a "reducing waiting" standpoint it might be helpful.

  •  Please answer on PPP (0+ / 0-)

    I know you are busy, but I'd really like the exact words that the PPP machine says along with "unlikely" "vote" "hang" "up2 and "phone."

    Given how everyone aggregates polls now, the magnitude of the error doesn't matter all that much.  I think the 50-50 favor Dems-Reps result suggests that it makes sense to look at likely voter polls.  But polls are aggregated to the average not the mean so what is the average LV poll error (note you don't need RV polls to calculate this).

    LV minus RV Obama-Romney vs LV minus RV Mondale v Reagan.  Look a whole lot of the difference between voters and non voting adult is that voters are older.  I just can't doubt that the new huge LV-RV gap is due to the new huge age gradient of voting intentions with older people now much more likely to vote Republican (before a smaller difference and occasionally the elderly tilted Democratic).

    LV filters might oversample the old compared to the young.  RV polls might over sample the young compared to the old.  It should be possible to compare LV filters to actual voting by looking at exit polls (maybe even actual data on votes compared to census data on the population).  This is a way in which things have changed.  It matters because pollsters have checked LV filters by looking at past forecasts minus outcomes.

    One of the bees in my bonnet is the Gallup LV screen (total flop in 2010 after decades of working fine).  One question is "do you know where to go to vote".  The no answer has a very different significance on November 5  and on October 5 no ?  If it's Monday and someone claims they will go and vote on Tuesday but still doesn't know exactly where uh then maybe Gallup is right to take the claim with a grain of salt (3 of which grains gets one tossed out of the LV sample).  Another is have you voted there before which is certain to drop people who really will vote for the first time and also people who moved so strongly weeds out the young.  Notably the Gallup LV screen worked very well for the Congressional Generic ballot for decades then caused a total utterly humiliating forecast error of 9 (nine !) percent in 2010.

    Average error of LV polls can be calculated for LV polls long before election day.  Yes there is the real shift in public opinion so one wants to average over many elections, but what we want to know now is whether polls released now are biased not whether the last poll before the election will be biased.

  •  I'm scared- (0+ / 0-)

    If Obama wins, they'll contest it.  It's gonna get ugly.

    This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

    by swtexas on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 12:10:36 PM PDT

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