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We're at the stage in election coverage where everything has now been said, but articles have to still keep being written by journalists.  Now there is an uptick in meta-campaign articles, not about how the media portrays horse-race campaign coverage, but about how the media portrays how the media portrays horse-race campaign coverage. 

The flagship article for this meta trend is this Alec MacGillis article from The New Republic. He argues that the media has been responsible for this illusion of the presidential race tightening because it provides a more compelling narrative, ignoring evidence that would indicate the race isn't actually that close.

Over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza tweeted after the debate: “Romney win in first debate still more meaningful for arc of race than Obama win in third debate.” And yes, if we declare it less meaningful for the “arc”—another word for story!—then of course it will be so. We liberal reporters do love our tautologies, even if we’re not always aware of them.

The problem with MacGillis's anti-narrative narrative is that there was actually a substantial and sustained drop in the polls that began roughly around the night of that first debate.  And I'm not talking about national tracking polls like Gallup's weird presidential tracker-of-fleeting-passions-of-likely-voters.  I mean a drop in the state polls, the only polls that matter.


This is a chart of the average margin in polls in the nine closest battleground states, as determined by my ongoing research into charting the median active credible poll in each state.  The nine battleground states are Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.  Positive values indicate an Obama lead, negative values indicate a Romney lead.

Obama crested around October 3rd, the night of the first debate, a time when most poll averages had Florida, Colorado and Virginia in the Obama column.  The numbers kept plummeting after the second debate, but may be leveling off now, though there has been no post-third-debate polling as of yet.

This isn't an artist's rendering of a media-driven campaign narrative.  Based on those polls, here's what the electoral college looks like:



Some have indicated that this Obama drop may have nothing at all to do with any debate or really any campaign event whatsoever, and that it merely represents conservatives finally rallying around their presidential candidate.  There are also liberal poll Unskewers who believe that the polling firms themselves, led by arch-conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen, are forging poll numbers in order to drive the numbers-based narrative pictured above. 

If this was the case, I would have expected the same trend to be present in the senate polls.  If conservatives are rallying around their presidential candidate, they should also be driving their senate to higher polling margins (after all, since the vast majority of senate polls are conducted at the same time as presidential polls, they're sampling the exact same people).  Or if there are poll-driven Republican narratives, the Rasmussens of the world should be able to drive the composition of the senate rightward too.  But this hasn't the case.

Here's the same chart as above, except with D-R senate margins.


Democrats are currently doing about the same as they were on October 3rd: kicking ass overall in the 14 closest races.  Because of the polls, the senate projections basically all look something like this:


Why the stark difference in polling "trajectory" (to use Alec MacGillis's favorite word) between the presidential contest and the senate contests ?  The most logical conclusion is a nationally televised debate that showed fickle center-right undecideds that Mitt Romney wasn't the scary/bumbling caricature they'd heard fleeting rumors about.

(See more at quibblingpotatoes.blogspot.com)

Originally posted to quibblingpotatoes on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Agreed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, bnasley, Subterranean, miriam

    I think the Obama campaign made a tactical error in trying to paint Romney as completely incompetent over the summer. It built up expectations which crashed and burned during the first debate. I also noticed where I live in North Carolina that Romney/Ryan bumper stickers actually started showing up for the first time after the first debate, though the anti-Obama stickers have been around for years.

    I really think the polls showed that a lot of still-registered low-information Republicans who had assumed Romney was an idiot were surprised to find someone who had committed so many screw ups perform so well during the first debate. The people he won were those who don't like Obama, don't like the Democratic Party, and yearned for the image they have in their head of how the Republican Party used to be. Romney gave them that.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:44:35 AM PDT

    •  The thing is the Obama campaign had little choice (8+ / 0-)

      as they needed to try to define Romney. All candidates, particularly incumbents, need to do that.  It is important for the incumbent to define the opposition before the opposition does.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:31:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, they had a choice (6+ / 0-)

        and they originally were going to define him as an unprincipled, soulless flip-flopper who would say anything to be president, depending on his audience and which way the wind was blowing.  

        However, according to this piece by Matt Bai in yesterday's Times, Bill Clinton got them to change their mind and had them paint Romney as the "severely conservative" wingnut he portrayed himself as (more or less) during the primaries.

        Then came the first debate, and what do the low-information voters see? "Moderate Mitt."

        To quote Rick Perry, "Oops."

        Not that this was or will prove to be fatal -- not at all. But it does explain the so-called tightening of the race that occurred after the first debate.  

        2012 GOP Platform: "I've Got Mine, Jack."

        by Yankee Patriot on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:56:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CayceP, sawgrass727, murrayewv, pademocrat

      The post-debate swing was people who always hated Obama, but got a little bit of reason to hate Romney less.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:42:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did they? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv

      I remember terms like out-of-touch and elitist, but other than specific topics like foreign policy I don't remember them trying to label Romney as incompetent.  I agree that if they did it was a bad strategy, mostly because at least in contrast with GWB Romney doesn't sound like a bumbling moron.

      I would have gone with "soulless" and "vacillating".  Pretty self-evident when you hear him speak.

      •  They very much did (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        True North

        Starting from the Olympics through to the first debate, even the conservative media was getting frustrated with how incompetent Romney seemed. The Obama campaign framed it that way very effectively because Romney really did keep messing up.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 01:32:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody painted anything... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llywrch
      I think the Obama campaign made a tactical error in trying to paint Romney as completely incompetent over the summer.
      Nobody was doing any painting.

      Romney was acting like a buffoonish idiot all summer, & the Obama campaign merely had enough sense to pointed it out to the media.

      If you really believe the first debate was really single-handedly responsible for some phenomenal Romney surge (something I don't believe), then it probably had more to do with liberals tossing fecal matter all over Obama & Obama's campaign after the first debate than Mitt Romney suddenly morphing into some mythically distinguished orator.

       

      "You just gotta keep on livin man! L-I-V-I-N!" - Wooderson

      by wyvern on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:19:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)

        What is so hard to understand about the fact that a lot of people really don't like the Democratic Party but were also very unsure about Romney? He is utterly unlikable, and had a summer of gaffes and worse. Combine that with the high expectations put on Obama, which he didn't even come close to meeting, and of course a ton of people turned. These were the people who were never really behind Obama much anyway; they just needed a simple reason to vote for not-Obama.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:27:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The only narrative that matters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skyounkin, bnasley

    Economic neoliberalism, strategic neoconservatism.  Everything else is elective posturing of those sworn to uphold the first two elements.  Otherwise the "candidates" would have been long since marginalized as "unelectable" by our opaque and anonymous American Guardian Council that act ex cathedra through our corporate media.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 06:58:50 AM PDT

  •  Your diary is very convincing. (9+ / 0-)

    However, an analysis by the president of YouGov on Oct. 23 presents a different view:

    There are two versions of what has happened in the past three weeks in the battle to be US president. One is the version told by most nationwide polls and accepted by the media; the second, told by a minority of nationwide polls, including YouGov, and most polls in the key battleground states, is significantly different.

    Version one says that the first television debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was a game-changer....

    Version two says that the first debate made only a small difference. If we average the polls conducted by YouGov, Rasmussen and ABC/Washington Post, then the debate shifted the nationwide vote shares by just a single point: from an Obama lead beforehand of 2% to an Obama lead of 1% afterwards. The figures have stuck close to that ever since. (YouGov's latest survey, completed this Monday, shows Obama 2% ahead.)

    Movements in polls in the key states sit nearer version two than version one....

    The article continues with a long technical discussion about polling methodologies, and concludes:
    ...when polls report big shifts in support; especially when they are from companies that do not weight their data to ensure politically representative samples we should remember the old truth: dramatic polling movements make for bold headlines, but are not always right. Link

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 08:17:21 AM PDT

  •  Or, "Do Ratings Drive the Narrative?"... (6+ / 0-)

    Election Horse-races promote more viewer interest (and more viewers) than do elections where the outcome is a boring foregone conclusion.  

    So, if there's anything that the "journalists" can do to create tension, uncertainty, perception of a close race, and skewing of the poll results, it's not unlikely that they would do so. (and have done so?)

    •  This. (0+ / 0-)

      When Fox barely acknowledged its own poll when PBO was polling well (and had Dick Morris on to explain why the Fox poll was useless), that pretty much tells you all you need to know.

      Ratings drive everything. Otherwise, why is it that a pundit will mention the WSJ poll one week, the Gallup poll the next, PPP the third?  They use whatever poll that reveals the race is the tightest. Only a very few pundits report on more than one poll, and they're the ones sitting comfortably on good ratings.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 12:08:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Irony about Fox News polls (0+ / 0-)

        They stopped using Rasmussen and now they use an average of a dem pollster and a Republican pollster, and they've actually been producing very centrist results.  Of all the pollsters that have released three or more polls since September 1, I show them having the smallest house effect (D +0.3).  Quality results, but very disappointing from a narrative perspective.

  •  fascinating subject (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, CayceP, sawgrass727, grover

    more here, on the bigger argument:

    Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Quants vs pundits and the state of the race

    Go with the polls. That was MacGillis' point and it is correct.

    How do you read them? Nate silver's way, YouGov's way. yes there was a change, no it was not huge. Pollsters like Marist, ABC/WaPo saw no change at all pre-post debates. Small differences matter, as the diarist points out, in a close race.

    How can that be? Because swings like this are from excitable LVs not unexcitable RVs.  It may well be that RVs are a better point to follow.

    "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 Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:31:45 AM PDT

  •  Your analysis is simplistic in the extreme. (0+ / 0-)

    What is your aim here? To depress Dem voters? Why? To absolve the MSM of their horrifying prejudices? To show just how fucking smart you are? What is your point? And what is the point of posting this now? HuH?

    The MSM is not talking about how awful the Senate candidates are. The MSM is not saying that Senate candidates are doomed, in a dead heat, in a tie. The MSM had no debates to skew the results of for the Senate candidates. In the second and third debates Obama was around 66% to Romney's 30something%
    across the board and they called that a freaking tie? What is wrong with you? This is the time to be lifting the spirits of the Dems, no demoralizing them. Shame on you.

    This is a lightweight, incomplete, naive and reckless analysis.  

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:37:20 AM PDT

  •  That's correct. (5+ / 0-)

    The media need a close election for ad revenue--billions of dollars are spent on election night ad space--so they perpetuate the idea that Romney and the President are in some sort of horse race.

    In turn, this stirs the GOP base and raises what should have been a flagging enthusiasm for a Mormon who has never experienced the "working American's" hardship and never served in the military.

    During the last Presidential election cycle, President Obama was the story. Now the media focuses on Romney because he's the underdog. They have driven themselves into a corner because now any questioning of credentials or background or plans is "class warfare" and therefore somehow "leftist".

    The media has their close race now, and are completely unable to call Romney/Ryan on their obvious inability to lead without being called the "left wing media elite." Since when is the standard practice of fact checking elitist?

    I am not normally a violent person, but I may very well strangle the next person who seriously suggests to me the media is somehow in the tank for or biased towards President Obama. They're not. It's bad for business and he's not the "story" this year.  

    Shoot blues -> Tell Vile Rat

    by CayceP on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:37:32 AM PDT

  •  You're a little off-base in several points: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quibblingpotatoes, ybruti

    First,

    There are also liberal poll Unskewers who believe that the polling firms themselves, led by arch-conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen, are forging poll numbers in order to drive the numbers-based narrative pictured above.
    You pretty much lost a lot of analytic credibility here, at least with me, by making a false-equivalence comparison. There is a significant difference between "liberals" questioning the poor, unscientific methodologies (such as, for instance, robo-calling or using questionable party weighting methodologies) of conservative polling outfits (both old, with a record to judge, and new, with no record at all but partisan association) and Unskewers literally making unfounded assertions about methodologies not used by polling firms to criticize polling firms that have a long track-record and are transparent about the scientific statistical methods they use for sampling (typically random sample, weighted by regional population density and state demographics). Since the first debate, the number of polls, both state and national, from conservative firms have increased significantly, and typically produce "findings" that are at odds with both non-partisan and Democratic firms. So, making that comparison really made it hard to take the rest of you analysis seriously, but I read it anyway and noticed a few things.

    First, you say this:

    This is a chart of the average margin in polls in the nine closest battleground states, as determined by my ongoing research into charting the median active credible poll in each state.
    Well, we don't know what your "ongoing research" is or what methods you use, so you may want to be a little more clear about your methods for constructing this chart. For instance, to know what your "median active credible poll" is, and whether or not the measure is reliable and valid, you should let us know a few things:

    1. What is your list of reliable/credible polls? Do you assemble this list by methodology or pollster credibility? Based on the approach, who is on the list?

    2. What time frame do you use for identifying the "median poll"? I assume, from the chart, that this is "median per state per day," but it's not clear. And...

    3. If I am correct about "2," your chart is very misleading. Since state level polls are not released daily, there are several days missing data points, but by using a line-chart, you paper over this with a filled in trajectory. This confusion kind of compounds the problem created by your lack of transparency about your methods.

    First, when averaging the margin, you are producing a measurement that makes no sense in electoral realities. For instance, Ohio and Wisconsin contain more electoral votes that Iowa and Colorado, and O's margins have been higher in those key states for most of the race than they have in Iowa and Colorado. Taking the average of these margins disguises significant leads in states that matter more electorally, leading to very bad conclusions about the "true" state of the race.

    Beyond the silly measure though, if you are averaging these medians daily, what do you do about days in which states are missing data? Such omissions can artificially drive down the margins even more than your strange method of analysis in the first place.

    Of course, there are more questions/concerns, but the point is that without being transparent about your methods, we have no means by which to gauge the validity of any of what you've put forth.

    Finally, you've provided no rebuttal to the hypothesis that polls and trends can be sensitive to narrative that cherry picks polls to make the race seem closer than it is. Your argument is "polls dropped after the debate, so that set the narrative," but the reality is a full day and a half news cycle spinning the debate occurred before even the FIRST polls were conducted after the debate. Several days of spin had passed before a full suite of polls was available. So the narrative about the debate had already been baked into the samples of the polls. Then, even though the polls were mixed on how much the race actually changed, there were enough showing movement for Romney to cherry pick for a "OMG, IT'S TIED!" narrative. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to prove or disprove causality for either side of this debate, but the fact that most firms with much more credibility on this (and much more transparent and valid analytic methods and measures) agree that the drop in the post-first-debate polls was, in totality, negligible, makes your analysis above even less credible.

    Blogs: http://mediadeconstruction.com/ Twitter: realsteveholt

    by steveholt on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 10:43:48 AM PDT

    •  I'm just a blogger with an excel spreadsheet (0+ / 0-)

      1. The list of reliable/credible polls comes from the admittedly partisan RealClearPolitics, with the addition of PPP's polls when they do them for liberal groups and don't appear on RCP's site.  

      2. I calculate the median based on numbers from active polls, meaning the latest guesses from individual polling firms.  In Ohio, for instance, I have the latest polls from 14 different pollsters (Time, Rasmussen, Survey USA, Suffolk, Quinnipiac, PPP, Gravis Marketing, ARG, Fox News, Marist, WeAskAmerica, Columbus Dispatch, Washington Post, U. of Cincinnati).  The median spread is the median Obama number minus the median Romney number.  The 14 polls give Obama's support at 46, 46, 47, 47, 47, 47, 48, 49, 49, 50, 51, 51, 51, 52, so his median is 48.5.  Romney is at 42, 43, 44, 44, 44, 45, 45, 46, 47, 47, 47, 48, 48, 48, so his median is 45.5.  The spread is therefore 3 points towards Obama.

      3. There are no days missing data points (well, besides all the days before September). The average is not an average of that day's polls, it is an average of that day's median spread.  If there are no polls that day, the median spread doesn't change.

      I did correct for electoral differences by my showing the light blue line (9 states, each state equally weighted) and the dark blue line (weighted by electoral vote).  So if Obama was -2 in Florida and +2 in New Hampshire, the light blue line would show the average as 0, but the dark blue line would show the average as -1.5 (29/33*-2 + 4/33*+2).

      I shouldn't have made a headline that purports to explore causality, because it's just as likely to be true that narrative drives the polls as much as polls drive the narrative.  My point was that there has been a change in polls that is significant.  I don't see how you can argue that the drop in post-October 3 polls is negligible, even if you discount my numbers (which you should! I'm not a pollster! Go check out the many other sites done by professional pollsters!)

      •  False equivalence (0+ / 0-)

        about the liberal Unskewers comment, when the Unskewed Polls guy came out, he was ridiculed in part because he was trying to take "reality" (poll numbers done by credible polling firms) and augment it with his partisan-weighted viewpoints.  This was when polls weren't going his way.  We could look at him and say, ha ha, this guy is just another Rethuglican ignoring reality.  But since the polls have turned, you see a lot of comments on DailyKos about how Rasmussen just makes up numbers to make the race seem closer than it is.  We amateurs are trying to take "reality" (poll numbers done by "credible" polling firms) and augment it with our partisan-weighted viewpoints.  Unskewed Guy tries to turn every poll into a Rasmussen poll.  DailyKos commenters try to turn every poll into a UNH poll.  

        This is wholly different from the acknowledgement of Republican-leaning house effects in Rasmussen and many others.  But we shouldn't forget they were Republican leaning during the Democratic poll surge of September too!  It's not a new narrative-driving plot!

        •  Well, I'll respond to the above methods later... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ybruti

          ...and I sincerely would like to say in the outset that I am not trying to get into a chest thumping contest with you and mean none of my quibbles as a personal affront. Just a discussion. A few quick things though:

          First, I'm not particularly "an amateur," since I work in survey research, design, and methods. I have not seen any Kos comments or diarists re-weighting polls arbitrarily and arguing that their arbitrary party weights more accurately reflect the state of play. Please point me to those, and, if they exist, I'll say up front that they are ridiculous. However, I think the comments and contributors mostly point out what I pointed out above, which is that the flood of questionable polls from conservative outfits using questionable methods makes it very hard to buy the "Romney surge" narrative, particularly since the polls from non-partisan firms nearly universally contradict Ras et al. "polls." Some might look at poll aggregators (TPM, Pollster) without Ras et al. to examine the state of play without their effects, but this is still significantly different from re-weighting already conducted polls using unscientific "methods" of weighting to a fluid characteristic like party ID. As for Ras et al., when conservative pollsters are on an island, it's not because everyone else is wrong...

          Second, while there were Republican polls pre-first-debate, the number of polls from conservative outfits has increased substantially relative to polls from non-conservative outfits. Seriously, the number of polls from conservative firms doubled in the week after the debate compared to the week before the debate, where as the number of polls from non-conservative outfits increased only mildly (I think by 10 or 11 if memory serves).

          Finally, don't short yourself about being a "blogger." As bloggers, we all put things into the public sphere that people can read and absorb and be influenced by. Otherwise, we wouldn't bother doing it. Consequently, we should always be clear and (relatively) careful about what we are putting out there.

          Blogs: http://mediadeconstruction.com/ Twitter: realsteveholt

          by steveholt on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:17:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Polls influence public opinion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fletch17C

    because of the narrative they can create.

    At it's most shallow, callow and craven, they push the final civic minded waverers to imagine they're voting to be on the winning side rather than being a loser.

    The media's narrative is whatever profits them most. Ad revenue, business before Congress, deregulation, communications acts etc.

    Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

    by UniC on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:18:43 AM PDT

    •  Not sure on that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti, Williston Barrett

      Most of the people I've spoken to have been dead set on their candidate for months. Media coverage will not change them (or me), regardless of which candidate they support.

      I also have a hard time believing that there are that many undecideds drifting around out there. Rarely have 2 candidates been so polar opposite. Even if there are many undecideds left, what are the chances that they all live in swing states? Undecideds in NY or TX might as well stay home.

      I read a short article in Psychology Today describing undecided voters. It concluded that these people are not the conscientious, discerning altruists the media makes them out to be. At this point, many are undecided because they are either ridiculously uninformed or they simply don't care.

      It is, however, possible that the 24-hour news cycle that insists this is a close election is actually helping the President. It appears that Dems are voting early with a great sense of urgency.

      •  Early voting.... (0+ / 0-)

        Unless they are voting early and often, I don't understand what difference early voting makes
        in determining the final outcome.  How does it help either candidate as long as the results are not made public?

        When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.- -John Muir, naturalist

        by miriam on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:15:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It ensures you get your voters to the polls (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quibblingpotatoes, grover, Fletch17C

          and they don't get turned away on Election Day.

          Also, you can get more marginal voters to get their votes in.

          •  And they're folks that we don't have to hunt down (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fletch17C, ybruti

            on Election Day.

            We've been calling  and canvassing voters. Are you voting for our guy? Yes? Have you mailed your ballot in? No?   Then we follow up with them.  We have 12 days to make sure they mail in their ballots.  

            On Election Day, we hunt down those that haven't mailed in their ballots and the citizens we haven't been able to reach and get them to the polls.

            GOTV used to a massive -- overwhelming -- undertaking on Election Day.  We worked from 6am to 7pm and barely stopped to grab lunch which we inhaled while we worked.

             Now, it gets spread out over weeks. By Election Day, we're hopefully just bringing in the stragglers.

            Heck, they're signing up Election Day volunteers for SHIFTS. That's how much of an improvement this is.

            As long as our ground game is better than theirs (which historically, it has been), early and mail-in voting is a huge benefit.

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 12:24:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I would take issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sphealey

    with the term "liberal unskewers".  Unskewedpolls,com is a joke in terms of methodology.  That sight "reweights" raw polling data to fit their preconceived assumptions about party ID, all while claiming the actual polls are using a "2008 turnout model".  Which they're not; the sample data was simply showing a greater party ID gap that the Republicans wanted.

    Maybe some liberals are trying to do the opposite, I dunno.  But there is no left-leaning Rasmussen mirror who dumps their lazy, no-cell-phone, no-callback, arbitrarily-weighted results all over the polling composites.

    I was curious about RCP in particular, since they're quoted so often.  They still haven't put up the inconvenient VA PPP poll that shows O+.  Their "5 most recent" average is a Ras-fest with the similarly red-tinged ARG and only one decent poll.  Ras especially is keeping their sampling method as R-friendly as possible (it helps that it's also the easiest method) while staying just shy of the shifting obvious bias threshold.  They can't afford to get rated last again after 2010.

    •  His site is hysterical... (0+ / 0-)

      Romney will win PA, alot of people will be surprised by this.

      Romney will win NJ, alot of people will be surprised by this.

      Romney will win MN, alot of people will  be surprised by this.

      Romney will win OR, alot of people will be surprised by this.

      (This is literally the depth of his analysis.)

      etc etc etc...

      His current EC is 179 - 349, Romney.

      The GOP believe in redistribution of wealth, as long as it's from the many to the few.

      by president raygun on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 07:31:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  polls can be cherry picked to drive any narrative (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fletch17C

    that's what Drudge does. He looks for polls with Romney up and gives them a headline. It doesn't matter to him that other polls show Obama up by the same or bigger margin.

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

    (In response to the question in your headline..."Do polls drive the narrative or does the narrative drive the narrative.")

    The answer is: Yes.

    Both the polls drive the narrative and the narrative drives the narrative, depending....depending on how bored the media get with the race (wherein they, inevitably, fall back to the easy position of focusing on the horse race and the polls...which they use to create a narrative; and, at other times, the narrative becomes the narrative (when the media are kept busy/occupied, such as with Romney's September stumbles and foibles, which kept everyone entertained).

    The narrative is whatever the news media decide the narrative is. They, together, create one.

  •  the media sucks, MONEY, (0+ / 0-)

    some of us believe that the huge, and obscene heaps of money being spent in this campaign is mostly directed at advertising and other "normal" elections, but I believe, knowing the evil that inhabits the creatures in the repugnant paty, that a huge sums of that money is being moved under the table, and out of sight, to influence the media narrative, and yes even the results of polling.

    THE TEFLON CANDIDATE-----> WILLARD MITCH ROMNEY

    by longtimelurker on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 01:53:07 PM PDT

  •  I'm so bloody sick of polls (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lonely Liberal in PA, dkosdan

    Ugh, I can't take any more horse race BS and poll parsing!  Bring on Election Day!

  •  The narrative is the problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dkosdan, ybruti, breathe67

    Do folks realize the narrative is nothing more than the spin?  The conversation should be how does Mitt do what he is claiming he can do?  The narrative, aka the spin, is that he will just assume office and everything will be alright.

    The conservation should be how does a man lie with impunity and still be in the running for President?  The narrative, aka the spin, is so what if he lies and his character damaged.

    Its a shame this country would rather have a known liar than a known honest man.

  •  Consider ABC touting Romney at 50%:47% (0+ / 0-)

    in their new poll.

    That's "Likely Voters" with Lord knows what selection criteria. They publish a details doc, that says nothing useful.

    -- www.langerresearch.com/uploads/1143a4TrackingNo4.pdf

    But their talking heads get to say that Romney has it in the bag.

    Over and over and over.

    -- We figure that Ras is useful. Just subtract 4% from their spread for pro-GOPer bias. Do that and they're middle of the road.

    -- Nate has the election 76%:24%.

    -- Intrade has funny stuff in the Senate races. Obama's winning the presidential easily enough.

    The GOPers know how to lie. They're setting up a narrative that vote fraud cost their "One Mighty and Strong" White Horse Prophecy candidate had it stolen from him.

    •  And what's fun is for only $14,000 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bontemps2012

      You can manipulate the Intrade Market and get a talking point for a day.

      The GOP believe in redistribution of wealth, as long as it's from the many to the few.

      by president raygun on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 07:33:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And they underassumed LV turnout (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bontemps2012

      I was flabbergasted by this.  They presumed LV turnout at 79%.  Historical LV turnout would be more like in the 85% range.  A great turnout would be approaching 90%.  Take a guess who would benefit by increased turnout......

      They asked voters if  they were certain to vote, would probably vote, 50/50 chance, etc.  And excluded those people who would probably vote.

      Garbage in/garbage out.

  •  Dear God, spare me from this meta navel gazing. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  How did you get the electoral vote? (0+ / 0-)

    Even conservative RCP is projecting 281 EVs for Obama, with a steady increase from 271 for the last two weeks? Not trending downwards like yours?

    The GOP believe in redistribution of wealth, as long as it's from the many to the few.

    by president raygun on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 07:27:45 AM PDT

  •  This should have been written a month ago (0+ / 0-)

    The problem I have with post is the horrible timing.  The post debate bump occured a week after the first debate on 10/3/2012.  Creating a "narrative" during that week was supported by the facts, as outlined in the post.

    The problem is that the MacGillis article referred to the movements after the 2nd and 3rd debates, especially the time after 10/17/2012.  What he is saying is during that time period the Romney movement was a creation of their own imagination to drive a "narrative" that wasn't supported by the polls.

    In essence discussing poll movement immediately after 10/3 to counter the notion that there was narrative creation after 10/17 is like comparing apples and oranges.  Two weeks is a lifetime in politics, especially after three debates where the Republicans got their clocks cleaned.  

    The charts presented comparing the Senate trajectory after 10/3 vs the Presidential trajectory after 10/3 is equally absurd.  Without backup data, which you could have provided in the diary, we have the elusive, "median poll spread" without any information on what you are talking about.   What exactly does that mean?  Which polls have you included and excluded?  What are your numbers to support what you are posting?  Do we have any reason to believe you know what the hell you are talking about?

    I appreciate the poster's efforts to contribute to the conversation, but there is nothing here that would cause any one to conclude that Alec MacGillis is off base.  Chris Cilliza's comments still remaing villager bullcrap based on a "narrative" that was sold to him.

  •  A couple of problems with this (0+ / 0-)

    The problem I have with post is the horrible timing.  The post debate bump occured a week after the first debate on 10/3/2012.  Creating a "narrative" during that week was supported by the facts, as outlined in the post.

    The problem is that the MacGillis article referred to the movements after the 2nd and 3rd debates, especially the time after 10/17/2012.  What he is saying is during that time period the Romney movement was a creation of their own imagination to drive a "narrative" that wasn't supported by the polls.

    In essence discussing poll movement immediately after 10/3 to counter the notion that there was narrative creation after 10/17 is like comparing apples and oranges.  Two weeks is a lifetime in politics, especially after three debates where the Republicans got their clocks cleaned.  

    The charts presented comparing the Senate trajectory after 10/3 vs the Presidential trajectory after 10/3 is equally absurd.  Without backup data, which you could have provided in the diary, we have the elusive, "median poll spread" without any information on what you are talking about.   What exactly does that mean?  Which polls have you included and excluded?  What are your numbers to support what you are posting?  Do we have any reason to believe you know what the hell you are talking about?

    I appreciate the poster's efforts to contribute to the conversation, but there is nothing here that would cause any one to conclude that Alec MacGillis is off base.  Chris Cilliza's comments still remaing villager bullcrap based on a "narrative" that was sold to him.

  •  More Than 2 Voices (0+ / 0-)

    If “we're at the stage in election coverage where everything has now been said,” perhaps it is time for journalists to cover what we have not yet heard and read: ANY dissenting view brought by anyone other than the two major parties, their candidates, pundits, and pollsters.

    “While people mobilize across the country to battle efforts by the right to limit ballot access (a nice way to say steal the vote), the CPD quietly acts as a limited liability shill (as corporations often do) for the censorship of any dissenting opinion at the presidential debates. It is only through the inclusion of alternative voices that the dialogue can be expanded and that candidates can be kept honest. This limiting of the number of voices at the debate by folks who are already in the debate is clearly a conflict of interest.”

    More here:
    http://whatisthemissingpoint.blogspot.com/...

    And here:
    http://whatisthemissingpoint.blogspot.com/...

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