Thursday, September 27, 2012

Friday's Fillibusters: Skewed Polls Edition

Where we're very surprised that Dennis Pitta had 0 catches...

So, I've gotten increasingly frustrated by the claims that the polls are skewed because they are polling more Democrats than there are actual Democrats in the country.  Public Policy Polling tweeted that this idea of the skewed polls is just an extension of the ideas after the 2008 election that Obama used ACORN to steal the election.  The skewed polls idea is brought about by a person who founded a Conservative paper when he was in college. Most people that I know that have brought up the idea of skewed polls are very Conservative.  The skewed poll narrative states that Democrats are being overrepresented in the polls compared not only to national population but to the Republicans, too.  I hesitate linking to this idea out of principle, but whatever. It's incorrect, first of all, according to exit polls used by CNN.  I showed this in a previous post. He states that the electorate is made up of "two percent more Republicans than Democrats."  According to the exit polls from the 2008 election, the electorate was 39% Democrats, 32% Republicans, and 29% Independents.  He's complaining that the polls are oversampling Democrats because it is 8% more Democrats than Republicans.  Basing his assumption that the nation is 2% more Republican than Democratic, is leading to his conclusion.  He does not provide the link to show that the country is more Republican than Democratic so I'm basing my assumption on the exit polls from the 2008 presidential election, instead.  My assumption is he is basing his claim on exit polls from the 2010 mid-term election, which if you remember, was part of the Tea Party Wave.  Is that an accurate representation of the electorate?  Probably not.  The out party almost always wins mid-term elections.  Especially when things are not going too well.  But, oh well.  Gallup has a much more thoughtful response, found here.  Gallup's response kind of poo-poos my response, too, but I'm fine with it. 

Nate Silver has been critical of this idea of the skewed polls, too.  Especially in his twitter feed.  His tweets have included such gems as "believing that all of the polls except Rasmussen are skewed is literally as insane as believing 9/11 conspiracy theories", "the polls could definitely be overestimating Democratic turnout.  However, just as likely, they could be underestimating it."  "Another fun tidbit: in states that actually have voters register by party, 41.5M Democrats and 29.8M Republicans."  "Are the polls undersampling Romneys?"  "What's turnout going to be like?  WHY DON'T WE TAKE A PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY AND FIND OUT!  Not up to the pollster to decide for the voters."  I could go on for awhile on these.  Ultimately, it seems more and more like the idea is ridiculous.  But whatever.

Finally, who benefits from these skewed polls?  Let's pretend that these polls are skewed.  So, we have to ask who benefits?  If the polls are skewed, then Obama has a huge lead which he does not have.  So, a party that has a history of not showing up to the election has a large lead in the polls?  Ok, sure, that won't backfire for the Democratic nominee.  If anything, it is in the best interest of Obama and the Democratic party to skew the polls to show Romney having a large lead to try and fire up the base.  Democrats notoriously are famous for not showing up on election day so why would the leaders of the Democratic party, if they had this power, decide to give Democrats even more of a reason NOT to vote?  It's ludicrous.  Despite all of this, does this benefit the Republican party?  As one of my closest political friends stated Rush Limbaugh is not an idiot.  So, I'm piggybacking his idea.  How does this help the Republican party?  Well, the Republican party has no problem showing that Obama that they are running against is not the actual Obama.  If Obama was as powerful as the Republicans allege, Obama would be the most powerful ruler in the history of the world.  This idea that Obama has all this power is how the Republicans benefit from this.  If Republicans can show that Obama has all of this power including the power to influence polls, the media, etc. then it shows he can infringe on all of our rights.  This, in turn, fires up the base and might sway susceptible independent voters to vote against Obama.  If Obama is this powerful, if he has to influence the polls to show how well-liked he is then he must not be re-elected.  Then those who support Obama are, as one Republican on my Facebook friends list said, are retarded or Libertards. 

End of rant.

Will provide links, later.

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