Posts Tagged ‘Polls’

Final Thoughts Election 2012

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

This is likely to be my final post before the election on Tuesday. I am looking forward to the end. Or the beginning.

Mitt RomneyState of the Polls
We’ll have an answer on Tuesday about the polls with the only poll that really matters. In case you’ve missed it, there’s been a considerable disturbance in the force. And I’m not talking about Disney buying Lucasfilm. Pollsters and pundits have fallen into one of two camps, and it’s all about voter turnout and party ID. In 2008, democrats outvoted republicans by seven points and swept President Obama into office, along with significant majorities in Congress. In 2010, democrats and republicans voted evenly, and the GOP was swept into Congress, making huge gains in the House, and modest gains in the Senate.

So what will the turnout be in 2012? My guess has been somewhere in the middle, probably two to three points favoring the democrats. Many of the state polls from companies such as Marist and Quinnipiac continue to show democrats with equal or even greater turnout than 2008. This makes little sense to me. Based off of these polls, the left’s polling guru Nate Silver is predicting a 79% chance that Obama will win the election, and take 300 electoral votes in the process. Those on the right question the polls and cite the underlying numbers. The GOP is more enthusiastic about this election, and independents have swung from Obama to Romney in fairly significant numbers. A few of the pollsters such as Gallup and Rasmussen are expecting a turnout that more resembles 2010, or possibly even a republican advantage.

One more anomaly I’ve seen in the polls, then we’ll move on. Polling likely voters is more predictive than polling registered voters. And pollsters attempt to determine if a person is a likely voter, or just a registered voter. On some of theses state polls, they’re filtering out very few voters — they’re considering 96-99% of the registered voters to be likely voters. Enthusiasm for the election may be high, but that’s just ridiculous.

President ObamaEarly Voting
In 2008, Obama crushed McCain in early voting by nearly 20 points. And this was to be one of Obama’s great strengths against Romney. The numbers don’t reflect that. Gallup came out with an article a couple days ago that Romney is beating Obama in early voting 52-46. And if you don’t believe Gallup, Pew came out with similar numbers with Romney ahead 50-43 among early voters. That’s a very bad sign for the President.

The Electoral College
Since the election of 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election, many on the left have wanted to dump the electoral college in favor of the popular vote. There certainly is a scenario where Romney could win the popular vote, lose Ohio, and lose the election. Will these same people scream about the unfairness of the electoral college? Will they claim Obama to be an illegitimate President like they did Bush? My guess is no.

Wednesday Excuses
If Obama loses, what excuses will be made? I wrote an article two months ago detailing why it will be difficult for Obama to win. But for months, some on the far left have set the table full of excuses ready to be used.

Voter Suppression: If you don’t think some on the left will use this as an explanation for Obama’s loss, think again. MoveOn.org has already released a web ad to this point. You can watch it here. May not be appropriate to watch this in an office or around children.

Money: I understand the frustration of those wanting campaign finance reform. There’s a lot of money in politics. And where there’s money, there’s corruption. A few months ago we were seeing articles from the mainstream media about the huge amounts of money raised by Romney and the Super PACs. But with Obama and the democrats raising $181 million in September, it’s difficult to make an argument that Obama didn’t have enough money to compete. And for the most part, these stories have disappeared. In 2008, Obama outraised and outspent McCain by a significant margin. Is that why he won the election? No. Obama was the better candidate, and positioned himself as the agent of change. (Which is what Romney is doing to Obama this time around.)

Racism: I’ve made this point before, and I’ll make it again. There’s a group on the left who believe that if you oppose the President, you must be racist. I’m a fiscal conservative. I oppose the President on many issues because I’m a fiscal conservative, and he’s not. You would think that since the President won by a significant margin in ’08 that this argument would go away. But it hasn’t. If Obama loses, it will be because moderates and independents who voted for him four years ago changed their vote this time around.

Prediction
I see nothing to change my mind about my prediction from August. I still believe Romney will win 52-47, and win the electoral college.

What’s Next?
And even though I believe that Romney will win, and that he’s the right choice, President Obama easily could have won this election. And if he loses, next week I’ll tell you how.

Are The Polls Skewed?

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Just a quick post today. I’ve said for nearly a couple months that I believe many of the polls to be skewed. That democrats are getting oversampled compared to republicans, especially in some of the recent state polls. It’s become a big enough story in recent weeks that virtually all of the pollsters have been posting columns detailing why their polls are not skewed.

For instance, read this article from Frank Martin of Gallup. The defenders of the polls make several insightful points. That doesn’t make them right.

Some on the right, such as Dick Morris, have gone so far as to accuse the pollsters of distorting their polls on purpose to dampen republican enthusiasm. I don’t believe this. I do believe that much of the media is rooting for President Obama to win a second term, and are happy to report that the polls are showing Obama with a clear advantage in many of the swing states. And are just as happy to ignore the potential oversampling of democrats in the polls.

I made two points a few weeks ago about why the polls might be distorted. One, I believe that liberals are more inclined to share their opinions than conservatives. This has only been a personal belief, and not one that I’ve researched. And two, that it’s likely that republicans are declining poll requests as they are suspicious of the pollsters and the media.

This morning I happened upon an article by Michael Barone on AEI’s website. You should read the full article. Here are a few excerpts:

In addition, it’s getting much harder for pollsters to get people to respond to interviews. The Pew Research Center reports that it’s getting only 9 percent of the people it contacts to respond to its questions. That’s compared with 36 percent in 1997… Are those 9 percent representative of the larger population? As that percentage declines, it seems increasingly possible that the sample is unrepresentative of the much larger voting public. One thing a poll can’t tell us is the opinion of people who refuse to be polled.

While this doesn’t specifically back my point that republicans are refusing to be polled, it’s an interesting stat. And if you’re a reader of my blog, you know I love stats.

Barone went on to explain:

It may be that we’re seeing the phenomenon we’ve seen for years in exit polls, which have consistently skewed Democratic (and toward Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries). Part of that is interviewer error: Exit poll pioneer Warren Mitofsky found the biggest discrepancies between exit polls and actual results were in precincts where the interviewers were female graduate students. But he also found that Democrats were simply more willing to fill out the exit poll. Which raises the question: Are we seeing the same thing in this month’s polls?

Which would seem to support my point that liberals are more likely to share their point of view than conservatives. Especially if there’s a female grad student asking the questions. ­čÖé

And I wish I had saved it, and now I can’t find it, but last night I saw a poll that showed a majority of republicans (I believe the number was 66%) believe that the polls are intentionally skewed to favor democrats. Conservatives don’t trust the media, and apparently don’t trust pollsters either.

Voting Time — What to Watch

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

I am ready for today to be over, mostly so I don’t have to watch all the stupid political commercials. For political junkies, here are a few things to watch for tonight.

Enthusiasm
Voter enthusiasm will dictate what happens tonight. I’m going to mention Dick Morris a few times in this post. He was the first person I saw who predicted significant gains by the Republicans. Keep in mind that Morris is backing the Republicans, and has been a loud opponent to the left’s agenda in Washington. But Morris understands the polls well. He’s been pointing out that the pollsters are using the wrong model to predict “likely voters”. He has said that if you see a Republican candidate up by three points in the polls, they’re probably really up by six or seven.

Is Morris right? We’ll know tonight. None of the polls have been predicting the types of numbers that Morris has been predicting. Until yesterday. Gallup came out with their updated results for what is typically called the “Generic Ballot”, and they now show the Republicans with a 15 point advantage. And Rasmussen Reports have the Republicans with a 12 point advantage in their Generic Congressional Ballot. These are unprecedented numbers, and much larger than the numbers prior to the 1994 midterm election when Republicans took control of the House and the Senate for the first time in many years.

The House
So what does this mean? Pollsters and pundits have been predicting that the Republicans will take control of the House and are likely to pickup 40 seats. Maybe 50 seats if everything goes their way. Morris has been predicting that the Republicans will pickup 60-80 seats, and more is possible. But as I said, he’s really been the lone wolf with his predictions until yesterday.

Here’s what Gallup had to say yesterday about this margin and how it affects the House face:

Taking Gallup’s final survey’s margin of error into account, the historical model predicts that the Republicans could gain anywhere from 60 seats on up, with gains well beyond that possible. It should be noted, however, that this year’s 15-point gap in favor of the Republican candidates among likely voters is unprecedented in Gallup polling and could result in the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations. This means that seat projections have moved into uncharted territory, in which past relationships between the national two-party vote and the number of seats won may not be maintained.

The Senate
The common thought about the Senate is that the Republicans will pickup a half dozen or so seats, but not enough to control the Senate. Remember that the Republicans need 51 seats to control the Senate, where the Democrats only need 50 seats with Vice President Biden added to the mix. Rasmussen currently shows seven seats in play.

Right now I’ve got the Republicans at 49, and the Democrats at 48 (including independents who caucus with the Democrats), with three elections that will determine the balance of power in Congress. The key elections to watch tonight are Washington (Murray and Rossi are in a virtual dead heat), California (Boxer is up by about 3 over Fiorina) and West Virginia (Manchin is up by about 4 over Raese). It could easily end up 50-50.

If Morris is right and there’s a huge Republican tsunami tonight, then it’s possible that a couple more seats could come into play. Morris still holds out hope that Connecticut and Delaware could turn Republican. I don’t see it.

The Democrats’ Response
For months the Democrats have belittled the opposition. The President has referred to the opposition as their “enemies”. Democrats have called the voters fearful, uninformed, misinformed and misled. Some on the left have gone so far as to label the opposition as stupid and racists. Their conclusion is that no reasonable voter could oppose their vision for our country.

What have they accomplished? All they’ve done is galvanize the opposition.

Do you remember what ABC’s Peter Jennings said following the 1994 midterm elections?

Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming. It’s clear that the anger controls the child and not the other way around. It’s the job of the parent to teach the child to control the anger and channel it in a positive way. Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week….Parenting and governing don’t have to be dirty words: the nation can’t be run by an angry two-year-old.

The response from Democrats will be telling. And it may take weeks or even months for it to completely unfold. I expect many on the left to explain this as ONLY about the economy and jobs. Some may even believe it.

By The Numbers — Polls 10-30-2010

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

As most of you know by now, I enjoy watching the polls. I’m a frequent visitor to sites such as Rasmussen Reports, Gallup and Real Clear Politics. There are a couple polls I want to share with you today.

PollsCenter Right?
Republicans have claimed for years that we’re a “center-right” country. They do so because that’s what the numbers show. For the last couple of decades, polls typically show that around 40% of people describe their political views as conservative, 40% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. (See this historical summary at Gallup.) Personally, I suspect these polls are misleading. It’s been my experience that conservatives are proud to be conservatives, and are willing to describe themselves as such. I’m not sure that the same holds true for some liberals. Over the years I’ve met people who I would describe as liberals, yet they describe themselves as moderates. And I think there are some numbers that would backup this conclusion.

Here are two recent polls on Rasmussen Reports that I believe demonstrate this to be true. In my opinion, we have a leftist President, and a leftist Congress, passing leftist legislation. The size of our federal government has grown dramatically over the last four years while the left has controlled Congress. But according to Rasmussen, 32% of likely U.S. voters say we’re headed in the right direction (read more here), and 25% of likely voters prefer more services and higher taxes from our government (read more here). These numbers suggest to me that while 20% of the people describe themselves as liberals, certainly more than 20% of them seem to share a liberal view of the role of our government.

I believe that it’s more likely that 25-30% of people hold liberal views. So while the Republicans are correct that we’re a center-right country, I believe that the percentage of liberals is understated in these polls.

Smaller Government
There are a number of polls out there that indicate the mood of America right now. To me the most telling is that 65% of likely voters say they prefer a government with fewer services and lower taxes rather than one with more services and higher taxes. And according to Rasmussen, 64% of voters say that the country is headed down the wrong track. When you dive into this a little deeper, Rasmussen has an interesting subset of these numbers. They divide out the “Political Class” from “Mainstream Voters”. According to Rasmussen: “Seventy-six percent (76%) of the Political Class believe the United States is generally heading in the right direction, while 81% of Mainstream voters think┬áthe country is going down the wrong track.” It is incredible to me that the Political Class is so out of touch with Mainstream voters.

Charlie CristFlorida’s Senate Race
Out of all the House and Senate races, the poll that caught my eye this morning was the poll for Florida’s senatorial race. For those who have not followed this race, it’s been pretty entertaining. In the Republican primary, the Tea Party-backed Marco Rubio defeated governor Charlie Crist. Crist decided to run as an independent, so there’s a three way race between Rubio (R), Crist (I) and Kendrick Meek (D). Earlier this week the polls showed Rubio at 43%, Crist at 32%, and Meek at 20%.

But then the Democratic Party got involved. The Democrats sent Bill Clinton to Florida to convince Meek to drop out of the race, and throw his support behind Crist. Crist has said that he’s willing to caucus with the Democrats. He’s also said that he’s had conversations with Clinton’s people, as well as the White House, and that at one point Meek had agreed to drop out of the race. It appears that this strategy has doubly backfired on the Democrats. Not only did Meek change his mind and decide to remain in the race, it appears that Rubio has picked up seven points in the polls this week. The newest poll from Rasmussen has Rubio at 50%, Crist at 30%, and Meek at 16%. I think that the voters are tired of politics-as-usual.