Free Markets, Free People

Polling 101

As you weigh the results of various polls in the coming couple of months, this might be a handy tool to use when considering their credibility (via Vox Populi). The following list of polls, from a Fordham University study, is in order based on their accuracy last election (2008). Rasmussen and Pew were the only one’s that were spot on. The rest, to varying degree, missed it, either by an inch or a mile (at least in terms of polling):

1T. Rasmussen (11/1-3)**

1T. Pew (10/29-11/1)**

3. YouGov/Polimetrix (10/18-11/1)

4. Harris Interactive (10/20-27)

5. GWU (Lake/Tarrance) (11/2-3)*

6T. Diageo/Hotline (10/31-11/2)*

6T. ARG (10/25-27)*

8T. CNN (10/30-11/1)

8T. Ipsos/McClatchy (10/30-11/1)

10. DailyKos.com (D)/Research 2000 (11/1-3)

11. AP/Yahoo/KN (10/17-27)

12. Democracy Corps (D) (10/30-11/2)

13. FOX (11/1-2)

14. Economist/YouGov (10/25-27)

15. IBD/TIPP (11/1-3)

16. NBC/WSJ (11/1-2)

17. ABC/Post (10/30-11/2)

18. Marist College (11/3)

19. CBS (10/31-11/2)

20. Gallup (10/31-11/2)

21. Reuters/ C-SPAN/ Zogby (10/31-11/3)

22. CBS/Times (10/25-29)

23. Newsweek (10/22-23)

Frankly, if they’re not in the top 5, I’d take them with a grain of salt. Why? Because of things like this:

The latest CNN/ORC poll released today shows a wider lead for President Obama than the previous CNN/ORC poll but it is doubly skewed. It massively under-samples independents while it also over-samples Democratic voters. The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll official reports Obama at 52 to percent and Mitt Romney at 46 percent. Unskewed, the data reveals a 53 percent to 45 percent lead for Romney.

This new CNN/ORC survey, unlike many other analyzed, not only over-samples Democratic voters, but also massively under-samples independent voters, to produce a result more favorable to Barack Obama. This survey’s sample includes 397 registered Republicans and 441 registered Democrats. But the survey included a total of 822 registered voters, leaving only 37 independent voters at most. The survey clearly under-sampled independent and Republican voters.

Note that CNN’s history has it tied for 8th place for accuracy last time around. So, what should those numbers likely be? Well let’s hear from the polling group that came in tied for first (and this is probably the reason why):

Rasmussen Reports recent reporting of partisan trends among voters, based on tens of thousands of voters surveyed, showed the voting electorate made up of 35.4 percent Republicans, 34.0 percent Democrats and 30.5 percent “Unaffiliated” or independent voters. Clearly 6.5 percent of a sample as independents is a large under-sampling of those voters compared to 30.5 percent.

However, what CNN used was this:

The sample for the CNN/ORC poll includes 50.4 percent Democrats and 45.4 percent Republicans and appears to have only 4.2 percent independents. This means independents are under-sampled 25 percent while Democrats are over-sampled 12.1 percent. Both of those are larger variations in sampling than seen in most polls that are likewise skewed by such sampling variations.

And as it stands now, independents lean toward Romney. So unskewed, or perhaps “properly skewed”, the results would be quite different. In fact they would give Romney a 53 to 45 percent lead over Obama.

That sort of sloppiness is an indicator of why CNN was in 8th place before in a race in which there were actually a large population of self-identified Democrat voters, a population that likely doesn’t exist in this election, or at least not to the extent it did in 2008. And if they’re in 8th, you can imagine how sloppy those below them on the list are.

Look at Gallup for heaven sake. 20th? Of course, the right should also note Fox and IBD/TIPP in 13th and 15th positions when they get excited about results there.

This is not just a phenomenon in national polling. It is also happening in swing state polls as well. For example PPP’s recent Ohio poll.

Finally, remember this when considering the RCP poll average. Many of the polls making up the RCP average are found way down on this list.

Just a word to the wise as you watch everything unfold. There are polls and then there are, well, “polls”.

Make sure you know which one’s to watch.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO

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68 Responses to Polling 101

  • Shoot, things like polls designed to give a false result could make people…I dunno…jaded and apathetic about our system.
    Some might even form the notion they were being manipulated…or something…

  • What’s hilarious about your comments and those at the Examiner is that you discount the CNN poll by using Rasmussen likely voter screens.  Yet Rasmussen has the same poll results, a 5 point Obama lead.  Why no 8 point lead in Rasmussen?
    Just admit your candidate’s losing and stop whining.

    • Oh, goodie!  A NEW troll.
      I wonder is this one gets paid to be this stupid?

    • >>Just admit your candidate’s losing and stop whining<<

      Um, it’s September. No one’s losing. At this point in 1980, Reagan was down 7-10 points. In 2000, Bill Saletan was publishing his “George W. Bush has already lost” article in Slate.

      The campaign is just beginning. We won’t really have a good handle on this election until the debates.

      • Can Teleprompter debate Romney?  And who’s going to stand in for Sheriff Joe versus Ryan.

        • “Can Teleprompter debate Romney?  And who’s going to stand in for Sheriff Joe versus Ryan.”

          Mccain is a policy wonk compared to Romney, how’d that work out for McCain?

          Biden is sitting back laughing at the low expectations that have been created for him, a guy who has debated well on the national stage in primaries and the general, will go against Ryan, who may be a great debator, but we just don’t know, because I can’t find any evidence he has ever been in a debate. But with expectations set where they are, old Joe will be considered a winner if he is still standing at the end of it. If you keep calling your opponent stupid, you better be able to prove it, because if you can’t wipe the floor with the stupid guy, how smart can you be?

          Of course the campaign is already trying to reset expectations with this statement, “Vice President Joe Biden served over 30 years in the United States Senate, he’s run for president twice and has served as vice president for the past four years. He is one of the most experienced debaters in American political life, and we definitely don’t take the challenge lightly,”

        • Ah, that’s right, I forgot, your unbiased media will be running the debates and reporting on them.

  • Sample size is irrelevant since all good pollsters then weigh the sample size to fit demographics.   The biggest error people make in criticizing polls is to look at the sample size of various groups and attack that, without looking at the methodological formula used to turn the raw data into the poll’s actual result.   Another thing about polls is that the list above is mostly non-sense.  Poll results reflect the high point of a normal curve – there is a 95% chance that the result is somewhere along that normal curve.   That means that given the myriad of polls results will be off a number of points even if the pollster is doing everything right, thanks to statistical noise.   The amount a poll right before the election is in some ways a matter of luck, especially if the polls are close.   Finally, the methods used do make a difference.  Each pollster has likely voter screens and scenarios that they use to weigh the data (again, raw sample size is not important, they always weigh the data).  Four years is a long time, pollsters learn from errors they made in demographic assumptions and adapt.  Often the best pollster of one cycle ends up doing poorly the next because they haven’t adapted to changes.
    Bottom line, the only thing that really helps is to look at a number of polls over time.  Tracking polls are volatile, so there you look for trends.  In a close race like this, almost all results are within each others “margin of error” (again, usually 95% on a normal curve).  But that means one in twenty polls is likely to be outside the margin of error, even if the pollster is good.   That’s probability.  (Some pollsters, like Reuters/IPSOs use a slightly different method, to be sure).   Yes, read polls wisely, but don’t look only at sample size.   If you don’t know how they’re weighing the data, you don’t know if any group is over-represented.

    • You can achieve above 95 CI – are you sure they do 95 CI or are they higher?
      I think that the margin of error is not based on the CI (trying to recall stats class) – in fact, the larger margin of error the higher the CI should be. IIRC.

    • “But that means one in twenty polls is likely to be outside the margin of error, even if the pollster is good.   That’s probability. ”
      That means any give poll has a chance to be totally wrong – they just got unlucky and drew a sample that is NOT like the population.
      But, that does not mean that 1 in 20 polls is wrong, so 19 must be correct. Its probability on that as well. You could have 3 polls be wrong out of 20 even without any problems with the model.

      • Yes, 19 out of 20 should be within the margin of error.  The margin of error is determined separately from the confidence interval.  So ABC/Post shows Obama 49 Romney 48 with a 4.5% margin of error.  That means there is a 95% chance that the result is between Obama 53.5 Romney 43.5 and Romney 52.5 Obama 44.5.   The distribution of probability is on a normal curve, so the probability is highest that the correct outcome is nearer the peak of the curve.

        • Yes, but just because there is a 95% chance that the results are between the MOE does not mean that 19 of 20 polls are thus accurate while one is not, anymore than you would say that out of 20 coin flips you would get exactly 10 heads and 10 tails.
           
          So I am saying DO NOT assume that 20 polls will have 19 accurate ones and 1 inaccurate one.

          • Of course, we’re dealing in probability.  Over time the number of polls outside the MOE should be about 5% or 1 in 20.  Statistically over time a flip of a coin should yield the same results for heads and tails.  But as in all cases of probability, it’s unlikely to be exact.  Still, it’s good to keep in mind when you look at lots of polls and then see an outlier or two.

    • Well, I’m an expert on polling as I am so many other things. Don’t start up about how I was wrong in 2010, just don’t start. I’ve already told you – I figured everything out just before the election and said in a conversation with this random guy in the cafeteria who is totally real and definitely not made up that I thought the Democrats would be lucky to hold the House. Yes, yes, I know I said only two weeks before, right on the Internet where it can be verified, that the GOP would only get about two dozen seats instead of the over five dozen seats they actually got. Hey, I was only off three dozen with that prediction! And I even got closer in the cafeteria conversation that was totally real so don’t even suggest that I’m just rearranging reality in my head again to make myself feel better and avoid facing the fact that I’m teaching at a mediocre moose college even though I’m so smart and all. Stop laughing.

      Anyway, let me tell you all about polling. Sample size is irrelevant since all good pollsters then weigh the sample size to fit demographics. Yep they can just sample a few people and then magically manipulate the demographics involved and get results which are completely reliable, and of course show that Obama is almost certain to be re-elected as I’ve been saying for years now.

      The biggest error people make in criticizing polls is to look at the sample size of various groups and attack that, without looking at the methodological formula used to turn the raw data into the poll’s actual result. Yes, it’s all the methapadocical formula, dense righties. I know all about methopagodical formulas because we spent two days on them in Remedial Math for Social Science Majors. Why, I still remember the final exam question about the political preferences of five people named Ahmed, Heinrich, Hernando, Savitri, and Xui Li.

      Another thing about polls is that the list above is mostly non-sense. Poll results reflect the high point of a normal curve – there is a 95% chance that the result is somewhere along that normal curve. Well, that’s assuming their metadafogical formula is based on two standard divinations. See, I really do know what I’m talking about here! Which I didn’t either crib from something I found on the Internet and then changed the words around. So stop saying that.

      That means that given the myriad of polls results will be off a number of points even if the pollster is doing everything right, thanks to statistical noise. So don’t start up about how if a result is consistent over time, the chance of the poll being off by statistical noise is way, way reduced. Don’t start. Statistical noise is one of the most important tools in the toolbox of the political science teacher, so don’t you try to take that away from me.

      The amount a poll right before the election is in some ways a matter of luck, especially if the polls are close. Finally, the methods used do make a difference. And those two things don’t contradict. At all. See, if a poll gives the results I like then it means the methods were good. If it give results I don’t like, it’s just a matter of luck, or maybe they used the wrong mechadoboffical formula.

      Each pollster has likely voter screens and scenarios that they use to weigh the data (again, raw sample size is not important, they always weigh the data). And, yes, I’m using the phrase “raw sample size” correctly and I’m not a bit fuzzy on what it means. Stop laughing, I said.

      Four years is a long time, pollsters learn from errors they made in demographic assumptions and adapt, things sound more persuasive in run-on sentences. Often the best pollster of one cycle ends up doing poorly the next because they haven’t adapted to changes. Which I’m sure has happened though I’m not supplying a link to it, so don’t even ask.

      Bottom line, the only thing that really helps is to look at a number of polls over time. Tracking polls are volatile, so there you look for trends. Which isn’t either just obvious stuff packaged up to make me sound smart. It’s rich, creamy analysis. Watch and learn. In a close race like this, almost all results are within each others “margin of error” (again, usually 95% on a normal curve, and yet again I am absolutely using the terms correctly here because I absolutely know what I’m talking about much better than the people on this site, many of whom have an actual profession in something quantitative, but are thick righties so they get everything wrong and I have to come here and lecture them on what’s really going on, for their own benefit mind you, and definitely not just to make myself feel better by talking down to people smarter than me). But that means one in twenty polls is likely to be outside the margin of error, even if the pollster is good. That’s probability, with that standard divination stuff I told you about earlier. And the 95% number is not just the one thing I remembered from Remedial Math for Social Science Majors, no sir. And don’t you math and science wonks start up about how larger sample sizes and more standard divinations make the number something else. I already told you sample size doesn’t matter.

      Yes, read polls wisely, but don’t look only at sample size. If you don’t know how they’re weighing the data, you don’t know if any group is over-represented. Now, there, wasn’t it wonderful to get an enlightening and totally not confusing lecture on statistics from a brilliant person like me? It was good and necessary that I do that, and if you think otherwise, you doth protest too much. Ta, ta. Have to get back to clearing out the magenta caterpillars with Sarah Palin’s face and ample bosom from the shelves in my office. They sure did thrive over the summer.

      • Mmmm…  Rich and creamy parody.  Love that!
        If only you could have worked in “anachronism”, my feast would be complete!

    • No, what helps, Professor Jackwagon – is to do exactly what McQ did.  You list who has been most accurate over time.  And regardless of what methodology some of these polls use, they consistently come out at the bottom.
       
      You might understand how that thingie works if I put it in light of what you allegedly do for a living.  You give tests right slick?  Students that get the most answers right on your tests most of the time get the high grades.  Students that consistently get the answers wrong get the low grades, even if they are very creative in their answers.
       
      Pretty simple sport.

    • Hey! Dr. Poll-it-all – why don’t you tell us more about Arab Spring, good and necessary, and explain exactly what it was we did today to make the Egyptians storm our embassy in Cairo.
       
      Come on whiz kid, you must have an answer.   Did we not dump Israel fast enough?  Were we not helpful with loans to Egypt?  Were we not getting them submarines from Germany fast enough?  What?  What did we do to the peace loving peoples of Egypt in their quest for Facebook and Twitter democracy?
      http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/09/11/cairo-us-embassy-protesters-prophet-mohammad/70000126/1#.UE-PAf6CrK1

    • When some blowhard starts to randomly fling about confidence intervals, noise, margins of error blah blah blah but fails to mention the central limit theorem then you know someone is juat making shit up to try and sound edumacated.

      • Yeah, listening to someone talk about math who really doesn’t understand it never fails to amuse. It’s like seeing computers in movies. I’m sure they think they have it pretty much right, but anybody who works with computers for a living is facepalming over the stuff they get wrong.

        • What……you have a problem with spinning reel to reel tapes and geblinkin lights now?

        • I have this vision of Erb sitting at his PowerBook, uploading a virus to an alien mothership to save the world.

          • It was an Apple, of course.  Apples can interface with anything, it’s there by design.
             
            But seriously, I CAN envision Erb THINKING he could do that….
             
            At least when HG Wells killed the martians he used an elementary method that, well, we recognize even today as a simple (dangerous) reality (see the recent concern that  Curiosity’s drill bits were probably contaminated by terrestrial microbes before final launch).

  • Mr. Erb — While you seem to make valid points, given the approximate equality between R’s and D’s, the question that confounds your analysis is this: Why do we NEVER see polls that over sample Republicans?

    • Shhh….  YOU cannot possibly understand.

      looking at the methodological formula used to turn the raw data into the poll’s actual result.

      This is like AGW modeling.  Simple knuckle-dragging wingnuts like you and I cannot BEGIN to understand teh double-smart algorithms used by TOP MEN.
      TOP MEN…

    • I’m not sure polls never over sample Republicans, but I’ll look at that more closely.  The population is about 31% D, 27% R, and rest independents (though most do have a real preference).   For fun I’ve been posting and reflecting on poll results on my blog: http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2012-polls/ But polls are not my specialty, for that see Nate Silver’s blog for real insight.

      • The population is about 31% D, 27% R,
        The population at large may self-identify that way, but the actual voting population does not.  The break of R vs D in likely voters is much closer to 34% for each.

        • I have never heard Lefty blogs squawking about poll results that were fake because of over sampling Republicans so I would guess that it does not exist.

    • Simple mah lad, if you oversampled Republicans, the Republican candidate might come out ahead in the poll!  And given that the goal is to demoralize those thinking of voting AGAINST Obama, that wouldn’t produce a favorable result, no no no.

      • Again, oversampling Republicans would simply mean you’d weight them differently to get the result you want.  If you wanted to demoralize Republicans you’d oversample them and then weight their preferences less.  Poll readers who didn’t understand that samples are weighted would think “my God, they had more Republicans and we still did poorly!”

  • Can anyone explain this?
    If Obama wins, he probably will still not have the House and maybe even the Senate.
    His plans for more stimulus, etc. will never see the light of day.
    So why vote for him if you are one of these wishy-washy independents?
    Foreign policy? Just can’t vote for a rich guy who had to decide to fire people from a losing investment? Enjoy hearing Obama whine for 4 more years about not being able to do anything. Want abortion to be legal and the supreme court to be packed with liberals?
    OK, some of those make sense to me for people concerned about those areas…but isn’t the economy the #1 issue, and there is no way in hell Obama is going to get what he wants in that area, and using executive orders is really not an effective tool.
    He also has not supported anything decent with the budget process – ANYTHING. I suspect voters have no idea since it hasn’t been bashed over their heads. I wonder if many think that he can do whatever he wants like some kind of King.
    2018 ain’t going to be a year where voters turn out to roust the Tea Party either, since our problems will only get worse, so what’s the purpose of an Obama victory except in narrow social issues and maybe foreign policy? People worried the GOP will steal their entitlements so Obama acts as a break?
    I just don’t get it.
    I suppose some are really scared about abortion – my sister thinks the GOP wants to make her have rape babies.
    Maybe a lot of the people who should be angry as hell are now on SS disability and gratefully voting Democrat? Perhaps they blame Bush for losing their high paying construction job? I guess I could understand that.
    Maybe a lot of people want to believe the party can keep on going strong. I think Dale is right – we will need a Greek style crisis before people wake up. We live in California so we see this all too clearly.
     
     

    • I think the real fun will begin once Obama is re-elected and Obamacare starts kicking in.
      You have companies start dropping insurance, or people noticing drops in quality of coverage, or medicare starting to suck and boy, oh boy, will the electorate get angry – AGAIN.
       

    • The Republicans made a huge error, and there is little time to correct it.  Most Americans realize policies before 2008 led to the economic collapse.  By not making a positive case that he’d be both different than Obama and different from the pre-2008 GOP on economics, people see Romney as offering only what failed in the past.   Obama has made a case that this is a global downturn that one person along can’t turn around overnight, but that his approach shows concern for the average voter.  Romney is seen as being concerned for the wealthy, with no clear plan except what has failed in the past.  If Romney had boldly offered a new vision that broke clearly from the old, he’d be doing much better.  The 2012 GOP needed a Republican Obama – change, new energy – and instead got a Republican Kerry.  If Romney loses (intrade is up to 61% on Obama being re-elected), I suspect Marco Rubio may be the one who can unite different factions of the party and offer a coherent vision for a 21st century GOP that breaks with the old image.   It may be too late for Romney.  His choice of Ryan was also an error.  Ryan is smart and abstract, but they needed a connector.   Biden is good for Obama because he’s down home and connects with the human side of the story so well.   Romney-Ryan seems “cold” – focused on theory and ideas, not so much on people.

      • “Your narrative is unconvincing.”
        Or….
        Horseshit.  Top to bottom.

      • I’m sorry, but when the math catches up with everyone, then the cuts will happen.
        Sure, you can keep electing Democrats like we do in California, and then you get Jerry Brown, who is cutting the social safety net to pay his union masters.
        But few of my lefty friends get upset by this, which I find strange. I guess as long as the person punching them in the nose is a Democrat it doesn’t cause any pain.

        • Cuts are necessary, so are tax hikes.   Politically I guarantee you that you won’t get one without the other, at least not to the extent that it makes a difference.  I don’t agree with voucher plans, but entitlement reform is overdue.   Both sides have to sacrifice sacred cows to get any solution to the problem.  I was really dismayed when Boehner and Obama couldn’t close the ‘grand bargain’ on debt relief, because that would have been good for the country.   Ultimately neither side is going to force their solution on the other — the country doesn’t work that way.

          • “the country doesn’t work that way.”
             
            Well, at least not since 2010.

          • Tax hikes will hurt the economy more than spending cuts. I suspect if the Democrats had to actually lay out their tax hikes and not just claim they would hit the “rich” then they would be less popular.
            Again, I live in California – fully run by Dems, and they are trying to get a tax hike in November, but I’m not sure they get it.
            I think what we will see will be like Canada or New Zealand when the population finally realizes the money is really not there, whichever party is sitting down then in musical chairs makes the spending cuts and tax reforms we need.

      • We just had 4 years of “alternative economics” and the results are not impressive.
        And if Obama gets re-elected, unless he carries the house, then there will be no “do over” stimulus.
        So any voter who thinks Obama can re-implement the stimulus again will be sadly in error.
        I see no credible plan from Obama to stimulate the private economy – he only cares about teachers, firefighters, and green jobs.

        • Please note, I don’t care about how “Biden connects” which is another way to say they play on emotions and not on reality.
          To quote Adam Carolla, do you want to have a beer with your oral surgeon or do you just want the best oral surgeon possible?
          We want exceptional leaders – not those who can’t get a budget through, and who miss golden opportunities ala Simpson-Bowles.

          • To win elections you need to play on emotions.  Whether or not in an ideal world that would matter is a nice discussion topic, but it won’t change reality.  Remember Ronald Reagan?  He told stories, related to people one on one, and his people were some of the first to really focus on image, background, and emotional effect of every speech or appearance.   You can be right, but if you don’t get the votes it won’t do any good.   As far as the budget – both parties share responsibility.
            Yes the country needs leaders – and Romney’s problem is he doesn’t seem like a leader.  He’s been vague (his speech at the RNC said very little about his intentions) and has offered no clear vision. He can still fix this, but he actually has to make a case for himself and his intentions rather than hope that dissatisfaction with the economy will cause people to say “well, let’s give this Romney guy a try.’

          • You can be right, but if you don’t get the votes it won’t do any good.

            No kidding?  So, you’re saying democracy is an amoral feeding frenzy?  That means when you try to justify an action by government with a wave of your hand to the election results or the polls, you’re admittedly not standing on an actual ethical argument…just one of emotional popularity.
            I, and many others, have been telling you just that for years and years.

            Yes the country needs leaders – and Romney’s problem is he doesn’t seem like a leader.

            It’s adorable how you pick up the talking points and repeat them so obediently.  But the fact is that Romney looks like a Hollywood actor one would pick to play POTUS in a movie—unless, of course, one were trying to make a statement by casting Dennis Haysbert, Morgan Freeman, or Geena Davis.  But then, if you were casting a minority, you’d be sure to have a character who was both smart and squeaky clean ethically—someone completely unlike the Teleprompter in Chief.

            He’s been vague (his speech at the RNC said very little about his intentions) and has offered no clear vision.

            This, from the sycophant of Mr. Hopenchange?  2008 candidate Obama was a blank slate onto which voters projected whatever they wanted.  And, those who are honest today openly admit they were suckered.  Many are spitting mad about medical marijuana, Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Libya, Israel, same-sex marriage (which, unlike with all other issues, Obama cites states rights), etc..
            I know your job is to try to demoralize would-be Republican voters, but you should take comfort in the fact that, if elected, Romney has promised to keep much of ObamaCare in place.  He’ll compromise away any position that the more principled Republicans might have fought for, stabbing them in the back.
            Either way, you’ll get what you want—at least until the debt chickens come home to roost. Then all this oneupsmanship trying to demoralize Team Coke so that Team Pepsi wins the latest emotional popularity contest will be exposed as not only pointless, but symptomatic of the cause of the disaster.

        • Obama hasn’t had a budget in three years. He can’t do anything, let alone fix any serious problems.

          If Obama is reelected, we are screwed, in part because we have four more years of Obama, and in part because it shows the American voter does not know what he is doing.

          • Well, Don, a lot of us support Obama and think Romney would be a poor choice – and I daresay many of us are just as intelligent and knowledgable about American politics as you and your fellow Romney supporters are.  People have different perspectives and beliefs, and democracy works when it forces people to listen to each other and compromise.   Whoever wins or loses, we’ll do the same dance in four years. I obviously have a different perspective than you – I think Romney represents a failed ideology with no new ideas and that Obama’s destined to be a transitional President who will be remembered as one of the greats.   I certainly can accept that others can think differently, be smart, honest and knowledgable.  When one thinks that anyone who thinks differently is somehow inferior, that person has lost a sense of perspective.

          • No if you support that narcissistic Marxist idiot with no plans, no solutions, and surrounded by nothing but tax cheats and crony bankers, who loves an imperial presidency and disdains the constitution then you are ipso-facto an idiot.

          • Obama is an abject failure.

            His last two budgets did not receive a single vote; we have had no budget for three years because of the obstruction of his party. Why? Because they can’t cut spending or close the deficiet, and they can’t admit as much in a formal budget. Gutless, total lack of leadership.

            Never mind his other failures. With the debt at over 100% of GDP, this is the key failure. The failure to even begin to deal with the debt crisis.

          • People have different perspectives and beliefs, and democracy works when it forces people to listen to each other and compromise.
            Democracy doesn’t work that way. It’s just the opposite. Elections are winner-take-all. The winning party gets to ram through Stimulus, QE I and QE II, ObamaCare, moratorium on drilling, etc.. The losing party gets to suck it.
            Whenever the Rs and Ds have a news conference and announce a compromise, it’s theater. The voters are screwed either way.

  • Operation demoralize in full effect I see. There’s just been too many indicators out there for me to credibly think Baracky can win

  • So, let’s say Obama is elected, and we keep hitting the new debt ceilings. The GOP has to keep caving because of the MSM…or do they?
    If its a 2018 election year they will be far more worried about Tea Party voters than the lazy, low information easy-to-trick presidential voters.
    Then what happens?

    • Make a grand compromise.  Both parties make sacrifices.  The Democrats fear the midterms in 2014, the GOP fears demographic change and realize Obama is there for four more years.  Time to do something, not obstruct each other.

      • how can you compromise with liars. The democrats already offered tax increase/ debt reduction deals before and in every case they broke their word.
         
        Besides no amount of tax increases will ever help with this deficit, they will just spend more. and eventually the taxes stop coming in as the economy sputters even more.

  • Sorry, 2014!!!!!!

  • One thing I would be interested in seeing is accuracy of ALL polls against actual election results by pollster. 

    The ‘final’ polls right before the election that pollsters like to be measured by tend to move pretty dramatically from the previous trends. 

    I would like to see how accurate the average poll is, not just the final poll.  People look at final poll before election compared to election for accuracy, but that misses the point.  Right now I don’t care how good their early Nov poll will be, I care about how useful their current polling is in terms of likelihood of predicting the election result.  If there is a history of ‘operation demoralize’ that is where it would show up.  I know the underlying electorate might move…but if so, than we should take their current polling with an even bigger grain of salt.

    If some pollsters are, on average, picking the eventual winners, and some pollsters are consistently picking the Mondales, that is useful information. 

    • Well, the idea somehow the pollsters are conspiring to “demoralize” Republicans seems like a kind of paranoid fantasy – or perhaps an effort to avoid cognitive dissonance that the race isn’t going as one thinks it should.  I think comparing polls before the end is a good idea.  On my website I’m putting daily poll results and will save them.  That should give me a baseline after the election for lots of poll comparisons.  The electorate will move, but there’s still interesting data one could get.   I might even get ambitious and try to see what I can find from 2008.  I do think there are partisan polls that try to push the “poll of polls average” a bit, but they’re usually pretty easy to identify.

      • Well, the idea somehow the pollsters are conspiring to “demoralize” Republicans seems like a kind of paranoid fantasy

        See JournoList.
        What a moron.

        • You corner the market in third grade level name calling, but you don’t support your case.   You know I’m right, Ragspierre.  You know it.

          • You state: “Well, the idea somehow the pollsters are conspiring to “demoralize” Republicans seems like a kind of paranoid fantasy ”
            and then you state:
            “I do think there are partisan polls that try to push the “poll of polls average” a bit”
            There is a logical contradiction here.

          • Why on earth would I engage you with reason?  You have none.  In the bargain, you are GLARINGLY ignorant.  Well, and transcendentally stupid.
            I know you for who you are.  Herr Doktor “The Frankfurt School are the heirs of the Enlightenment”!
            ‘Nuff said.

  • Erp will be gone again as soon as the polls show a Romney lead.

  • Anyone else think Pres. Apology soft-soaping those Egyptian rioters while back handing Bibi will hurt his polls? I sure hope Jews are paying attention here. Sometimes I think my people are willfully blind

  • Harun, you have backwards.  Spending cuts do more economic harm than tax hikes – that’s basic economics.   Also, no one doubts there are partisan polls out there that try to influence the story — but a big conspiracy of all the major pollsters?  Laughable.  Don, I’ll be gone after this thread, I just wanted to see how you all were taking the post-convention news.  I saw a post that was really off base about polls and couldn’t resist responding.  Kyle, your kind of weird claims that Obama is a Marxist and Democrats can’t be trusted to keep deals is the kind of irrational thinking that dooms the GOP.  I wrote a bit on that – the GOP could have won big this time but an inability to understand how society is changing has held them back.  I don’t think you realize how such views are getting increasingly marginalized.  The times, they really are a-changing!   Obama’s election and his continued strength is no fluke:  http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/delusions-hold-gop-back/
    And I strongly suspect if Obama wins you all will have a much more fun 2016, probably with Marco Rubio as your standard bearer.  After all, politics in the US is like a pendulum.   If the other side wins one or two, just wait…   Taking it too seriously leads to an inability to accept that there are legitimate diverse perspectives.   Have fun!   Even if Obama is destroying Romney in the polls and debates, any comments I have at this point will be rare and limited.   Too much to do with my own blog, teaching and research!   Have fun and take it easy – it’ll be alright no matter who wins.

  • Oh and Rags, yup – having my honors students read “Escape from Freedom” by my favorite Frankfurt School author, Erich Fromm.  Good stuff.  I know you in your “two legs bad, four legs good” world you want to categorize him and ridicule him via your own categorization.  Luckily I get to work to make sure the next generation doesn’t suffer from such irrational modes of thinking — they’ll actually learn to understand different perspectives, think critically and avoid the fallacy of categorization.   You’re beyond intellectual salvation, it seems.  I’ll focus on others! Cheers.

    • …they’ll actually learn to understand different perspectives, think critically and avoid the fallacy of categorization.

      I’ve looked in several indices of logical fallacies, Wikipedia, Nizkor (dot org), Atheism, et al. and I don’t find any fallacy know as “the fallacy of categorization.”  In fact, many fallacies are described as a failure to correctly categorize something.
      You’re giving these young people bad information.  But then, anyone who reads your mush already knows this.

    • “Escape From Freedom” was written after Fromm left the Frankfurt School in 1939, less than ten years after joining it,  partly because of Fromm’s departing from the School’s support of  Freudian theory.  Amusingly, Fromm’s dissenting ideas were expanded and resulted in the publication of “Escape From Freedom” in 1941, which hardened the School’s hostility towards the apostate Fromm.

  • Ahhh it’s been a long while since Erb hijacked a comment section. I take it school is back in and he has time between teaching mooses (moosei? meese?) quantum fizzhicks to bang out his thoughts on everything he knows shit-all about. I have missed skimming through a new day on Q and O to see Erb has run his full gambit of emotional states over night and slipped in his own linkwhoring at the end. Maybe some Frankenfurter psychoanalyst could be put to work on him, maybe publish a book entitled “Escape From Reality (the story of Scott Erb and modern statistical physics)” that could be forced on unsuspecting virgin minds. Good stuff.