In answer to the title’s question, it depends on what Biden saw as his mission.
Many of the election experts out there believe there are only 4 to 5% of the people left to convince they need to vote for a particular side. And through the years, VP debates have had little effect in that regard.
So, was Biden’s mission to convince those few percent of voters still deciding or was it something else?
If it was to convince, I think Joe Biden did a very poor job. As you’ll see in various news stories where polls and interviews with independents are included, he was considered to be rude, condescending and kind of weird, laughing at inappropriate times, etc.
But what if the mission was to fire up his base … a base that has been devastated by the performance of President Obama in the first presidential debate?
If so, he was likely effective. The base doesn’t care if he’s rude or condescending … in fact, that’s what they demand. What others call rudeness and condescension, they’re already calling “passion”. No great surprise there.
I think Jokin’ Joe’s job last night was to go out there and try to again rebuild some enthusiasm within the base. And with that mission, no matter how distasteful or disturbing his performance was to others, he probably succeeded. He wanted to fire up a little “Joementum”. Facts and figures? Hey, who cares, throw whatever against the wall and see what sticks. His job wasn’t to be right or wonky … his job was to be aggressive, overbearing and loud. Apparently that’s what many on the left equate with a good debate performance.
Remember, as we’ve mentioned any number of times, in close elections it’s about “enthusiasm”. Obama’s debate performance threw cold water on already waning Democratic enthusiasm. Joe Biden has attempted to relight the fire under the enthusiasm pot.
Performance wise, it depends on where you come from, politically, as to how you rate their performances. Most of the instant polls, less CBS, gave a slight margin of victory to Ryan. Both sides are claiming victory today. No great surprise.
Substance? Was anyone even paying attention to substance. Numbers and stats flew willy-nilly. There were a few good barbs from both sides. And, of course, the fact checkers will be out in force today. But does it matter?
I’m going to be interested to see the numbers of viewers for the debate as opposed to those who chose Thursday night football or a MLB playoff game. My guess is they’ll out draw the debate.
I was sitting at my grandson’s concert last night and I overheard two women behind me talking. One said someone had ask her if she was going to watch the debate and she’d answered “no”. “I already know who I’m voting for”, she said. And, incidentally it’s not the incumbent. The other woman agreed with her.
Another thought. Perhaps the Biden performance was his way to displaying to Obama what he thought he should do in his next debate. If so, it’s bad advise (something for which Biden is somewhat infamous). While Biden can sort of, kind of, get away with it because, well, that’s what you expect from Biden, it would be horribly out of character for Obama. It would also show a level of desperation that I don’t think Obama wants to portray. And, given the Biden performance, my guess is Romney would be ready for it.
Anyway, an interesting if mostly inconsequential debate. Ryan got to present himself to the American people unfiltered by anything but Biden’s sarcasm and sometimes loony laughing and he seems to have done fairly well if the insta polls are to be believed.
I think that’s pretty well the best he could have hoped for.
Biden? He did his job as he understood it and he probably succeeded as well. How this will all translate come November 6 is anyone’s guess, but if history is to be believed, it won’t have much effect at all.
Alana Goodman provides some validation to my assertion that Barack Obama likes the perks of being President, but really isn’t that crazy about the job itself.
First though, some interesting info on debates and Obama:
According to the Times, Obama also deeply dislikes debates. It might be understandable if this was because he found them challenging and outside of his comfort zone. But that’s not what the Times reports. Obama apparently dislikes debates because he views them as “media-driven gamesmanship… something to endure, rather than an opportunity.” In other words, debates are below him. It’s not that he’s a weak debater, it’s that the debate format is too trivial for the likes of Barack Obama.
And, of course, he holds Romney in “disdain”, which likely makes it even harder. What will be interesting is whether someone who dislikes debates and the person he has to debate can rally and do what is necessary in the next two debates. Ummm … probably not.
But on to the main point. Goodman talks about Obama as President failing at the very personal level, a level that requires an ability he just doesn’t seem to have the self-discipline to exercise. And it isn’t in just one sphere or area. It is an across the board inability to form relationship with critical demographics and people.
This isn’t the first major aspect of the presidency (and campaigns) that Obama reportedly disdains. George W. Bush wasn’t a fantastic debater, but he was considered a great communicator in person. Obama, in contrast, doesn’t appear to enjoy personal interaction in general. He knocks debates as “gamesmanship,” but he also doesn’t like socializing. And as the New Yorker reported, he’s alienated major donors because he hasn’t been able to build relationships with them.
Obama’s interpersonal struggles have also caused him problems in the policy realm. He dislikes working with members of congress, and his disengagement from the legislative side of the political process has been criticized routinely by both Republicans andDemocrats. The same goes for foreign policy. The New York Times reported that Obama’s difficulty dealing with the Arab Spring has stemmed from his “impatience with old-fashioned back-room diplomacy” and “failure to build close personal relationships with foreign leaders.”
According to Game Change author John Heilemann, Obama is one of those rare politicians who “don’t like people…[and] don’t like politics.”
Goodman asks, “so why is he running for re-election”. Here’s a politician who doesn’t like politics and doesn’t like people?
See title. It’s good to be the top dog and enjoy all the perks. Work?
Yeah, see, that’s for the little people. I mean he’s never had to work before, why would he want too now?
But give him 4 more years, will you? He hasn’t had all the Wagyu beef he wants at this point. And it’s cool having your own airplane at your beck and call if you want to jet off somewhere for dinner. How cool? $1.4 billion cool … the cost to taxpayers to keep the president in the style to which he’s become accustomed.
The more we learn about this guy, the less he seems right for the job. Of course the past 4 years have pretty much proven that, despite Andrew Sullivan’s claim that his record is just sterling, he’s been an abject, incompetent failure. He hasn’t grown in the job, he’s shrunk. The debate performance was just his version of a shoulder shrug. He doesn’t know his job. How can he debate it?
I got a laugh out of Sullivan’s melt down though (a few actually):
And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’s terrifying.
It should be. The guy (and Sullivan) actually thinks he’s done a good job. Yet, as Sullivan goes on to say, somehow in one night, Obama managed to lose the 18 point lead he had among women. Gee, you think they figured out that he’s still not ready for prime time, even after 4 years of OJT?
But Sullivan does manage to ask the pregnant question of the moment:
How do you erase that imprinted first image from public consciousness: a president incapable of making a single argument or even a halfway decent closing statement?
You don’t. Not if that image is indeed the first image of the political season like it likely was for many of the almost 70 million who tuned in.
What they saw was a guy on one side who was energized, engaging and articulate. On the other side they saw the guy who is President. My guess is they concluded he really didn’t want to be President after that performance.
I think they’re probably right.
Or, as Michael Moore said, “that’s what you get for having John Kerry as a debate coach”.
It appears the debate went pretty much in Mitt Romney’s favor last night, and, as you would see if you watched MSNBC’s Morning Joe, they’ve suddenly “discovered” MItt Romney. I know it must be a shock that their made up Romney didn’t show up last night.
More interesting? There appears to have been a clear winner last night:
According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted right after the debate, 67% of debate watchers questioned said that the Republican nominee won the faceoff, with one in four saying that President Barack Obama was victorious.
“No presidential candidate has topped 60% in that question since it was first asked in 1984,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
While nearly half of debate watchers said the showdown didn’t make them more likely to vote for either candidate, 35% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Romney while only 18% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect the president.
More than six in ten said that president did worse than expected, with one in five saying that Obama performed better than expected. Compare that to the 82% who said that Romney performed better than expected. Only one in ten felt that the former Massachusetts governor performed worse than expected.
Now the poll only reflects debate watchers and not all Americans, but then the debates are aimed at, well, debate watchers, aren’t they?
One of the things I take away from the numbers is the 82% that say Romney performed better than expected actually got to see and judge Mitt Romney for themselves last night and not through the filter of the media.
We talked about that sort of thing on the podcast. How America watched the debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, when Reagan was lagging in the polls, and apparently decided that night that Reagan was acceptable as President.
Did that happen last night for those that tuned in?
Did Romney get a check-mark beside “acceptable” for the job?
Probably so. As for Obama’s performance? Well, here are a few words from his supporters:
- Commentator and blogger Andrew Sullivan might have captured the collective reaction best with this tweet, “Look, you know how much I love the guy, and how much of a high-info viewer I am, but this was a disaster for Obama.”
- On MSNBC, talk show host Chris Matthews asked incredulously, “Where was Obama tonight?” He suggested that the president take some cues from the liberal voices on the cable channel. “There’s a hot debate going on in this country. Do you know where it’s being held? Here on this network is where we’re having the debate. We have our knives out. We go after the people and the facts. What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed.” Obama failed to put any points on the board by not bringing up Romney’s controversial “47 percent” remark or his work at Bain Capital, Matthews complained, while Romney “did it just right,” keeping a direct gaze on Obama as he spoke, ignoring moderator Jim Lehrer’s mild-mannered attempts to cut him off and treating he president like “prey.” Matthews said, “What was Romney doing? He was winning.”
- Comedian Bill Maher, who takes regular hard jabs at conservatives on his television show and who gave $1 million to a super PAC supporting Obama’s reelection, tweeted, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter” — a reference to Obama’s critics who say he relies too heavily on teleprompters.
Not pretty. Not pretty at all.
Now we’ll go through the obligatory fact checks that no one will pay attention too. But the impression has been made. The only question is, was it enough to tip the election to the Romney side.
And here’s another point to ponder. If Americans were waiting on the first debate to determine whether Mitt Romney was acceptable, will they bother tuning in to any of the other debates. Or said another way, was this first debate performance enough to convince them that he can do the job and would probably be better than the incumbent.
If I had to guess, I’d say yes.
And if last night made the undecided comfortable with a Romney presidency, that should worry Democrats.
Update: From CNN of all places:
It was the biggest question coming into this first showdown: Could Romney seem presidential standing next to the Obama?
The answer appears to be yes.
Also from CNN:
“I don’t think anyone’s ever spoken to him like that over the last four years. I think he found that not only surprising but offensive. It looked like he was angry at times,” added CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, who has advised both Democratic and Republican presidents.
Heh … what, no Nobel Peace Prize for just showing up?!
I’m sure you’re watching the MSM give a huge collective yawn concerning the Obama video that has been surfaced showing an Obama that most of America hasn’t seen.
“Old news” they’re saying. “We’ve covered it,” they claim. Funny, I don’t remember it (oh, it was on MSNBC? No wonder no one has seen it).
Meanwhile the MSM is fixed on 1985 videos of Mitt Romney and his stance on … Vietnam?
Ed Driscoll, via Instapundit, sums up a couple of points that are pretty much true. First, he quotes Andrew Ferguson at Commentary, who makes a good point using the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as a basis:
Heisenberg’s principle can be crudely generalized (it’s the best I can do) as follows: An observer can change the nature of a thing or an event merely through the act of observation. Observation all by itself can become an intervention. Heisenberg was describing how reality works at the level of quantum mechanics, where a wave becomes a particle and vice versa depending on how it’s being measured. But it applies, too, at the level of political journalism, where reality is even stranger. There, facts can become interpretations, interpretations can become facts, and events of no significance can achieve an earthshaking importance simply by virtue of being pawed over by a large number of journalists.
A typical journalist, if he’s any good, insists at least theoretically on the iron divide between observer and participant. At its best the press corps sees itself as a squadron of Red Cross workers, wandering among the combatants in a battle zone and ensuring their own safety with a claim of strict neutrality. The Heisenberg Principle of Journalism puts the lie to all that. You see it at work whenever a news anchor announces that “this story just refuses to go away” or a headline writer insists that “questions continue to be raised” about the conduct of one hapless public figure or another.
The story refuses to go away, of course, because the anchor and his colleagues won’t let it; and the questions that continue to be raised are being raised by the headline writer and his editors. Reporters create more news than anybody, just by pretending they’re watching it unfold.
How often have we seen the absolute over-kill by the media on stories most would consider trivial. It seems to always depend on who is involved, doesn’t it? But, as Bengazi and Fast and Furious are proving, the inverse is also true. The MSM can blatantly ignore what most would consider important stories as well. Driscoll lists the exceptions:
- A presidential candidate calls for bankrupting entire industry? Let’s ignore it in plain sight.
- A presidential candidate call for higher energy prices for all Americans, especially the poor? Capital idea, we agree! But on the whole, let’s ignore it in plain sight.
- A presidential candidate has spent years marinating in a radical chic background? Let’s ignore it in plain sight.
- The Middle East is in tatters as a result of an administration asleep at the wheel? Let’s ignore it in plain sight.
- A border agent killed and guns in the hands of Mexican criminals? Let’s ignore it in plain sight.
- An incendiary racially-charged speech involving the man who is now the president of the United States emerges that 99 percent of the general public hasn’t seen? Old news. Let’s ignore it in plain sight.
Let’s. And that’s precisely what the media is doing. I’d also add to that list a litany of economic failure that is simply being ignored.
Or to put it another way, as the Washington Examiner notes tonight in an editorial, “To believe Obama is to forget the last four years.” That’s what both the Obama Administration and their palace guard are hoping.
It has gotten so obvious that even Howard Fineman has criticized the press for its obvious bias and its selective coverage. Pat Caudell went off on the media just the other day.
The intent of the media? To drag their chosen one across the finish line regardless of how poorly he’s done. There seems to be no attempt to hide it anymore. Simply peruse the stories of the day, identify what should be the stories of the day (a useful tool is to identify something not being covered and say to one’s self “if that were a Republican president …”), and it becomes clear which side, literally, the press is on.
Tonight is going to be interesting as well. We’ll see how subtle the “moderators” of the debate are going to be about their bias by the questions they ask. Will they focus on the economy, the unfulfilled Obama promises, the disaster his foreign policy has become, ObamaCare and its cost, etc. Or are we going to talk about “lady parts”, what Romney said in 1985 and the evil Bain corporation.
My guess? Not much economy, not much Obama record, lots about Mitt’s past (with the excuse that we know about Obama, but this is an opportunity to introduce America to Romney).
POLITICO has a story out entitled “10 quotes that haunt Obama“. Haunt? I’d say they define him.
The 10 quotes, minus the POLITICO take on each, are:
“Washington is broken. My whole campaign has been premised from the start on the idea that we have to fundamentally change how Washington works.”
“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
“If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
“Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and a way that Bill Clinton did not.”
“Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now.”
“I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular.”
“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
“It’s here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”
“I fought with you in the Senate for comprehensive immigration reform. And I will make it a top priority in my first year as President.”
“What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further. We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.”
What they define is arrogance, cluelessness, flip flopping and failure. The gay marriage quote was one that ran in a gay newspaper in Chicago as Obama was running for the State Senate. When confronted with that later, he denied those were his words. Then, when it was politically important to embrace gay marriage, he “evolved” (what would be described as a ‘flip-flop’ for any other politician).
There are a ton of other quotes that could be on this list (“the private sector is doing fine” – arrogance and cluelessness). But these will do. They indicate a man who, for whatever reason, thinks an awful lot of himself while not demonstrating anything of substance to substantiate that feeling. That is why Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair. He could just as easily had a naked Obama mannequin up there with an emperor’s crown.
Washington is broken worse since he took office, Solyndra represents crony capitalism at its worst, he’s kicked the can around the cul-de-sac while passing an extraordinarily expensive medical insurance law against the wishes of the American people. Gitmo is still open, he’s done nothing on immigration but blatantly ignored the law, his arrogance still knows no bounds, but he’s damn sure no Ronald Reagan. Or Bill Clinton, for that matter.
So I say we hold him to quote 3. He has no interest in the economy, unemployment or jobs. He’s yet to meet with his jobs council, doesn’t attend his daily intel briefs (well he does now, since being called out on it) and would much rather campaign than meet with world leaders at the UN. He’s a guy who loves the perqs of the job, but seemingly isn’t real interested in the job itself.
And somehow we’re supposed to believe giving him 4 more years would improve on this record.
CATO has the news:
The Reason-Rupe September 2012 poll includes our favorite ideological questions to differentiate libertarians from liberals and conservatives. Using three questions, we can define libertarians as respondents who believe “the less government the better,” who prefer the “free market” to handle problems, and who want government to “favor no particular set of values.” These fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters represent 20% of the public in the Reason-Rupe poll, in line with previous estimates.
Among these likely libertarian voters, the presidential horserace currently stands:
Romney’s share of the libertarian vote represents a high water mark for Republican presidential candidates in recent elections.
I find it difficult to believe 20% of the “libertarian” vote would go to Obama, but whatever.
Bush pulled 70% of the libertarian vote in 2000. But that percentage dropped to 59 in 2004.
So what if Gary Johnson is included?
A pretty even split between libertarians voting for Romney and Obama (7% each).
This is all interesting for a number of reasons. One is that many libertarians like to argue that “true” libertarians would never vote for any Republican or Democrat. Yet when you look at the numbers, and unless you’re willing to exclude about 97% of self-identified libertarians, that’s just not at all the case. In fact, in the last two presidential elections (2004 and 2008), third party candidates have pulled a whopping 3% of the libertarian vote. Yeah big “L” libertarian party types, it’s not selling. A lot of that has to do with “principles” which simply aren’t realistic (you know, like isolationism and open borders? Both have been overcome by events in case you haven’t noticed.). Once the Libertarian party begins dealing with the problems and realities of the here and now, and not how they’d like it to be, you may see those numbers change.
Until then, the lesser of two evils prevails. The reason for the record break this year? Probably because most libertarians understand that Obama and the Democrats pose the biggest internal danger to freedom and liberty this country has faced in quite some time. Is Romney/Ryan the panacea? Are you kidding? But first you have to remove the danger. Then you can work on repairing the damage.
And it won’t be quickly done as all of us know. I look for many “ones step forward, two steps back” days even after Obama is sent into retirement.
But one thing is for sure – this nation cannot afford another 4 years of Barack Obama.
So, heaven forbid, there’s a “secret video” out of Romney (provided, reportedly, by James Earl Carter IV, who, ironically, is out of work) saying things that show what he really feels about Americans, (insert gasp here) etc., etc., – que the liberal outrage of the week and the latest in the left’s distract and disrupt campaign.
As to the remarks videoed by someone at this event, here’s how Mother Jones characterized what it saw as the big 3 quotes (that, one assumes, hurts Romney).
On the 47 percent of Americans “who will vote for the president no matter what.”
On the dividends of his anticipated November 6 victory: “we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”
On the “almost unthinkable prospects” for Mideast peace: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway…and I say there’s just no way.”
Oh my. Romney thinks that are “47% ” of Americans who will vote for Obama, “no matter what”.
Well here’s a shocker — so do I. Are they the same 47% who pay not income taxes (and save your breath, all those who beam in with payroll and sales taxes – “income” is before “taxes” because we’re talking about a specific tax, thankyouverymuch). No. But that’s sort of irrelevant. I do indeed believe that around 47% will indeed vote for Obama “no matter what”. Just as I believe there is about 45% who will vote for Romney, “no matter what”. Shock! The political term “yellow dog” is applied to both sides, folks, for a very good reason. They exist – in large quantities.
Of course the war is for the final 8% isn’t it? It always is. Why anyone is outraged by this number and his point is beyond me … or anyone who has any freaking idea of how politics have worked in this country for ages. It’s always been about wooing the final 8-10%. Obama’s problem is, since being elected, he’s rarely if ever been beyond 49%.
As to the damage? Well I think James Taranto sums that up pretty darn well:
Romney’s comment has been compared with Obama’s infamous 2008 remark, also at a private meeting with donors, about Pennsylvania voters who get bitter and cling to guns and religion. To our mind the difference is that those people, traditionally Democratic voters, could easily tell that Obama was referring to them. Most of the 47% will not see themselves in Romney’s description–and those who do, would probably not have considered voting for him anyway.
Bingo. Not that the Democratic dog isn’t going to worry this bone as much as it can.
Quote two about the economy. Context is always nice:
Audience member: When the [unintelligible] in September, the markets are going to be looking—marginal tax rates going up, overheads going, fine, but sequestration under the debt ceiling deal—what do they call it?
Audience member: Yeah, they call it that. The Obamacare, taxes on dividends and capital gains—I mean, the markets are going to be speaking very wildly in October on all of those issues.
Romney: They’ll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends, of course, which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is, if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don’t know what will happen. I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get the—the “Taxageddon,” as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can’t work together, it really is frightening, really frightening in my view.
Again, an “oh, my … wait, what?” You mean he wasn’t talking about the economy improving and him being able to take credit “without actually doing something” as implied by the out of context quote?
Context – what a concept. He’s talking about how the markets will react to his election, that’s all. And, as in the previous quote – he’s right.
Finally, the Palestinian question. He’s three for three – they don’t want peace, they want the destruction of Israel and always have. And when offered a 95% deal, their leader (another Nobel Peace Prize winner) Yassir Arafat, turned it down. These are the people who parade their children around in fake suicide vests and launch rockets, weekly, into Israel.
As to what he said in full:
And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way. And so what you do is you say you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that it’s going to remain an unsolved problem. I mean, we look at that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve. We don’t go to war to try and resolve it.
On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state—and I won’t mention which one it was—but this individual said to me, “You know, I think there’s a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections.” I said, “Really?” And his answer was, “Yes, I think there’s some prospect.” And I didn’t delve into it but you know, I always keep open the idea of, I have to tell ya, the idea of pushing on the Israelis?—to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work. So, the only answer is show your strength. Again, American strength, American resolve, as the Palestinians someday reach the point where they want peace more than we’re trying to push peace on them—and then it’s worth having the discussion. Until then, it’s just wishful thinking.
Can’t disagree. Won’t disagree. It’s essentially true. When, and only when, the Palestinians get serious about real peace can such a process go forward. They’re still not there. In fact, they’re not even close.
Anyway, there you go. The outrage is just nonsense as usual, but certainly helpful in the disrupt and distract campagin. Not reported on? This part of the conversation:
Audience member: The debates are gonna be coming, and I hope at the right moment you can turn to President Obama, look at the American people, and say, “If you vote to reelect President Obama, you’re voting to bankrupt the United States.” I hope you keep that in your quiver because that’s what gonna happen. And I think it’s going to be very effective. Just wanted to give you that.
Romney: Yeah, it’s interesting…the former head of Goldman Sachs, John Whitehead, was also the former head of the New York Federal Reserve. And I met with him, and he said as soon as the Fed stops buying all the debt that we’re issuing—which they’ve been doing, the Fed’s buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. He said, once that’s over, he said we’re going to have a failed Treasury auction, interest rates are going to have to go up. We’re living in this borrowed fantasy world, where the government keeps on borrowing money. You know, we borrow this extra trillion a year, we wonder who’s loaning us the trillion? The Chinese aren’t loaning us anymore. The Russians aren’t loaning it to us anymore. So who’s giving us the trillion? And the answer is we’re just making it up. The Federal Reserve is just taking it and saying, “Here, we’re giving it.’ It’s just made up money, and this does not augur well for our economic future.
You know, some of these things are complex enough it’s not easy for people to understand, but your point of saying, bankruptcy usually concentrates the mind. Yeah, George.
Audience member, “George”: Governor, to your point on complexity. How is—you’ve traveled around America and talked to people in larger groups and perhaps people with different backgrounds, and people in this room: To what extent do people really understand that we’re hurtling toward a cliff, and to what extent do people understand the severity of the fiscal situation we’re in. Do people get it?
Romney: They don’t. By and large people don’t get it. People in our party, and part of—it’s our fault because we’ve been talking about deficits and debt for about 25 or 30 years as a party, and so they’ve heard us say it and say it and say it. The fact that Greece is going what it’s going through, and they read about France and Italy and Spain, has finally made this issue topical for the American people. And so when you do polls, and you ask people what is the biggest issue in the 2012 election, No. 1 is the economy and jobs by a wide margin. But No. 2 is the deficit. But debt, that doesn’t calculate for folks, but the deficit does. They recognize you can’t go on forever like this. Although the people who recognize that tend to be Republicans, and the people who don’t recognize that tend to be Democrats. And what we have to get is that 5 or 10 percent in the middle who sometimes vote Republican, sometimes vote Democrat, and have them understand how important this is. It’s a challenge. I did the calculation for folks today, and USA Today publishes this every year. It’s a front-page story: the headline once a year, it somehow escapes people’s attention, and that is, if you take the total national debt and the unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, the amount of debt plus unfunded liabilities per household in America is $520,000. Per household.
Audience member: It’s like 12 times their income, right?
Romney: At least. 10, 12 times their income. Even though we’re not going to be writing the check for that amount per household, they’re going to be paying the interest on that. You’ll be paying the interest on that. [Audience laughs.] Because we—my generation will be long gone, and you’ll be paying the interest. And so you’ll be paying taxes, not only for the things you want in your generation, but for all the things we spent money on, which is just—it’s extraordinary to think the tax rates, someone calculated what would happen. If we don’t change Medicare or Social Security, the tax rate—you know what the payroll tax is now, it’s 15.3 percent—if we don’t change those programs, that tax rate will have to ultimately rise to 44 percent. The payroll tax. Then there’s the income tax on top, which the president wants to take to 40 percent. Then there’s state tax in most states. And sales tax. So you end up having to take 100 percent of people’s income. And yet the president, three and a half years in, won’t talk about reforming Social Security or Medicare. And when the Republicans do, it’s “Oh, you’re throwing granny off the cliff.” It’s like you’re killing the kids. The biggest surprise that I have is that young people will vote for Democrats. They look at this and say, “Holy cow! The only guys who are worried about the future of our country and our future are Republicans.” But the Democrats, they talk about social issues, draw in the young people, and they vote on that issue. It’s like, I mean, there won’t be any houses like this if we stay on the road we’re on.
Now that is important stuff. That is what this elections should be about.
Not this other crap that MJ and the left chose to quote out of context. But then, what choice do they have but to resort to that given their candidate of choice’s record.
By the way, there’s now a controversy brewing about the possibility that the secret video might have been edited. Or, perhaps the gap is more like the Nixon tapes. Regardless, charges are flying back and forth. David Corn at MJ says they’re complete. But a bunch aren’t buying that. By the way, MJ blasted James O’Keefe for “edited” ACORN tapes if you’ll remember.
So, it’s politics in the media as usual. Wonderful stuff, no?
Aren’t we being well served?
Or at least that’s what those who oppose using a picture ID to ensure the integrity of the voting system would have you believe. All a nonissue they tell us.
One day after being sued over a controversial ballot box citizenship question, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said Tuesday there are an estimated 4,000 noncitizens on Michigan’s voter rolls.
The estimate is based on the state’s access to citizenship information for one-fifth of the population, Johnson said, adding the federal government won’t give her access to more citizenship data.
Johnson said the results of a “very tedious” analysis of 58,000 driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards found 963 noncitizens registered to vote.
Department of State employees cross-referenced those noncitizens with voting records and found 54 have a voting history and have voted a total of 95 times, Johnson said.
So you have 963 noncitizens in the sample who have managed to get state issued driver’s licenses. Nice. There’s something else that needs to be tightend up a tad in Michigan, huh?
But obviously the point is that you have people who are not entitled to vote voting fraudulently (oh, and they didn’t have any problem obtaining ID so why do our “minorities” have such a tough time?). And in contests decided by a few votes as we’ve seen numerous times over the years (convicted felons for go big for Al Franken!), the integrity of the system is in question.
However, it’s just too much to a) have people prove their citizens prior to getting a state issued ID and b) produce that at the polling place to ensure they are who they say they are. You know, like they do when you board a plane?
If you listen to the podcast, you may have noticed that, over the past couple of weeks, we’ve talked a lot about polling, and why Obama is doing so well. We’re not the only ones. A lot of people are wondering why Obama is polling well when the things are so bad. One of the criticisms I’m seeing about a lot of the polls is that they skew so heavily democratic. Except for Rasmussen, almost all of the polls coming out seem to have larger numbers of Democrats than one would expect. They have been as high as a D+11% advantage in the population.
This is seen by some as proof that the pollsters are skewing the respondent population towards Democrats. I’m not impressed by the argument, because most pollsters don’t actually try and set up a likely voter model for the poll. Instead, the poll is a sample of usually between 1,000 and 1,500 randomly selected voters. The Democratic advantage in this poll, therefore, is not an artifact of the selection method, but is actually the result of what the respondents identify themselves as. If you call 1,000 people, and 380 of them say they’re Democrats, then that’s the sample.
The poll, then, reports what the respondents say. It’s not the result of selecting a particular number of Democrats or Republicans. That’s a vitally important distinction, because voter identification changes over time. The poll reports what voters say their party affiliation is, but a voter may say he’s a Democrat this week, and a Republican or Independent two weeks from now.
So, the key here, it seems to me, is to look at a set of polls from a particular pollster and see if the party affiliation varies widely from poll to poll. If it does, then there’s probably a problem with their methodology. You might see a shift in party affiliation over time, but the change between consecutive individual polls should probably be fairly small. But in general, if a pollster uses the same methodology for every poll, and is not explicitly looking to create a voter response model, then the results are probably fairly accurate, and show small movements–if they occur–to party identification from poll to poll.
What I’m hearing from a lot of conservatives this week is the idea that the polls are horribly skewed, as if there’s some industry-wide conspiracy to make Obama look good. That doesn’t seem very likely, especially since nearly every pollster uses a bipartisan polling team, i.e. one Democrat and one Republican. So, what I’m hearing from conservatives sounds like the response Democrats made in the 2004 election, when John Kerry was polling badly. Then, as now, there was this feeling that the polls were horribly wrong, and their candidate wasn’t actually losing. But the losing candidate was, in fact, losing.
So if the polls are off, then it must be the result of either a gross, industry-wide incompetence that is causing them all to use a faulty methodology, or a gross, industry-wide conspiracy–between both Republican and Democrat pollsters–to push a pro-Obama narrative. The alternative is that the polls aren’t off, and within a 3% or so margin of error, are reporting accurately what the electorate is saying. The latter seems to me to be far more likely.
Now, as to why so many voters are identifying as Democrats, I don’t have a clue. But consider this: pretty much everyone knows Bill Clinton is smarmy liar, and if he could run for a 3rd term…he’d win.
Also, consider that everyone remembers the Bill Clinton presidency as a time of economic growth and balanced budgets. They remember the end of Bush’s two terms as a time of complete economic collapse. The underlying reasons don’t matter, because most voters neither understand nor care. It may be that voters simply trust Obama more on the economy than they do Romney, because they fear a return to economic collapse. Maybe they think Obama has done as well as could be done. But simply dismissing that with a "the polls can’t be right" explanation is just whistling past the graveyard.
UPDATE: More here, including this graphic.
Now, let’s split this out and look at correlation:
That’s a pretty weak correlation. Look at the blue diamonds for the Obama lead. What is that, a bell curve? Seriously?
No, unless the poll makes a specific effort to model a voter turnout, and specifically samples for a given percentage of R-D-I, then the poll is just telling you what the respondents are telling the pollsters. They may tell them something different next week or next month, but the R-D-I sample is simply a result of respondent self-identification.
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.