2012 election polls are all over the map– some reporting that Obama is ahead… others reporting Romney is ahead. Why such a spread? Simply put… it’s easy to skew polls, and easy to sway the voters. Some polls include less reliable data. Most are based upon ‘exit polls,’ including early-voters, plus past election behavior. Polls can represent who voted, (mail-in ballots or at the booth,) when they voted (before or on the day of voting,) and polls can include data from ten years of elections. Other polls are snap polls via the internet or phone, and some polls are national polls taken over a whole week. So, what to believe? Read on for some suggestions….
I happened to hear a poll in the New York Times’ the other day, and their prediction that Obama would win re-election. This prediction was based upon the 2% increase in quarterly economic growth, they said. Not so, said I. The supposed 2% growth was primarily government expenditure. Government expenditures are NOT economic investments, but upkeep… like paying the electric bill, government salaries, entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc..) Money you and I will not see again– but money our grandchildren will have to pay because these are BORROWED dollars. (see blog: “The Fiscal Cliff”)
I first read the New York Times when I was 10 years old. It was a good paper– take it’s printed word to the bank! But this? Not so, said I, as I tossed it aside. First of all, mis-informing Americans about the bogus “2% growth” nonsense is bad enough. But, using that bogus number to predict that Obama is ahead in national polls? Let’s look closer.
First of all, pollsters take data about election turn-out. With 52% + of mail-in ballots already in, Romney is ahead by about 7 points. Then pollsters look at 10 years of races and use averages and trends. That would be data from elections in 2004, ’06, ’08 and 2010. Then outliars are thrown out– behavior that stands so far apart from the typical, ‘bell shaped curve.’ Outliars (anomalies,) are omitted because they are too extreme from typical general group behavior; in other words, outliars distort or skew results.
In 2008, an anomaly happened: Americans elected a virtual unknown, novice candidate on a platform of ‘hope and change–’ touting that a Washington outsider could bring the parties together for positive change from business-as-usual. Plus his platform of ‘redistribution of wealth.’ He won, but Socialism in a free society is a tough sell. (see blog: “The Fiscal Cliff”) This novice president ignores Constitutional law by enacting policy changes via executive order, instead of working with the body of law-making, Congress. This president has touted his philosophies of “leading from behind–” throughout the economy, national policies, countering terrorism, socializing medicine (even the doctors don’t like it! see blog: “Obamacare,” parts I, II, III.) He has accrued escalating national debt, more than most of the previous US presidents all together. This president, in all due respect, is the anomaly.
Polls show that Americans like this president, and I like him, too! He’s witty and funny! On late-night television, he’s a hoot! Especially when Obama talks about his lack of math acumen! http://lonelyconservative.com/2012/10/video-obama-admits-to-jay-leno-he-cant-do-math-above-7th-grade-level/
Not to mention the transparency regarding the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, September 11, 2012. (see blog, “What Went Wrong In Libya?”) The President has yet to explain to the American people what went wrong in Libya—and papers like the NYT do not address: what did the president know and when did he know it? Has Al Quada infiltrated American operations in the middle east, contrary to President Obama’s campaign claim that, “bin Laden is dead and Al Quada is on its heels!”?? President Obama still refuses to answer even senatorial letters demanding the truth about Benghazi. Why doesn’t the NYT poll Americans about this? Read one of these letters– http://www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=740
Back to polls. In Ohio (a swing state,) almost 200,000 fewer early voters have cast their vote for Obama, compared with 2008 voters— coupled with 160,000 more early voters have voted for the other guy, than in 2008. That’s a margin of about 360,000 +/- voters in the critical swing state of Ohio– so it’s looking really strong for the other guys, not the president– when compared with 2008. (Another reason for discarding the outliars from the 2008 model.)
Another inobvious fact about the Times ‘poll,’ is the weighting of poll participants. Weighing means simply, asking more of these people, than those, ie: Democrats vs. Republicans. The NY Times added more registered Democrats than Republicans in the poll: about 8% more Democrats. Even with 8% more Democrats, Obama only showed a one-point lead. But, with this 8% skew, Romney actually is way ahead. Think about this. Take two runners in a 50-yard foot dash. Draw the finish line 12 feet shorter for one guy, at 138 feet, but keep the finish line for the other guy at 150 feet. If the two runners cross the (two separate) finish lines one second apart, with the shorter distance runner coming in first, the second runner actually is the winner. She finishes the longer race only 1 second shy of the first one, with the 12 foot disadvantage. Ask yourself: would I approve a skewed race, if my kid were running against the guy with the 12-foot advantage? Fair? –Not so, say I.
The NY Times has given the incumbent an 8 point lead, touting that he is the winner. But, if you do the math, the NYT poll shows that Romney/Ryan are really 7 points ahead of Obama. Just like our runner in the skewed foot race.
Is this NYT “journalism,” journalism? Not so, says I. It’s bias. NY Times didn’t just report the news: it skewed the news. It is propaganda. Out of sentimentality, I will go easy: Hey, NYT! Try Fox News! There’s a good reason why Fox is the most watched cable news network. Fair and balanced, just like a fair and balanced 50-yard dash. Among Fox News’ stellar lineup of pollster brainiacs are Dick Morris and Karl Rove—the Einsteins of election polling. We all reminisce about Ronald Reagan’s fresh and honest approach to politics— but did you know that Reagan also hired Rove? In fact, Morris and Rove say Romney/Ryan will sweep the elections, based upon the polls.
What about independents? Much polling takes place via phone interviews. But 1/3 of Americans now use cell phones in place of land lines, so polling itself may be skewed. We know that the 2008 election saw an unusually high level of enthusiasm among Democratic voters (with those identifying themselves as Democrats,) more than any other time in recent election history– especially 2012. In fact, the enthusiasm of Republican voters currently is significantly higher than Democrats— including independents now identifying themselves with Republican tickets. .
So, what questions should you ask regarding election polls? Be sure the outliars (skewed anomalies,) are omitted from the mix; make sure you understand what data the poll is based upon; and always ask, ‘how is this poll weighted? Is one group more represented than the other?’ Then research the polls for yourself.
Read the facts– be an informed voter! Thank you!
And may the best American candidate win!
©Suzy Right 2012