If Poll Results don’t Fit – You Must Omit

from Newsbusters:

Taxpayer-funded PBS and NPR are now in the polling business with Marist College, and like the other networks, their polls are often used to support putting heat on Republicans. On Wednesday, they announced they had found a majority of Americans were disappointed with the president’s responsive to the violence in Charlottesville. PBS then ignored their own finding that 62 percent favored leaving Confederate statues in place, while only 27 percent want them removed. NPR reported it once, and then insisted that had nothing to do with Charlottesville.

Buried in the weeds: They also asked if Americans approve or disapprove of Black Lives Matter: 50 percent disapproved, and only 33 percent approved. They even asked about approval of Antifa, but few had heard of them yet: Five percent approved, 24 percent disapproved, 18 percent said they had no opinion either way, and 53 percent were unsure. But if the results don’t fit….you must omit?

read more

Anti-Gun Articles and Polls Abound as the Left Kicks into High Gear

by: the Common Constitutionalist

The left has gone completely off the rails over the stoppage of their four dopey gun control measures they tried to guilt Republicans into signing on to. So much so that they literally took to the floor of the House chamber, staging an old fashioned sit-in. They look as juvenile as they are acting – a bunch of old farts sitting on the floor. The only thing missing was for them to collectively hold their breath until they got what they wanted. What a gaggle of idiotic children. They should all be placed on the watch list for being mentally unstable.

But this is the left. They are doing what they know. To the democrats, there is no such thing as losing gracefully. Heck, there is no such thing as losing. The dems usually get everything they want from the scared Republicans. But this is an election year – a time when most Republicans must pretend they are conservative and understand the Second Amendment.

Republicans are getting hammered by not only the gun-grabbing democrats, but also by the Democrats’ press office, better known as the main stream media. The leftist media is creating one article after another “proving” how “common sense” gun control measures, promoted by their siblings in government, can stop gun violence.

Along with dozens, if not hundreds of articles, they are creating polls that show, without a shadow of a doubt, that the American people want the snake oil the dems are peddling. read more

It’s Over, Obama Wins

 CBS: Obama Leads in Our D+13 Poll

by Mike Flynn

Anyone following the presidential campaign through the prism of media polls is doing themselves a serious disservice. Virtually every one of them uses a polling sample that is so heavily-skewed towards Democrats that it distorts the actual state of the campaign. Of course, that is a feature, not a bug of the polls. The polls are specifically designed to drive a narrative that Obama is surging and Romney is struggling. Increasingly, though, the polls are having to go to ridiculous efforts to support this meme. Friday’s CBS/New York Times poll, for example, uses a D+13 (13% more democrats polled) sample of registered voters. That’s registered, but not likely voters. This is absurd. 

In 2008, an historic election wave for Democrats, the electorate was D+7. In 2004, when George W. Bush won reelection, the electorate was evenly split. In other words, D+0. Repeat after me; the Democrat share of the electorate is not going to double this year. Given the well-noted enthusiasm edge for Republicans this year, the electorate is going to be far closer to the 2004 model than 2008. Any poll trying to replicate the 2008 is going to artificially inflate Obama’s support. 

CBS does apply a Likely Voter screen to the head-to-head match up. The LV sample is D+6, similar to the make up of the 08 election. In that, Obama leads Romney by just 3 points, 49-46. In the RV sample, which more than doubles the proportion of Democrats to D+13, Obama leads by 8 points, 51-43. See the simple relationship there? 

Let’s try a simple thought experiment. Imagine if, for a week, all media polls decided to use a sample that replicated the 2004 electorate–a D+0 model. Given the GOP’s enthusiasm edge–even the CBS poll found Republicans voters with a double-digit lead on enthusiasm for the election–the electorate is going to look a lot more like 2004 than 2008. Imagine how the narrative of the campaign would change. The CBS poll found Romney beating Obama among Independents by 11 points. With a balanced partisan sample, Romney would likely post consistent leads against Obama. 

A week of this and Politico would run out of fuel for its daily “Romney is struggling” theme. Which is why the media will never adjust its samples. This election, it isn’t so much about polling as propaganda. The polls are simply a tool being used by the media to try to depress GOP turnout and give a powerful lift to Obama’s obviously lackluster campaign. 

The polls confirm that the media aren’t really biased. Rather, they are active players for the other team.

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Senior Obama Campaign adviser David Axelrod reportedly contacted the Gallup Organization to discuss the company’s research methodology after their poll’s findings were unfavorable to the President. After declining to adjust their methodology, Gallup was named in an unrelated lawsuit by the DOJ. 

Axelrod took to Twitter to direct people to an article by the National Journal’s Ron Brownstein suggesting a flaw in Gallup’s methodology. Brownstein compared Gallup’s demographic sampling predictions to previous election exit polls as well as contemporaneous research released by Pew, CNN/ORC and ABC/WaPo.

The heart of the Obama camp complaint lies with varying predictive models for 2012 turnout. Gallup had predicted a lower minority turnout, effecting Obama’s margin against Romney.

An email chain from Gallup employees reveals the deliberations about how to handle Axelrod:

In response to that suggestion, another senior Gallup official wrote — in an email chain titled “Axelrod vs. Gallup” — that the White House “has asked” a senior Gallup staffer “to come over and explain our methodology too.”

 That Gallup official, the email continued, “has a plan that includes blogging and telling WH [the White House] he would love to have them come over here etc. This could be a very good moment for us to [show] our super rigorous methods compared to weak samples etc. …”

The writer named several news organizations with their own polling methodologies, all of which resulted in numbers more favorable to President Obama at the time.

In response to that email, a third senior Gallup official said he thought Axelrod’s pressure “sounds a little like a Godfather situation.”

“Imagine Axel[rod] with Brando’s voice: ‘[Name redacted], I’d like you to come over and explain your methodology…You got a nice poll there….would be a shame if anything happened to it…’”

Since Axelrod first contacted Gallup, the DOJ has become interested in an old allegation made by a former Gallup employee, claiming that the firm violated the False Claims Act by overcharging on their contracts with other federal agencies. Michael Lindley, a former Gallup employee, filed suit against Gallup in 2009 and Gallup was served and responsed to Lindley’s suit in 2010. The DOJ signed on to Lindley’s suit in August of 2012.

Lindley, was a former field organizer in Iowa for the Obama campaign in 2008.

In addition to Gallup’s unfavorable polling numbers on the Obama re-election effort, they have also published employment numbers that are not “politically helpful” for Obama.

“Gallup publishes its research without seasonal adjustments,” William Tate wrote for the American Thinker. ”The BLS’s version applies adjustments in an alchemic formula that’s more mysterious than the Shroud of Turin.”

Polling 101

This article was from May of this year, but it is still instructive.

Navigating the Polls in an Election Year

by: Mike Flynn at Breitbart

with comments from the Common Constitutionalist [ ] cause I just can’t help it.

As the campaign season gets into full swing, voters can expect a deluge of polls. Every major media outfit and several independent polling organizations will provide almost real-time information on every twist and turn in the political landscape. The polls will not only cheer or frighten partisans on all sides, they will likely have a gravitational effect on individual campaigns themselves, as candidates adjust their campaigns to polling results. But, voters should beware. Even modern-day polling is more art than science. [I’ve seen many polls (most in fact) I believe are published for only one reason; to dispirit conservatives voters and hopefully cause them not to vote. They have all come from major media and polling organizations that are in the tank for Obama and the democrats. The polls you see are for public consumption and are usually not accurate. However, campaigns run their own internal polling that is usually for honest and accurate. They know they can’t afford to rely on the normally bogus public polls. We will never be privy to the internal polls.]

All polls reflect certain biases–not necessarily in the political sense–of pollsters. Taking a small sample and extrapolating it to the overall electorate involves lots of judgement calls that may not provide an accurate picture of the political landscape. While voters should look to sites like RealClearPolitics, which average a basket of recent polls to smooth out aberrations, the occasional “outlier” poll, showing results wildly different than other polls, is occasionally correct. It mostly comes down to the choices pollsters make in conducting their poll.

If you are reading this, you’re likely fairly politically aware and understand some basic differences between many polls. You understand that the first step in accessing a poll is looking at what’s called the “voter screen.” In other words, is the poll of adults, registered voters or likely voters. The difference matters a lot:

Both Pew Research and Nate Silver have each looked at the differences for different elections from 2004, 2008 and 2010; and they both came to essentially the same answer:

– Polling “adults” generally favors Democrats by a net of 7%.
– Polling “registered voters” generally favors Democrats by a net of 4%.
– Polling “likely voters” is always the most accurate.

So if you have one poll of “adults” which says D53.5%-R46.5%, another of “registered voters” which shows D52-R48, and another of “likely voters” which shows D50-R50, they’re all saying the same thing. When you factor in the relevant adjustments for each screen, they’re all showing a tie at somewhere around an exact 50/50 split of those who will actually wind up choosing between Democrats and Republicans.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why media outlets like The Associated Press continue to poll “adults” on political issues. Around 20% of adults aren’t registered to vote. Putting aside the rather large inherent bias toward Democrats, why do we even care to know the political views of those who won’t be voting? Its about as useful as polling Canadians on their preference of U.S. politicians. [ I sound like a broken record, but duh. The AP might as well be the Obama press office. The know when they poll adults it will heavily skew the results toward their end, which is getting “The One” relected. ]

With the exception of Rasmussen Reports, however, most media and polling organizations use the registered voter screen until late in the campaign. This is due to the not unreasonable belief that, early in the campaign season, it is difficult to estimate who is most likely to show up at the polls. It won’t come as a shock to learn that people often lie in polls, claiming they will definitely vote but then, for a variety of reasons, fail to do so. So, as you see polls of registered voters, keep in mind that there is a general bias of +4% for Democrat candidates. [ Again, duh. Any poll, at the very least, not using only likely voters is junk and is used only to influence voters.]

But, even polls using a likely voter screen can be inaccurate. At this point, we need to discuss one of the less talked about and least understood aspects of polling: weighting.

When you start from a random sample of voters and begin conducting the actual interviews, it is very likely that the total universe of voters you actually speak with aren’t representative of the overall populace. You may have too many male, white, low-income, high education or Midwestern voters. Polling firms deal with this by “weighting” the sample, essentially tossing certain interviews so that the final results reflect responses from a representative sample that matches the nation’s demographics. [ Or, of course, responses that skew the outcome of the poll.]

Most of this is fairly technical and, with the exception of the occasional disreputable firm, fairly straightforward. Where it gets very tricky is where polling firms “weight” their sample based on their estimate of the partisan breakdown of the electorate. In other words, how many democrats, republicans and independents they include in their sample. This judgement call can throw off even the more accurate likely voter screen.

In 2008, an obviously big year for Democrats, the partisan breakdown of the actual electorate was:

  • Democrats 39%
  • GOP 32%
  • Independents 29%

By ideology, the breakdown was:

  • Liberal 22%
  • Conservative 34%
  • Moderate 44%

[ Ah, moderates, got a love um. Liberals without the courage to admit it.]

In 2010, an obviously big year for the GOP, the partisan breakdown of the actual was:

  • Democrats 35%
  • GOP 35%
  • Independents 29%

By ideology, the breakdown was:

  • Liberal 20%
  • Conservative 42%
  • Moderate 38%

So, any poll in 2010 that used 2008 as their baseline, i.e. weighting their polling sample to reflect the partisan breakdown of 2008, would have been wildly off. Remember, the pollster would have “tossed” certain interviews to get to the D-39, R-32 and I-29 sample.

So, is the electorate in 2012 going to be more like 2008 or 2010? Personally, with an energized GOP and conservative base, I don’t think the 2012 electorate is going to come remotely close to the partisan breakdown we saw in 2008. But, most pollsters seem to disagree and are weighting their polls for just such an outcome.

Organizations like Gallup and The Associated Press make it almost impossible to find out their partisan screen. Newer organizations, though, like Politico, DailyKos and Fox News do make this information available.

A recent poll by DailyKos/PPP, which had Obama up by 3 points, had the following partisan screen:

  • Democrats 40%
  • GOP 37%
  • Independents 24%
  • Liberal 27%
  • Conservative 42%
  • Moderate 32%

So, the DailyKos poll expects a bigger Democrat and liberal turnout than in 2008. Somehow, I don’t think that’s likely.

Politico‘s recent poll, which found Romney with a 1-point lead had the following partisan screen:

  • Democrats 37%
  • GOP 34%
  • Independents 28%

(Note: I’ve done my own “weighting” and assigned “leans GOP” and “leans Democrat” to “Independents.”)

A recent FoxNews poll, which showed Obama with a 7-point lead had this partisan breakdown:

  • Democrats 42%
  • GOP 34%
  • Independents 20%

What color is the sky in FoxNews’ world if they think the Democrats, in 2012, are going to increase their share of the electorate from 2008? When was it, exactly, that a bunch of independents suddenly switched to the Democrat party? [ They’re trying to all fair and balanced, don’t ya know.]

I think all of these polls are oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans. The nadir for the GOP was 2008, when they only made up 32% of the electorate. In the wake of ObamaCare and a stalled economy, there is no way the GOP is going to sit home like they did when faced with a McCain candidacy. Also, the Democrats were at the high-water mark of the “hope and change” promise of Obama in 2008, when they made up 39% of the electorate. There is no way they reach that level again.

So, every poll you see, dig deep into the partisan breakdown. Your mileage may vary, but you’d be right to adjust the numbers accordingly.