Polls Gone Wild


October 2, 2012 by Julia

Here’s the deal. I hate math–no, really, that’s why I went to law school. So, this post will not be about math.  Instead, let’s take more of a political science angle (emphasis on the political, because I laugh whenever it’s called a “science.”  The only thing “scientific” about it is statistics, in the same way that all social “sciences” use and manipulate statistics–i.e. not scientifically at all).

To start out, check out Charlie Martin’s math-based discussion of how polls work and why oversampling renders poll “results” completely useless.  Then consider that even for all that oversampling, only 9% of sampled households even give answers to polls.  Think of everyone that excludes, including people with no landline, people who work during the times that the polling companies call, people who simply refuse to answer, people who don’t trust the media, etc.  It’s unlikely that the 9% of people who take the time to answer polls (I am one of them, by the way, but only when I am home to answer the phone, which is rarely) are actually representative of the population at large.

So then, here’s the situation: we’ve got polls that oversample people who aren’t representative of the country as a whole, and the people who may disagree with the oversampled people are more likely to not respond in the first place.  The inescapable conclusion?  Polls have no value whatsoever as anything other than propaganda tools.  The public agrees, according to a poll by Daily Kos and SEIU (imagine what the results were before they tampered with them).

That only holds, of course, for publicly disseminated polls.  Internal polling, which I would imagine they spend more time getting right, is probably a different story–and in this election in particular, probably yields completely different results.  We know Obama’s “lead” over Romney in any recent national poll has been within the margin of error, and that the polls have oversampled Democrats.  If the Obama campaign has done a better job of finding a representative sample in the 9% (or even got a higher response rate than 9%), it’s a good bet that the internal numbers show the president in serious trouble.

If not, if the numbers showed Obama with a healthy lead, would there be a reason to bribe Ohioans with federal money?  Offer federal money to bribe defense contractors who break the law?  Make creepy calls to Catholics that lie about the LDS church, Obama’s abortion record (I mean, really, Obama would probably be offended that people are running around saying he is pro-life), and Planned Parenthood‘s services?  Make an ad about how Mitt Romney doesn’t hug his garbage man?  (yes, that is real)

Well, okay, the Left may do those things anyway, because bribery and lies are just part of the game plan.  But doesn’t it feel just a tad desperate?  I mean, really, they blamed Romney for a woman’s death from cancer.  Their internal poll numbers must be terrible.


9 thoughts on “Polls Gone Wild

  1. Stuart the Viking says:

    OH! That TEARS IT!

    Romney doesn’t consider the feelings of his poor downtrodden unappreciated garbage man! What kind of MONSTER doesn’t meet the garbage man at the curb every week and thank them for their service to civilization and humanity!

    Next thing you know, we’ll find out that Romney doesn’t blow his local dog catcher…. who doesn’t do that?


  2. Ish says:

    The thng that cracks me up — in a manically laughter like the Joker sense — is that despite the polls being rigged to the point of absurdity… Romney still has it almost tied.

    The Washington Post “swing-state poll” that everyone harped about all weeked? They sampled a grand total of 161 voters spread across eight states. WaPo and the chattering classes thought it was the story of the day, but I wouldn’t trust a sample size that small to pick the pizza toppings at my next D&D game.

    Nationally, CNN polling manages to get Obama up by +3 (PDF) — but they do it by sampling Democrats at +9. That’s absurd on the face of it… That the same poll shows Romney winning amongst independent voters never gets mentioned.

    • Julia says:

      So the question is, WHY? The conservative blogosphere beleives that the MSM-Democrat Unholy Alliance want to demoralize the average conservative voter, but I don’t think I buy that. Wouldn’t someone who is already planning to vote Romney just get annoyed at what they feel is misrepresentation? I think the Edwards pollster is closer to the truth: Obama is running out of money and Romney isn’t. The polls need to show Obama winning so donors don’t feel their money is wasted, but the polls also have to be close, so donors don’t think the hard work is all done.

      The Left is going to wake up on November 7 and wonder why all the polls were wrong, and the answer is, they were being played for money.

      • Stuart the Viking says:

        The left isn’t even going to think about those polls come Nov 7. I’m convinced that Romney is going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and wind up as the biggest loser in all of American election history. With Obama’s record, the Republicans should have been able to put up ANYONE and win. Looking at the hard numbers, no President has ever been re-elected with anything close to this level of unemployment or anywhere near such abysmal economic growth. Yet he’s going to keep on touting the line that “The private sector is doing fine” (talk about out of touch) and walk away with another 4 years. Too many would-be Romney voters are going to sleep through election day because the Romney campaign has bored them to sleep.

        Personally, it seems like the choice between a shit salad and a crap sandwich to me. I don’t want to vote for either guy. I don’t think either one of them are prepared to decrease the size of government. Let me correct that… I KNOW Obama isn’t likely to decrease the size of government, and I don’t THINK Romney is likely to either (maybe, maybe not). That would make Romney at least the better vote (to me) because there is at least a chance, except I also worry that Romney is likely to crap all over civil liberty in the name of codifying his moral beliefs into law (abortion, gays, etc. at least with Obama you don’t have to worry about morals (yes, that was a cheap jab)).

        See, I’m stuck. When Romney picked Paul Ryan as VP it was almost enough to tip the scales. I think that at least Ryan has a clue. Problem is, I think that he’s much more effective in congress where he is rather than as VP because I don’t think Romney is ever going to listen to him.

        I don’t know which way I’m going to vote. It’s likely to be either Romney (*shutter*) or Gary Johnson. OR maybe I’ll write in my Dad (again). VOTE FOR MY DAD!!! He doesn’t know shit. Doesn’t even read all that well, but I would be willing to bet that he could scare the piss out of some foreign leaders rather than bow and scrape and try to be their friend. He’s honest, worked like a dog all his life, believes that welfare is poison to a man’s soul, and believes in leaving people alone. Fix the economy? nope… but then neither of the current candidates will either.


  3. Ish says:

    Stuart, I’ll grant that Romney isn’t my first choice… or second… or third… but the primaries are long since past.
    Stephen Green recently gave an excellent breakdown
    on why Romney might not be the guy that will fix everything, but he’ll certainly slow down if not reverse the course that Obama has started us on and will only double-down on in a second term. There is a tendency amongst conservatives — especially libertarian conservatives — to “reject the good in pursuit of the perfect.”

    But, even though I think Green makes lots of good points, perhaps I can sway you to voting if-not-for Romeny then against-Obama with just five words: Supreme Court Justice Eric Holder.

    • Stuart the Viking says:

      “reject the good in pursuit of the perfect”

      The problem is, I don’t see Romney as a “good”. I see him as a mediocre at best, and I DON’T trust that he isn’t just Obama-Lite. Hell, I’m not even positive that Obama doesn’t just jump into a phone booth and emerge as Romneyman every so often.

      I missed the debates last night. I’ll have to see if I can find them on youtube or something. It might help to see them in the same room at the same time just to be sure.

      Quite frankly, I desperately want Romney to say something… anything… that I can believe in for long enough to make that vote without puking all over the ballot box. If Romney is the best that the Republicans can come up with, it’s time to burn it down and see what arises from the ashes.


      • Ish says:

        He’s not the best they can come up with… he’s the best that can survive a national primary. The best and brightest of conservatism tend to end up in the CEO’s corner office, the governor’s mansion, or (most often) working their ass off in their own small business.

  4. […] that won’t lead to any deaths, because no black person is voting for Romney.  No, really, a poll said so once.  Naturally, black conservatives were not […]

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