Polling for Votes
It was interesting watching the Sunday talk shows with one in particular; CBS’ Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer. Political Director John Dickerson was asked about the state of the race, and conveniently left out the Gallup Poll which shows Governor Romney up considerably over President Obama. Gallup is even clearly outside the margin of error. But in the words of Dickerson, polls show the race is tied.
Here’s the problem with the position he is taking, he is trusting some polls (the ones that fit his narrative and biased spin) and ignoring other polls that paint the picture he wants painted. Polls can reflect the current state of the race, but they can also direct the narrative that in turn drives the vote in a particular direction. If you continue to say the polls are favoring one candidate over another, voters want to go with a winner and thus vote how they perceive the polls to be that day.
The Houston Chronicle Blog ‘Texas on the Potomac’ took a look at the polls after the election four years ago and found out which ones were the most accurate. Topping the list was Rasmussen (hated by the left) and Pew (discredited by the left this year.) Ranked very low was the IBD/TIPP polling firm, right behind it was NBC/WSJ. Even further down was Gallup.
Taking all of that into consideration, the top two polls to consider then would be Rasmussen and GWU. Take out Gallup as an outlier on the Romney side and IBD/TIPP as an outlier favoring the president, and you come out with a Romney +2 margin at 49/47. Clearly, then, Romney is ahead and within one point of a majority vote.
Had Dickerson been fair, and done just 10 minutes of research, he could have found this out himself and painted a more accurate picture – but does that fit his narrative? To be fair, I am not going to say the bias is towards Obama based on ideological lines (although I think one could come to that conclusion) but instead he's hoping for a tight race because that's what drives ratings. And 49/47 is still tight, but as I have argued before, a sitting president whose polling numbers are at 47% is in real trouble.
It is also interesting to note that Real Clear Politics is ignoring a significant poll in Pennsylvania. It has conspicuously left off the Susquehanna poll released Thursday showing Governor Romney leading in the Keystone state 49 to 45%. Granted, it was conducted for state party officials, but RCP includes a 10/4-10/6 poll in its rolling averages that is favorable to President Obama.
Could one conclude that again this poll doesn't fit the narrative of the left hopes to present so it won’t be included by RCP?
This is how polls can drive a vote. There have been instances in the past that voters on the west coast stopped voting because the race had already been decided. Could voters change their votes to be with a winner? Most certainly they can, which is why accurate reporting on polls is so important.