The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

If Bias Doesn’t Matter …

Posted on | October 27, 2012 | 46 Comments

. . . why is Dan Hodges cheering Nate Silver for “singlehandedly dismantling the myth of Mitt-mentum”? That is to say, if the reporting of poll data doesn’t influence voters one way or the other — if there is no bandwagon psychology effect created by such media narratives — then what does it matter whether journalists believe one candidate or another is winning?

Good luck answering that, and good luck to all the liberals who believe that counterfactual cheerleading can prevent Obama’s defeat if, in fact, we’re already on the other side of a “preference cascade.”

When Gallup showed Romney widening his lead to 5 points — and at 51 percent, just 10 days before Election Day — Donald Douglas anticipated that Nate Silver’s head would explode. But the Grand Swami will find a way to rationalize this, and the Graveyard Whistling Choir will cheerfully parrot whatever rationalization Silver provides them.

– –

Only one poll in October has shown Obama as high as 50 percent, and if Silver shows a sudden enthusiasm for John Zogby, you’ll know why.

As for me, I’m more traditional in thinking that an incumbent president who is persistently polling below 50% in October is on his way to becoming an ex-president. Romney’s margin in the Real Clear Politics average is a slender 0.9%, but . . . we’ll see. Gallup’s topline number involves pushing of “leaners,” and we don’t know whether Romney will maintain or extend this advantage.

Look at the Investors Business Daily poll for something interesting: Obama leads by 2.3 points in the topline, but the sample is D+7 and Romney leads by 10 points among independents.

We’ve seen this pattern so often in so many polls this year that I think it’s time to ask, “Is this what brand damage’ looks like?”

Did the post-2004 unpopularity of President Bush and his party so damage the GOP’s reputation that voters who might have once identified themselves to pollsters as Republicans are, instead, now thinking of themselves “indepedendents”? Other than persistent sample bias (or “weighting” of the samples by pollsters) it’s hard to think of any other explanation of this trend. This has shown up in poll after poll — a remarkably high advantage for Democrats in terms of partisan identification (e.g., 38% D vs. 31% R in the IDB poll) and a double-digit advantage for Romney among independents.

If my “brand damage” theory explains this phenomenon, then the topline numbers in the polls are more or less valid. If, on the other hand, the D/R split is tilted to the Democrats’ advantage due to some kind of artificial sample bias, then Romney’s lead is being underestimated. Put the D/R split closer to parity, and Romney’s double-digit lead among independents would guarantee a big win — 53% or more in the popular vote.

We could have a big discussion about “brand damage” and the failure of the GOP to build a stronger sense of partisan loyalty among Republican-leaning voters, but I’m content to let that wait until after the election. There is a definite problem, I think, but the discussion of the problem will be fundamentally shaped by the election results, and we don’t yet know how that will turn out.

Wisconsin: Romney 49, Obama 49

New FL poll shows Romney up 5, 51/46

Or do we? My gut hunch is that Obama has really already lost, and that the only question is whether the margin of his defeat will be decisive enough that everyone can deal with it, or whether we’re going to get the Nightmare Scenario:

92% (!) of Obama voters think Obama is going to win. Obviously these folks get their news from the mainstream media, aren’t paying attention to recent poll results, and/or are just bad at math. But more importantly, if the current “preference cascade” continues and Romney wins, as appears more likely every day, a significant minority of that clueless 92% is likely to engage in Occupy-style riots and endless false accusations of voter fraud and “election stealing.” And the irresponsible media (e.g., Dan Rather, MSNBC) will have only itself to blame.

Please, Lord, not that. If the election is close enough that the fringe left can claim it was “stolen,” it’s almost worse than losing.

Almost, I said. The fact that David Axelrod is talking about how Obama could win without Ohio is, I think, highly significant.


— Bryan Preston

UPDATE: This morning’s results tick the RCP average up slightly — Romney is now a full point ahead — and look at the latest four tracking polls:

Rasmussen Reports 10/24-10/26 ……… Romney 50, Obama 46
ABC News/Wash Post (10/22-10/25) … Romney 49, Obama 48
Gallup (10/19-10/25) ………………………. Romney 51, Obama 46
IBD/TIPP (10/20 – 10/25) ……………….. Rommey 45, Obama 47

These four have results through Thursday, and the average of them is Romney 48.8%, Obama 46.8%. Thus the average of the four most recent polls has Romney +2, which is twice the RCP average that (as of today) includes results that date back as far as Oct. 15. And something else you’ll notice from the RCP average: In general, the bigger the sample, the greater the Romney lead. Ranking them by sample size:

Gallup (2,700 likely voters) ………… Romney +5
Rasmussen (1,500 LV) ……………….. Romney +4
Monmouth (1,402 LV)) ………………. Romney +3
ABC News/Wash Post (1,382 LV) … Romney +1
Politico/GWU (1,000 LV) ……………. Romney +2
IBD/TIPP (957 LV) …………………….. Obama +2
Associated Press (839 LV) …………… Romney +2
NBC/WSJ (816 LV) …………………….. TIE
Wash. Times/Zogby (800 LV) …….. Obama +3
CBS News (790 LV) ……………………. Obama +2

Does this mean anything? I’m not sure, but just ask yourself this: If the opposite were true — if the polls with the largest samples all favored Obama, whose lead was larger in the more recent results — don’t you think Nate Silver would be shouting it from the rooftops?



46 Responses to “If Bias Doesn’t Matter …”

  1. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 9:10 am

    Why don’t you guys head out to China, and find work in those factories that are going to make Jeeps.

  2. RightKlik
    October 27th, 2012 @ 9:33 am
  3. ReaganiteRepublican
    October 27th, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    Agreed Obama has lost already- won’t be nearly close enough for him to steal imho. He’d have to have pictures of Romney sleeping with a gay, underaged alien midget to change anything now.

    When you see states like Michigan, Wisconsin, PA in-play these days, it’s hard not to expect a serious drubbing, something in the vicinity of 300-238… mebbe even worse.

    Man, am I going to get drunk!

  4. TWB
    October 27th, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    Stacy, my gut is telling me the same thing. Obama is toast and he knows it. The only one’s who haven’t figured it out yet are the Obama phone lady, Nate Silver, and Eva Longoria.

  5. jwallin
    October 27th, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    It isn’t just the damage that Bush did. It’s also the fecklessness of the last 2 years by the Republican leadership in allowing Obama to get away with bypassing them and the constitution.

    It’s a shame we can’t vote for the Speaker of the House during Election time otherwise Boehner would be OUT.

    McConnell started to show some spine during the last year so he may have squeaked through.

    If they win control, they had better perform regardless of who is president.

  6. jwallin
    October 27th, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    Any news about Dan Riehl?

  7. Adobe_Walls
    October 27th, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    I think Romney is going to win big, but a close race that makes the usual charachters go nuts has it’s own upside.

  8. The Lamentations of Their Women | Daily Pundit
    October 27th, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    […] The Lamentations of Their Women Posted on October 27, 2012 9:30 am by Bill Quick If Bias Doesn’t Matter … : The Other McCain […]

  9. JeffS
    October 27th, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

    Oh? Did the Chinese government run out of slave labor, so they turned to American lefties as recruiters?

  10. K-Bob
    October 27th, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

    O/T: Hey! Remember the self-congratulatory glow surrounding those “great” jobless rate figures that came out earlier in the month?

    Well here come <a href="the layoffs.


    Yeah, me neither.

  11. Philly Inquirer Poll Has Obama Dropping To Under 50% | The Lonely Conservative
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    […] especially with Obama’s nasty war on coal.Romney is still winning in the national polls, too. Stacy McCain has a pretty good rundown of where the race stands.As for me, I’m more traditional in thinking that an incumbent president […]

  12. Dodd
    October 27th, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    I was just making the same point on Twitter a little while ago. Throw out the patently absurd IBD poll and use only polls from the last week and Romney is up by over 2 points.

    Even if you throw out Gallup as the highest along with IBD (lowest), he’s still +2 using only polls from the last 7 days (and that includes the NBC poll showing a tie that concluded 6 days ago).

  13. McGehee
    October 27th, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    You do know Jeep, a Chrysler badge, is mostly owned by the Obamacodependent UAW, right?

  14. Adjoran
    October 27th, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

    “Brand damage” makes no sense when more people are identifying as Republican according to Rasmussen.

    Far more likely is the response rate problem – it’s now down to 9% on average according to Pew, from over 70% in the 1980s and 37% in 1997. If the refuseniks are even slightly disproportionately Republican/conservative/Tea Party, that would account for both the seeming “strength” of Obama in polls across the board AND the heavier Democratic samples without any weighting.

  15. “The Children of the Future” Sing Creepy Songs of Dear Leader Obama (Video) and Saturday Links!
    October 27th, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

    […] Other McCain has a smart post up on “If Bias doesn’t matter…why is Dan Hodges cheering Nate Silver for […]

  16. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

    If the Chinese wanted slaves, they would have hired Romney.

  17. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    McGehee, is that your attempt at humor, hell I am laughing, but right at you dude.

  18. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    I hear Clint Eastwood is cutting another ad for the Romney campaign, it shows him driving a Jeep in China, and talking to an empty passenger seat.

  19. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

    What do you mean, get drunk, you already sound completely wasted. If we every see Romney’s tax returns, Mitt will get so drunk, he will pick fights with homeless people.

  20. SDN
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

    Slaves can’t be hired. Free men can’t be enslaved.

    All that leaves is Democrats, who are happy on the plantation collective.

  21. jwallin
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    You are a tool. A broken one that will soon be used for ballast. Which is the only value tools like you have in this world.

  22. jwallin
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    Wanted to make sure I gave all your stupidity it’s just due. Don’t you have a village somewhere that needs a pig boy?

  23. jwallin
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    Get your messiah to show us his grades. I mean if he’s so smart, it’ll be there in black and white for everyone to see and no one can doubt it anymore.

    But of course we won’t because Obama’s a fraud and has been getting a free ride from all sorts of people with agendas that aren’t American.

    He’s surrounded himself with many of them and they’ve given him nothing but bad advice. (in the situations where he himself hasn’t taken the time to do something malevolent.

  24. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    If I was you, I would put the bayonet down, and walk about from the horse.

  25. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    I never mentioned anything about slaves being hired, read the comment properly genius.

  26. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

    Man your angry. Time for you to head back to the cave dude.

  27. JeffS
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

    You’re the one urging us to move to China. Follow the logic, leftie troll.

    Oh, wait, logic, leftie troll… it.

    Never mind.

  28. JeffS
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

    Herr Fox is a troll, so don’t be expecting logic, reason, and civil discourse from him.

    Oh, wait, this is “civil discourse”, leftie style. So you can expect more of that from Herr Fox.

  29. McGehee
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    Matthew Fox, is that your attempt at deflection?

  30. Adobe_Walls
    October 27th, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    I knew that 9% was significant.

  31. McGehee
    October 27th, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    Show Mr. Axelrod some respect.

  32. matthew fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

    Jeff, man I don’t know, and to be fair, I wouldn’t want to know you. Logic, reason and civil discourse are wording missing from the conservative lexicon.

    I know you have something to say, the problem is, it never amounts to anything friend.

  33. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

    Deflection from what friend? Why don’t you saddle up to Peking, fix bayonets and cook rice for the Autoworkers at Jeep.

    Hell your easy.

  34. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    I am urging people to go to jobs that don’t exist buddy, that’s called irony JeffS, look the word up, you might learn something.

  35. Matthew Fox
    October 27th, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    Was that your attempt at humor McGeheehahalol?

  36. CO
    October 27th, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

    The true answer is a question.

    Is Romney going to win as big as Reagan or Bigger?

  37. actionsspeaklouder
    October 27th, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

    I totally agree – Boehner needs to be kicked out asap.

  38. Wombat_socho
    October 27th, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

    Quit feeding the trolls.

  39. Wombat_socho
    October 27th, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

    This is a good article on why Nate Silver and Intrade both are so out of whack with the rest of the polls. Well worth reading.

  40. Becca Lower
    October 27th, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    I did my best, JWallin, and cast a no-confidence vote. When the page in the voting booth with “congressman” appeared, I left it blank. FYI: Boehner’s running unopposed.

  41. richard mcenroe
    October 27th, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

    It is probably significantly skewed Democrat. The pollsters have carried water for the Democrats way too obviously for any conservative to have anything to do with them. I mean, D+35? There comes a point where a responsible pollster would say, “put the checkbook away, boys, we can’t do that.” But that point has passed.

  42. steveb
    October 27th, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

    I enjoy this part the best, when the reality begins to set in on lefty. It’s always wicked fun to watch them go down in their myopic death spiral, babbling and sputtering their insane talking points. So much fun to slap them around online, and so easy with the louse in chief with the horrible record. Talking logic to lefty is like trying to teach algebra to your cat – if they had common sense, they wouldn’t be libtards in the first place.

  43. JeffS
    October 27th, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

    Concur. I thought Nate’s model was suspect, which is true enough, but it’s focus is the main culprit.

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  46. Miss Marlene
    November 8th, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

    Hope you’re all enjoying that crow eating, you right wing ignoramuses.