Thursday, September 27, 2012

Are We Really Going To Let Polls End This Election Before It Even Begins?

Oh the hand wringing!
I mean, have you seen all the slew of polls that show the Worthless Leader, President Obama, leading all over the place? Now, he is up 50-44 in the Gallup daily tracking poll! It is all over. Hell, let's not even bother with those debates because the polls, the polls are telling all we need to know.
Except that today is September 27, 2012. It is not November 6, 2012 which is election day.
And that is why we who want to see the Worthless Leader defeated and Willard Mitt Romney become the 45th president of the United States should be jolted into getting serious, but definitely not anyway near panicking, about getting him over the finish line.
Let's look at Rasmussen for some comfort. Today is not much different as they keep showing the race tied. today 46-46 each. One reason I like Rasmussen is that for one, the sample is not as large as Gallup. And of course it is all about likely voters. No "registered", no "adults". People that are going to vote.
But this post is not really about process as much as it is perception.
Yes, when all is said and done, the Worthless Leader, President Obama, is leading at this point over the GOP standard-bearer, Mitt Romney. But it is still within the general accepted margins of error. And there has not been one debate yet.
A lot of history I totally forgot about the 1980 presidential race between Jimmah Carter and Ronald Reagan was presented this week in The Spectator by Jeffrey Lord.
Yes, I knew that the Gallup tracking poll had it a close race, often with President Jimmah in the lead, almost to the end.
But I did not realize all the state polls that were, well way wrong.
I was but 16 years old then, still in high school but realizing, I was not going to maintain the family tradition of being Democrats. I came out of the closet and said that I am going to be a Republican when I was able to vote two years later. But I always followed politics. And, thank you Jimmah Carter for making me realize that I was a Republican.
But back on point.
Mr. Lord looks at how The New York Times in nine articles looked at so-called crucial states-we now call them swing states. Only two, California and New Jersey looked to be in Mr. Reagan's corner. The remaining seven, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, New York and Texas were all essentially put in the Carter corner.
On October 8, 1980, The Times had an article and accompanying poll that assumed a tight race in Texas. It had President Jimmah leading Mr. Reagan, 40% to 39% with third-party spoiler John Anderson trailing at three percent.
The result?
Mr. Reagan won Texas by 13 points and began transforming the once Democrat stronghold into a solid Republican state.
Next on The Times hit parade was Pennsylvania, where Mr. Reagan was leading President Jimmah by two percent. There were "danger signs" that President Jimmah was gaining and that the undecideds were going toward the Democrat incumbent.
Again, the result?
Pennsylvania went with Mr Reagan by seven points.
See the pattern here?
On October 13, 1980, The Times went on to Illinois. Yes, that Illinois. The home state of Mr. Reagan and the semi-home state of the Worthless Leader, President Obama. Again, President Jimmah was closing the gap and only trailing Mr. Reagan by a mere one percent, 34% to 33%.
I know that you already know the answer to the perpetual question, but once again what was the result?
A decent Reagan win by roughly eight points.
And next came Ohio.
And President Jimmah was trailing here too, 36% to 34%. The labor unions were coming home to Carter. Er, labor union leadership. But certainly not the rank-and-file.
The end result?
Glad you asked for Mr. Reagan won Ohio by 10 points.  A blowout compared to recent results from the Buckeye State.
Oh The Times tried to put Florida in the crucial state category. But natch, this was their weakest attempt and in the end Mr. Reagan won by a staggering 17 points.
Now a state that yes, for once, that really was a swing or crucial state was New York. Of course Mr. Reagan was losing New York City, and here is an interesting blurb Mr. Lord lifted from The Times article about their own backyard:

 Reagan was "being hindered by doubts within his own party."

Does that sound familiar to you? Do you not read of hand wringers within the GOP, off the record of course, giving their two-cent doubts on Mr. Romney? Of course.
Well, Mr. Reagan offset his bad showing in New York City, save for the one GOP stronghold of Staten Island, and ended up winning, yes winning, New York state by two points.
Then there is Michigan.
The signs of decline, especially in Detroit, were just beginning at this time. And while The Times reported on Mr. Reagan gaining the endorsement of civil rights leader, the Dr. Rev. Ralph Abernathy, of course the negative? Well, backlash from I guess the "real" Black leaders.
No matter.
Mr. Reagan went on to win Michigan by six points.
Supposedly all those states were close and yet every single one was won in the end by Mr. Reagan.
But read on the piece by Mr. Lord.
Because it is very important to show how entrenched the bias was even 30 years ago.
In 1984, the last true presidential landslide, Ronald Reagan won 49 states. He barely lost in Minnesota, home state of the Democrat presidential nominee.
In that year, a Washington Post poll showed President Reagan's lead in California was only in single-digits.
Nancy Reagan was panicked. Why, I do not know. But she persisted and got campaign manager Ed Rollins to spend money for a couple of polls to essentially calm Mrs. Reagan down. But because of that, there were more phone banks (I know, I worked on them.) and some concern.
It turned out unnecessary of course as Mr. Reagan won California by a nice 16 point margin.
But here is what happened in Mr. Lord's words:

After the election, Ed Rollins ran into the Washington Post's blunt-speaking editor Ben Bradlee and "harassed" Bradlee "about his paper's lousy polling methodology."
Bradlee's "unrepentant" response?
"Tough sh…t, Rollins, I'm glad it cost you plenty. It's my in-kind contribution to the Mondale campaign."
The editor of one of the United States' leading newspapers admits he was trying to prop up the failure that was the Walter Mondale '84 campaign.
I am not really surprised. But now some one like a Ben Bradllee can just say that all he wants on any of the Obamawhore media outlets and go unchallenged.
Oh, one other thing about Mr. Reagan in 1980.
His quest for the GOP nomination was not as smooth sailing as one would believe today.
Mr. Reagan had as his campaign manager John Sears. He managed Mr. Reagan's near upset over President Gerald Ford for the GOP nomination in 1976. But he made some bad moves and ran up against some of Mr. Reagan's longtime confidants such as Edwin Meese, Michael Deaver, an damn if he was not one of my favs, Lynn Nofziger.
And of course, up against Nancy Reagan.
On the day Mr. Reagan won the New Hampsire primary, Mr. Sears was given the door and replaced by William Casey.
As I noted, because Mr. Reagan won two substantive landslides, history does not even note that the first did not seem to be in the making. Poll after poll was showing a close race.
Another tidbit in Mr. Lord's article is that in the final Times poll before the election, it was assured that a correct turnout model was being used.
Funny but I think that is being touted today.
The reason I do not think that this polling business is all that is another election in which, while a win, overstated the win.
In 1996, then President Clinton faced GOP senator, Bob Dole, for the presidency. Poll after poll here showed a seemingly insurmountable lead. Some polls had President Clinton up as much as 20 points.
But then as in 1992, the spoiler was Ross Perot. And it bears looking at that chart. Because if you take Mr. Perot out of the equation in the early days once the nominee was decided, it would have been a much closer race. And in fact it was for even with Mr. Perot, Mr. Dole only lost by nine points. And gained five percent of GOP voters back in the fold from the 1992 disaster. And President Clinton only had 49% of the vote.
As I like to always point out, polls are but a snapshot in time and in that polling period. Sometimes, the samples are good and sometimes, well they just plain suck. And sometimes, as in this election, there is an assumption that, despite the general negative feeling in the United States, that the Worthless Leader, President Obama, is going to have the same if not stronger turnout than 2008. The problem is that everything points the other way. The GOP is all in with Mr. Romney. Independents are consistently for Mr. Romney by varying numbers. But never, ever are the in favor of the current occupant of the White House.
Like in 1980, there is a great desire to end this era. To start fresh. And while many have reservations about Mr. Romney, the trend is going his way.
And these polls, these polls be damned!

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