Monday, October 1, 2012

Why do the pundits think Obama is ahead?

Last Thursday, Rush touched on a topic that has been annoying me for a few weeks.  During the last week we have had a large number of media stories about the polls being skewed.  The template of every analysis given from both the left and the right goes something like this:

"Well, when you look at the polls, they are obviously wrong.  Expecting Democrat turnout to exceed 2008 is unrealistic."

"I think Obama is ahead, but not by that much"

Why do you think Obama is ahead?  I've heard at least a dozen pundits say exactly the same thing, and it is maddening.  You poke holes in a data set and convince the audience that you can't trust the data.  You then follow up with an analysis that is based 100% on opinion without any data to back up the opinion.

At least when I post my analysis, I have a mathematical model to back it up.  My model might be wrong, but it isn't conjecture. And when the model moves the polls toward Obama (like today), I'm not going to hide it.

Rush offered an opinion on the "why" that sounds pretty accurate to me.

I think they really do believe it.  I think people that say it believe it, and I don't necessarily believe they're fatalists.  You know why they believe it?  It's real simple.  They think the Romney campaign is a dud.  The Romney campaign is not exciting them, so they don't think the Romney campaign's exciting anybody.  They think Romney's not going after Obama nearly enough.  They don't think Romney's doing anything memorable in the campaign.  Not a day goes by that people say, "Wow, did you hear what Mitt said today?"  That hasn't happened.  There's no apparent real energy coming out of the Romney campaign, despite all the crowds he's drawing.  So I think people, honestly, in their own minds, are legitimately thinking Obama's winning because they think the Romney campaign's so dull.
Last night on Fox, I watched the panel discuss what Romney needs to do to win the debate.  They were all over the place.  One wants him to attack Obama, another wants him to have a "human moment".  The common denominator is they want him to do something different than what he is doing today.

In other words, it is a bunch of arm chair quarterbacks.

The truth is that the election is very close, and we can't tell from the polling who is ahead.  Anyone who tells you "Obama is ahead" is giving you an opinion, and has no facts to back it up.   At best they can only say "Obama is ahead, given a specific set of assumptions about turnout".


  1. One thing, too, for why people think Obama may win is that Romney isn't blowing him away. He should. Any candidate should -- Obama is a massively, breathtakingly colossal failure in every single possible metric. Yet Romney simple doesn't seem to be catching. (And one poll that indicates this that isn't skewed -- the viewership numbers from the conventions. No one cares.) If Romney can't suck the oxygen away from Obama in this environment, then a reasonable assumption is that Obama will win or could win. Regardless of polls. At least, that's my instinctive response.

  2. Well the obvious answer is that Democrats have a built in base of 42-43 percent coupled with a refusal in the media to report on anything other than Romney gaffes. I'm not sure how anyone could be blowing Obama away in such an environment.

    However, I'm working on a new post. It is entirely possible that Romney is blowing him away, we just don't know it.

    Stay tuned.

  3. You are exactly right about the size of the built-in democrat base.

    But what were not "seeing," because it's invisible, is the ground game.

    Mitt Romney doesn't look like he's doig anything because he's not spending resources targeting people like us who are definitely going to vote for him.

    His resources are being spent on micro-targeting two groups. The first is those who are persuadable, and the second is people who are inclined to support him, but may or may not actually vote.

    And only those people who fall into one of those groups who live in states where the outcome is in doubt- aka swing states.

    Almost all of this effort is conducted over the phone, person to person, with tailored messages based on what those targeted individuals need to hear to decide to vote. This, coupled with a mobilization effort (eg literally bugging people to go and the. Driving them to the polls if necessary) will maximize turnout where and when it matters.

    That being said, the last 2-3 weeks will see an unprecedented air war from Romney, with our televisions more densely packed with RR ads than we have ever seen. The honey boo boos don't pay attention until the debates are over anyway.

    This is a 21at century campaign with 21st century logistics and strategy. Don't expect 19 th century electioneering.

  4. Nine percent participation in polls means that only the true believers have the tenacity to sit through one of them.

    Against form, I participated in two last month. For the purposes of the robo-poll, I was a Black (or Hispanic) female, 18-29, married with children (only two of these are true). For one poll I selected TFG as whom I would vote for, and the poll was very short. When I selected Romney, however, the questions became longer, more detailed and personal, especially involving religious habits and choices.

  5. "It is entirely possible that Romney is blowing him away, we just don't know it."
    And Dave, that's what worries me the most.
    Would we ever know it?
    With the media in the bag so badly for obammy, what if on election night (and days and weeks afterward) the media continues to report to us that obammy is winning, even when he isn't?
    What if they report to the American people that obammy has won?
    And continue to report it, making it (as Ace has been talking about with law) "normative"...
    These bastards are so wedded to obammy's victory that we've seen them ignore and lie EVERY DAY...
    How could we get the message out that there was so much fraud that Romney actually won?
    We really couldn't, because we'd end up in a situation that would make the 2000 Florida debacle look like a minor dust-up, and ultimately who knows where that would lead...

  6. I agree with Rasmussen, politico, and Gallup that show BHO with a consistent 1-2pt edge as of today. Things will be diff one way or the other come Nov.

    Scott R said he expects a 2-4pt +D turnout and that's pretty likely, although it certainly could be 0 to +2D.

    Those are facts. All within the MoE of course. You sound slightly unhinged in your response to re-blooded conservatives thinking we might be losing currently.

  7. Funny you should put it that way. I am currently working on a post that looks at exactly what is a fact and what is a conjecture.

    "Scott R said he expects a 2-4pt +D turnout and that's pretty likely"

    By definition that statement is not a fact, it is a conjecture. It also is contradictory of his own polling showing Republican self identification being higher than Democrat. What Rasmussen does to weight his daily tracking poll is to use the party identification average from the last 3 weeks of daily tracking poll. So his D+2 turnout prediction is based entirely on the results of this one poll.