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Archive for the ‘polls’ Category

Aptly said, sir

Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2012

Hunter at DK:

Going down the list of numbers from PPP’s post-election poll, there’s quite a bit of encouraging news to be had. David already covered two of the specifics, but here they are again just to review:

49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore.

This is outstanding news. Despite not actually existing, ACORN appears to be just as effective at secret conspiracies to steal elections as they were when they did exist.

And these are the people that Obama is supposed to compromise with. What happens when reality and anti-reality collide?

Posted in anti-truth, polls, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | 9 Comments »

In Other News, Sun Rises In East

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2009

Scott Rasmussen is an unabashed Republican, yet — up until the latest election cycle — he generally played it fairly straight for a GOP pollster, in that while he had bias, it was predictable and consistent enough to allow one to adjust for it. You could take his numbers, shave off a point from the Republican and give it to the Democrats, and usually arrive at the truth.

Not so this year. The gloves are off and Rasmussen’s thumb is now heavily, blatantly on the scale. Per Greg Sargent (via DKos’ Steve Singiser):

But now take a look at the question wording:

Suppose that Democrats agreed on a health care reform bill that is opposed by all Republicans in Congress. Should the Democrats pass that bill or should they change the bill to win support from a reasonable number of Republicans?

24% They should pass the bill
58% They should change the bill
19% Not sure

Fifty eight percent say Dems should craft health care in order to get support from a “reasonable” number of Republicans. Yet the poll also includes the amusing caveat that the pollster did not quantify what constitutes “a reasonable number” of Republican supporters. Clever, eh?

A-yep. As Singiser points out, that’s not the only evidence of Rasmussen fudging their polls lately:

Now, polling on health care has been all over the map, as Nate over at 538 pointed out earlier this week in a piece which attempted to address the common flaws which led to biased results.

What is consistent about Rasmussen’s coverage of the health care debate is their incessant desire to frame the debate in ways designed to denigrate both the Congress and President Obama. One of the most insipid examples of this was a survey earlier in the week in which Rasmussen reported that two-thirds of voters believed that they understood the health care reform proposal as well, or better, than President Obama.

Of course, there is objective evidence to prove that this poll is false. Indeed, in the recent poll conducted for AARP, just thirty-seven percent of Americans could correctly identify what is meant by a “public option”. Nearly one-half of voters either thought it was a total nationalized healthcare program, or admitted that they had no idea.  

Asking voters how well they understand a certain piece of legislation is not unlike asking them if they are patriotic, or if they are middle class. The default answer is always going to be “yes”. Surely, Rasmussen must know this this, and just as clearly, they must have understood that the poll’s results were essentially meaningless. They ran with it, anyway, apparently more enthused at the prospect of taking another quick shot at the President’s knees than they were with actually divining public opinion on a sensitive issue like health care.

There’s more at the post link. It’s truly amazing and will almost certainly be ignored by the GOP/Media Complex.

Posted in health care, polls, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | Comments Off on In Other News, Sun Rises In East

Good News for Republicans

Posted by MEC on April 23, 2009


Since it’s always Backwards Day in the alternate universe where the Republicans live, they’ll surely take this new poll as proof that they’re doing exactly the right thing to restore themselves to their rightful role as America’s rulers.

For the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction, a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public’s mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future.


Sixty-four percent of the public approves of Obama’s job performance, down just slightly from 67 percent in February.

That drop is within the poll’s margin of error, 3.1%.

It’s Backwards Day for the Associated Press, too, which just can’t let go of the storyline that Obama is a “polarizing figure”:

Obama has become a polarizing figure, with just 24 percent of Republicans approving of his performance — down from 33 percent in February.

I’d like to see this number in the context of the percentage of people who identify themselves as Republicans. As of about a month ago, that percentage was dropping, so the predictable disapproval of Republicans is less and less significant.

In spite of the AP’s insistence that the poll “could signal trouble for Obama”, the poll shows that Americans trust our President:

Twice as many say Obama is living up to his promises as those who say he’s not (30 percent to 15 percent).


Seven in 10 Americans say it is reasonable to expect it to take longer than a year to see the results of Obama’s economic policies. Just as many people say Obama understands the concerns of ordinary Americans and cares about “people like you.”


A majority of Americans believe the Obama administration is following higher ethical standards than the Bush administration.

Most also say he’s changing things about the right amount and at the right speed.

What does that mean for the Republicans?

Since Republicans are, after all, Americans, having a President who inspires confidence in the future is good news for them — whether they like it or not.

Posted in polls | 4 Comments »

Poll Vaulting

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 24, 2009

There seems to be a concerted right-wing push to spam an internet poll by Zogby that allegedly shows Obama’s approve/disapprove at 50% each — which as Nate Silver points out is an incredible outlier. (He also points out that Zogby’s track record with internet polling is abysmal.)

Meanwhile, check out how CBS chose to parse their own poll on Obama. Bear in mind that in this poll, Obama’s overall approval rating went up slightly (two points, fro 62% to 64%), and his approval rating on the economy went up significantly (five points, from 56% to 61%). But that’s not what CBS’ headline focused on:

Poll: Mixed Reviews For Obama On AIG

One has to go to an online source, the Huffington Post, to find an honest take on CBS’s own poll.

Posted in economy, GOP/Media Complex, media, Media machine, mediawhores, polls, President Obama | Comments Off on Poll Vaulting

Oh Noes!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 21, 2009

TPM links via its Capitol Wire newsbox to The Plum Line, a blog run by TPM’s own Greg Sargent, and which is currently touting a new American Research Group poll that allegedly shows support for Obama’s economic program dropping below 50%.

However, as Nate Silver demonstrated well and ruthlessly over a year ago, ARG polls are pretty much worthless.

Posted in blogger ethics, blogs and blogging, economy, polls, President Obama | 1 Comment »

Polls Are Meaningless, Unless…

Posted by MEC on March 4, 2009

…they’re telling us what we want to hear.

With that ironic caveat, I present the latest NBC/WSJ poll, which shows that President Obama’s approval rating is at an all-time high: 68%.

And the approval rating for the Republican Party is at an all time low: 26%.

The approval rating for the Democratic Party is almost twice that of the Republican: 49%.

A majority (56%) recognize that the Bush Administration is responsible for the “partisanship” in Congress, and the same percentage say that the Republicans are obstructing President Obama’s agenda for political gain, not principles.

By more than a 2–1 margin, the respondents believe Democrats can do a better job than Republicans of solving our economic problems.

The quotes from the pollsters — one Democratic, one Republican — are amusing. The Democrat seems a bit clueless withal, and the Republican is drowning in De Nile.

An example of the Democrat’s cluelessness:

“What is amazing here is how much political capital Obama has spent in the first six weeks,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “And against that, he stands at the end of this six weeks with as much or more capital in the bank.”

President Obama didn’t just spend political capital, he invested it. This poll could be a metaphor for his economic stimulus plan.

Posted in Barack Obama, Democrats, polls, Silly Republicans | 5 Comments »

America To Obama: More, Please!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 24, 2009

And kick the Republicans a little harder while you’re at it. We won’t mind:

Proof in today’s poll that Obama’s strategy is working? According to the Post, “61 percent said they trust Obama more than the GOP when it comes to economic matters, just 26 percent side with the Republicans in Congress. Obama’s advantage on that question is bigger than George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, or George H.W. Bush ever had over the opposition party in the legislature on dealing with the economy.”

There you go.

Posted in economy, Obama Administration, polls, Republicans | 2 Comments »

The Palin Effect

Posted by MEC on September 26, 2008

In Michigan, if polls are at all reliable, the Palin Effect isn’t what McCain was hoping it would be.

Doubling his lead of a month ago, the Democratic presidential nominee now has an edge over his Republican rival John McCain, leading him 51%-38%, a Detroit Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll shows.


McCain still holds an 11-point lead among white men, but support among white women has swung from a slight lead for McCain a month ago to a 9-point advantage for Obama.


Obama has built not only on his lead among women (54%-35%, compared with to 47%-36% in August) but among men as well (49%-41% now, compared to 45%-43% in August).


As for enthusiasm: 54% of Obama supporters describe themselves as very enthusiastic, compared to 28% of McCain supporters. McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as running mate did shore up McCain’s base — 60% of his supporters said her selection made them feel better about him as a candidate. But it also made 53% of Obama supporters feel worse about McCain.

The good news for McCain is that the choice of Palin increased the enthusiasm of McCain’s base. The good news for the rest of us is that evangelical white men aren’t a large enough percentage of the electorate to carry it off for him.

…How much longer do you think the snooze media will keep repeating that women are flocking to McCain because of Palin?

Posted in 2008, polls | Comments Off on The Palin Effect

Telephones And Polling

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 15, 2008

In 1936, the general-interest magazine Literary Digest asked ten million people which candidate they preferred for president: the Democratic incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt, or the Republican challenger Alf Landon. Two million people responded, and they overwhelmingly picked Landon. When FDR won a second term, Literary Digest — which up to then had been known for the accuracy of its polling of presidential elections — was shamed out of existence; it wound up being subsumed by Time magazine in 1938.

How did Literary Digest get it so wrong? It used three readily-available lists of people for its polling: Telephone users, automobile owners, and its own subscribers. In 1936, persons in those three groups were much wealthier than the average American, and so Literary Digest‘s sample, while quite large, skewed heavily Republican.

In the years following World War Two, landline telephone use got cheaper and people got more prosperous, which meant that phone use became near-universal — a fact that pollsters have taken advantage of for decades. However, the growth in the number of cellphone-only telephone users is complicating things:

Say you want to reach a representative sample of the U.S. electorate for a presidential poll. The Obama-McCain race is relatively close these days, with the Democrat’s lead hovering around 5 to 6 points in most surveys. Someone tells you that he’s selected a sample that’s predominantly under 40 years of age (oops, that one favors Obama); disproportionately renters rather than homeowners (Obama-leaning again); full of college students (sounds like a Starbucks Obama thing to me) — and, for good measure, includes a higher proportion of blacks and Hispanics than the national population does.

At this point you throw up your hands and exclaim: “Why are we concentrating on such a pro-Obama universe? He could be leading by 20 points or more among those people!”

He could. He probably is. But in actuality, the sample I’ve described is either not being included at all in many national polls or is being undercounted. Why? Because I’m talking about the growing number of American cellphone users who have no other type of phone or who choose to go wireless for the vast majority of their interactive needs. And this election cycle — for the first, and perhaps only, time — this group has the chance to render presidential polls “wrong from the start”: potentially disguising at least 2 to 3 percentage points of Obama support and maybe more.

Why is this a big deal? This is why:

The most recent estimate places the number of “wireless” adult Americans at around 30 percent — with slightly more than half of those only using cellphones and the rest possessing both land lines and cellphones but using the latter far more often. Looking at the data over time, it is clear those numbers are getting higher each month. The 2004 presidential election exit poll conducted by the National Election Pool found that 7.1 percent of all voters in that election were cellphone-only. Recent data indicates that the percentage could be twice as high in 2008.

The problem is that pollsters hate polling cellphone-only users because they’re not legally allowed to machine-dial them — they have to be dialed manually, which means spending both more time and money to reach a group of people who are generally less cooperative with pollsters than are land-line users. But if the pollsters ignore them, polls will be getting ever-more inaccurate. (H/T Meteor Blades.)

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, polls, technology | 1 Comment »

Polls Are Meaningless, But—

Posted by MEC on June 24, 2008

A new LA Times/Bloomberg poll has to have the McCain campaign worried.

In the national poll of registered voters last weekend, Obama led McCain by 49% to 37%.

When spoiler-wannabe Ralph Nader and apostate Republican Bob Barr are added to the ballot, Obama’s lead over McCain increases: 48% to 33%.

Only 58% of self-identified conservative voters — McCain’s base — said they’ll vote for McCain; 15% say they will vote for Obama, 14% say they will vote for someone else, and 13% say they are undecided. By contrast, 79% of self-identified liberal voters said they’ll vote for Obama.

Only 45% of McCain’s supporters are “enthusiastic” about him, and a paltry 13% are “very enthusiastic”; 81% of Obama voters are “enthusiastic”, and almost half are “very enthusiastic”.

The gap between Obama and McCain may reflect a growing gap between the parties. In the random sample of voters, 39% identified themselves as Democrats, 22% as Republicans, and 27% as independents. A majority of 51% have a “positive feeling” about the Democratic Party; only 29% have a positive feeling about the Republican Party.

Those gaps are startling. There’s only one thing the Republicans can do to shift support from Obama to McCain: rev up the smear machine. Buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Posted in 2008, polls | 6 Comments »

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