How to assuage your fears if you are a Romney supporter

It’s simple– just pretend like Gallup is the only poll that exists and ignore the many other methodologically sophisticated polls that give Obama a solid lead.  Here’s Jay Cost today:

Conservatives are growing worried, and Democrats gleeful, about Obama’s lead in the polls, basically for the same reason: it is late in the season (or so it seems), and the incumbent president has a lead. That is a good thing for Obama.

Perhaps, but three fundamental points need to be kept in mind.

First, Obama is weaker than previous incumbents who went on to victory. When we are looking through history, the only poll we can really utilize is Gallup if we want an apples-to-apples comparison. For better or worse, Gallup is the only polling organization consistently doing polling of registered voters since 1952. Even media outlets that have been polling a long time have changed pollsters over the years, so Gallup is the only game in town when we are investigating history.

That’s some nice sophistry.  Apples-to-apples would be year-to-year polling averages.   So, anyway, if you simply choose to ignore the evidence from pretty much every other poll, Romney’s got nothing to worry about.  That’s a pretty big “if.”

Values voter insanity

This is getting increasingly dated, but it’s too good to just let it slip by.  Last weekend was the “Values Voters Summit” and Tod Kelly lists some of the insanity going on there:

So, in no particular order, here are the top ten things I learned from the Values Voter Summit Main Stage speakers:

1. By the tally I kept, the number of times I heard Main Floor Speakers not named Paul Ryan mention Barack Obama: 157.  Number of times I heard Main Floor Speakers not named Paul Ryan mention Mitt Romney: 5.

2. Most of the votes for Democrats in Presidential elections come either from people on welfare, or people committing voter fraud.  (Gary Bauer, American Values President)

3. The Obama administration has begun secretly plotting with the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.  They have begun to “brainwash” FBI and other security agents to be receptive to the messages of Islam, so that Sharia law speech laws can be enforced unchallenged after Obama’s reelection.  (Michelle Bachmann, US Rep-MN)

4. The real Founding Fathers we should be basing our government on are not the revolutionary heroes of the late 18th century, but the pilgrims.  (Kirk Cameron, Actor/Producer)

5. Planned Parenthood is an organization created for the purpose of killing off the white race minority races.  (Rep. Tim Huelskamp, US Rep-KS[please see note below]

6. President Obama sided with the terrorists in Libya, cheering them on.  (Basically, everybody that got up to talk except Rand Paul)

And, yes, there’s four more, but you get the drift.  Dear Values Voter I’d like to introduce you to something called… reality!

Photo of the Day

Alan Taylor brings “Around the Solar System.”  This is just amazing:

On August 31, 2012, a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3.(NASA/GSFC/SDO)


Holy chart of the day, Batman!

This latest Pew report is full of good stuff, but this chart is truly amazing:

Every single presidential candidate since 1988 (and presumably before, if they had been measured) has had a net favorable rating– usually by a fairly substantial margin.  And then there’s Romney.  Wow!  Also, I’d love to know what happened to GW Bush’s and Al Gore’s favorability after September.  I’m assuming Gore took a real nosedive after getting pilloried for his debate performance.

My 4000th post

Every time you put up a new post in WordPress it tells you what number it is.  Well, that means this is my 4000th post here.  Pretty cool.  Just wanted to make note of it.  I wouldn’t be doing this if you weren’t reading.  Thanks!

How PID became partisan

I’m normally not a big fan of Chris Cilizza.  He often represents the stereotype of the media’s narrow game obsession to approaching politics.  So, I’ll give credit where it’s due and say that this is an excellent post looking at partisanship in the population as opposed to partisanship of those who turn out on election day.  I really appreciated the timing as this week in class a student asked why we seemed to be such a 50-50 nation electorally if Democrats have a consistent PID advantage.  That’s pretty much just the issue Cilizza takes on in this post:

The problem with that argument? It’s based on limited information and a series of false assumptions none bigger than that because the country has been virtually evenly divided on partisan lines for the past decade or so that the party identification question should result in something close to a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans.  That’s not right.

Before we get to the reasons why, let’s start at the beginning. (It’s usually the right place to start.)

The simple truth is that Democrats have long enjoyed an edge on the party ID question.   The Pew Research Center, widely considered the gold standard in non-partisan polling, has scads of data to prove that point.

Here’s their trend on party ID since 1992:

And here’s the Pew party ID trend line when people who lean to either the Republican or Democratic party are pushed to their respective partisan side:

What the Pew numbers also make clear is that even in very good Republican years nationally (2004 and 2010 being obvious examples) more people still identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans.

How can that be? Because turnout matters.  Republicans won in 2004 and 2010 not because their party identification numbers soared but rather because they turned out at a far higher rate than did Democrats.

Here’s a chart on turnout by party since 1952 using data compiled from the American National Election Studies:

There’s more good stuff in there about how pollsters use PID numbers (very much an art, not a science).  Anyway, take home: Democrats have a PID advantage among the public, but not always among the electorate.
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