If you’re looking at polling averages this week, either from realclearpolitics.com or pollster.com, be wary. Be very, very wary because they include data from a Bloomberg poll which puts the LIE in outliar.
This very week in which Rasmussen has Romney up to a five point lead over Obama nationwide (48-43) and Gallup has Romney up by one (46-45), Bloomberg was out with a poll which seems straight out of fantasyland. Not only did it have Obama 13 points ahead of Romney (53-40), but it also had Obama’s approval at plus nine (53-44) at the same time Gallup has it at minus 3 (45-48) and Rasmussen at minus 10 (44-54).
Bloomberg also has Democrats up seven (48-41) in the generic Congressional ballot, nearly the exact opposite of Rasmussen’s numbers (38-45). Keep in mind that Rasmussen polls every week, and god only knows when Bloomberg polls or even if any sentient human being should even take the outfit seriously.
The Bloomberg numbers, however, are built into averages. Thus, the caveat, don’t trust the averages until this bad data works its way out of the system.
For example, RCP has Obama up 2.3 points (46.6-44.3) and pollster has him up less than a point (45.8-45.0). Most likely, Romney would be ahead with pollster and very close with RCP without Bloomberg’s fantasy numbers.
For a look at polling bias, check out fivethirtyeight.com today. Nate Silver reports that Pew has a 3.2 and PPP a 3.1 bias in favor of Democrats. Rasmussen on the other hand, while believed to be Republican leaning, has only a 1.3 bias for the GOP, and that’s because it uses likely rather than registered voters.
We all need to take Polling101, a basic or remedial course, before we put much confidence in these numbers…thanks to Bloomberg.
Is this from the same mayor who is trying to ban large sodas from New York City? Does the polling group have anything to do with HizLessThanHonorable?
But I digress…
RCP has Obama dead even in popularity (47.7-47.7) while pollster has him down 1.8 points (48.4-46.6).
New Hampshire numbers have changed due to a new Rasmussen poll which has Obama up only five points (48-43), only half as much as the recent UNH poll. RCP now has Obama up six in the state (48.5-42.5) and fivethirtyeight projects a 4.8 point win here (52.4-47.6). That sounds about right to me, but as I noted last week, expect changes on a regular basis.
538 now projects Obama to win 290-248 in the Electoral College with a popular vote margin of about two points (50.4-48.5). It notes his re-election chances at about 63-37.
American Research Group is out with new data which won’t make Democrats quite as happy. It has Obama’s popularity down four (45-49), an eight point turnaround from a month ago. His performance on the economy is even worse, minus 11 (43-54).
Gallup’s bad news is for Romney. According to new data, opposition to electing a Mormon is not abating at all. 18 percent of Americans say they would not vote for even a well qualified Mormon. That’s actually up a point from 1967 when Gallup began asking the question. Even as tolerance for African Americans and other minorities has approved through the years, the Mormon bias remains. And don’t think that won’t be bad news in a close election unless Romney can turn those numbers around in the next few months. He needs a JFK in West Virginia moment. Remember back in 1960, fears of electing a Catholic were very real until JFK dealt with the issue.
By the way, I’m currently reading a new book on LBJ, very lengthy, which spends about 150 pages on that 1960 election, mostly on LBJ’s indecisiveness and then Bobby’s attempt to keep LBJ off the ticket. It’s “Passage of Power”, part of a five-part series (3000 pages?!) on the life of LBJ, one of my least favorite presidents, right up there behind Wilson and FDR. Just because one dislikes a certain person does not mean one should ignore that person’s historical significance. This is a fine book.
But I digress…
Actually, that’s enough of a look at polls for the week. Bloomberg has turned me off the whole ridiculous thing, and I’m going back to the 1960 election. Some Democrats actually thought Adlai should be given a third nod. While Lyndon thought the power remained in the Senate and House, Bobby figured out that governors controlled most delegates, a lesson never to be forgotten.
Illustration by David Plunkert
THE PASSAGE OF POWER
The Years of Lyndon Johnson
By Robert A. Caro
Illustrated. 712 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $35.
A good book about a terrible president, 100 pages of footnotes!