Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Most political outlets have moved to the much better model of conglomerating polls, rather than simply focusing on what Gallup or ARG have to say.  This is imminently sensible.

However, there have been a raft of GOP outfits flooding the zone with poll numbers.  There is Gravis Marketing, which no one had ever heard of ten months ago, suddenly polling everywhere.  Oh, yeah, and finding very good results for Mitt Romney.  There is the ubiquitous GOP friendly House of Rasmussen.  And Suffolk, who famously called Florida and Virginia for Romney despite most polls calling Obama slightly ahead there.

In some ways, this is the mirror image of the "skewing" argument of trying to ignore results you disagree with.  I don't necessarily want to do that.

But I'd really like to see the candidates internal polling.  I just can't help but wonder if all that SuperPAC money was used to create these start-up pollsters like Gravis and Wentzel Strategies in order to push results into the political discourse.

For instance, TPM lists Ohio as a "toss-up".  This is based on a series of polls from Zogby, Gravis and Rasmussen that all show the race within one point.  Meanwhile, the NBC/Marist poll has Obama up six points and over 50%.  CNN's last poll had Obama up four.

In Virginia, TPM has a 0.2% Romney lead.  Now, NBC/Marist has a 1 point Romney lead, but CBS/NYTimes has Obama up 5 and over 50%. McLaughlin and Pulse Opinion (both GOP outfits) have Romney up 7 and tied, respectively. PPP has Obama up 3.

The national polls are largely irrelevant to me, because I imagine there is a high amount of noise.  But these state polls are just all over the place.  And a lot of that volatility is coming from GOP outfits.

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