Now Who Is Second Guessing the Polls?

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Last week, before the debate, I noted that Democrats were mocking Republicans for trying to explain away Romney’s poor performance in recent polling (while themselves showing a certain lack of reality in their assessment of the economy.) The debate came and Romney routed Obama on the debate stage in a way that exceeded my wildest hopes. Now we see an unprecedented post-debate surge for Romney in the polls, with Gallup and Rasmussen both showing Romney in a tie with Obama and a post-debate Pew poll showing Romney beating Obama by 4% among likely voters, a twelve point swing from Pew polling a month before in which Romney trailed Obama by 8%.

And just to show that the desire to fight the data is bi-partisan, now Democrats are trying to explain away the polls, with Jonathan Chait arguing:

Polls have very low response rates. Sometimes short-term events that dominate the news cycle excite partisans and make them more likely to answer pollsters — it happened when Romney picked Paul Ryan — but they don’t reflect a deep remaking of the public opinion landscape, which remains fairly settled.

Of course, that’s true. Polling is a very uncertain science, and there are lots of unknowns like partisan differences in response rates. Of course, that’s equally true whether your candidate is ahead or behind, but it’s something that people usually only emphasize in the latter case.

Romney certainly doesn’t have the race in the bag. There’s a month to go, and the Democrats will be going for Romney’s metaphorical jugular with everything they’ve got. But there’s enough polling floating around right now to suggest that the candidates are now even or else Romney is ahead. (As I go to hit “post”, I see a PPP poll sponsored by DailyKos and the SEIU is out showing Romney up 2% over Obama among likely voters.) It may not last, but I’m hoping it does and enjoying it while I can.

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  1. Imagine how the Lefties would howl if they could actually point to polls giving Romney an R-8 to R-11 advantage rather like the polls that routinely gave Obama a D-8 to D-11 advantage. Some of the polls that show Romney ahead still have a D-7 to D-8 advantage which means that in these polls Romney is winning the independents going away.

  2. Hmm. I was expecting DarwinCatholic to explain the process by which the U.S. electorate is evolving toward a Romney win.

    My working hypothesis is that Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate, Obama’s bungling of Bengazi, Romney’s debate knockout win over the incumbent, and (to a lesser degree) his recent well-received foreign policy speech at VMI has had the effect of giving permission to fence-sitters that voting for Romney is an ok thing to do. This is what’s reflected in Romney’s recent rise in the polls.

    Watch the Obama campaign for the rest of this week as they desperately attempt to head off the formation of a pro-Romney preference cascade among fence-sitters, low-information voters, and low-affinity elements of the Obama bandwagon.

  3. Ed Morrissey notes a trend that has been consistent in almost every poll: independents are leaning heavily towards Romney. It’s difficult to fathom any way in which Romney loses if he has a 10-point advantage among independents. There is no feasible way the Democrat advantage on election day can swing the election to Obama if Romney wins the independents by a considerable margin.

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