Thursday, January 19, 2012

Problems With Polls Predicting the President


ObamaGingrichTIEDWITHBHO UPDATE: Gallup announces that Romney/Gingrich tied against Obama in National Poll.

Hate to say I told you so but,

…ok. I don’t hate saying it at all. 

I was absolutely right. 

Polls don’t mean anything for future predictions and since the writing of the original article below.  Although this does not guarantee that Gingrich OR Romney will fare well or not in the fall, IT DOES eliminate the argument that Romney is more “electable.” 

That leaves us money, organization, policy and message.  Romney is blurred on the the last two more than any other nominee. (SEE CHART AT BOTTOM OF POST)

I am a hypocrite.  (Don’t worry – you likely are too.).  Let me explain.

I was reading @JazzShaw’s piece on HotAir entitled Who beats Obama? (Part XXVII) and he questions three assumptions that:

  • Every time we nominate a moderate we lose. (see McCain, John)
  • The country is actually far more conservative than you think and they want a clear contrast
  • If you don’t nominate a “true conservative” the base will stay home and we’ll lose again

He then goes on to post all the popular polling results showing Romney (and possibly Ron Paul) being the only people who can beat Obama.  Now just for a moment let’s suspend the problems with the Gallup poll that is DIRECTLY contradicted by the Rasmussen poll regarding how many Americans are moving to or from the Democrat party (21% left Dem party). 

My hypocrisy?  I have simultaneously referenced polls as proof of a fact and dismissed their legitimacy at the same time.  (But hey, I’m a complex bird)  My motives however are based in rational thought, as silly as that may seem.

girl elephant Polls ARE extremely accurate in showing the segregation of opinions AT A MOMENT IN TIME.  What they are terrible at is predicting how people will think IN THE FUTURE.  I referenced this fact in our HOW TO PICK A GOP CANDIDATE series regarding Hillary Clinton’s favorability ratings where she swung from +30 to –9 back to +25 and back.  Perry, Cain and Clinton and Rob Lowe all prove what is here today is gone tomorrow.  Gingrch was favored by over 20% early, dribbled to 4%, soared to 38%, dropped to 3% and now moving back up on the Billboard charts with a bullet.

There are a number of reasons for this.

First, as in the case of McCain and Obama, the candidates RESPONSE TO EVENTS can change public opinion.  McCain was leading Barack until the financial debacle hit.  George W was invincible until until Katrina hit.  And Fred Thompson was Reagan reincarnated until he we learned he just played one on TV. You get my point.  This is the fear regarding Rick Perry that one “Oops” will so undermine confidence in his leadership ability they might (God forbid) re-elect Obama.

PolitiJim Whitewater Rafting Polling Rule: The likelihood of Presidential candidate capsizing in the polls is inversely proportional  to their experience and exposure in national politics.

Unfortunately this rewards the slick politician with money or power as much (or more) than the sincere statesman or stateswoman.

mittnewt Secondly, people FOCUS differently with a 2 PERSON RACE and TIME.  Mr. “Bold” aka Rick Santorum, was more like the audio visual kid in school in dodge ball who we only picked because all the cool kids had been bonked.  It is easy to overlook the green beans at Thanksgiving dinner unless Uncle Alphonso hogged the oyster dressing and it’s all gone.  They were there all along even with the little almond shavings advertisement, and suddenly didn’t seem like a bad option when we realized pie was still 2 hours away.

PolitiJim Tortoise and Hare Polling Rule: Never count out taking the ugly girl to Prom until you’re date actually buys her dress and tells her friends she is going with you. (And no I’m not still bitter Norma Beck.)

Obama against a GENERIC REPUBLICAN is a much different evaluation than Obama against Romney.  But similarly, when their are NO OTHER prospective candidates in play EXCEPT Romney and Obama the focus on each changes.  Who would have thought the Dallas Mavericks would get to 4 games against the heralded Miami Heat much less win? (Shut up Dallas fans.)  It’s why we play the game.  Apollo Creed may be invincible to the very best skilled contenders but until he faces a tenacious Rocky who won’t give up, he doesn’t know the marathon battle is his Achilles heal.

Not only will the CONTRAST be different when only looking at two candidates, the political chemistry changes.  Who would have thought the “Maverick” would bury his sharp tongue against a socialist Democrat candidate with a Marxist background?  Rick Lasio and Hillary Clinton is a good example.  For me, this is another danger in Mitt Romney if we judge by his interactions with other GOP Candidates.  He’s like that passive aggressive coworker who complains about the music from your cubicle and the laughs and makes a joke when press back against him even slightly.  Was I the only one concerned that Gingrich’s initial “politeness pledge” signaled a lack of spine to truly go after Obama?  I thank God he took the gloves off.  And he has arisen again.

reaganford Reagan in 1976, McCain in 2008, Obama in 2008 – there is so much history to contradict ANY credibility using an early poll to determine who truly is best against a future opponent I’m shocked anyone uses it as an argument.  As I discuss in my article HOW POLITICAL IDEAS BECOME REALITY, there is somewhat of a mathematical formula to introduce, attract and entrench ANY political idea. 

I apologize for not giving you the data link (except those in the 2nd paragraph above), but clearly more and more consider themselves “conservative” even if they are independent. We learned this week that 48.6% of America receive SOME government handout and 47% don’t pay taxes.  But we also know from Gingrich led welfare reform most people don’t WANT assistant but want to do it themselves.  Reagan proved that giving someone a goal rather than a government guarantee will attract, inspire and empower not just political victory, but real cultural improvement.

Finally we have to look at the micro-polling.  As George W. Bush proved, you can loose the popular election and become President. The Weekly Standard puts it like this:

In fact, because of the nature of the electoral map this time around, the key to victory won’t be whether Republicans can win in Democratic territory but whether Obama can, once again, win in Republican territory. In that vein, the election will likely come down to whether the Republican nominee can hold three mildly GOP-leaning states:  Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. If the Republican nominee wins these (and if other states go according to form), then Obama would have to sweep New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania to win, which he isn’t likely to do.

The article breaks down why Gingrich’s populist message will likely be much more attractive to the general electorate in those key states above.

bucket of ice PolitiJim “Averaging” Polling Rule: Sticking one foot in a bucket of ice water and another foot in a bucket of boiling water isn’t accurately described as feeling room temperature on “average.”

People really should step back from the SNL impressions of Palin and ask themself: “How the hell did Palin maintain an 80% approval rating as an ultra-conservative, mindless Caribou Barbie?”  (Sorry, @Beulahgg – I mean “heck” :) )  She defeated a former Democrat governor and the GOP Trend Rating had Alaska at 23 out of 50.  It’s hardly Idaho or Alabama and not even currently in the Top 10 of most conservative states.  So how’d she do it?

She didn’t defend "conservatism” or “capitalism” that interested a narrow electorate.  She attacked excess, unfairness and corruption.  And that included companies like Big Oil who were within their personal mandate of suppressing exploration to drive their stock up, but which wasn’t creating jobs.  It gave her credibility that she wasn’t on the side of a a few wealthy people.  Alaskan millionaires didn’t attack her because more jobs ultimately meant more money.

BainDocVet While Reagan won with conservative values, it was an appeal to union workers and middle Americans not “capitalists.”  While I am absolutely convinced that Rush Limbaugh, David Limbaugh and Gingrich grouches are ignorant of Newt’s real Bain argument, I am similarly convinced the election fortunes don’t lie with the 11% that own businesses or the 31% that at one time did or do.  The vast majority of independents (who will still decide the election) are workers.  And the swing states don’t want a dissertation on why Mitt Romney deserves the money he made.  They just want jobs.

So I reprint the “contrast” portion of my earlier blog post with regard to the weakness of Mitt Romney:

Obama and the Democrat party have ZERO interest in telling the truth or doing 10X worse than what this documentary does.  And they will.

BainDocLady_thumb1 An average, emotionally led person will easily buy that Romney personally foreclosed on their home and built a golf course in place of the hospital that would have cured their 5 year old daughter with leukemia.  And the other 40 similar ads that will follow it.

Every advantage we should have as conservatives is nullified by Romney.  He can’t argue ANYTHING without being a hypocrite if not having evidence that he is INEFFECTIVE in those areas.

No ObamaCare RomneyCare
Lower Corporate Taxes that would revive business coming back to the US Romney made billions while the average people struggled
Less Union Power and Help Protection against greedy Romney’s who cut insurance and benefits while pocketing millions.
Less Government Romney had taxpayers bail out pensions while he took out profits
Romney can create jobs Massachusetts was the 47 out of 50 in job creation while he was governor and Bain laid off thousands. Besides his 100K number is unsupported.
Strengthen the Military Obama killed Bin Laden, Romney wasn’t even in his office for over 200 days his last year as Governor while he campaigned for President
Reduce US Debt Romney ran up debt of companies and took profits while doing it.
No Bailouts for private business Took them at BAIN.

Obviously, the guy who reformed government, balanced the budget for four years showing a surplus and helped stop communism has a bit better chance at drawing these differences.  Imagine a $100 Million advertising campaign by Obama simply using this ad that Ted Kennedy created multiplied times every main stream media outlet focus AGAINST Mitt Romney.

H/T @KLSouth


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