Tuesday, October 02, 2012
The Slatest by Josh Voorhees: the 'skewed' polling results conspiracy theory goes mainstream
Your daily PM briefing from the Slatest (@slatest), your trusty news companion.
By Josh Voorhees (@JoshVoorhees)
GOING MAINSTREAM: A new poll out today suggests that GOP accusations of intentional manipulation on the part of pollsters are resonating with the American public. Roughly 42 percent of those surveyed by left-leaning Public Policy Polling said pollsters were manipulating their data in order to show Obama with a lead, while 40 percent said that wasn't the case.
The results show that self-identified Republicans were particularly likely to buy into the pollsters-are-against-us conspiracy theory, with 71 percent saying that the recent major polls showing President Obama pulling ahead nationally and in key battleground states are biased against their candidate. That number balloons to 84 percent when focusing exclusively on respondents who said they were Tea Party members.
THE EXACT WORDING: "Do you think pollsters are intentionally skewing their polls this year to help Barack Obama, or not?"
REFRESHER: Frequent Slatest readers will remember that the pollsters have already debunked the conspiracy theory, explaining that conservatives' main beef with the numbers—what they say is an oversampling of Democrats in the surveys—actually is just further proof that the president is out in front coming down the home stretch.
That explanation, however, has done little to convince conservative pundits that the polling data is on the straight and narrow. And, by the looks of the PPP poll, unless that happens, Republican voters in general are unlikely to accept any poll that shows Obama with a lead—even those sponsored by Fox News.
ON THE TOPIC OF NOVEMBER PREDICTIONS: New York Times' psephologist Nate Silver is wondering aloud whether the Electoral College could possibly return a split decision, with both Obama and Romney earning 269 electoral votes, or one shy of the 270 needed to clinch the race.
While very unlikely, that scenario isn't exactly impossible to imagine, given Silver's latest FiveThirtyEight forecast, which has the president with an 85 percent chance or better of winning in 21 states. If you add up the electoral votes at stake in those states you get ... you guessed it, 269.
EVERYONE CALM DOWN: Of course, while the 269-apiece scenario may be easy to get to looking at the map, that doesn't make it even close to likely. For starters, it assumes that Obama wins all 21 states he's currently heavily favored in and not a single other, including a handful where he has a significant-but-not-dominating lead. So what are the odds of the sister-kissing tie? 0.6 percent. Silver's full post here.
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