There has been much discussion lately — mostly by Republicans — that polls showing President Obama leading the presidential race are skewed. The answer is no. Here’s a roundup.
CNN– It has the best description of the “discussion.”
“It’s a conspiracy theory of the highest level: media organizations allegedly manipulating data in public opinion polls to try and help President Barack Obama win a second term. Democracy crushed. The accusations are predicated on the idea that some media organizations are interviewing too many Democrats in their surveys, which skew the results in way to benefit Obama over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.”
Washington Post — The best explanation of polling. “What all of the above points to is the reality that polling is equal parts art and science. The best of the best — like the folks at the Post — understand that putting together the sample for any poll involves weighing what we know the electorate looked like in the past with what it looks like today and what it will look like on Nov. 6.”
Gallup — It has the best defense of polling. “Interested observers often opine that when a given poll shows that Candidate X is ahead, it cannot be correct because there is a higher percentage of voters who identify with Candidate X’s party in the sample than there should be, based on comparison to some previous standard. There are several reasons why this is a faulty approach to evaluating a poll’s results.”
Slate — It has an interesting “unskewing” of polls. “Dean Chambers, who runs unskewedpolls.com, quicky worked his usual magic on the Fox data but this time his “unskewing” wasn’t enough to move the numbers in the GOP’s favor.”
– John Robinson
Most Americans, like most North Carolinians, don’t care for all the money flowing into the election process. “More than 8 in 10 Americans in a poll by The Associated Press and the National Constitution Center support limits on the amount of money given to groups that are trying to influence U.S. elections”
In the April Elon University Poll, most North Carolina residents said the unions should restrict the amount of money that corporations, associations and individuals can give to campaigns.
But we are a fickle bunch when it comes to government authority and reach.
Most Americans think the government is doing too much, according to our friends at Gallup. “A majority of Americans (54%) continue to believe the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, although that is down from the record high of 61% earlier this summer.”
Meanwhile, the presidential race is coming to North Carolina with a passion. Both the Charlotte Observer and the News & Record in Greensboro document both the ground game and the visits by outsiders politicking for their candidate.
Seems the state is still considered a battleground.
An added note: The Charlotte Observer writes about polling in North Carolina. The Elon University Poll isn’t mentioned — the paper’s loss — but the article describes the various differences in types of polls. (The Elon Poll is independent, doesn’t accept contract business and uses humans for its polling!)
– John Robinson
It appears as if the first two votes cast in the 2012 presidential election were cast in North Carolina, thanks to absenttee ballots. Is there significance to that?
But the Huffington Post reports: The number of absentee ballot applications is down by nearly half from 2008. In 2008, election officials had received 37,539 applications compared to 20,695 in 2012, or 45 percent fewer applications. The number of applications from registered Republicans is down more than Democrats, which are also down. The percentage of registered Republicans declined by 55 percent while the percentage of registered Democrats declined 35 percent. Thus registered Republicans composed 51 percent of the earliest absentee ballot applications in 2008 and 42 percent in 2012.
In other news from the world of polling, we present what we hope is the last of the post-convention polls. Gallup reports that Americans liked the Democratic National Convention more than the Republican National Convention.
But: At the same time, a relatively high 38% of Americans say the convention made them less likely to vote for Obama, resulting in a net impact rating of +5, which is on the low-end of Gallup’s historical comparisons.
And finally, it appears Americans are judging the election as a choice between two candidatesrather than a referendum on President Obama’s first term.
A majority of voters say their opinion of Obama has gotten worse since he took office, the poll found.
Forty-one percent said they have a “much worse” view of Obama now than in 2008; 11 percent said their opinion is “slightly worse,” while 38 percent overall said their view of him had improved.
By contrast, a near-majority of voters — 47 percent — say their view of Romney has improved as they have learned more about him, compared to 39 percent who said their opinion of the GOP candidate has become worse.
As Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, the presidential race is deadlocked. Still projections continue.
Gallup looked at the results of the 15 presidential elections since 1952 and determined that, ”All else being equal, the leader of the Gallup poll prior to the convention has an 80% probability of winning the election, according to past data.
“Of course, all else is not equal. When pre-convention polls show a tight race, as is the case this year, conventions have been more likely to create new leaders or galvanize support for a heretofore weak leader. Thus, both President Obama and Romney have the potential this year to gain an upper hand as a result of the convention process.”
So who is ahead? Gallup won’t post that information until later today.
Meanwhile, a CNN/ORC International poll gives President Barack Obama the nod on social issues, and Mitt Romney has the edge on the economy, which is what Americans say is their No. 1 concern. But the poll also makes clear that “there are a lot of issues where neither candidate has an appreciable edge, and many of them – including welfare, taxes, health care, and Medicare – have been fodder recently for both presidential campaigns.”
So, to put it all into perspective, Harris Interactive reports that 73% of us are stressed at work. But it’s not the political campaign that is causing it. Instead, “The top source of stress, felt by 11 percent of survey respondents, is low wages. For women, that rises to 14 percent.”
Gallup: “Forty-four percent of all Americans say Barack Obama has been attacking Mitt Romney unfairly in the course of the campaign, and nearly as many — 40% — say Romney has been attacking Obama unfairly.” I would have thought the numbers would be higher, but then North Carolina is a battleground state and has been immersed in negative advertising from both sides.
Associated Press – Nearly a quarter of registered voters are on the fence in the presidential race … and only 29 percent of those have a strong interest in the campaign. “Who are they? These so-called persuadable voters are more often men than women. They are a bit younger than those who’ve made up their minds. They have less education and income. And they are far less partisan.” The other question, of course, is whether they will actually turn out to vote.
Associated Press — “Most Americans say go ahead and raise taxes if it will save Social Security benefits for future generations. And raise the retirement age, if necessary. Both options are preferable to cutting monthly benefits, even for people who are years away from applying for them.” The AP poll showed that 53 percent of adults would rather raise taxes than cut benefits for future generations.
Charlie Cook, who will be one of our political experts at the Democratic National Convention, gives four reasons why Gov. Romney may lose. Essentially, he posits that Romney isn’t a natural candidates, his ads have been less than effective, he hasn’t pursued Latino voters and his campaign focus has veered away from the sluggish economy.
North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment yesterday to ban same-sex marriage, declaring that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman.
Just to tie things up, respondents in the Elon University Poll six weeks ago indicated that they believed that gay couples should be accorded some type of legal recognition. The poll was of North Carolina residents and didn’t screen for likely voters. The margin of victory was even higher than predicted by polls of likely voters.
Yesterday, Gallup reported that 50% of Americans believe same-sex marriages should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.
Will this result in North Carolina make things harder for President Obama to repeat his 2008 victory here? It’s early in the campaign and those who turn out in a general election are motivated by different things than those who vote in a primary. But it certainly appears as if Mitt Romney has another issue to campaign on when he visits N.C., particularly as the Obama Administration grapples with its position on gay rights.
– John Robinson
Supremes — A Pew Research Center survey “finds the Supreme Court’s popularity is at a 25-year low, though still much higher than that of Congress. The Pew Research Center says 52 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the court, the lowest rating since the group started asking Americans their view of the high court in 1987.”
Apocalypse — Maybe the Mayans were right! According to an Ipsos poll, one in seven people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime, and 10 percent think it will happen this year. Worse than that, the highest percentage who believe in the end of the world? America and Turkey, at 22%. (They must not go to the movies because from “Armageddon” to “2012,” the Earth is always saved.)
OK, not everything is serious.
Sports — Republicans and Democrats can pretty much disagree about anything. Take sports, for example. A Washington Post-ABC News poll reports that two-thirds of Americans like baseball, followed by basketball at 58%, hockey, 49%, and NASCAR, 48%.
But then, maybe because it’s the Washington Post, you get down to politics. Democrats like the NBA much more than Republicans. Republicans are more inclined toward NASCAR. Independents split the difference on each sport.
What? They didn’t ask about fishing or bowling? More here.
– John Robinson
North Carolinians support the so-called Buffett Rule, which requires households earning $1 million or more a year to pay a minimum of 30% of their income in taxes.
Are you listening Congress?
In the latest Elon University Poll, 61% of respondents said they support the Buffett Rule, which was killed two weeks ago by a Republican filibuster in the Senate.
While Mitt Romney might be able to get ground in N.C. by campaigning on the economy, President Obama could make hay by campaigning on the Buffett Rule.
Nationally, a Gallup Poll taken earlier this month found 60% favored the rule.
Career aspirations – Tuesday was “Equal Pay Day,” marking how far into 2012 women must work to earn what men earned in 2011. This, then, from Pew: Reversing traditional gender roles, young women now surpass young men in saying that achieving success in a high-paying career or profession is important in their lives. Two-thirds (66%) of young women ages 18 to 34 rate career high on their list of life priorities, compared with 59% of young men. In 1997, 56% of young women and 58% of young men felt the same way.
Congress — Americans are feeling better about Congress these days. Not good, but better. Gallup reports that the approval rating of Congress is 17%, higher than it’s been since last July. Hard to say why, given that little significant legislation gets passed in an election year. Maybe that is why.
Vice president — Quinnipiac asked Americans about potential running mates for Mitt Romney. Gov. Chris Christie rates highest at 31% saying he would be a good choice, followed by Sen. Mario Rubio at 24% and Rep. Paul Ryan at 23%.
Afghanistan — Public support for maintaining U.S. forces in Afghanistan has reached a new low. And as the general election campaign begins, swing voters, by nearly two-to-one, favor removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible.
– John Robinson
Taxes – Americans are evenly split over whether they think they pay too much in taxes or their tax bill is about right. Not surprisingly, only 3% think they pay too little. (Warren Buffett may have been on that list.)
“Savings” — Where do you hide your mad money in your house, and why would you tell a pollster? Some did: 27% say the freezer, 19% in the sock drawer and 11% under the mattress.
Finances — Nationally, 52% of likely voters think their personal finances will improve over the next year.
Posted in Economy
Tagged Gallup, Marist