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
The Washington Post/ABC News poll released today shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney on women’s issues, international affairs, middle class protection and health care. Obama also is seen as more likable, and he has a huge advantage with female voters.
The national poll results reflect trends the Elon University Poll saw in its two most recent surveys.
And, the Washington Post/ABC News poll results suggest that on the most important issue to Americans — the economy — the GOP has some opportunities because Obama’s support there is weak. Our poll of North Carolina residents indicated the same thing.
Bear in mind, the general election is seven months away — an eternity in politics.
— John Robinson
Quinnipiac University released a poll comparing President Obama and his Republican challengers in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. The university’s news release reads this way: In his best showing in this election cycle, President Barack Obama pulls away from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in two critical swing states, while a third state remains too close to call.
I thought it would be interesting to see how news organizations interpreted the polling results for their readers. And each organization gives the results a different slant — in some cases, very different. Here is a sampling.
Miami Herald — The improving economy and a diminishing GOP brand are boosting President Obama and hamstringing his Republican rivals in the must-win swing states of Florida and Ohio.
Wall Street Journal — Barack Obama is benefiting from an improving economy – and from the fact that most voters don’t blame him for rising gasoline prices, according to a new Quinnipiac poll of key swing states.
Los Angeles Times — President Obama‘s standing in a trio of battleground states is improving, while GOP front-runner Mitt Romney is struggling on the key test of favorability, two new polls indicate.
Washington Post — President Obama is pulling away from his Republican rivals in key swing states, a new Quinnipiac poll finds.
Tampa Tribune — A large gender gap and a recovering economy are pushing President Barack Obama to a significant lead in Florida over Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, a new Quinnipiac University poll says.
Bloomberg News — President Barack Obama runs ahead of Republican front-runner Mitt Romney in two states critical to deciding the November election and leads by a lesser margin in a third, according to a poll that says Obama is benefiting from a recovering economy and support among female voters.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette— A new poll of Pennsylvania voters shows a close race between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, while matchups in two other swing states lean toward the president.
Scranton Times-Tribune — In new surveys of voters in Pennsylvania and two other presidential race swing states, President Barack Obama led the top Republican contenders in all three with an improving economy fueling his leads, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
Warning! To quote a CNN story about its own poll: Remember that the election is not being held today, so the survey is not a prediction of what will happen in the general election.
— John Robinson
Last week’s Washington Post-ABC News poll asked the exact same questions about President Obama that the Elon University Poll asked North Carolina residents at the end of February.
The Post: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president? 50% disapprove; 46% approve.
Elon: Same question. 48% disapprove; 45% approve.
The Post: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy? 59% disapprove; 38% approve.
Elon: Same question. 51% disapprove; 43% approve.
The differences in the two polls: The Post’s was conducted nationally and done 10 days later than Elon’s. The margin of error is basically the same, 4%. And nationally, his trendlines are going the wrong way — if you’re an Obama supporter.
The Post: Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard.
What North Carolinians think of gas prices.