Diary

Are the Polls Overstating Obama's Support

Last evening, I wrote about the fact that I expect to see a surge towards McCain based on the history of similar campaigns. Tonight, I’d like to discuss whether or not polls might be overstating Obama’s support…

We’ve all heard the stories in recent days and weeks about the Bradley effect (which essentially means that white voters are racists and might not vote for a black guy) and the possibility that Republicans are being undercounted in polls. It’s also true that polling is harder than it used to be. There are more people with no land line phones and more people who are likely to vote for the first time in this election.

I think that there might be another issue that is skewing poll results in Obama’s favor as well — especially in states like Pennsylvania. That issue is political correctness. It is assumed when people lie to a pollster about their choice by declaring support for Obama while secretly intending to vote for McCain, that it’s based on race.

Well, I do believe that there are people out there who are lying to pollsters but not because of race. They’re lying to anonymous pollsters about their candidate of choice because it’s habit. They have to lie to people they know about their candidate of choice. If a liberal declares support for Obama among a group of conservatives, the conservatives will probably just ignore that person. However, if a conservative declares support for McCain among a group of liberals, then the liberals will usually accost that person… The level of the liberal outburst would vary, of course, from good natured ribbing among friends to screaming and fighting. I think most people have seen a liberal either get nasty or flat out go off the deep end during a political discussion so Republicans and conservatives sometimes just tell white lies about their political views in order to keep the peace. If liberals behave in such a way that necessitates that they be placated, then they may end up getting placated…

This is just a hypothesis of mine based on my observations and analysis. I have no data to back it up. However, there is one issue out there that tends to confirm what I’m thinking. The issue is now the top priority for labor unions and one of the top priorities for Democrats in Congress. Of course, that issue relates to secret ballot elections for labor unions.

The whole reason that this issue has come up relates to the fact that labor unions can get anyone they want to sign a petition for a union election but they can’t win the election. They end up getting more petition signatures than votes. On the day of the union election, there might be 100% of employees with union stickers on their shirts but the union might only get 43% of the vote. This has become such a problem for unions that they’ve determined that the only way to deal with it is to eliminate secret ballot elections.

Of course the root of this problem is that people will tell pro-union forces (who tend to be passionate, fanatic, confrontational and abrasive like drunken idiots in the cheap seats at a football game) what the pro-union forces want to hear in order to shut them up.

I think this same need to tell people what they want to hear in order to maintain civility now has a major impact on political discussion in America as well. If I’m right about this, then there are a lot of McCain supporters who keep it to themselves — even when a pollster calls.