Diary

Beware of Media Spin, Polls

First, a Bailout Update: The House bill to provide $700 billion in liquidity to the financial system failed on Monday by a vote of 228-205. A total of 95 Democrats joined 133 Republicans to kill the bill, showing a bipartisan concern over its cost. Only 65 Republicans voted for the bill.

The Dow futures opened up sharply today (Tuesday) so that markets may rebound from their 777 point drop Monday.

Just before the vote, House speaker Nancy Pelosi threw a bomb into the negotiations with a rant against President Bush, saying, among other things, that Bush policies were “built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision and no discipline in the system.”

This is not exactly the way to build bipartisanship before a crucial vote, and Pelosi’s comments poisoned the proceedings among some Republicans, leading to the bill’s defeat.

In the same speech, Pelosi praised the Clinton administration for its fiscal record without mentioning that 9/11 was a direct result of Clinton negligence on terrorism, and that 9/11 and its aftermath have contributed greatly to financial destabilization in the Bush years.

If you want to see a shocking video showing how Republicans in late 2004 tried to warn about now-bankrupt Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while Democrats were praising those agencies and lauding Fannie chairman Franklin Raines, who eventually was fired over corruption and a $90 million payout, please go to YouTube.com and type in ‘fannie mae hearings’ in the search box.

Beware Media Spin, Polls

The old saying goes that there’s only one real poll and that is the vote on election day.

Generally speaking, this is said to be a ‘Democrat year’ in which Bush’s unpopularity favors Obama. But the approval rating for Congress in 2008 polls showed only 9% in one poll to 18% in another, significantly lower than Bush’s 27%. So perhaps we should expect Congress to shift substantially?

Most polls are media-driven, i.e., they will favor Democrats because the media favor Democrats. But in 1980, Democrat Carter was polling way ahead of Republican Reagan, and then Reagan won in a landslide. In 1988, Democrat Dukakis was 20 points ahead of Bush 41 around Labor Day, and then also lost big time.

This Spring the general consensus was that Obama should win easily. But then as the Summer rolled on and Labor Day neared, polls showed McCain picking up steam and taking the lead, especially after the choice of Sarah Palin. This is because voters started to get serious and had many concerns about Obama. Many did not like him, and Palin energized many in the GOP base, as well as party switchers.

After the first presidential debate on September 26, Obama got a bounce in the polls but still lagged 18 points behind McCain in one poll on overall leadership. Obama’s debate performance was stylish, sometimes churlish, and short on substance. As of late September, the polls averaged show Obama with only a 3 point lead. But there often are big shifts in October, particularly if a mistake is made, and particularly as the undecided electorate shifts one way or another, sometimes suddenly right before the election.

But considering that the media have been cheerleading Obama since January and he still barely won the Democrat primary, take all media spin with a grain of salt.

In the final days of the 2000 race, Gore gained significantly on Bush, helped by the story that Bush had had a DUI arrest 20 years before, a really fake story planted by a Democrat operative in Maine and spun relentlessly by the media. If the election had been held just a few days later, Gore probably would have won.

John Kerry lost the November 2004 presidential election after so-called ‘exit polls’ (polls taken on election day of voters emerging from voting) said that Kerry would win. When Kerry lost, there actually developed a movement with the slogan Exit Polls Don’t Lie. That group tried to claim that the exit polls actually had found Kerry to have been elected president, and that the real poll – the vote registered in American’s polling places – was somehow wrong(!!)

This is part of the nutty leftist media culture that seeks to substitute a parallel reality in the public mind, which is the type of big mythmaking that leads to totalitarianism. The left-wing conspiracy lunatics who believed that Exit Polls Don’t Lie today are on the internet pushing every kind of wacky falsehood.

And remember that in September 2004, Dan Rather and CBS had reported the phony Bush National Guard story. So the media were after Bush from early on. Since 1999, actually, when he announced his candidacy.

The day before the election in 2004, Kerry was shown ahead because the polls were skewed, with oversampling of Democrats, just as many of the major media-run polls are skewed by the type of people they call, or the time of day or of the week that they call. It is known that polls taken at certain hours on certain days favor certain candidates. And that exit polls taken in certain places (urban areas, black neighborhoods) will generate a pro-Democrat result.

Republicans are generally less likely to respond to telephone polls in the first place because they don’t like media pollsters sticking their noses into their lives; and Republicans always work harder and longer hours than Democrats, and often don’t have time for polls. So expect the polls to favor Obama. And if Obama does not have a huge lead on election day, he will lose because some people want to appear to favor a minority candidate, when they really do not. And even if they really favor Obama now, they will not be able to pull the lever for a candidate with such a shaky and unknown past.

With McCain, voters know what they are getting. And “better safe than sorry” is a comforting adage.

It is important to remember that around 8 PM in the evening of the 2004 election, the networks were reporting that Kerry had a huge lead across the nation, in a majority of the battleground states, and even in some states considered safe for Bush.

But as the evening went on, there were big discrepancies between those polls and the actual vote counts that were rolling in from the eastern part of the country. CNN’s prediction of a Kerry victory in Ohio by 4.2 points was countered by actual numbers showing Bush winning by 2.5 points.

In one set of national polls leading up to that election, Kerry led in 4 and Bush in 1.

In Florida in 2004, which Bush won handily, Kerry was expected to win after early reports showed a big surge in Democrat early voting.

In Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, Kerry was expected to win and Bush’s situation was called bleak. But Bush won Ohio and ultimately won the election by 3 million popular votes nationally despite big Kerry vote surpluses in states like New York (1.4 million votes) and California (1.2 million). When Bush won Ohio by 120,000 votes, one group of Kerry backers was claiming post-election that if “just 60,000 votes had shifted” in Ohio, Kerry would have won, which is a standard Democrat tactic targeted at dumb Democrat voters. Because Republicans could just as easily say that if such and such number of votes had shifted elsewhere, such and such would have been the outcome.

Democrats did everything they could in 2004 to gin up charges of voter fraud in Ohio. This is their standard procedure. When Democrats win, there is no investigation. When Republicans win, there is always something wrong. That is why 8 years on, they still wish to re-fight the Florida recount.

Democrats had a big army of lawyers ready to swing into action in the 2006 congressional election. They had talked it up for months leading up to the election, getting the public ready for a big investigation if Dems lost. But since Democrats won, they did nothing.

In 2000, the networks claimed on election night that Gore had won Florida even before polls in the more conservative northwestern part of the state near Pensacola – which is in a separate time zone from the rest of Florida – had closed. This was an attempt to influence Bush voters in that part of the state that the election had been lost and that there was no point in voting. It also was intended to discourage Bush voters in Western states where polls still were open for several hours.

McCain voters in this 2008 election cycle should be heartened that their candidate has been either ahead, tied or only a little behind in this contest. Since the media obviously are skewing the results, it would be good wisdom to think that if Obama has less than a 10-point lead on election day, he probably will lose. The trashing of Sarah Palin, the fluffing up of Obama and the cheerleading for the Democrat ticket has failed before. Don’t expect this election to be different. The polls can be indicators of some trends some of the time, but in general, it is best to wait until election day to decide who the next president will be.

Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more common sense.