On Polls and Polling

I do not believe the polls are all wrong. I do not believe there is some intentional, orchestrated campaign to suppress the GOP vote by showing Mitt Romney losing. I actually believe that Mitt Romney trails Barack Obama. I think Republicans putting their hopes in the polls all being wrong is foolish. But I also believe the polls are reflecting a bigger Democratic strength than is really there. I do believe, as Jim Geraghty notes, there is a confirmation bias in many polls. The polls are confirming what the press thinks and that they have a larger than 2008 Democratic turnout is of no consequence to them.


John McLaughlin is a well respected pollster and I put merit in what he is saying. I think pollsters should do a better job explaining why their heavy weighting of Democrats has merit. I’ll concede that Barack Obama is ahead, but I will not concede he is ahead by as much as some polls are showing. This is an incredibly close race.

But let’s be honest — pollsters have reputations to worry about and they aren’t going to intentionally try to screw up. I think it is relevant that Gallup and Rasmussen have been pretty close together while other polls, more tied to media organizations, have wildly swung. I do think, however, that Romney must make up ground and he is not doing it. He’s got five weeks. He needs to give up trying to be liked and prove he can turn the economy around. Let’s hope Stanley Kurtz is right.

That’s just the reality of the situation.


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