So much for hunches and gut instincts. Maybe in 2016, these would-be pollsters will read Nate Silver like adults
We really had a contest between the reality-based community, and a conservative movement that had convinced itself that Obama was so heinous that there was simply no way the American people could possibly re-elect him. Progressives read the polling averages, and read Nate Silver to stave off the anxiety created by a beltway media intent on making the race appear to be a toss-up. As conservatives slept, they dreamed of Ronald Reagan’s electoral maps, all painted red, and a defeated, weak Democrat limping off the field of battle, chastened by Real America.
They say the only poll that counts is the final one. And it has revealed a number of conservative pundits – people who make their living gauging the state of the race – to be utterly clueless. So join us, as we take a tour of their wild swings-and-misses. Enjoy the Schadenfreude!
1. Michael Barone
You almost get the sense that Michael Barone, a relatively fact-based analyst, drew the short straw for this one.
Fundamentals usually prevail in American elections. That’s bad news for Barack Obama….
Both national and target state polls show that independents, voters who don’t identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans, break for Romney.
That might not matter if Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 39 to 32 percent, as they did in the 2008 exit poll. But just about every indicator suggests that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting — and about their candidate — than they were in 2008, and Democrats are less so.
Barone then called all of the contested states except for Nevada for Mitt Romney.
Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.
2. Peggy Noonan’s Good Vibrations
Noonan, who appeared to be fighting back tears when Fox News called Ohio, brought her own unique brand of navel-gazing to this WSJ column:
While everyone is looking at the polls and the storm, Romney’s slipping into the presidency. He’s quietly rising, and he’s been rising for a while…
Among the wisest words spoken this cycle were by John Dickerson of CBS News and Slate, who said, in a conversation the night before the last presidential debate, that he thought maybe the American people were quietly cooking something up, something we don’t know about.
I think they are and I think it’s this: a Romney win.
Romney’s crowds are building—28,000 in Morrisville, Pa., last night; 30,000 in West Chester, Ohio, Friday It isn’t only a triumph of advance planning: People came, they got through security and waited for hours in the cold. His rallies look like rallies now, not enactments. In some new way he’s caught his stride. He looks happy and grateful. His closing speech has been positive, future-looking, sweetly patriotic. His closing ads are sharp—the one about what’s going on at the rallies is moving.
All the vibrations are right.
3. Karl Rove: Party ID
In the Wall Street Journal, Bush’s Brain wrote, “It comes down to numbers. And in the final days of this presidential race, from polling data to early voting, they favor Mitt Romney.”
Desperate Democrats are now hanging their hopes on a new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll showing the president with a five-point Ohio lead. But that survey gives Democrats a +8 advantage in turnout, the same advantage Democrats had in 2008. That assumption is, to put it gently, absurd.
Yup, Democrats only had a 6-point turn-out advantage according to the exit polls.
4. Joel Pollack: Feel the Christiementum!
Moving down the food chain, we get to Joel Pollack, the “editor-in-chief and in-house council” for Breitbart’s Big Government. Pollack decided that Chris Christie’s decision to snub Mitt Romney and sing Barack Obama’s praise is rock-solid proof that Romney’s going to clean Obama’s clock next Tuesday. “The truth about Christie’s outreach to Obama is blindingly obvious,” he wrote. “Mitt Romney is now running away with this election, freeing Christie to praise the president without fear that doing so will tip the scales.”
5. Jeff Anderson: It’s All About the Approval Rating
At the Weekly Standard, Jeff Anderson sneered at the LIEbrul media for not giving us the real scoop.
For all of the wishful thinking in the mainstream press about President Obama’s positioning 40 days before this election, Obama’s approval rating looks remarkably similar to what it was on this date in 2010 — shortly before his party lost a historic 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats….
So, two years after the biggest Republican gains in the House since before World War II, Americans remain every bit as unimpressed with the way Obama is handling his job as president as they were then.
This stands to reason. Obamacare remains an unprecedented threat to Americans’ liberty, this “recovery” still feels like a recession, the debt continues to explode, and Obama still ducks responsibility for anything that happens during his presidency, at least to some degree. The American people are noticing.
6. Emmett Tyrell: Liberalism Is Dead
Syndicated columnist Emmett Tyrell certainly bought into the Obama-as-Jimmy Carter meme.
Obama has come across as an amazingly close approximation of Jimmy Carter, complete with a slow-growth economy and a foreign policy disaster, though one of Obama’s empty boasts was he understood the Arab world especially well. His backup team of David Axelrod and David Plouffé serve as second-rate Jody Powells and Ham Jordans. Frankly, I preferred Jody and Ham.
On February 5, 2009, I said in this space that Obama’s presidency was doomed. I pronounced him a dud, unlikely to be reelected president. Said I, “…with the economy in crisis and American national security in the hands of a starry-eyed novice, one can argue that we are in for a reprise of the Carter years complete with the self-righteous pout.” Well, I argued this for almost four years and today I rest my case.
Next week President Obama goes into retirement. I hope he will consider Hawaii.
Given my perspective, it was an easy case to call. A few months back I published my findings in The Death of Liberalism. In that book I noted that in the conservative deluge of 2010 independents combined with conservatives to turn the Liberals out. The independents do not always share the conservatives’ social values, but they are very ardent for prudent economic policies. The growing debt and unbalanced budgets (both state and federal) had roused the independent vote. I said they would vote with the conservatives for years to come, because Obama and his cohorts in Congress were going to pile up trillion dollar deficits for years to come. Along with the conservatives and independents, next week will come the “uncommitted” voter. The uncommitted always goes with the challenger.
7. Drive-by Pundit: Blacks Hate Obama!
Perhaps we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel – no, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel – by quoting a guy called “drive-by pundit” writing at the American Thinker. But, hey, this is just too funny.
As a former journalist, I’ve learned that most polls commissioned by news outlets are done not to reflect reality, but to distort it. In the same way Hollywood has discovered it can cheaply fill airtime with so-called “reality shows,” news outlets have found they can fill their pages with polls.
Book it: Romney’s going to win this election in a romp come November. I’m certain of this because there is a key factor that’s being overlooked this time around — blacks have lost their passion for Obama.
I see that loss reflected in the faces of my fellow blacks, who at the mention of Obama’s name no longer beam with rapturous joy — something we blacks normally reserve for winning lottery tickets and intimate getaways with persons not our spouses. As the saying went in the ‘hood where I grew up: “If he looks happy, he’s either hit the number or he’s cheating.”
By the way, we’re kind of doubtful this anonymous “former journalist” was a journalist or is actually black. But you never know!
8. John Hinderaker: It’s Over
That was actually the title of his post. And he wrote it just after the first debate – too bad for the folks at Powerline that we didn’t hold an election that day.
I’ve been watching presidential debates for quite a few years, but I have never seen one like this. It wasn’t a TKO, it was a knockout. Mitt Romney was in control from the beginning. He was the alpha male, while Barack Obama was weak, hesitant, stuttering, often apologetic. The visuals were great for Romney and awful for Obama. Obama looked small, tired, defeated after four years of failure, out of ammo. One small point among many: Obama doesn’t even know how to stand at a podium, as he continually lifted up one leg. He would be below average as a high school debater.
I don’t know how the Democrats will try to spin this one, but it just doesn’t matter. There was only one credible leader on the stage tonight, and it wasn’t our failed president. This was a huge night for the cause of freedom, one from which, one hopes, Obama can’t recover. The pitiful figure that we saw tonight was the real Obama, the loser behind the curtain who is finally revealed as an utter hoax.
Turns out Democrats didn’t spin it. They fell into a deep funk, wrung their hands for a while, and then they won. The end.
9. Dick Morris: The Pollsters in My Head Say…
Morris is arguably the wrongest person in the universe with a mainstream platform, and he didn’t dissapoint in 2012.
What was remarkable about Morris’ “analysis” is that is was based on just inventing poll numbers. Compare and contrast Morris’ universe with that compiled by Real Clear Politics’ average of state polls at the time.
“In October, Obama lost the Southern swing states of Florida (29) and Virginia (13). He also lost Colorado (10), bringing his total to 255 votes.”
Romney was up by 1 point in Florida, which was listed as a toss-up. Virginia was tied. Obama was up by a point in Colorado. Anyway, Obama won Colorado and Virginia. As of this writing, Florida’s too close to call.
“And now, he faces the erosion of the northern swing states: Ohio (18), New Hampshire (4) and Iowa (6). Only in the union-anchored state of Nevada (9) does Obama still cling to a lead.”
Obama was up 2+ points in Ohio and Nevada at the time, and by 2 points in New Hampshire and Iowa. He won all these states.
“In the next few days, the battle will move to Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (15), Wisconsin (10) and Minnesota (16). Ahead in Pennsylvania, tied in Michigan and Wisconsin, and slightly behind in Minnesota, these new swing states look to be the battleground.”
Remember, this guy gets paid for his “analysis.” Obama was ahead in all these polls and swept all these states easily.
10: Dean Chambers: Unskewed Polls and Nat Silver Trutherism
Having seen Dick Morris’ imaginary polling data, consider this gem of a sentence: “While many conservatives look to former Clinton political consultant Dick Morris to understand the polls and political surveys on the elections, or even a site like UnSkewedPolls.com, those on the left look to New York Times blogger Nate Silver.”
That was written by Dean Chambers, who runs UnSkewedPolls.com. And Chambers does not like the New York Times’ numbers-cruncher. Mostly because Chambers thinks he’s dumb, but also girly.
Nate Silver is a man of very small stature, a thin and effeminate man with a soft-sounding voice that sounds almost exactly like the “Mr. New Castrati” voice used by Rush Limbaugh on his program. In fact, Silver could easily be the poster child for the New Castrati in both image and sound.
OK, obviously someone has issues. But Chambers then betrays his complete ignorance of how modeling works.
Apparently, Nate Silver has his own way of “skewing” the polls. He appears to look at the polls available and decide which ones to put more “weighting” on in compiling his own average, as opposed to the Real Clear Politics average, and then uses the average he calculates to determine that percentages a candidate has of winning that state. He labels some polling firms as favoring Republicans, even if they over sample Democrats in their surveys, apparently because he doesn’t agree with their results.
No, Nate Silver doesn’t “decide” anything. His computer model gives different weight to different pollsters based on their past track records. The more accurate a polling firm has shown itself to e in the past, the more weight its results get in the FiveThirtyEight model.
Dean Chamber, on the other hand, is “unskewing” the polls based on the wholly erroneous belief that partisan ID is an immutable characteristic, like race or gender. His final projection only had Romney winning by a handful of Electoral College votes, but this was his projection when he wrote that post on October 25.