It's been evident for quite some time now that the Republican Party has completely gone over the bend. Their most popular leaders and media figures are reviled, and they've lost 3 out of the past 4 national elections.
Just over half the public says that the GOP should give up more than the Democrats in any bipartisan solution to the country's problems, according to a new national survey.
And a CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that a slight majority of Americans sees the Republican party's policies and views as too extreme, a first for the GOP, and fewer than a third say they trust congressional Republicans more than President Barack Obama to deal with the major issues facing the nation.
53% to be exact. And that's not surprising at all since on just about every issue -- from taxes and gun control to global warming and gay rights -- the GOP holds fringe, unpopular views.
This is another good reason for the President to hold firm on the budget negotiations. People don't like it when you give in to extremists.
"Drunk Nate Silver" became a Twitter thing recently, which makes perfect sense. People intuitively know prophecy is a gift...and a burden. In the face of such relentless clarity he might well crave some oblivion--if you or I had to deal with that kind of insight we'd probably go straight to the bottle and get messy as Rasmussen.
And cm'on, if you don't buy his book you're going to have a much harder time pretending you've read it. Don't be the last person at the party to act like you understand Bayesian processes vis-a-vis free market economics, you're going to look like a real a-hole.
So if the web wants to superimpose Charles Bukowski on Nate Silver, let it. No matter how unlikely it is, I would personally rather fantasize that he's a booze-hungry seer of visions than learn all that damn math. Reality sounds like a lot of work.
It's the trends, baby, just like I said. This is a screenshot of Nate Silver's projections based on state polls reported back today. Those polls aren't pretty for Mitt. Ohio dropped out of the tossup zone and into "lean Obama" territory, along with Colorado and Nevada. TPM's PollTracker has been conservative for the whole election cycle, and even it crossed over this week, putting Obama in winning territory, albeit not by much. Daily Kos' Steve Singiser had even more bad news for Romney:
Despite the (comparably) modest sample size, the trajectory of today's numbers are pretty unmistakeable. This was, on balance, the worst polling day for Mitt Romney since the heady days (for Democrats, at least) of mid-to-late September. Not only did all the old "battleground" states come in a little weaker for him than recent polling averages would indicate, a couple of them (Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin) came in significantly worse.
What's more: the one state where he did get some halfway decent data yesterday (Michigan) betrayed him today, as a new poll there shows the state quite a bit more comfortable for him than yesterday's Glengariff poll suggested.
Why does this uptick in cell-only users matter? Because, as Greenberg writes, some polls used to gauge the state of the presidential race don't reach these people—and could therefore be lowballing Obama's standing. (Robocalls are used by many pollsters, but cellphones are blocked from receiving robocalls.) Greenberg went back and analyzed 4,000 of his polling firm's interviews this election season and found that cell-only voters break for Obama in significant numbers.
Meanwhile, in the secret back rooms of the Romney campaign, they're busy telling everyone not to worry, they'll win it in a landslide. They're so confident of this they're going to pour a whole lot of ad money into Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Michigan, states with such a solid Obama lead they've been conceded for weeks.
I think that would be part of Karl Rove's "pretend there's Mittmentum" strategy. It goes hand in hand with Dick Morris standing tall and predicting a Republican landslide. Confession: Reading Morris' stupid predictions made me feel much better about the election, since Morris is wrong about everything.
Here's a little picture of the most current Rand poll as a chaser. Still, it's going to depend on everyone actually voting, and that may be a problem in New Jersey and New York.
I like the trends. I'm told these final polls are the most predictive, and if they hold and everyone votes, we can toast to four more years on November 6th.
Are the polls making you as nutty as they're making me? They're defying all of my gut instincts right now, with this crazy up and down, back and forth, counterintuitive crazymaking.
I told you I'm not a poll truther and I'm not, which is why I offer you today's Rand poll image to soothe your ruffly feathers. Or mine. Or something.
I like the Rand tracker because they poll the same group over and over again, so that shifts actually feel like real shifts rather than these "by the seat of your pants" type of polls, and you can see where the trend line is going now. The debates are over, we're in the home stretch, early voting has started in a lot of states, and turnout is exceeding 2008 levels.
Yet. These crazy polls have the race at dead even, which makes no sense to me just based on the early voting numbers. Fortunately, I'm convinced they just don't have to. I liked this Kos diarist's "dead fish" analogy, where he relates the story of tracking a marlin's movements for hours as the marlin moves randomly east, west, north and south in no apparent pattern or in response to anything. Only later do they discover the fish died shortly after the tracking device was attached, and was just drifting on the bottom according to where the currents pushed it.
Are we tracking a dead fish? Perhaps. Perhaps we should give them the weight they deserve, which is just a constant reminder that this election won't be won or lost by anything other than getting out the vote. This shows up in the likely voter versus registered voter poll results too. Gallup and others assume Republicans will turn out in greater numbers because Republicans are typically the more reliable vote.
But this is not an ordinary election year. It is not a sweeping, broad hope/change theme-based election. It is a bruising battle for the direction of the country. Though I can't understand exactly why any woman would want to vote for a Republican, I guess some habits die hard. I think about Wisconsin and Ohio and Virginia, all states where Republican governors have worked with Republican legislators to squash the rights of the poor, and women, and unions, and just about everything we hold dear and wonder how this can be.
Yet it is. So whether you follow 538, or Intrade, or Polltracker or Daily Kos, the moral of the story is to give minimum attention to the trend and get out the vote. We win if we vote.
Right now the dead fish is trending in our direction. Let's keep it that way, and let the Republicans just enjoy the stink we leave in its wake.
In the comments on my Romney/Bain/Big Tobacco post, I heard a lot of people saying "Enough about Romney, we believe! Why is the race so close?"
Is the race really as close as we think it is? Or is that a perception driven by the Romney campaign working the refs every time things turn away from him?
If you follow the polling over the past week since the debate, it seems that we live in a really weird, fast-paced culture where themes and memes aren't always driven by fact-based assumptions. See, for example, John Amato's post on the Beltway groupthink developed via Twitter.
Tuesday's Pew poll, cited in Rachel Maddow's report Tuesday night, for example, was adjusted from the week before, causing a full 11 point swing in results. Via The People's View:
Pew polled fewer voters altogether, and, they acquiesced to the wingnut browbeating and entirely took away the Democratic registration advantage documented in actual voting in 2008,registration data, and well, their own previous polling.
Please do not assume I am a poll truther. I confess to falling into that trap back in 2010, when I challenged the belief that Democrats were unenthusiastic and wouldn't come out to vote. That was a mistake I will not make twice. I take polls seriously, but also think it's worth looking at them more holistically in terms of trends. My error in 2010 was not considering the trend, which clearly did indicate that Democrats and progressives were not inclined to come out and vote, for whatever reason.
The very best poll for watching trends is the Rand tracking poll, which polls the same sample on a weekly basis. That poll has some interesting results, particularly if you have a look at the "Intention to Vote" tab, which shows a trend upward for Republican voters and a fairly flat line for Democrats. The more disturbing trend to me is that women are starting to trend upwards for Romney. Is that because he seems to be pivoting toward the center on his positions regarding abortion and birth control?
In 2012, the "registered voter" numbers are relevant, where they were not in the midterm elections. For example, Democrats hold the edge in voter registrations -- legitimate ones at that -- in Florida, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina.
And then there is the Gallup tracking poll which came out Wednesday morning showing that among registered voters Obama leads 50-45 percent while the race is a dead heat among likely voters, 48-48. This puts it back to pre-debate levels in the likely voter column, at least.
In the end, the road to the White House is a two-lane highway straight through Ohio. And in Ohio, the Secretary of State has made one final effort to block early voting on the weekend before Election Day by filing an appeal with the US Supreme Court. Ari Berman writes in The Nation:
Remember what happened that year? George W. Bush won the state by a narrow 118,000 votes in an election marred by widespread electoral dysfunction. “The misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of predominantly minority and Democratic voters,” found a post-election report by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee. According to one survey, 174,000 Ohioans, 3 percent of the electorate, left their polling place without voting because of massive lines in urban precincts and on college campuses. Ohio’s Secretary of State that year was Ken Blackwell, co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.
The election is twenty-eight days away and Ohio voters still can’t vote during the most convenient times before Election Day—on nights, weekends or the weekend before the election. The prospect of the Supreme Court’s getting involved will add further confusion. Rick Hasen, an elections expert at the UC-Irvine School of Law and the author ofThe Voting Wars, says the Court may be reluctant to intervene so close to the election, but “if they do take it, I think they would reverse [the lower court].” The Supreme Court intervening on behalf of Republicans to decide a presidential election in a critical battleground state? Sadly it’s happened before.
Back to the original question. Why is the race so close? Because we are not simply weighing two candidates against each other. We are also battling voter suppression efforts in the battleground states, a barrage of advertising, mailers and dishonest behavior, and a candidate who lies every time he opens his mouth and speaks to voters.
Everyone who is engaged in this race on any level should not only be planning to vote, but also getting out the vote. Canvassing neighborhoods, phonebanking, and even just talking to neighbors is the best way to make sure the result isn't close at all.
Poor Fox News. Desperate for signs that Mitt Romney’s a winner, they turned to Dick Morris and then a 7-Eleven Coffee Cup poll. But when even the cup poll offered bad news for Romney, Steve Doocy laughably described the 16-point difference as “close” and Brian Kilmeade did his part to turn things around.
It started with Gretchen Carlson gushing this morning on Fox & Friends over a “big headline” that a new poll shows Mitt Romney winning middle class families by 55-41% over President Obama.
It wasn’t until a minute or so later that Brian Kilmeade acknowledged that polls still show “the president winning in almost every battleground state.” But not to worry! “Dick Morris answered that question.”
“If you re-weight it according to the Rasmussen metric,” Doocy now argued, Romney has between a 5-11% lead. Nobody mentioned that the weighting of Fox News’ own recent poll gave Obama significant leads in three key battleground states.
Instead, Carlson went on to promote “wacky ways to predict the presidential election.” But unfortunately for her, they mostly came out in Obama’s favor, too.
Halloween mask sales: Obama 69%, Romney 31%
If the Redskins beat the Panthers on November 4th, President Obama will win (no predictions there).
Then came the 7-Eleven "poll" where customers can choose either a red Romney cup or a blue Obama one. According to the graphic on the screen, President Obama was ahead 58% to Romney’s 42%. But Doocy said, “As you can see right there, President Obama slightly leading Mr. Romney.”
Kilmeade then prominently displayed one of the red cups on the table in front of the couch. “There’s a red cup!” he said enthusiastically.
Doocy sounded a bit deflated as he acknowledged having the blue cup - which he kept in his hand until the end, when he placed it on the table far behind the blue one.
Meanwhile, the camera zoomed in on the red cup as a banner on the screen read, CAMPAIGN FOR COFFEE: 7-11 candidate cups can predict a winner!
Editor's note: I hope you all will join me in welcoming to the Crooks and Liars team the esteemed Ellen, whom we've been reading (and citing) for years for her amazing work tracking Fox News at her own site, NewsHounds. We're going to be giving Ellen and her team of trackers an open slot here at C&L, and they're going to be using our videos as well. It's a dream match made in blog heaven. Enjoy! -- DN
After Fox News released polling results that were dismal for Mitt Romney, Fox's Gretchen Carlson advised viewers not to consider them as “real sincerity.”
In a write-up about the poll, the only plus for Romney FoxNews.com’s Dana Blanton seemed able to find was that “among voters who are ‘extremely’ interested in this year’s election, the races are much tighter.” Significantly, Blanton didn’t say that “extremely” interested meant any more likely to vote.
Predictably, Peter Doocy reiterated the “extremely interested” talking point on Fox & Friends this morning by suggesting – without coming out and saying – that they were likely to impact the vote. He said, “Once you isolate voters who are extremely interested in the election, the race is much closer.” Then he moved on to relay Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s bus tour schedule.
A few minutes later, the curvy couch crew revisited the polling. Brian Kilmeade said peevishly, “The polls don’t reflect the waves of publicity and these (recent) news stories.” He was referring to Fox's bignon-bombshell of Obama's 1998 "redistribution" comment.
Carlson put in her explicit vote of no confidence in the poll:
I think one of the first times we should look at the polls in real sincerity is after one or two of the debates. Because hopefully the two candidates are going to be talking about the issues that the American people want to hear about and hopefully the questions will be fair to both parties and hopefully the American people will be able to decide who they want to run this country. Then I think the polls may actually reflect what we’re hearing from the two candidates when they’re standing on the same stage and they’re being asked the same questions.
If I somehow twisted the arm of a politician to stand up in front of microphones or on the House floor to say that elephants are really Martians, the media would find some way to turn that into a headline which said "Are Elephants Martians? Experts Weigh In." The experts would then parade across the screen, but because the Martian-Elephant Liberty Think Tank (MELTT) already had white papers written which proved that Martians do indeed exist and fuzzy images seem to indicate there might be some resemblance to elephants, that expert would also take his seat at the pundits' table and so it would come to pass that we all be asked to accept as fact that it is not entirely insane to believe that elephants are Martians.
Next, they would commission a poll to see how people feel about elephants being Martians so they could get some experts to come on television and tell you why they're Martians.
Oh, the Sacred Polls, how we do worship them.
Just as opinions are placed into the mainstream via the highest, holiest institutions of thought -- think tanks -- so too are those opinions hardened by the pollsters, who in some cases, admit they use their data-gathering efforts to shape ideas. Instead of asking questions which then elicit responses, they take data and form a narrative, which is then pushed along by the linguists and thinkers, while some pollsters then convert the poll itselfinto the narrative.
A plurality of Americans now say they are better off than they were when President Barack Obama was inaugurated, providing a surprising lift to Obama’s re- election campaign despite troublesome economic news.
Forty-five percent of those surveyed in a Bloomberg National Poll say they are better off than at the beginning of 2009 compared with 36 percent who say they are worse off. In March, poll respondents split almost evenly on that question after having been decidedly negative since the aftermath of the worst recession in seven decades.
But it's not just that the economy is better than it was four years ago. People just don't like what Willard is saying about what he's going to do with the next four years.
Even with the run of bad reports, Americans say they prefer Obama’s economic vision to that of his presumptive Republican rival, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, by a margin of 49 percent to 33 percent. That finding reflects a 7-percentage- point gain for Obama since March and an equal loss for his opponent, identified then as “Republicans” and in this survey as Romney.
“You don’t just trust the private sector to do the right thing,” says Chris Howell, 23, who works at a nonprofit organization in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Obama’s policies are better suited to providing “long-term solutions” for the economy’s problems, he added.
Surely, the Willard campaign knows that Americans don't believe more tax cuts for rich people will magically turn the economy around. And seeing as how that's kinda Willard's entire recovery plan, that's a problem. So, what they'll have to do is run an almost entirely negative campaign against the president -- all the while complaining that he's the one that's going negative.
Somehow, that bumbling socialist usurper in the White House who has constantly apologized for America -- has the approval of half of the country.
Obama’s overall approval rating stands at 50 percent, the highest in a Post-ABC News poll since a brief run above 50 percent immediately after Osama bin Laden was killed in early May.
But what about all those Real Americans in Real America?
Overall, 55 percent of those who are closely following the campaign say they disapprove of what the GOP candidates have been saying.
But surely, a man who made his $250M outsourcing creating jobs will mop the floor with the Kenyan Marxist, right?
In a general-election test, Obama leads Romney 52 to 43 percent among all Americans; more narrowly, 51 to 45 percent, among registered voters. Among all adults, it’s Obama’s first time topping 50 percent in a head-to-head matchup with Romney since July; it’s his first time ever above that point among registered voters.
For those keeping score at home, the Black Jimmy Carter is currently outperforming the Great Leader who was supposed to usher in a permanent Republican majority. Yes, we've got a long way to go on unemployment -- but as the ad says, "pessimism never created a job."