Every time you read a story about how Romney must “reverse course” after a “disastrous month” of “Obama momentum,” realize that this narrative was entirely created by biased pollsters and a complicit media seeking to sway election turnout.
Left-leaning pollsters are actively trying to discourage conservative voters and donors, put the Republican ticket on the defensive, and suppress GOP turnout. What’s the proof?
Modern-day pollsters weight their raw sample results to match the electorate by expected turnout for key demographic groups. Almost every poll showing Obama ahead of Romney in swing states by double digits uses a weighting model that predicts Democratic turnout equal to or greater than it was in 2008. Specifically, these polls overweight demographic groups that flocked out en masse for Obama in 2008 and underweight anti-Obama groups.
Rather than assuming that unemployed college students and African Americans are more excited about voting for Obama this year than in 2008, reliable polling agencies such as Rasmussen, Purple Strategies, Gallup, and AP are using a weighting model that predicts Democratic voter turnout closer to what it was in 2004, or to a combination of 2004 and 2008. These firms have consistently found the race to be a toss-up, or for Obama to have only a slight lead.
The issue of weighting is not a statistical lacuna, a minor methodological difference that leads to slight differences among polls without affecting the overall result. In close cases, weighting is everything. It determines the results.
Imagine a state with 5.1 million registered Democrats and 4.9 million Republicans. If both parties saw 75 percent turnout in 2012, the Democratic candidate would beat the Republican 51 percent to 49 percent.
Now suppose that Democrats saw 80 percent turnout and Republicans only 70 percent, comparable to 2008. In this case the Democrat would win 54 percent to 46 percent. But if Democrats saw 70 percent turnout and Republicans saw 80 percent, closer to what happened in 2004, the Republican would win 52 percent to 48 percent.
Assuming only slight differences in numbers of registered voters across parties, as in most swing states, turnout decides results. And most pollsters are relying on an outdated turnout model that enormously benefits Democrats, despite the fact that Democratic voter enthusiasm is down and Republican enthusiasm is up.
To get a flavor of how off-the-mark most polling firms’ numbers are, consider the regularly updated Real Clear Politics average of poll averages. As of September 30, it predicts Obama beating Romney by a greater margin than he did McCain in Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina, three key swing states; and by similar margins in other swing states. Factor out the more unbiased polls, and Obama is outpacing Romney to such a degree as to make the 2008 election look like a nail-biter. In North Carolina, the average of averages predicts that Obama’s margin of victory over Romney will be almost four times greater than his win over McCain.
Taking an average of several polls doesn’t solve the problem, because most polls are making the same mistake. This isn’t a case of some polls being a little biased one way, some another way, so let’s take the average and call it even. It’s a case of almost all polls being hugely biased in the same direction and for the same reason.
Defenders of the insanely optimistic pro-Obama polls claim that even right-leaning pollsters such as Rasmussen and Fox show slight Obama leads. Fine—they show slight Obama leads, not double-digit leads. But pollsters with an agenda know that a lead of a point or two six weeks before an election is not enough to dispirit half the population.
If we’re lucky, left-leaning pollsters’ efforts will be overcome by Romney and Ryan performing well in the debates, September and October jobs reports proving the economy still disastrous, Romney parlaying his monetary advantage over Obama, states implementing new voter fraud laws, and undecided voters breaking against the incumbent as they have historically done.
If pollsters successfully influence voter turnout by suppressing Republican enthusiasm and push the election to Obama, they will have electoral blood on their hands.