Skewed Polls: Proof of a Vast Left-wing Conspiracy?

Polling discrepancies may confuse voters deciding between Romney and Obama. Image courtesy of Voice of America

2012 Election Turnout Predictions

While Democrats may have turned out in greater numbers during the 2008 elections, critics say that is no defense for skewing in the current polls.

Writing for the National Review Online, Jim Geraghty notes that although Democrats had an 8 percent turnout advantage in Ohio in 2008, a September, 2012 New York Times/CBS/Quinnipiac poll had a +9 D advantage.

The poll also used a +11 D advantage in its Pennsylvania poll despite the fact Democrats only had 7 percent more voters in 2008 than Republicans.

Meanwhile, a September study from Rasmussen Reports indicates Republicans may have the upper-hand when it comes to sheer numbers in 2012.

The polling firm found, as of August 2012, 37.6 percent of Americans considered themselves Republicans compared to 33.3 percent who self-identified as Democrats.

Perhaps making an even bigger case against polls weighted toward Democrats may be the advantage Republicans have in terms of likely voters. An October poll from the Pew Research Center finds 76 percent of those who are Republican or lean Republican say they are likely to vote in the presidential election. Only 62 percent of those who are Democrat or lean Democrat can say the same.

Are Pollsters Unfairly Skewing Poll Results?

While some may see a blatant liberal conspiracy behind the current practice of weighted polls, it is hard to definitely ascertain pollster intentions.

In 2008, Rasmussen published a defense of the weighting of its daily presidential tracking polls. The firm argued weighting helped smooth out the ‘statistical noise’ that inevitably occurs as a result of daily polling. In addition, Rasmussen reported a review of its June 2008 polling information found the outcome, over the course of the month, would have been the same with or without the weighting.

Regardless of whether the 2012 polls are fairly or unfairly skewed, there is little doubt the race between Obama and Romney will be competitive right to the end. And ultimately, the only poll that matters is the one that occurs on Tuesday.

Resources:

Princeton Survey Research. United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll. (2012). Accessed November 4, 2012.

Unskewed Polls. Romney leads in nine of 11 key swing states by UnSkewed Polls averages. (2012). Accessed November 4, 2012.

United States Election Project. 2008 General Election Voter Registration Statistics. (2009). Accessed November 4, 2012.

Geraghty, J. This Morning’s Polls Project More Heavily Democratic Electorates Than in 2008. (2012). Accessed November 4, 2012.

Rasmussen. Number of Republicans in America Reaches Record High. (2012). Accessed November 4, 2012.

Pew Research Center. Presidential Race Dead Even; Romney Maintains Turnout Edge. (2012). Accessed November 4, 2012.

Rasmussen. The Value of Party Weighting. (2012). Accessed November 4, 2012.

© Copyright 2012 Maryalene LaPonsie, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science

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  • Jm

    Of course, we all know what is happening. Romney will win big. The left always tends to trust fake polls. Remember in 2004 they trusted the exit polls instead of the real ones! Go Romney!

  • sam somwaru

    Love mitt. So true. Am a square shooter an red state baby!

  • mike

    Romany is great lier and flip-flopper, he just keeps claiming and fooling people that knows how to fix economy but his fake Tax plan does NOT even add up for sure is not going to be passed,
    I am not going to vote for this fake Guy that his own record shows that un-employment, deficit and jobs outsourcing got increased and his state got highest unemployment rate in nation when he was governor of Massachusetts.

  • Enuf

    I’m a moderate independent conservative and I see this sort of talk as just so much absurd bulluckey. Even Karl Rove’s polling site shows Obama ahead. To claim that there is a vast conspiracy to make polling favor Obama is insipid. More of the “I Am A Victim Look At Me!” mentality that has destroyed my former party, that being the Republican Party.

  • danR

    Nice.

    Those sneaky Democrats–going door to door and getting all those people out to vote. Campaigning face-to-face instead of throwing honest money at them.

  • e cloutier

    what do you expect obama lied his way to the top ven to the media .

  • Mike

    Hey Mike, this is the problem, most democrats can’t spell. “lier” LOL try “liar”. Maybe if more dems had an education, we (the USA) wouldn’t be in the fix we’re in!

  • Steve

    This post would be clearer, and less likely to be interpreted as biased, if it said “in a randomly chosen sample, most people self-identified as Democrats,” instead of saying “more Democrats were polled.” The latter formulation gives the incorrect impression that pollsters sought out Democrats to poll. That would not only produce a biased sample, it would be unprofessional and unethical. No one, however, is asserting this. The samples are indeed random. The problem is that a majority of random people self-identify as Democrats.

    The Republican SkewedPolls website you refer to–with no explanation of how it could be–declares the self-identification as incorrect. To “correct” the error, it assumes an “ideal” ratio, then weights the Republican votes heavier than the Democratic votes. Presto, the polls now turn out to say exactly what SkewedPolls assumed they should say in the first place. It is utter garbage. No pollling firm accepts this manipulation as valid.

    Note also that SkewedPolls found all the polls to be biased before the Denver election, but when Romney gained ground, suddenly SkewedPolls accepted their results. It’s “scientific” complaints are entirely determined by who is leading in the polls.

  • Civilrightsforall

    If Romney wins, it will be because the Republicans cheated the same way they did in 2004.

  • JOHN CONLEY

    when obama win who will gop blaim .it the left. big brd, MICKY MOUSE.ARE MABE ITS ME WHO NO ONE KNOW

  • Zero Hour

    “Enuf says” says it all — the GOP has been hijacked by a bunch of whiners who are cheering on a draft dodger. It is so sad that the GOP blocked the veterans jobs and reintegration bill on Sept. 19th. When they start voting against our proud servicemen (who have lost life and limb) fighting fictitious wars– that’s when I stop voting for them.

  • Guy Tuthill

    First, “virtually every major poll has had President Barack Obama leading”? That’s a wildly inaccurate opening sentence. Romney polled ahead of Obama in the national popular vote more often than behind over the last month.

    Second, the point made by skeptical viewers is that the margin of Democrat weighting in 2012 is actually greater than the voting balance in the 2008 elections. That would indicate an enthusiasm level among Democrats greater than that of 2008, which seems awfully unlikely, given all the other indicators out there.

    Finally, the headline itself is sort of a scarecrow. Few call the weighting issue ‘proof’ of anything. It is usually simply discounted as suspect.

  • Xander

    For every cry of “bias!” from one side based a a certain factor, there is a countervailing one from the other side. Before Repbulicans get too comfortable and self-satisfied with the idea that polls are skewed against Republicans, just consider that almost 40% of households don’t have landlines anymore–just cell phones. Most of the polls out there don’t adequately capture the cell phone population. Now ask yourself, do you really think the type of people who get rid of their landlines are likely Republican voters? No need for name calling — just dig deep down in your heart and be honest with yourself.

  • VIBHUTI

    Yes of course it is left wing conspiracy:
    Lip less B ush senior raised taxes.
    Wonder Boy told the truth about weapons of mass destructions to start a war.
    It is left wing conspiracy if not billions millions were stolen in the name of war.
    It is left wing conspiracy rich get richer and but out the government.
    Of course it is left wing conspiracy that Romney does not which side of mouth he is speaking.
    Of couirse it is left wing conspiracy that we have elections every 4 years.

  • walt

    An article that does little beside hand-wave towards claims by from the paranoid right, without full diagnosis, doesn’t accomplish much. The article leaves out any view on this issue from the left, and even worse, any of the deep discussion of statistical analysis that’s been published elsewhere. Far more self-identified independent voters are former Republicans than former Democrats. Those independent voters, in most states, favor Obama. Since Obama’s stand is more like the old Rockefeller Republicans than like the old Kennedy Democrats on most every issue, this makes a sense. To support Romney, you have to believe that telling lies at every opportunity is a leadership trait. To support the current Republican Party, you have to believe that the Confederacy should have won the Civil War. Neither of those is a traditional GOP stand.

  • Nimunik

    Hey Mike,

    Put down the koolaid! Mass wasn’t even close to the lowest unemployment from 2003 to 2007.
    You libs live on utruths!

  • http://ziegegeist.com Ziege

    Polls sample more Democrats because there ARE more Democrats. It’s very simple. This complaint is no different than if someone on the left griped that polls are biased toward Romney because they don’t sample an even number of white people and black people. It’s an ignorant complaint, plain and simple.

  • Loyal2US

    I am supporting Ron Paul ,especially for his independence from Israel firster mindset.
    As two current candidates, R is more loyal to Israel.
    Conservative conspiracy is so ridiculous that not only pollsters made up poll, even labor statistics made up statistics, so whole world made up to against them. There is medical definition for this status, is it?

  • gl wells

    liar, lier…matters not nor who you vote for………. bottom line and come nov 5 you are all still SCREWED

  • steve

    This election will not be just a landslide but a real earthquake.
    Romney will be the VICTOR big time…
    Whoever wins g_d bless them !

  • Robert

    Early Voting Advantage = Obama – 62% to 38%.

    Ground Game Advantage = Obama.

    Latino Vote Advantage = Obama.

    Women’s Vote Advantage = Obama.

    Incumbency Advantage = Obama.

    Ahead in the polls = Obama.

    Way Ahead on the Prediction Sites = Obama.

    Money Advantage = Obama.

    Critical State Advantage = Obama.

    Caught in over 50 verified LIES = Romney.

    Caught Insulting the Middle Class with his smarmy 47% comment = Romney.

    Badly beaten in 2 out of 3 debates = Romney.

    Has not articulated a single plan = Romney.

    Climate Change LIAR = Romney.

    Good luck with that Republican criminals and lovers of LIES and Deceit!

  • Joyce Edwards

    In other words,there’s thothing wrong with the polls..in your own account, if there are more registered Dems., than more Dems. will get polled, thus showing a strongler allialiance to Obama. Obama wins. What’s strange about that. If you want to poll 50/50,Dems / Reb. that might be different,but we don’t have a 50/50 Demo/Reb. so what’s the point. You want to take an average of the population when you poll, not a controll.

  • jIM

    Hey Enuf, it is unlikely that you are a moderate independent conservative. I ‘m gonna make a wild guess and say you are a far left liveral. And that you posted with that title to give your arguement more weight. How bout you leave planet liberal and come back to planet earth. BTW…Here is a very recent quote from Karl Rove :
    According to Rove, “There have been 31 national surveys in the previous seven days. Mr. Romney led in 19, President Obama in seven, and five were tied. Mr. Romney averaged 48.4%; Mr. Obama 47.2%.”
    “sometime after the cock crows on the morning of Nov. 7, Mitt Romney will be declared America’s 45th president. Let’s call it 51 percent-48 percent, with Mr. Romney carrying at least 279 Electoral College votes, probably more.”

  • indi2

    It is not skewed. It is just that the liberals do it so naturally that they believe it to be true.

  • bugbuster

    The polls have historically been good but not perfect predictors of election results. What they can’t predict is what the campaigns will do or not do, and that is what makes the difference in a close election. Both these campaigns are on their A game. However, the numbers of Dems and Republicans isn’t as variable and unpredictable as that. There are more Democrats. Whether they can be got out to the polls in the right places to capture the electoral votes–that’s what will determine the result, and I don’t doubt that that is what is on the minds of the Obama campaign. I think that Romney could be a good President if the better aspects of his personality prevail, if he gets good advice, and if he follows it.

  • Gregory

    If the polls are done in a statistically random fashion, it should be an accurate (statistically) representation of the voters, at that time. Keep in mind that pollsters make their money by being accurate – and biased polls are not accurate. THE most important thing is that everyone go out and VOTE – you have no right to complain about the government in charge if you did not vote in the last election.

  • stan

    as opposed to a vast right wing conspiracy? give me a break……

  • java

    The poll is random sample of the US population, why should the pollsters strive for a 50-50 split if that does not reflect the split in the population? Typical Republican twist of facts, I am sick and tired of it…

  • J. Stansal

    If the polls surveyed an equal amount of Democrats and Republicans, they’d all end up in a 50-50 tie. You’re really grasping at straws here. It’s like you’re looking at a poll of kids that says kids overwhelmingly prefer candy to brussel sprouts and screaming like a lunatic that the poll sampled too many candy-lovers.

  • scott florida

    TO ALL THOSE PEOPLE THAT WANT TO VOTE FOR THE COMMUNIST PARTY, AND THE ONE WORLD ORDER, AND THE LOSING OF ALL YOUR RIGHTS, JUST BE ONE OF THOSE VOTERS THAT VOTE FOR OBAMA/ROTHSCHILDS TICKET AND SEE WHAT THAT GETS YOU……. A SLAVE TO THE GOVERMENT, EXPENDIBLE, USELESS, A TOY FOR ROTHSCHILD ENJOYMENT……..

  • Stanford Blue

    If Romney wins it may very well set off civil unrest in every major urban area of this country. I am talking race riots like we have never seen before!

  • http://nguyench3.wordpress.com/ Ch3 Nguyen

    MI has no business of being a toss-up. A recent MI poll showed Romney in front of Obama by 1%.
    PA should be solid blue by now. Latest poll from Tribune showed Romney and Obama are tied at 47%.
    And OH is still within error of margin based on the latest Columbus Dispatch.
    President Obama will not be re-elected.
    In the end, Romney will get at least 277 electoral votes.

  • Loyal2US

    I saw too many emotional posts, upper case , etc, almost all from Romney supporters. Please, before your partisanship, you are a US citizen, a man. Just cool it down, it’s good for your health.

  • Dan Simpson

    The heavy democrat skew of national polls has given all who crave a real change and love America cause for a broad smile.
    A close race is a Romney lead and eventual victory. I would like to add this thought from Leo Tolstoy:
    ” A man is a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. ”
    Imam hussien obama is 1 / 16 TRILLION