October 21, 2008
Dishonest polls, dishonest victory?
Like a lot of people, I've been wondering about those polls.
If McCain were to pull ahead of Obama (as he has four or five times before), wouldn't the Obama campaign be so scared that they would want the results either changed, statistically skewed, or somehow not reported?
I realize they don't have the kind of influence to skew the polls, but I was thinking about what Jim Geraghty's mentor said earlier:
"Believe me, there is someone in the Obama campaign who is deathly afraid of the 'McCain pulls even or goes ahead' poll." (And in Gallup, it was within 2 percent.) "That Obama strategist knows how much depends on the whole Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel approach --.work with the media to demoralize conservatives, and keep the perception of a juggernaut going. But a day or two of a few bad polls, and that strategy backfires. The conservatives know they've still got a shot at this."(Via Glenn Reynolds.)
Well I for one am glad these are all reputable pollsters who would never skew their results in the juggernaut's favor.
Because if they were skewing the results to make it look as if Obama was ahead when actually McCain was ahead, then a McCain victory would come as a huge and terrible shock -- a gut-wrenching one that would be bad for the country, because people would think that either McCain "stole the election" or else the voters were a bunch of dishonest "racists" who "lied" to pollsters (the so-called "Bradley effect" -- which actually involves not hiding racism, but fear of being accused of racism.)
That wouldn't be fair at all. Because the more dishonest the polls were, the more they'd help convince voters that an Obama victory was inevitable (thus helping Obama), and more dishonest any McCain victory would appear to be (thus inflicting maximum damage on McCain if he managed to win).
I'm glad they're not doing that.
UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and a warm welcome to all. Comments always appreciated, whether you agree or disagree.
I notice that some commenters are interpreting this post as an insinuation that the polls are dishonest. Actually, I wrote it as a "what if" because I really don't know. However, the post Glenn links by D.J. Drummond does more than speculate about a "what if" scenario. People who think I'm being mealy-mouthed should by all means check it out.
Also, check out this from Mickey Kaus:
while Zogby's national telephone tracking poll shows Obama opening up an 8 point lead, his online state by state polls are not following suit. They have McCain moving ahead in Nevada 51.5% to 44%, behind in Colorado by only three-tenths of a percent, close in Virginia, New Hampshire, and Florida. I assume this is more a commentary on the accuracy of online polls than on the state of the race. Interesting either way!I'm not insinuating; just linking.
UPDATE: The polls keep coming in.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The presidential race tightened after the final debate, with John McCain gaining among whites and people earning less than $50,000, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that shows McCain and Barack Obama essentially running even among likely voters in the election homestretch.So is the split among pollsters, it appears....
posted by Eric on 10.21.08 at 03:36 PM
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