Many will remember the 1980 election between Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter. The major polls, right up until one week before the election, showed the race close and “within the margin of error” in some polls. Yet we all know the actual poll on election day resulted in a landslide win for Ronald Reagan. Surveys have shown most who run the major mainstream media outlets favor the Democrats and are themselves supporters or donors to the Democrat candidates. So it should be no surprise to informed readers to know they would seek to help their favored candidates by manipulating polling data to make it look like their candidate is doing better in the polls than they actually are doing.
As reported by the Daily Caller, just a ONE percent skewing of polls in battleground states in favor of Obama radically changed the overall picture. This allowed media outlets to report that swing states are divided between Obama and Romney when in reality, those states could be swept by Mitt Romney. The picture posted with this article comes from that story by the Daily Caller.
One of the most effective ways to skew the polls is to over-sample Democrats. Right now, according to what many believe is very accurate data, Rasmussen Reports informs us that voters in the U.S. identify about equally between Democrats, Republicans and Independent/unenrolled voters. If you analyze polling data but insist on sampling Democrats at 42 percent instead of 33 percent, your results will favor the Democrats by about nine percent. The Newsweek polls have been known for doing this, especially earlier in the political season when it was believed this would convince voters to be more likely to support Democrats. In the summer of 2010, Newsweek's poll showed more voters favoring Democrats in the generic congressional ballot than Republicans. Most other polls, including Rasmussen Reports, predicted voters would favor Republicans for Congress. On election day, it was a GOP landslide as the Republicans gained 63 seats.
The other major way polls are manipulated is the issue of surveying registered voters versus surveying likely voters. Surveys of likely voters have a tendency to be closer to the real results on election day as well as show a bit more support for the Republicans because in intensity level being higher for GOP supporting voters than those supporting the Democrats. For this reason, if one desires to have the Democrats looking better in polling data, once simply needs to survey registered voters rather than likely voters. Or in some instances, surveys count anyone eligible to vote, registered or not registered. Early in the season, many pollsters survey registered voters and report numbers showing the Democrats to be competitive. But most pollsters want their numbers later in the political season to be more accurate, so they switch later on to surveying likely voters.
In 2004, during the race between John Kerry and George W. Bush, the weeks in late summer that most pollsters switched to surveying likely voters was also the week they all reported Bush taking a lead in their polls. These polls are often commissioned by the same media outlets that tell us that voters don't really pay attention to the campaigns until after Labor Day in September. Yet they are the same who also manipulate the polls, surveying registered voters and over-sampling Democrats, for months during the earlier period of the political season while voters supposedly are not paying much attention.
Voters should remember this when they keep seeing the media report every week that Obama remains tied with Mitt Romney in the polls until a week before the election when it becomes clear that Romney is going to win decisively. They know Obama is losing badly but they want to convince people he has a chance and to support him. As more voters become aware of this practice, it shouldn't come as a surprise that voters are increasingly skeptical of polls and when surveyed themselves, will often deliberately give pollsters the wrong answers, or the answers they believe the pollsters want to hear. As long as the mainstream media portrays opposition to President Obama as “racist” they should not be surprised to have voters falsely reporting to pollsters they will vote for Obama when they plan to vote for Romney on election day.
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