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Kudos.

It's been a documented fact that many of the polls that gain prominence around election time are taken and massaged in order to sway and influence public opinion. I've been a believer of this for years.

With the way the polls are suddenly turning in the favor of a certain candidate are intended to depress folks voting for the other side.

For those who ARE getting depressed and worried: don't be worried and don't give up; the election ain't done 'til the voting is complete!

Dave,

Political polls seem to return whatever the poll takers want them to say, regardless of what the voters think. Even the exit polls taken on the way out from an election don't appear to reflect reality all that well. I'd like to know why we place such importance on the results of some pollsters questioning.

Polling, if done right, is a very good barometer of public opinion.

What I hope to NOT see, when---not if---Obama wins, that Republicans cry like babies saying the election was stolen from them.

Dan, I know that if McCain had the sort of money the Obama has garnered and is now spending, Democrats would be crying like babies that McCain is "buying the election."

Funny, I haven't seen any Republican complaining about that. So if any party is to be tarred as habitual whiners, it is the Democracts.

When Nixon lost a close race to Kennedy in 1960 -- and voting fraud in Chicago might very well have tipped the balance in Illinois in favor of Kennedy -- Nixon didn't cry like a baby, he did not ask for a recount, he conceded the election with dignity.

When Gore lost a close race to Bush with disputed voting in Florida, he called for a recount, brought court actions, and generally did his best to undermine confidence in the US electoral process. Gore makes Nixon look like a noble patriot.

So really, this line of argument is not a winner for you. Even WINNING the election, Democrats will do more whining than Republicans. It's their primary approach to governance.

Dave,

No it isn't. The situation in 2000 was utterly embarrassing to our nation. We were the laughing stock of the democratic world. But that's what you get in such a close election. Gore did the right thing to fight it until it was clear enough he would lose it. Nixon didn't need to fight in 1960. It was clear enough he lost.

As far as whining is concerned, there are no greater whiners than Republicans. They whine about taxes. They whine about foreign policy. They whine about ACORN. They whine about Bill Ayers. They whine about socialism. They are the complete and perfect whiners of the United States of America. Democrats don't even come close to the level of whining we hear out of Republicans.

Dave,

The WSJ article is an interesting perspective. Here is a link to another view on why the poll results are so inaccurate: Ann Coulter on the "Bradley" effect.

I suspect such influence makes most of the current polling relatively worthless.

Not to rain on your parade of Republican virtues, but there is a strong possibility the polls are understating Obama's strength since most are conducted using landline phones and most younger, likely Obama, voters around the country use -- you guessed it -- cellphones.

You've certainly got the party line down, Dan. I've never seen a clearer example of whining when one ought to be governing than Nancy Pelosi's rant agains Bush on the verge of passing the first bailout bill. If elected, Democrats will spend the next four years blaming everything that goes wrong on Bush. It's the party of non-accountability. That approach might fool some of the people some of the time, but doesn't deserve any respect.

Which is not to say there aren't good Democratic candidates or that there's anything wrong with voting Democratic. I'm not demonizing Democrats, I just think the charge that Republicans are whiners is unfounded and, if lodged by a Democrat, even a good Democrat, is utterly hypocritical.

Hmm...you didn't seem to mind polls when when McCain was up (see the now dated link to the Gallup poll in the "Notes from Dave" sidebar).

3 sure signs that a preferred candidate is losing:

Whining about media bias: check.

Smearing the opposing party with extreme labels (for Democrats it's Fascism and Republicans its Socialism/Marxism): check.

Questioning the accuracy of the polls: check.

Judging from your recent posts, Dave, I wonder which party is losing?

We've been whining about media bias and socialist democrats long before losing this election.

David G,.

Your comments hit close to home. If I was a registered Republican any longer, I'd be very embarrassed. As it is, I continue to be angry that neither major party offers anything of interest to me. Criticize the Republicans -- please. Maybe they will change their way, finally and for good. Somehow I doubt that anyone is likely to offer much of something new. If Obama wins the presidency, he will have lots of blame to spread around.

Dave,

I'll give you one point. The current Democratic leadership in Congress is an embarrassment. If you have followed my blog at all (not really expecting you to), you would see several times when I get really frustrated that Pelosi and Reid not act like they are in charge.

That's one thing I like about Obama. He's presenting himself right now very well as someone who will take charge. As to how well he will do that, we'll see. But I'm not a partisan. I'm a moderate. However, the Republican party has lost its way, very badly. And I wish to see it politically destroyed, frankly.

Ditto Jim.

I hope out of a huge loss the Republican party will reinvent themselves rather than offer more of the same.

David G., there are two questions, neither of which is really a partisan question. One is how accurate the polls are as predictors of voter behavior. The other is whether the media or other interested parties use polling data strategically (to influence the views of others). I don't see how my own voting preferences (which may have leaked through my normally objective posts) matters for these questions.

We expect campaigns to use polling data strategically, for example favoring data showing their candidate is ahead to the media, but favoring data showing their candidate is trailing when speaking to campaign workers (to motivate them).

The biggest problem comes if some media outlets, which report general polling data to the public, use polling data strategically. For example, reporting polling data reflecting views of the general public rather than polling data drawn from likely voters. Still, that's not a partisan view -- I assume everyone would like the media to report the best available polling data, not select what data to report based on a private agenda.

Here's another short media story about polls.

Dave, suggesting that one political party complains and/or whines more than the other is just silly. Both parties do a lot of whining about the other. Suggesting that whining constitutes Democrats' "primary approach to governance" really undermines any credibility you have as a balanced reporter. (BTW, Dan's suggestion that "
there are no greater whiners than Republicans" is equally absurd).

Dave said:

I just think the charge that Republicans are whiners is unfounded,

Tim J. said:

We've been whining about media bias and socialist democrats long before losing this election.

I'm confused. So do Republicans whine or not?

I can't speak for Tim J.

The term "socialist" did not become part of the present election until Obama raised the issue by telling Joe the Plumber his goal was to "spread the wealth." Media bias has always been around, but has really come out of the closet since the McCain-Obama match-up was fixed. So the phenomena I'm talking about are fairly recent.

And I don't think talking about Obama's spread the wealth plan or media bias is whining -- it's discussing relevant issues. Issues have two sides, of course, and one can disagree without suggesting the other is merely whining. Since when did everyone take political disagreement so personally?

I don't see how my own voting preferences (which may have leaked through my normally objective posts) matters for these questions.

Perhaps I am wrong to assume this, but I would include your blog as a sort of "media outlet" that is "us[ing] polling data strategically." I see your link on the sidebar as an attempt to form a narrative in the minds of your readers - that the RNC gave McCain a huge bump in the polls. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall seeing any links or posts following Obama's rise in the polls. But now that McCain is losing, we get a post that is calling into question the validity and reliability of polls. I suspect that your voting preferences had a lot to do with what you've chosen to emphasize or deemphasize. Or maybe I'm just offbase here, and it's okay to whine about the msm being biased in their reporting but not okay to suggest that you're also biased in the selection of post topics?

(don't cha know Dave that I'm a big fan of your blog and I'm saying all of this with a big Sarah Palin wink ;)

Actually, Dave, the "spread the wealth" narrative didn't become an issue (outside of Fox News) until McCain hammered it in the debate. And it wasn't a "socialist" issue until McCain made it one, and, I might add, that the big, bad liberally-biased CNN has pushed McCain's narrative far more than any other news network, so who is biased now? (I'm violating my own rule here by linking to the Daily Kos, but this seems like a fairly objective claim)

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/10/20/134732/43/216/636436

On a related note, McCain is criticizing Obama's progressive tax plan by calling it "socialist" when, in fact, McCain's plan is also based on progressive taxation, but admittedly to a lesser degree. And lest we forget, McCain was first opposed to Bush taxcuts before he was for them, because they gave too much back to the rich and they weren't accompanied with reductions in spending.

I can't speak for Tim J.

Then perhaps you should refrain from making sweeping conclusions about Republicans and Democrats.

And I don't think talking about Obama's spread the wealth plan or media bias is whining -- it's discussing relevant issues.

Nor do I consider it whining. Of course, I don't consider talking about McCain's proposed policies whining, either. Nor do I consider criticizing said proposals "attacking" McCain, but we've already established that we disagree on that issue.

I think we're in agreement, Christopher -- except for that part about me not making sweeping conclusions about Republicans and Democrats. I mean, what is blogging for if not to voice one's informed and balanced opinions and invite commenters to do likewise?

Dave, do you honestly believe that your recent posts on politics have been "informed and balanced"? It seems to me (judging by the various links you provide) that they have been informed by right-leaning (and, in some cases, right-wing) media outlets, and thus cannot really be balanced. You are, of course, welcome to express your view on any issues on your blog, but to suggest that your views are fair and balanced seems naive to me.

I was giving myself and my commenters the benefit of the doubt, Christopher. I link to a variety of news sources. If you're aware of a certified non-biased news source, please let me know. It would save us all a lot of trouble.

Media bias: http://journalism.org/node/13307

Don't mind me. I'm just "whining".

Of course there's not "a certified non-biased news source," Dave. An appropriate solution for one wanting to present a balanced view of things would be to link to both conservative and liberal analyses of the issues. Instead, you (to cite a recent example) link to a piece by a McCain advisor in the Wall Street Journal decrying Obama's "socialist" policies, add a snide comment that anyone who knows anything about history, economics, and/or the New Deal will obviously agree with Rubin's conclusions, and then claim to be objective and fair.

So I repeat: do you honestly believe that your recent posts on politics have been "informed and balanced"?

Dave's posts only seem unbalanced if measured by the standard media coverage--which is incredibly biased.

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