Ruined Runes: Another Day, Another Poll, Another Headfuck

According to the top headline at Memeorandum at the moment, a bunch of folks are either whooping it up or uttering bewildered ZOMGs, depending on their political persuasions, over the latest poll from CBS News/New York Times which shows Romney with “a slight edge” of 46—43 over Obama among registered voters:

Washington Post:  Both establishment and tea party could lose in Nebraska
Datechguy / Datechguy’s Blog:  Demoralized as Hell: Et Tu CBS/NYT poll?
ZIP / Weasel Zippers:  New CBS/NYT Poll Finds One In Four Voters Less Likely To Vote For Obama After Gay Marriage Endorsement…
Maggie Haberman / Politico:  Romney leads Obama 46- 43 in new NYT/CBS poll
Allahpundit / Hot Air:  NYT/CBS poll: Romney 46, Obama 43
Joe Gandelman / The Moderate Voice:  CBS News/New York Times Poll: Romney Takes Slight Lead Over Obama
Katrina Trinko / National Review:  Poll: Romney’s Pulling Ahead

It should go without saying (and I certainly don’t want to end up having to point this out every frikkin time people who have their own agendas to shore up or who should know better go apeshit over the next pollster freakout) that one poll in isolation—in particular this far out from election day—indicates very little. Without wishing to totally dampen any motivating angst among Democrats, here’s a few other points that make me less than inclined to panic:

* CBS News itself observes: “Romney’s slight advantage remains within the poll’s margin of error, which is plus or minus four percentage points.”
* For those jumping to draw conclusions about any impact of president Obama’s declaration on marriage equality, or his or Romney’s standing among women or independents or whatever, it also observes: “The error for subgroups is higher.”
* It’s a callback poll, re-polling part of the same sample polled in the last CBS News/NYT poll that no doubt caused heads to explode or jubilation to break out when it was released—read the blurb at the bottom of the article: “This poll was conducted by telephone on May 11-13, 2012 among 615 adults nationwide, including 562 registered voters, who were first interviewed for a CBS News/New York Times Poll conducted April 13-17, 2012.” Aside from the smaller sample size, there’s every possibility that those who bothered to respond to the follow-up call were self-selected to be more exercised about certain issues.

It may or may not be a slight improvement on inspecting entrails or observing the flight paths of geese. Maybe somebody someday should stage a controlled experiment.

More: For those who’re interested, National Journal gets into the weeds to explain some more about this type of poll and some of its shortcomings:

The poll is actually a panel-back survey: Respondents to this poll were originally interviewed in mid-April for the previous CBS News/New York Times poll. In the mid-April survey, Obama and Romney ran dead even, with each candidate earning 46 percent of the vote.

Panel-back surveys are conducted for a number of reasons: Some pollsters occasionally consider it instructive to interview the same universe of people before and after a specific event. In other cases, it is simply cheaper to dial phone numbers behind which pollsters know are voters who are willing to answer public-opinion surveys; in doing so, pollsters avoid many of the nearly four-in-five adults who decline to participate in telephone polls.

But the practice also has drawbacks. Not every respondent to the original poll is available or willing to be interviewed again; indeed, of the 852 registered voters interviewed last month, just 562 were re-interviewed for this survey. Some analysts also believe that the experience of being interviewed previously affects how they view the race, potentially making them more likely to seek out information about politics and the presidential race, though the results of the poll are virtually identical to those of the previous survey.

Posted by YAFB on 05/15/12 at 08:32 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsElection '12Our Stupid MediaPoliblogsSkull Hampers

Share this post:  Share via Twitter   Share via BlinkList   Share via   Share via Digg   Share via Email   Share via Facebook   Share via Fark   Share via NewsVine   Share via Propeller   Share via Reddit   Share via StumbleUpon   Share via Technorati  

Well, the NYT certainly increased its traffic this morning.  I wonder if a WaPo poll comes out soon with a similar result.  Kaplan Test Prep Daily needs moar traffic.


In case this thing goes horribly wrong, what is Britain’s Immigration policy on US citizens? also, too, who has the best weather in England?

what is Britain’s Immigration policy on US citizens?

If you can get in and hide out for 12 years, you have squatter’s rights and nobody can do anything about it.

who has the best weather in England?

Assuming you mean the UK rather than just England, it depends what you mean by “best.” Down south it’s droughts and hosepipe bans, here up north it’s iffy, changeable, and often very, very wet.

I think I’d go with the droughts and hosepipe bans. I’ve lived in the Western U.S. deserts most of my life.

Well, on top of that you’ve got Cameron, Clegg, and Miliband and the Mother of All Austerity Drives to contend with, but don’t let me put you off.

Well, on top of that you’ve got Cameron, Clegg, and Miliband and the Mother of All Austerity Drives to contend with, but don’t let me put you off.

Any opinions on the south of France? ;-)

Buck up, Comrades! If we could survive 8 years of Bush without the economy imploding, a yawning chasm between haves and have-nots developing and the US military becoming stretched so thin a troop of Girl Scouts could overrun us, we can survive a Marquis de Mittens administration. Oh wait…

Folks over at the Great Orange Satan have an aggregated poll showing Obama with a commanding Electoral College lead.
Would be funny if Obama could win the electoral college and lose the popular vote. Watch the heads asplode.

Any opinions on the south of France? ;-)

Warm, lush, scenic, pleasant, demonstrably Catholic with pagan overtones and a fruity finish. And it seems work is treated like a necessary evil. Also NOW WITH ADDED SOCIALISM!!!!

Rasmussen had Romney at plus six in March, I don’t remember all this hoo ha then.

Folks over at the Great Orange Satan have an aggregated poll showing Obama with a commanding Electoral College lead.

You don’t even have to get all fancy with the technicalities and look at how the electoral college will actually work. Even RealClearPolitics—which has been known to cherrypick polls to gin up a horserace in the past—hasn’t included the CBS/NYT poll in its running average.

Rasmussen had Romney at plus six in March, I don’t remember all this hoo ha then.

I suspect one driver has been the urge to figure out how Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality would pan out (hence CBS News headlining its report “Poll: Most Americans support same-sex unions.” In fact, despite the desperate spinning from the right, even the flawed CBS/NYT poll doesn’t paint it as an unmitigated potential electoral disaster:

Overall, 38 percent of those who responded to the survey said same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, just like any other couple. Another 24 percent said civil unions should be used to grant same-sex couples legal rights similar to male-female partnerships. Combined, that means 62 percent - close to two thirds - of Americans believe that same-sex unions should be recognized by law.

Of all those who participated, 33 percent said there should be no legal recognition for same-sex couples.

One of the most striking figures revealed by the survey comes when the responses are broken down by age. Americans between the ages of 18 and 44 are far more likely than people 45 and older to support full marriage rights for same-sex couples.

I suspect one driver has been the urge to figure out how Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality would pan out

Unless they keep banging on about it until November everyone will have moved on to other things.  The American public has the memory retention of a goldfish when it comes to polls. 

Rasmussen did them four weeks in a row over Christmas.  It went Obama/Romney/Tie/Obama so they don’t mean much.

I only look at them after an election or primary to see which pollster was the worst.

I vote we all move to the UK. I’d like to say hosepipe all la-di-da style rather than thudding, monosylabic hose.

Well, if you want to be echt la-di-da, its Sunday name is Temporary Use Ban. Not sure how we got here from a stupid US media poll, but read and weep.

We’ve had watering restrictions in Colorado (and many other western states)for as long as I can remember.  Does seem strange that you guys are dealing with this though as I have always thought rain and the UK go together.

I heard there’s no speed limit on the hosepipebahn

I’m an avid Radio 4 listener, YAFB. Start The Week, News Quiz, IOT. I’m all over your southern drought.

Watch out for Okies.

We’ve got plenty of rain and hail in New Zealand if anybody wants some.

Page 1 of 1 pages

Sorry, commenting is closed for this post.

<< Back to main