Skew You! Lefty Pollsters

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Meet Dean Chambers aka The Unskewer.  If you’re a Mitt Romney supporter suffering from the blues over Mitt’s nosedive in popularity, lighten up! This guy’s probably already your hero because he has discovered IT’S ALL TOTALLY A MISTAKE!!!1!1 The Mittster is actually leading Obama by 10 points, you just read the wrong polls, you loser lefty Obamabots!

So says Dean Chambers, the one-man band running QStar News, (which is another of Chambers’ aliases) a conservative internet news outlet somewhat to the right of Right.  Chambers who lives at www.gop2112.com, churns out militant conservative screeds for the Examiner network (which pays bloggers based on the traffic they generate) and describes himself as a:

Politically incorrect, member of the Vast (?) right wing conspiracy, the TCOT community, working to make Obama a one-term president.

And he doesn’t disappoint on any of those counts.

Chambers has recently added pollster and political prognosticator to his resume, unleashing UnskewedPolls.com on American voters longing to see some signs of life in the Moribund Romney Campaign.  And conservatives everywhere are hailing UnskewedPolls as the best thing since Conservapedia! mainly because they show Romney winning by a landslide and Obama’s approval ratings dropping like a stone.

Dean Chambers’ premise is that all other polls in the country (except Rasmussen) are wildly inaccurate because too many Democrats voted last time, therefore most pollsters believe that there are roughly 8% more Democrats than Republicans.  Furthermore, pollsters rely on respondents reports of the political affiliation, which can change over the course of a campaign.  Also, it’s easier to respond to a poll than to show up at the polls, so turnout is a factor.  And it’s easy to see that this becomes mathematically complex in a heartbeat.

Still, Romney supporters have been whining, for some time now, that the 2008 election was a turnout anomaly and now that everybody knows how awful Obama is that pendulum is set to swing back and swing hard.  That is why, they allege, the left-leaning polling community is over-representing Democrats and under-representing Republicans and Independents because they are sampling based on the last election’s exit polls.  And that was before voters knew they would have Mitt to vote for, in 2012, and changed party? (all of a sudden, Republicans believe that they outnumber Democrats among registered voters.)  This injustice on the part of statisticians working for venerable old polling houses has resulted, Republicans believe, in a crippling, self-fulfilling disaster for Mitt who could easily lose because he’s being depicted as a loser by the liberal, leftie SKEWED polls.  Enter Dean Chambers to right that grievous wrong and skew them back.

So.  How does that work?  Since July, Chambers has re-weighted national polling data from organizations like Gallup, ARG, and the three networks, to fit the Rasmussen Reports partisan trends.  Rasmussen’s most recent partisan breakdown shows that 37.6 percent of Americans consider themselves Republicans, 33.3 percent Democrats, and 29.2 percent Independents. Chambers has published 30 “unskewed” polls on his website and on examiner.com. In the last month, Chambers’ retooled polls have Romney up by seven or more points.

For good measure, Chambers also re-weights President Obama’s approval rating using the same Rasmussen partisan estimates. By his analyses over the last month, an average of 53 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s performance. I guess it’s hard for Chambers to grasp that job approval ratings might not exactly fit a partisan model.

When Dave Weigel of Slate called Chambers up to get his side of the story, Weigel could hear FOX News playing in the background and Chambers let him know that:

Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell are on right now and they’re making the same point about sampling.

Weigel questioned Chambers’ use of Rasmussen for the “unskewing” because, as Weigel fairly points out, Rasmussen claims there are now more self-identified Republicans in America than Democrats.  But even in the GOP landslide year of 2010, Republicans and Democrats were tied; in the good Democratic years of 2006 and 2008, the Ds outnumbered the Rs.

Chambers’ answer? 

I’ve been following Rasmussen’s surveys and polls for a while and I’ve found them quite accurate.

Chambers then added (there’s always a conspiracy for these guys):

I think more Democrats respond to polls than Republicans.  Rasmussen is a robo-pollster; exit polls are conducted by humans outside polling places.  When the networks get numbers from people who are willing to leave the polls and talk to the media, well, they’re getting skewed samples. And that’s largely a problem with most of the phone surveys.

So, is Chambers’ “unskewing” valid?  BuzzFeed decided the fairest place to start would be with Rasmussen, here’s what Scott Rasmussen, founder of Rasmussen Report told them:

. . . you cannot compare partisan weighting from one polling firm to another.  Different firms ask about partisan affiliation in different ways. Some ask how you are registered. Some ask what you consider yourselves. Some push for leaners, others do not. Some ask it at the beginning of a survey which provides a more stable response while others ask it at the end.

But, still, as Max Read says:

. . . don’t these results feel more right? Because, when you think about it, you hate Obama, and so does your wife, and the people you talk to on Twitter, so, obviously, most of the people in the country hate him?

Working through all of this material made me totally curious about who this guy, Dean Chambers, is . . . what I learned made a whole lot of pieces fall into place.

Chambers has a BA in Political Science from the University of Maine from which he graduated in 1991.  From 1995 - 1997 he worked as an Information Specialist for an electric power company called
Reddy Corporation International.  In 2010, Chambers founded QStar News.  There are a few gap-years in his resume so, I guess, maybe he could’ve been getting a PhD in statistical analysis at Stanford or something—but I’d be surprised.

Here’s his Twitter masthead, which speaks volumes:


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And Chambers’ Examiner articles are pretty much what you might expect from a “politically incorrect TCOTer”:

Mitt Romney victory through ‘political shock therapy’
Commentary: Colossal ignorance on display, John Kerry’s climate change comment
Extreme environmental agenda is an economic suicide pact
Comprehensive Immigration Reform is a Democrat Scam
Obama push for Buffet Rule proves he’s blinded by leftist ideology

. . . and on and on.

So, if you “rilly, rilly double-rilly want Mitt to win”? Chambers is your go-to for encouraging news.  If you’re looking for facts?  You might want to check just about anywhere else . . .

****UPDATE****

It aqppears that this “skewed polling” meme has slithered its way all the way up to the upper echelons of the GOP.  A few minutes ago, Huffington Post reported that:

the Romney Campaign’s political director, Rich Beeson and its digital director Zac Moffatt, en route to a campaign stop in Vandalia, Ohio, dismissed recent bad numbers from the Buckeye State during a gaggle with reporters.

the comments were occasioned by a new Washington Post poll showing Romney trailing by eight points in Ohio.

Huffington Post added:

Beeson also accused Democrats of being overconfident.  Obama campaign manager Jim Messina is “spiking the football at the 30-yard line,” and the competitiveness of the race in states like Wisconsin and Iowa suggest a close national contest. “This is a wide open race,” Beeson said. Moffatt called the Obama campaign’s larger number of social media followers “vanity metrics,” and said it is the quality of voter contact that matters.

Something tells me there might be a job with Team Romney for an “unskewed” dude with the magic calculator.

 

Posted by Bette Noir on 09/25/12 at 03:40 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsElection '12Nutters

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That Twitter masthead.  See, Obama is like a sissfied, wimpy, dopey comic character that no-one takes seriously.  Right?  And Ermahgerd, he’s The Great Destroyer!  Because why not?

The guy is a turd. I actually laughed out loud at re-sampling subsets of a sample population based on an entirely different poll taken under different circumstances and by different methods.


Said that before reading the Buzzfeed derived quote..

(which pays bloggers based on the traffic they generate)

Hmm…

And those polls that gave Bush credit for killing Bin Laden—what about those polls? Are they skewed? Are they un-skewable? Are the deconstructed for their skeweredness?

Your standard Republican respondent to polls is misinformed and incapable of dealing with logic, facts or reason. THEIR responses in all polls, due to their lack of being informed and in possession of viable information, drags all polls down into the abyss.

This is why I’ll never be a success on the Internet. I’d never have thought to just arbitrarily add numbers to a poll until it came out the way I wanted. You gotta be on the cusp of these things.

Also, some of the comments on that Gawker piece are a hoot. Sometimes, I swear that blogging was introduced solely as a means of validating the Dunning-Krueger Effect.

I’d never have thought to just arbitrarily add numbers to a poll until it came out the way I wanted.

Rasmussen’s built an entire business empire on doing precisely that!

Furthermore, pollsters rely on respondents’ reports of the political affiliation, which can change over the course of a campaign.

Ever since Charles Pierce made fun of Paul Ryan, I’ve been enraged about Chappaquiddick!

This is why I’ll never be a success on the Internet. I’d never have thought to just arbitrarily add numbers to a poll until it came out the way I wanted. You gotta be on the cusp of these things.

It’s hard, being part of the reality-based community.

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