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Reuters Attacks Gallup Poll Over Romney Lead

From a shameless Reuters:

As other polls show tight race, Gallup stands apart

By Andy Sullivan | Sat October 20, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The election between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney looks like it will be a knuckle-biter – unless you go by one of the United States’ most respected public-opinion polls.

As most surveys show Obama and Romney locked in a virtual dead heat, Gallup finds that the Republican would win by a comfortable six percentage points if the election were held today.

Questions about the gap between Gallup’s findings and those of other pollsters is the latest fuss this election season over polling methodology as partisan passions come to a boil in the heated final weeks before the November 6 presidential contest.

Except Gallup did change its methodology to suit David Axelrod, after he sicced the Justice Department on them. And they still are showing Romney ahead.

With a record of correctly predicting all but three of the 19 presidential races stretching back to 1936, Gallup is one of the most prestigious names in the business and its outlier status has other polling experts scratching their heads.

"They’re just so out of kilter at the moment," said Simon Jackman, a Stanford University political science professor and author of a book on polling. "Either they’re doing something really wacky or the other 18 pollsters out there are colluding, or something." …

Oddly enough, the FEC says that Mr. Jackman is a donor to the Obama campaign.

Gallup’s editor in chief, Frank Newport, said he didn’t know why his results didn’t line up with others. Nor did he seem unnerved by the disparity. "We try to keep our eyes on the boat and do the best job possible," he said. "We’re going over some additional tweaks with our methodologists to make sure we’re on top of it." …

But, apparently, there is no pleasing Mr. Axelrod.

Obama pollster Joel Benenson called the Gallup survey an "extreme outlier" and said its formula to determine likely voters created a bias against Obama supporters. "Gallup’s data is once again far out of line with other public pollsters," he wrote in a memo on Monday…

The contrast between Gallup and other major polls is stark. As of Friday afternoon, Gallup’s daily tracking poll of likely voters had Romney leading Obama by six percentage points, 51 percent to 45 percent.

The Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll, taken from a sample online, had Obama leading by three points on Friday and for much of this week. A Public Policy Polling daily survey had Obama leading by one point, Rand put him ahead by three points and Rasmussen showed the two candidates to be tied.

Actually, Rasmussen now has Romney up by two. And they were the most accurate pollsters by far in 2008.

No matter the method, polling firms weight the answers of those who respond to reflect the general composition of the U.S. voting population as a whole. If a pollster has trouble getting enough older Hispanic women, for example, the responses of those who do participate will be counted more than once. But weighting a sample too heavily can distort the results

The hell you say.

But, once again, Gallup has been overweighing minorities, in light of Mr. Axelrod’s threats.

Gallup’s Newport pointed out that the firm’s likely-voter formula has more accurately predicted the election results than its wider poll of all registered voters going back to the 1990s and, in fact, the likely voter prediction tended to slightly favor Democratic candidates…

Yes, but it still doesn’t favor them enough to suit Reuters.

But don’t be surprised if the DOJ doesn’t find another way to sue Gallup in the near future.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, October 22nd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Reuters Attacks Gallup Poll Over Romney Lead”

  1. Polling is a profitable business, and a pollster’s reputation for accuracy is critically important for survival. George Gallup was the first to do accurate, scientific opinion research; and he made a name for himself in the ’30’s by predicting that FDR would beat Alf Landon. The stakes this time around are huge.

    Axelrod knows he can intimidate all the nation’s pollsters by threatening and turning a corrupt Justice Dept. on them. The fact that Gallup is standing up for its results speaks volumes; if not for its integrity then for its determination to remain accurate, truthful, and successful.

    The losers of this election will be in the wilderness for a LONG time.

  2. Anonymoose

    Gallup makes money from being correct and historically accurate, people use that data for real world planning. Most other polling places work by generating attention and revenue from that attention–and a nailbiter works best for that. The trouble is–especially with polls on news website, people believe it as correct, or even the polling sites begin believing their own numbers and not looking at the methodology; which was why after the ’04 election they were pulling their hair out trying to figure out how Bush won re-election.

    I wonder if Obama realizes this is about as good as it gets. Except for FDR; who had a war on, the second half of a president’s first term is usual the high water mark. They’ve figured out the job, have policies that are working, and have the people liking them, or they’re not going to.

    The second term is never as good as the first–they come in as a known quantity with a history, and the last half of the term is usually marked by scandals and drama. People get tired of the message, the economic cycles change, and also the other side knows their turn on the wheel is coming up and wants to trash the opposition as much as they can. Clinton had an impeachment, Reagan Iran-Contra, and Bush had the economic collapse.

    As little as three weeks ago I thought it was a loss, Obama would win–but I think it’s only been in the past few weeks the average person who’s been ignoring the race has been making their say, and it shows. Romney may actually win; and even if he doesn’t, Obama’s second term will be a disaster.

    • Right of the People

      Then it won’t be any different then his first term.

      Seriously, if he does get a second term the ride is going to get real bumpy, real fast. With no fear of having to run for another term the gloves will be off and his abuse of executive orders will be epic. I predict if the Boy King is reelected, he will not serve out his full term. He will either be assassinated, impeached or there will be a violent revolution removing him from office. For the sake of the nation I hope and pray he loses.




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