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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Barone On the Polls

Hugh Hewitt is urging the center-right to read the new column by Michael Barone. Mr. Barone does an outstanding job of explaining the polls right now for the midterms. Yes, the polls are an issue in this midterm election, and it is precisely because so many cannot believe them. The polls right now seem to be awfully skewed no matter what candidates do.Take, for example the Cardin/Steele campaign going on right now. Sabrina pointed out yesterday that Michael Steele slapped Ben Cardin around in their debate last week, and then unleashed an ad campaign crushing his Michael J. Fox ad.

And yet the polls were so wonky, it was hilarious. The WaPo showed Cardin with an eleven point lead, but Rasmussen had Cardin only ahead by five points, and SurveyUSA had them in a dead heat. So, what gives? How is it that the polls could be so far off of one another? Mr. Barone points out that polling now is becoming increasingly difficult:

Serious pollsters concede that there are some problems with polling. Americans have fewer landline phones than they used to, and the random digit dialing most pollsters use does not include cell-phone numbers. Larger and larger percentages of those called are declining to be interviewed.

That is true. Thomas and I possess no land line phone. It was the easiest way for us to get around the numerous telemarketing calls we continued to receive. The "do not call" list is a joke, and hardly works. Furthermore, many of the telemarketing calls are computerized. You cannot even yell at the fool on the other end of the phone when they disturb your studying or dinner; the computer is doing what it was programmed to do. But that means that pollsters have a smaller pool with which to get information from. Moreover, Mr. Barone notes that just because you are called to take a polling survey does not always mean your opinion will be used:

At this stage of the campaign, pollsters try to screen their respondents and report only those who answer a series of questions in ways that suggest they are actually going to vote. Many polls find that a higher proportion of Democrats than Republicans pass the screen. Others find similar proportions do. But pollsters of both parties will admit that polls do a poor job at projecting turnout....

.... Interviewers can inject bias in the results. The late Warren Mitofsky, who conducted the 2004 NEP exit poll, went back and found that the greatest difference between actual results in exit poll precincts and the reports phoned in to NEP came where the interviewers were female graduate students -- and almost all the discrepancies favored the Democrats.

In other words, we cannot trust the polls to begin with. As personal biases go, there is clearly one identifiable right now for this midterm. I am not saying that the GOP candidates have been completely infallible because they have not. Each candidate has made their fair share of goofs and gaffes in their election. Even the minor ones do not escape notice. But in comparison, the Republicans have made less mistakes this time around, and yet they lag behind. The Democrats would have the base believe that this comes from the ire the nation has directed at the president. But Mr. Barone observes that if that is, indeed, the case, then something has seriously shifted:

Over time, big changes in party ID can and do occur. When I started in the polling business, in 1974, national party identification was almost 50 percent Democratic and not much more than 25 percent Republican.

Since then, Democratic party ID has fallen, particularly in the South, where many voters who considered themselves Democrats found themselves voting Republican for president and, increasingly in the 1980s and 1990s, for other
offices, as well.

Republican party ID has increased. But that's a process that took decades. If you could go back in history and conduct polls, I don't think you'd find any, and certainly not many, two-year periods when the balance in party identification shifted from even to having one party 12 percent ahead of the other.

So what do you do when you see that your party is losing election after election? As Mr. Barone observed above, pollsters tend to inject their personal bias into their findings. And who conducts the majority of polls? The media does. Look at some of the polls that are cited as we come down to the stretch, and you will see the media's numbers are out-of-whack compared to Rasmussen, Zogby, and other independent polling organizations.

We said this when we came down to the last three-to-four months of this election: The polls are being skewed on purpose to do one thing only: The Democrats and their supporters are trying to discourage the GOP voters from even coming out. Think about it. If we all listened to the polls, would we even bother voting? The Democrats have had a seemingly untouchable landslide in the works. Yet Mr. Barone states that pollsters have done a terrible job of predicting turnouts.

This is the main reason why people like Hugh Hewitt and others have repeatedly said to ignore the polls, and get out and vote. The simple fact is that every poll in the nation is irrelevant. The only that counts is the one on Election Day. And none of us at The Asylum buy the bull being peddled that the GOP is going to lose big. A seat or two here and there? Sure. An electoral mud-stomping like the one the Democrats are hyping? Do not hold your breath. Mr. Barone observes that the trends are bucking the polls:

Republicans had a different turnout operation, utilizing 1.4 million volunteers and "microtargeting" potential voters, enabling them to motivate voters by emphasizing issues especially important to them. They found new Republican voters in fast-growing exurbs (George W. Bush carried 97 of the nation's 100 fastest-growing counties) and in population-losing rural counties (the key to Bush's carrying Ohio). They even found some in central city neighborhoods that are heavily Democratic.

Nationally, George W. Bush got 23 percent more popular votes than he had in 2000. That's comparable to Franklin Roosevelt's 22 percent popular vote increase between 1932 and 1936.

Fewer people vote in off-year elections than in presidential years. In 2002, 75 million people voted. In 2004, 122 million did. My hunch is that people who identify themselves as independents are substantially less likely to vote this year than people who identify as Republicans or Democrats -- which would be good news for Republicans, since independents give Bush low job ratings. Another hunch is that the Republican turnout apparatus, with which the Democrats haven't yet caught up, will boost Republican turnout as it did in 2004, and that the resulting electorate will be more evenly divided in party identification than the electorates shown in most of the public polls.

When you are right, you cannot deny it, and his hunches make sense. The independents not only are the ones slanting the job approval numbers, but are more likely not to vote this year. These will be the people who are willing to cut off their nose to spite their face because, in their finicky ways, they do not like some of the things that have occurred these past few years. The out-of-control spending, the questionable approach to the war, Harriet Miers, the UAE ports deal, etc., have all contributed to their ire. They will stay home.

But the GOP's Get-Out-The-Vote campaign is one of the most well-organized apparatuses in the history of elections. The numbers do not lie, and they are unmatched by the Democrats. The Democrats claim their "netroots" (read: nutroots) program is a "real" grass-roots movement. It is not, really. They are good at organizing those who are fed up with Republicans, but enlisting the aid of the Kos Kiddies, the Michael Moore allegiance brigade, and the Mother Moonbat fan club is not going to win them the day. Those people, and the ideology they represent, does not echo the Democrat base's ideology. The mom-and-pop Democrats not only cannot identify with this new Democrat party, but they dislike it for how hateful and spiteful it is.

In short, it is like letting a bunch of spoiled-rotten brats run the show. You may shake your head, but I am not wrong in that assertion. Look at their behavior over the last five years, and that observation cannot be denied.

The polls may show that the Democrats are going to win on November 7th, but as Mr. Barone opines, that completely goes against the traditional numbers. No party has executed such a turnaround in two years time. It takes a long time to switch the party's gears, and carry off a sweep like what the Democrats are hyping. It took the GOP forty years to retake the House; it took longer for the Senate, especially after Jim Jeffords pulled his party switching stunt in 2000. It was hard work to pull that "coup" off against the Democrats. It took leaders like Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Newt Gingrich to finally succeed and put the GOP in power in Congress.

The Democrats are now pushing the talking point that they lost the Congress after forty years, and we are about to beat their record; losing the Congress in just twelve years. We will see on November 7th. But we, at The Asylum, think that on November 8th, our side will not be the one disappointed in it's base. The Democrats will. And then watch how unhinged they really become. If we thought they could not get any worse, we will be surprised at the lengths they will go to for 2008. In addition, expect to see more insults from them directed at the electorate. They will not believe the electorate did not believe them and buy the bull they were peddling.

When a party has fallen to the point the Democrats have fallen, it is time for the base to do what they used to do with lame horses. Just shoot them, and start over. IF, and that is a big if, the Democrats do lose in the upcoming election, or they do not make the inroads like they have promised and hoped for, it will be time for the common-sense base to throw these jokers overboard.



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