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Democrats "must be looking at us like we're the biggest f----- morons in the world"

topic posted Wed, November 14, 2012 - 12:09 PM by  Rockstar
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GOP Grapples With Embarrassing Polling Failures
It hurts to lose. It hurts even more when you don't see it coming.

In the weeks before Election Day, both Republicans and Democrats were nervous about their poll numbers. Both sides of the aisle have smart pollsters, they reasoned, so how could the numbers that Democrats were seeing diverge so sharply from the numbers the Republicans were seeing? Deep down, I wrote at the time, both parties secretly worried that their side was missing the boat.

Now we know which side needed its polls unskewed. Before Election Day, Republicans confidently predicted they would pick up seats in both chambers of Congress, and that Mitt Romney would win the White House. The results shattered those predictions, and with them any sense of security in the numbers coming out of some of the best-regarded polling firms on the right.

"Everyone thought the election was going to be close. How did [Republicans] not know we were going to get our ass kicked?" lamented Rob Jesmer, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "I don't understand how we didn't know. That's the part that's most puzzling and frustrating and embarrassing."

The underlying causes of the errant numbers are the assumptions that the pollsters made about the nature of the electorate. Most pollsters believed the electorate would look something like the voters who turned out in 2008, just with slightly lower numbers of African-Americans, younger people, and Hispanics heading to the polls.

But exit polls actually showed a much more diverse electorate than the one forecast. Black turnout stayed consistent with 2008, Hispanic turnout was up, and younger voters made up a higher percentage of the electorate than they had four years ago. White voters made up 72 percent of the electorate, according to the exits, down 2 points from 2008 and a continuation of the two-decade long decline in their share of the electorate.

That meant that even though Mitt Romney scored 59 percent of the white vote -- a higher percentage than George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004, higher than Ronald Reagan in 1980 and matching George H.W. Bush's 1988 score, when he won 426 electoral votes in 40 states -- it wasn't enough to overcome the 80 percent support that Obama scored among nonwhite voters.

The makeup of the electorate had a dramatic impact on races up and down the ballot. Republicans believed they would hold House seats in California's Inland Empire, where Hispanics have been a rising force. Instead, higher Hispanic turnout cost GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack her seat; Republican Rep. Dan Lungren trails Democrat Ami Bera by nearly 2,000 votes, although tens of thousands of votes have yet to be counted. Senate Republicans were stung by surprise losses in states such as Wisconsin and North Dakota, injuries compounded by flawed candidates who lost Indiana and Missouri.

The polling industry as a whole has had a difficult time nailing results in recent years. Pollsters have had to contend with three straight wave elections -- 2006 and 2008, which favored Democrats, and 2010, which swept Republicans into office. But in the one year that resembled something close to a normal election, Republicans found their polling furthest from the mark.

Now, GOP pollsters will enter a period of introspection. Party strategists will demand accountability, and concrete assurances that the number-crunchers can get it right.

Some answers are easy to implement: Pollsters should fix voter screens, used to weed out of their samples irregular voters who aren't likely to vote. Including only likely voters often leads to a more Republican-heavy sample. But in an era of fine-tuned turnout machines and get-out-the-vote drives, even those irregular voters are likely to show up. Polling all registered voters, rather than those most likely to make it to the polls, would at least give Republicans an idea of the worst-case scenario.

Pollsters should also control more for age, gender, and race than for party identification. One prominent party pollster pointed to a late survey conducted for Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock that showed him leading Democrat Joe Donnelly by 2 points. That survey, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, showed that 56 percent of Indiana's electorate would be over age 55. Exit polls revealed that number to be vastly overstated; only 43 percent of the electorate was over 50.

The party-identification question gets to the heart of another misperception that pollsters make. Tell almost anyone that Romney would have won self-identified independent voters by 5 points and logic would dictate that Romney would win a clear victory. But Democratic pollsters say that metric is flawed, and that many Republicans remain so disaffected by their own party that they refuse to identify with it. Instead, some say that pollsters should look at self-described ideology, rather than party identification. Indeed, Obama beat Romney among the 41 percent of voters who call themselves moderate by 15 points.

Pollsters also recognize that Americans' daily routines are changing, something that has an impact on their surveys. About one-third of all households do not have a landline, according to the National Health Interview Survey, meaning that a significant swath of the electorate is available to pollsters only by cell phone. The percentage of younger Americans who don't have a landline is almost double that. Pollsters who don't include a sufficient number of cell-phone respondents in their surveys risk missing out on younger voters -- voters most likely to back Democrats, thus skewing polls to the right.

One top Republican pollster said he would immediately begin relying on cell-phone respondents to make up at least 30 percent of his samples, and that by 2016 that number could reach 50 percent or more. Then again, campaigns that have paid a set rate for polling in recent years might balk at the higher cost of a poll with significant numbers of cell-phone respondents.

No matter what the answer is, the GOP knows it must come up with a more reliable method of measuring the electorate. It hurts to lose; it hurts more when a party doesn't see it coming. And this year, Republicans were completely blindsided.

Democrats "must be looking at us like we're the biggest f----- morons in the world," one frustrated Republican said. "That's what I'd be doing." >>

www.nationaljournal.com/column...0121113
posted by:
Rockstar
Los Angeles
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  • One problem was Romney's campaign having financial issues. Not a general lack of funds overall but after spending on the two different campaigns, they started running short on funds at the end and they claim they were not able to air a lot of the commercials they had produced. And in today's reality TV world, commercials make all the difference.
    • the real world effect of commercials is not as great as many people think. there's tons of political science out on the subject.

      themonkeycage.org/blog/2012...vertising/
      themonkeycage.org/blog/2012...-the-time/

      also, i'm not quite sure i buy the "romney was too poor" argument as a reason he lost. he was outraising obama into november. not to mention, the massive amounts of money that adelson and other big donors poured into the campaigns, especially in swing states.

      see also:
      fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2...1/
      3. Campaign ads can matter, but not for long. The collaboration between Rick Perry’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign team and a group of four political scientist “eggheads” has made a lot of news. Rarely do campaign professionals consent to randomizing campaign activity to understand its impact, and they should be commended for it. The conditions in this study suggested that campaign ads could matter: Perry’s ads ran by themselves, without competing ads from his opponents. And indeed, the eggheads found that they did matter:

      …the current week’s advertising raises Perry’s vote share by 4.73 percentage points per 1,000 GRPs.

      This is a substantial effect, relative to many previous studies. But equally if not more important is what happened next:

      … a week later, the effects of these ads … receded to −0.17 percentage points.

      That is, the effects of television advertising appear to last no more than a week — a “rapid decay,” write the eggheads. A study of the 2000 presidential election finds the same decay. Campaigns may be wasting millions of dollars running ads weeks if not months before election day, only to have any effects of those ads dissipate. Case in point: the approximately $20 million that Bill Clinton spent in advertising between July 1995 and January 1996 — months before the 1996 election. The mastermind of this strategy, Dick Morris, wrote that “the key to Clinton’s victory was his early advertising.” But there is little evidence that the ads mattered at all.

      the only reason they might have any effect is because of media coverage that replays and replays and replays...the ads all the time. they have segments on the ads, etc.
  • I read in the Washington Post that very early in the campaign that Romney's team didn't like the reports that CNN and the other news networks were broadcasting. But, rather than dealing with the weaknesses that these broadcasts were pointing out, they thereafter only watched FOX and other "reliable" sources of information. In other words, they avoided reality and listened to what they wanted to hear!

    To my mind this is very telling point about both Romney and the GOP. No matter how much they will it, they cannot change reality, but they cannot stand to be told that hard fact. So what will happen when a true crisis occurs, such as Iran with the Bomb, or treason in government? They will turn to a Fox or Michael Savage broadcast which tells them what they want to hear, and stick with that until reality crashes in. But in a crisis situation, that is a losing strategy which could hurt millions of people.
  • But the election was close. Repubs were just on the wrong side of that closeness
    • << Repubs were just on the wrong side of that closeness >>

      Fact Check: Republicans have lost the popular vote in 5 out of the last 6 presidential elections.

      If the GOP candidate this time did better than in '08, it seems largely because Mitt ran the better campaign and seemed to be a more plausible president than McCain. Romney also had better sense than to strap himself to jabbering baggage like Sarah Palin and his switcheroo performance in the first debate was a bold gambit that probably would've worked pre-Internet.

      Obama's win would've been much bigger against Santorum or Gingrich. Who can doubt it? Bachmann barely carried her home district!

      In short, if the GOP couldn't win without Mitt, it couldn't win at all. Huntsmann and Pawlenty might've done somewhat better, but they were winnowed out early. This raises the appalling (for Republicans) proposition that no non-loser can ever hope to win the party's nomination for president.
      • and the Repubs won three of the previous four. The parties tend to have these streaks. The standard economic models basically predicted an election like this. The economy has to take a nasty turn for the worse to unseat a sitting president. We were coming out of a recession that started with Bush, not going into one that Obama could be tagged with (as if recessions or expansions are caused by presidents - the great American myth).

        I voted for Obama (twice) but I gotten tired of the "Obama's big win" meme I've seen popping up here and there. Newsweek called it a "bigger than expected win." He won by two percentage points. How was that bigger than expected? Was he expected to win by one vote? I've even heard the "landslide" ( or "near landslide) word absurdly pop up here and there. 2% is close by any standard. As for electoral college wins, those are usually lopsided. Next to Bush Jr's reelection, Obama won by the smallest electoral vote margin for a president seeking reelection in almost a hundred years. By all objective measures it was a close election. I'm not sure what that means. To Obama's credit, he hasn't laughably talked about the "political capital" he's earned from his reelection like Bushtard did.
  • NL
    NL
    offline 32
    Creating their own reality finally caught up with them. From the horses mouth...

    "‘Viewers Ought to Be Outraged’: Frank Luntz Explains Where Pollsters Failed in 2012"

    “Look– the published polls that the Romney campaign and the Republican establishment were trashing day after day turned out to be accurate.... This is a bad day for Republican pollsters, and it’s something that they should be held accountable for. You have to tell your clients the truth, and you have to be accurate. And to miss so many states and to be this far off, your Fox News viewers ought to be outraged, because day in and day out they were told that Mitt Romney was going to win, and the fact is Ohio was ​never​ up, Wisconsin was ​never​ up, Pennsylvania was ​never​ up…the published polls were correct."

    www.theblaze.com/stories/v...-in-2012/#
  • What happened was really ridiculously simple:

    1) For whatever reason Romney ( and the GOP super PACs) allowed Obama to define him for a whole year before Romney purchased one single advertisement.

    This meant that the stupid people (there are a lot of stupid people) who are influenced by negative advertising name calling and lies had already developed ideas of who and what Romney was and when Romney finally got in the game it was too late. He was in the unenviable position of asking unintelligent intellectually slothful people to unlearn what they had learned and to relearn a whole different perspective.
    Like that was going to happen.

    2) Romney kept playing into the reverse snobbery bigoted stereotype Obama saddled him with by saying unwise things: multiple Cadillac cars, car elevator, 47 percent of people want government handouts and are lazy. Sometimes the truth should not be spoken too loudly. Self deportation was not a great moment either.

    3) the Obama team put on the absolutely very best ground game for getting out the vote that the nation has ever seen. It was the best - ever.

    4) It didn't hurt Obama that he got to be seen hugging and lying to and making false promises to Sandy victims while the media storm over the hurricane drowned out Romney's last ditch efforts at making his case.

    5) anti Mormon bigotry poisoned many people who might otherwise have voted for Romney so they ended up just staying home


    And that combined to put Obama over the top by some tiny percent. Fact is he'd have lost but for the cities in the swing states. The cities did the work for him.

    Unfortunately the fact of large cities in the states has finally undone the reason for the electoral college in the first place. Large cities influencing the electoral college have produced exactly the evil that the electoral college was created to avoid. It allows dense population areas where people have no notion of how the rest of the world lives to dominate elections





    • other than herman cain's smoking manager, can you really remember any ad from last summer? i'm assuming the american public has a similar memory, if not worse. it's what romney did in the last month that did him in, not what happened last summer.

      granted, it didn't help but i don't think it should be point #1. there's plenty of political science research that shows the effects of neg. advertising and positive advertising are pretty negligent. browse "the monkey cage" for cites.
      • "other than herman cain's smoking manager, can you really remember any ad from last summer? i'm assuming the american public has a similar memory, if not worse. it's what romney did in the last month that did him in, not what happened last summer."

        True. I don't remember any specific ads to clearly, but then I barely watch TV unless it's sports. I was involved in advertising at one time and one thing we kept in mind is that the consumer might not remember specifics of an ad, but the main objective was to stir an emotion because that sticks in minds. Since I worked in that field I noticed how Obama's ads always had more of an emotional tone and that is why I brought up the point of campaigning trumping anything else regarding the American public. I admired Obama's campaign strategy, it was well organized and they had a strategy. I felt Romney's was the opposite.
    • << For whatever reason Romney ( and the GOP super PACs) allowed Obama to define him for a whole year before Romney purchased one single advertisement. >>

      That's a meme you hear everywhere two or more sorehead GOPers get together, but if Romney couldn't "define himself" (whatever that means) after running continuously for president for six years (!), maybe it proves Republicans were stupid for putting him up, not that the plain people were dopes for looking at Romney and seeing nothing there.

      << He was in the unenviable position of asking unintelligent intellectually slothful people to unlearn what they had learned and to relearn a whole different perspective. >>

      It's never too early to start honing those invaluable people skills if you're gonna take over the world.

      I love it how fast conservatives went from "American exceptionalism" to "Americans sucks runny eggs." This sets some kind of world land speed record for backpedaling.

      << Romney kept playing into the reverse snobbery bigoted stereotype Obama saddled him with by saying unwise things: multiple Cadillac cars, car elevator, 47 percent of people want government handouts and are lazy. >>

      So what you're saying is that these "negative stereotypes" weren't lies at all and the main reason Romney lost is that he too clearly said what you actually think.

      You could be onto something there.

      <<Sometimes the truth should not be spoken too loudly. >>

      I don't think GOP politicians are as a group overburdened with either truthfulness or soft voices.

      Like when Obama pretty much told the 1% they didn't carve themselves out of individualized blocks of hickory. The poor darlings went collectively apeshit, howled like boiled rats of "socialism" for months on end, spent all that money and achieved ... *what* again?

      You are correct, however. I too think the Right's decibel level had a lot to do with their loss.

      << the Obama team put on the absolutely very best ground game for getting out the vote that the nation has ever seen. It was the best - ever. >>

      Certainly since Truman in 1948.

      << It didn't hurt Obama that he got to be seen hugging and lying to and making false promises to Sandy victims while the media storm over the hurricane drowned out Romney's last ditch efforts at making his case. >>

      Mitt could've certainly gone up there and did a little hugging and lying of his own. It isn't like the lying part is beyond his talents.

      << anti Mormon bigotry poisoned many people who might otherwise have voted for Romney so they ended up just staying home >>

      Agreed.

      << It allows dense population areas where people have no notion of how the rest of the world lives to dominate elections >>

      When everyone knows America ought to be ruled by lightly populated areas where livestock outnumbers people, with both entertaining similar notions of how the rest of the world lives.

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