Patterico's Pontifications


Don’t Believe The Hype in the Press — This One Ain’t Over. The Polls Tell The Story.

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 1:43 pm

Posted by WLS:

We’re seeing more and more stories in the media calling the race effectively over. Obama is feeding this storyline by dumping money into states where he’s got little chance to win, but giving the press reasons to report a looming Obama “landslide” since he’s “competing” in West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, etc.

But let’s consider for a moment the impact of Joe The Plumber since Obama’s rope-line encounter with him on Monday afternoon in Ohio and the McCain campaign’s emerging message on “spread the tax/wealth”.

As Dick Morris noted on Wednesday after the debate, “Joe The Plumber” turned the tax issue in this election from an issue about the “rich” and corporations into an issue about the middle class. The exchange took place on Monday, it got some press attention on Tuesday, moved more into focus on Wednesday, and then exploded after the debate. Among the various tracking polls, you would have expected to see a little bit of influence in polling done Wednesday, much more influence in the polling done yesterday, and probably even more on polling being done today.

So, is there any evidence that Obama’s “Joe The Plumber” moment has had an impact?

1) Rasmussen:

Rasmussen has been surprisingly stable even with all the turmoil in the economy and the press calling the race over:

Oct 1-8: 51-52 Obama, 44-45 McCain

Oct. 9-17: 50-51 Obama, 45-46 McCain

No real showing yet of an obvious effect, but his 3 day sample only includes 1/3 that came after the debate on Wednesday night. But even though it’s stable, moving from 6-7 down to 4-5 down, given all that’s working against McCain, is not a terrible place to be.

2) Gallup (“traditional” LV poll):

The first day they started putting out this version was Oct 12, reflecting polling going back to Oct. 9. So they’ve been tracking these numbers for 8 days.

Oct 12: Obama 50, McCain 46

Oct 14: Obama 51, McCain 45

Oct 17: Obama 49, McCain 47

The interesting thing about this is that the Joe The Plumber story first hit then news cycle on Tuesday after the exchange took place on Monday. It got a lot of play Wednesday and Thursday leading into and coming out of the debate.

The polling for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – released on Tuesday morning – was Obama +6 in the “traditional” model for LV and +10 in the “expanded” model for LV (higher than normal minority and young voter turnout). Today those same numbers are +2 and +6. That’s an ENORMOUS 4 point swing in 72 hours.

So what does Gallup have to say in the little press blurb they put out with each poll?

This three-day rolling average includes one full night of interviewing after Wednesday night’s final presidential debate, and shows little significant change as a result of the debate at this point.”

Right. Thanks for coming.

3) Battleground:

This is the poll that I have always found the most reliable because its done by Ed Goeas, a GOP pollster for hire, and Celinda Lake, a Dem Pollster for hire. They collaborate on it every 4 years and their joint effort, in my view, takes much of the bias out of the poll questions and/or the weighting given to the sample. The curious thing about their poll this year is that while it has moved along with the other polls, it has moved slower and later than the others – it’s seemed to lag the sharp shifts seen in the others.

Look at their tracking chart. They had it pretty much even about 10 days after the GOP convention but with the start of the financial crisis in late September, their poll followed a big Obama bubble, up to +13 last weekend – though they might have had a sampling error there because one day earlier they had it at Obama +8 and one day later they had it back at Obama +8.

But they had Obama +6-8 pretty consistently the entire month of October, after having it much closer in September even while other polls had Obama with much larger leads in late September.

But since Joe The Plumber, McCain has moved to -8/-6/-4 over the past 3 days.

4) Zogby:

He tracks over 4 days, not 3, so only one-quarter of his sample is post-debate, and only one-half of his sample came after Joe The Plumber hit the news cycle on Tuesday. From his chart it looks like McCain had some bad polling days last weekend and Monday – which would be similar to other polls – all of which followed his poor Town Hall format performance. So when the bad polls from Monday and Tuesday are replaced by polling from today and tomorrow, you could see more improvement here. For now, McCain has moved from being -6 the 4 full days after the Town Hall debate (Th-Sun polling last week), to -5 today (M-Th polling this week).

5) Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP:

This is by far the most curious of all the polls. It has the race at 46-41, with 13% still undecided. I guess the other 3% are 3rd party voters. It also shows Obama increasing his margin from 2.1 to 5.3 over the last 4 days, exactly the opposite of every other poll. Most surprising, it has McCain actually losing 2 points, from 43 to 41 in the last 4 days.

While the margins are still statistically significant and Obama remains with the advantage, McCain is not without hope. The movement is in his favor and Obama has suffered through declines from 50% to 45% before, suggesting that those voters are not wedded to him.

The current movement may halt or it may reverse. But while the press didn’t see any “game changer” in Wednesday’s debate, they didn’t see John Kerry’s “global test” comment as a “game changer” either. He made that statement in the first debate in 2004 on September 30. The press went on to report that Kerry won all three debates handily and all the media polling after the debates proved that. But his approval ratings never recovered after dipping on that comment, and Bush gained and held the advantage through the election even with poor debate performances.

69 Responses to “Don’t Believe The Hype in the Press — This One Ain’t Over. The Polls Tell The Story.”

  1. It may not be over yet, but it sure is disconcerting to hear every five minutes that Obama is extending his lead in the polls. Granted, it is coming from the liberal mainstream media, but it is still troubling. Obama and his leftist illuminati beliefs have millions of Americans snowed because the media turns its back on his indiscretions.

    Jeff (3396e6)

  2. If the Republicans want “indiscretions” to matter again, Jeff, they need to start nominating people who aren’t adulterers, crooks, drug addicts, etc.

    snuffles (677ec2)

  3. Yeah, Jeff. Otherwise they have no credibility to criticize the Mahoneys, Bidens and Obamas of the world. Right on, snuffles. Speak it.

    fat tony (f86b83)

  4. Aaron Tippin is on stage opening for Gov. Daniels and Gov. Palin. Approximately 20,000 in attendance. No death threats. Racists.

    sniffles is an idiot.

    JD (5f0e11)

  5. Jeff, the meme that Obama is “extending his lead in the polls” or that McCain is “plunging in the polls” is complete nonsense, as I already noted in a post on Big Lizards. It’s just another Democratic Party/Obama campaign talking point that has been picked up by the media wing of the party, as well as by some not very bright Republican doom and gloomers.

    Pessimism always sounds more sophisticated than optimism; but sophistication loses elections.


    Dafydd ab Hugh (db2ea4)

  6. If this energy stays thru election day, no way Baracky can win Indiana.

    JD (5f0e11)

  7. WLS:
    A small correction….

    “…Joe The Plumber since Obama’s rope-line front-yard encounter with him…”

    Another Drew (7894e6)

  8. AD – They were not passing out sheets or hoods at the entrance we came in. I am keeping my eyes open for angry people and my ears open for death threats.

    JD (5f0e11)

  9. There were about 20-30 code pink types out front and one had a PAPER MACHE HEAD !!!!

    JD (5f0e11)

  10. WLS, the Battleground chart link doesn’t work.

    CW Desiato (614aa7)

  11. It is hard for 20,000 to sound mad when they have their arms around each other while singing Sweet Caroline.

    JD (5f0e11)

  12. Some people really should not dance, especially in public.

    JD (5f0e11)

  13. Although the media tells us that “obama has opened a huge lead” when he’s ahead by 6 points … but that’s really only a difference of 3 points. If 3 out 100 vote “the other way” it’s basically a tie. And most of these polls are “nationwide” which mean absolutely nothing at this point.

    The thing that shocked me was finding out last night that my nephew and his girlfriend – who are both college freshmen back east – have decided after the last debate to vote McCain-Palin. That means more to me than any polls they media is spewing. It’s nowhere near over.

    MOG (c949f7)

  14. JD,

    Sit/stand by a media person. They seem to be best-situated to hear things like that.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  15. JD-

    Quick, stop saying things like that unless the person writing the song is conservative, or at least reasonable. As you know, J. Browne and the Wilson’s and I don’t know who else have shuddered at the thought of their music being used by a – gasp- conservative.

    BTW, what piece of hardware are you using to send these messages?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  16. MOG- Tell your brother/sister they did something right!!! (Parents always appreciate that).

    JD- we want pictures of heads in effigy. But be careful out there.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  17. Long break between Aaron Tippin and the feartured speakers.

    JD (5f0e11)

  18. There were about 20-30 code pink types out front and one had a PAPER MACHE HEAD !!!!

    Ever tempted to scream, “LOOK! A PIÑATA!” and start swinging a bat at one of those?

    Yeah, I denounce myself. And, lefties, this comment is an attempt at HUMOR. It’s not a serious threat.


    Rob Crawford (6c262f)

  19. There were about 20-30 code pink types out front and one had a PAPER MACHE HEAD !!!!

    How can you tell the difference?

    Another Drew (7894e6)

  20. DRJ – Sent you a pic. Media close by. still no threats.

    Clingy religious nuts

    MD – Samsung Instinct

    JD (5f0e11)

  21. CW,

    I fixed the Battleground link and I added a link for the Investors Business Daily poll.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  22. Thanks DRJ — I was about to do so when I notice WordPress telling me you were editing it.

    WLS (26b1e5)

    think abortion docktor u leftards..
    but I digress-ain’t it funny how the polls are tightening?
    always happens
    like the swallows back at Atlantic Monthly[name any rag!]
    every 4 years- we gotta put up w/ it!
    but come election day -quote Elaine FROM SEINFELD

    pdbuttons (359493)

  24. I am sending Joe the Plumber a lawn jockey. His yard looked like it was missing something.

    I denounce myself.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  25. It is kind of cool that she is speaking here in Noblesville.

    JD (5f0e11)

  26. It is not mean-spirited or negative to talk about Obama’s record.

    The she whacks him with ACORN.

    JD (5f0e11)

  27. Why was Obama in New Hampshire today?

    Official Internet Data Office (ebd091)

  28. First female 3star in USMC, Gen. Nutter, is here cool.

    protestors, a handful, interrupting in the back.

    JD (5f0e11)

  29. I really do not like drill baby drill.

    JD (5f0e11)

  30. Got to step away from the box here, to go out and deliver some product to a couple of customers.
    I hate commerce!
    I’ll try to catch up later.
    Tah-Tah, all!

    Another Drew (7894e6)

  31. JD,

    Great photo. It looks like a big crowd and there’s lots of red, white and blue.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  32. WLS,

    We need to prioritize our resources so you keep writing and I’ll handle the links.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  33. She destroys Baracky O’Biden on energy. Clubs them like a baby seal.

    JD (5f0e11)

  34. JD

    How many Code Pinkers made it into the stadium?

    In Carson a couple of weeks ago, there were at least 3 separate code pink distrupters..and one other non-aligned leftist kookster escorted out.

    Darleen (187edc)

  35. Darleen – only a handful. they got to stay and they walked around making asses of themselves with a police escort.

    JD (5f0e11)

  36. JD,

    Did you take your daughter? What does she think about this?

    DRJ (c953ab)

  37. How do you convince an idiot you are winning. You fake a poll and the fool will fall in line.

    AP/YAHOO Poll of 873 Democrats; 650 Republicans shows OBAMA 44%, MCCAIN 42%… (source-Drudge)

    Based on the numbers alone Hussein O is losing big time and the Lame Stream Media is determined to fool enough people to give him the election when the criminal ACORN votes are slipped in. Polling almost 1/3 more democrats should give Hussein a large lead and it only gives him two points. This must be the same fools who counted the money at Fannie and Freddie.

    Scrapiron (6afa35)

  38. scrapiron

    The MSM is beating the drum for Obama “It’s all over Rethugs! Stay home and don’t vote! Don’t embarrass yourself! Stay Home. Stay Home. Stay Home…..”

    Add ACORN’s massive fraud, Ohio’s AG refusal to help stop the fraud, ubiquitous reports of physical assaults against McCain supporters, and on and on and the Obama machine/MSM are going to drag him across the finish line by any means fair or foul.

    Just like they did in the primaries.

    Darleen (187edc)

  39. There were about 20-30 code pink types out front and one had a PAPER MACHE HEAD !!!!

    Comment by JD — 10/17/2008 @ 2:17 pm

    Maybe a feature, not a bug? At least that muffles the annoying shouts and chanting.

    Sooo jealous. Wish Sarah would come to my town.

    It is hard for 20,000 to sound mad when they have their arms around each other while singing Sweet Caroline.

    Comment by JD — 10/17/2008 @ 2:20 pm

    It’s some kind of right-wing code, you know it is. That’s why they sound so happy.

    no one you know (1f5ddb)

  40. DRJ – I took my 6 year old out of school. She said “Sarah rules, Obama drools”. Better Half could not believe that 20,000+ cared enough to go.

    JD (5f0e11)

  41. Gallup has Obama back at 50% and & points up on McCain:

    Time for a new phony “comeback” story.

    snuffles (677ec2)

  42. Noyk – this is the first time that IN hss been in play for the primaries or the general.

    JD (5f0e11)

  43. From snuffles’ Gallup link:

    Registered voters — Obama 50, McCain 43
    Likely voters (expanded) — Obama 51, McCain 45
    Likely voters (traditional) — Obama 49, McCain 47

    DRJ (c953ab)

  44. JD,

    Good going. She will remember this for a long time.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  45. My prediction:

    If the Obama does capture the White House, I am pretty confident that republicans will recapture the House and the Senate.

    ML (14488c)

  46. snuffles…good name for an astroturfing piggy.

    Darleen (187edc)

  47. ML

    It might take until 2010. In that time Obama will be trying to shut down dissenting opinion — Fairness Doctrine, strip Murdoch, have a Civilian Corps to “rapid respond” to any more Joe’s out there…

    Darleen (187edc)

  48. FWIW-
    expect a surge in hits, this post was just mentioned on air by Hugh Hewitt.

    BTW- it sounds like McCain won the 4th debate, the Al Smith dinner. Among other things, he mentioned that Obama was ready for any contingency- if the market looks like it is recovering he is prepared to suspend his campaign, return to Washington, and deal with the problem…

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  49. DRJ – I tried to take her to see Baracky and Hillary, but we did not have the proper Dem credentials.

    JD (5f0e11)

  50. So DRJ McPalin is only 2 down in traditional likely voters. What’s the +/- 2-3 points? I hope all the Obamessiah’s supporters believe the MSM and their scewed polls (let’s poll 60% Dems and 28% Rep’s and 12% Indy’s) and then maybe less of the little buggers will show up on election day because after all man, Obama’s got it made man. Oh how sad, how horribly sad all the MSM will be on election evening. Shocked! Just Shocked that the American Racists decided to go with the guy who’s qualified over a paper suit. Hold on to your hats boys and girls, the ride is about to get a little bumpy from here on out!

    J. Raymond Wright (0440ef)

  51. IMHO The MSM is juggling sharp knives and trying not to get cut

    They want to demoralize McCain/Palin voters into staying home, hence the “it’s all over” schtick and tweaked polls; but they run the risk of a huge backlash from Obamabots if The One has his coronation yanked way.

    Indeed, count on early exit polls declaring an Obama victory in order to suppress votes in the West.

    It is going to be very ugly.

    Darleen (187edc)

  52. IF y’all wanna get into picking and choosing polls why not the SUSA one showing 22% of african americans in FL supporting McCain?

    imdw (45d14f)

  53. Is this thing over, yet?

    love2008 (a54233)

  54. Polls schmolls.

    I pay no real attentions to them. On election day, I will go cast my vote for John McCain, and that’s all I can do either way.

    If everyone with a brain does likewise we’ll be okay.

    The rest of it is worthless hand-wringing.

    Pete (7a78c2)

  55. c’mon,
    Let’s all go find us some pollsters and lie, lie, LIE. Tell ’em Barracky is the man. Find as many as you can. Let’s make this the election the pollster got pooched!
    Whatd’ya say kids?
    Whew, sorry, sometimes I channel a younger Mickey Rooney. Sorry judy….

    Paul From Fl (4dd8c4)

  56. I wouldn’t be so impressed by the polls if so many conservative pundits didn’t seem so gloomy. I am actually a foolish optimist and am pretty sure McCain has the votes to win this election…but the issue of voter fraud has to be addressed. 20,000 fraudulent votes may be all it takes for Obama to win some states.

    catherine (3f40ec)

  57. I wouldn’t be too hopeful, cathrine,

    Palin just called everybody who lives in cities and suburbs “UnAmerican.”

    That’s not how you come from behind.

    snuffles (677ec2)

  58. My adcvise to McCain is to hacve Joe the plumber in his campaign rallies speaking. The Public will locve to hear from joe instead of watching and listening to the liberal media crush him. This will help Mccain look like the guy for the little guy which is actually true, and which is needed in this time of economic crisis.

    icen von (5c3f0d)

  59. REPUBLICANS, just make sure starting from tomorrow all of you blogging here go out and join some grassroots organization in your area or state as a whole, especially you guys in Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, and Florida, and get people to understand and want to vote for McCain. Also make sure on election day, you come out and drive people to the polls and make sure you vote yourselves. if we all do these, we will win the election, forget what the liberal polls say.

    icen von (5c3f0d)

  60. DRJ — I don’t notice any handwringing among the visitors when I disappear from the site for a few days. When you did we almost had to hold a wake because of all the mourning that went on around here.

    So the last thing I want to happen is to have your contributions held back by my big fingers hitting the wrong buttons.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  61. A month ago, those “liberal” polls showed McCain ahead icen.

    Are the polls just “liberal” when they show Obama up, or are they always out to get you guys?

    snuffles (677ec2)

  62. WLS-

    You don’t notice it because you can’t see it. We appreciate all those who contribute to the cause of truth and justice for all.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  63. Being a typical extreme right wing lunatic I would vote for Mickey Mouse over Obama – but wait MM is black … on second thought I think I would have to vote “present

    Walter Joseph (0322ce)

  64. Dream on. McLame isn’t a couple of points behind, he’s double-digits behind.

    sempdog (27016b)

  65. Dream on, yourself, sempdog. The media is in the tank for Obama, reporting “registered voter” polls instead of likely voter polls this late is just one clue.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  66. Awww, Ehrenstein thinks going after a plumber will make people forget that Obama is a socialist. That is adorable.

    If you stand in front of Obama while he babbles about socialism, the left demands to see your papers. That is beautiful.

    Jim Treacher (592cb4)

  67. I dont know what polls you people have been looking at,but for the past 2 months all I see is Obamma leading by 2 to 15 points.I am a republican and any one could take my poll right now. Obammas worst nightmare is the bradley effect,and it WILL come into play.These pollsters do not take RACE polls,so dont believe all the democratic bull that you see.Why do you think that the democrats are campaining in all the known blue states,If these states are always democratic states,as usual,they would not have to campain there.Yes,my republican friends,Obamma has brought the RACE issue into this election and it will take him out.”BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER” sad to say but true.

    gaetano (0f406e)

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