People are starting to make some connections:
One of the odder little subplots of the 2012 election has been the growth of poll denialism among Republicans. As Mitt Romney's chances have grown ever dimmer, a cottage industry has sprung up on the right claiming that presidential polls suffer from liberal bias and Romney is really doing better than they say. "When the published poll shows Obama ahead by, say, 48-45," explains conservative pundit Dick Morris, "he's really probably losing by 52-48!"Or vaccine denialism or rape denialism or . . . well, you get the idea. Here in America, one of our major parties has responded to the revolution in personal communication that began with 24 hour cable news and progressed to smartphones and the blogosphere by developing an independent, self-reinforcing, weather-dominator-scale doomsday device of cognitive dissonance.
Now, this is hardly in the same league as climate denialism or evolution denialism.
There is no unpleasant reality, the right has discovered, that cannot be shouted down by 128-bit quad-core sophistry. The latest fact to be dragged, gagged and bound, towards the conservative memory hole is Romney's dismal prospects in the upcoming elections:
congressworksforus posted a comment in On Polls and Polling · 2 days ago
Yep, we'll just take your word for it, anonymous Restate commenter. Poll denialism is rich with the sort of useful idiots who feel that good old horse sense and five minutes on WUWT qualifies them to dismiss radiative physics. Chait's take here:I can guarantee you that the Romney campaign has access to far better polling than any polling organization that's posting public polls.
The fact they are NOT changing course simply tells me that Erick is wrong, and that the public polls are horrible this time around.
The fact that Obama has (if you pay attention) essentially given up on being re-elected (could he possibly make any more mistakes than he has the past couple of weeks) tells me that his campaign knows it is toast as well.
Turnout will favor Republicans. The GOP built a ground game after 2008 that was effective (but not overwhelmingly) in 2010, but was *incredibly* effective a few months ago in Scott Walker's recall election (he got more votes than when we was first elected!)
Believe me, Obama is not winning Ohio, nor is he winning Florida, and without either, he ain't winning.
This was the week that the political world discovered the burgeoning world of conservative polling denial. Just like other, better-established fields of conservative reality denial, the polling denial movement has its own levels of insanity. At the core sit the most fanatical of the denialists, like unskewedpolls.com, a popular site that offers its own twist on public opinion data, which currently has Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama by 7.8 percent nationally.
Steven Taylor is on the same page:The poll denialists’ argument holds that the polls — all of them, except Rasmussen, conducted by a right-wing pundit with a terrible record of accuracy — are over-sampling Democrats, finding nearly as many of them as showed up at the polls in 2008, which they consider a high-water mark for Democrats unlikely to be repeated. Pundits have patiently explained that polls do not make assumptions about the party identification of voters but merely report what voters tell them. And the most plausible explanation for the higher number of Democrats in polls is that increasing numbers of conservatives who reliably vote Republican are identifying themselves as independents to pollsters.So poll denialism is silly, and the conspiratorial explanation undergirding it is deranged.
I am astonished at the degree to which many who are rooting for Romney seem to be in total denial about the polling. For example, the following from Katrina Trinko at NRO:Can I just say I wish the pundits and national media types would be as quick and forthright in confronting climate science denial? But of course, the difference is that most reporters don't understand climate science, while the concept of calling people up and asking them who they are going to vote for is a little easier to wrap your mind around. And again, as we saw with Todd Akin's comments, the immediate and obvious connection between the ideological worldview to the facts being denied helps people see deniers for what they are. The polls are brutally discouraging to my candidate = I deny the polls; the most scrupulous practitioner of journalistic false balance has got to be able to connect the dots on that one.
But regardless of partisan breakdown, Republicans should be wary of taking any polls as completely accurate.Emphasis mine.
“Part of the reason the Democrats won in 2008 was that when it looked as if McCain was going to lose, some Republicans stayed home,” argues McLaughlin. “So if President Obama is in a dead-even race with Mitt Romney in so many swing states, if the Democrats can convince enough Republicans they’re going to lose, it could take a one-point loss for the Democrats to a one-point win.”
The thing that is remarkable about the above is that it not only in based in an approach that privileges preference over reality, it comes with a built-in fairy tale to explain any non-preferred results! Using the logic above the polling can be wrong whilst predicting the actual outcome and, better yet, the wrong polling (that was actually right) wasn’t just wrong, but it caused the wrong outcome to occur!
Life would be better for all of us if we were all, regardless of partisan preferences, a tad more grounded in empirics.