The Daily Show's Jon Stewart and Jason Jones took a few shots at the media and their obsession with poll watching this Wednesday evening. I don't know about anyone else, but the media's desire to treat politics like a sporting event instead of something which actually has real implications on peoples' lives is really giving me a headache of late, and Stewart just hit one of the reasons squarely on the head here.
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- 2012 Election
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- Election 2012
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Stephen Colbert had a bit of fun this Thursday evening with Fox carping about the polls, which are moving away from Mitt Romney, supposedly being skewed to favor Democrats. Heaven forbid, as Stuart Varney complained, they're basing their samples on "scientific gobbledygook."
Colbert informed the audience that he's got his own source of polls -- conservative blogger Dean Chambers -- Conservative Polling Alternative Plans Expansion:
Dean Chambers, founder of unskewedpolls.com, is expanding his empire after receiving calls of encouragement from Republicans this week.
Since his website caught fire this week for 'unskewing' presidential polls — Chambers re-weights national polling data on the assumption that more Republicans will vote than poll results show — the blogger has purchased two additional domain names: unskewedpolitics.com and unskewedmedia.com. [...]
The 'unskewed' methodology was widely criticized this week — even Scott Rasmussen, whose numbers are Chambers's statistical baseline, said the method wasn't sound — but Chambers says he has been getting calls of encouragement since Monday.
"I've been hearing from people inside the Tea Party movement and Republican movement calling to say that they support what I'm doing," said Chambers. "It's given them a boost of confidence. They're glad to see that someone's questioning the credibility of national polls." [...]
As far-right Republicans embrace the 'unskewed' numbers, even the Romney campaign is now suggesting that national polling can't be trusted.
In response to criticism this week, Chambers does concede that his polls may not necessarily be accurate — "Unskewing isn't exact, it's an estimate," he says — but the blogger does believe that his numbers can be trusted in what they reflect about Nov. 6.
"Some people say I'm creating an illusion, but that will be settled on Election Day," he said.
Republicans last great hope -- someone doing polling who is too biased for Rasmussen. Yee hah.
It seems the Romney campaign is doing their best to lower expectations for the presidential debates, which start next week. After first engaging in a bit of "poll trutherism" when asked by Fox's Bill Hemmer what he thought of Romney trailing in all of the battleground states, spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom was asked about a recent article which called the debates "do or die" for Romney. Here's how he responded.
Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser in the Romney campaign, said on Fox News Thursday that President Obama will turn the presidential debates into a "90-minute attack ad." Fehrnstrom also lowered debate expectations, saying Obama has had more experience in debates than Romney.
This coming from the same campaign which didn't have any qualms about literally carpet-bombing their opponents in the Republican primary race with negative ads. If their campaign is worried about supplying material for negative attack ads, I'd say it's just a little bit late now. There's enough out there already to keep the Obama campaign ad producers busy for months on end.
After Rush Limbaugh has been accusing pollsters of being in the tank for President Obama and trying to rig the election for him, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell was wondering how the talking heads over at Fox were going to handle things now that one of their own polls shows President Obama with a five point lead over Mitt Romney.
Well, he got his answer on Bill O'Reilly's show where Dick Morris did his best to "rewrite" the poll results:
O’Reilly asked Morris what he thought about the poll. Morris essentially dismissed it as “understat[ing] the Romney vote” and said pollsters are using “the highest, most pro-Obama turnout model.” O’Donnell remarked at exactly how “Fox News’ biggest star” handled his own network’s poll.
“He brought on a Fox News employee to see that Rupert Murdoch paid for a Fox News poll that was wrong to basically rewrite the poll on the air into yet another indicator that Mitt Romney is going to win. Bill O’Reilly wasn’t going to be stupid enough to do that himself, but he knows there will always be a Fox News player ready to go to say whatever the Fox News audience wants to hear, no matter how preposterous it could actually be.”
Of course this is nothing new for Dick Morris. He was pulling the same stunt back in May as our friends at News Hounds pointed out here -- Dick Morris Disses Fox News Poll To Predict A Big Romney Win.
As Cenk Uygur pointed out in the clip above, thank goodness President Obama ignored all of those hand wringing pundits and talking heads in the media who were telling him not to attack Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital. It appears they're doing him some good in the crucial swing states which will decide the next presidential election if the latest polls are any indication.
Here's more on that from TPM: NBC/WSJ Poll: Obama Gaining Ground In Swing States:
President Obama clings to a small lead nationally in a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, leading Republican Mitt Romney 47 percent to 44 percent. The president’s advantage widens in the states typically considered up for grabs — Obama leads by 8 points (50 percent to 42 percent) in a combined sample of voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
“Also in these swing states, Romney’s favorability numbers have dropped, possibly reflecting the toll the negative Obama TV advertisements are having on the former Massachusetts governor in these battlegrounds,” MSNBC’s FirstRead blog wrote. Those attacks include a sustained critique of Romney’s time at Bain Capital, the private equity firm that he co-founded.
Obama’s rating on the economy remains largely unchanged from previous NBC/WSJ polls: 42 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, while 53 percent disapprove — a trend that has held throughout 2012. The numbers also show that Obama’s rebuttal against Romney’s business experience seems to be working.
When asked about Congress' really horrible recent poll numbers with only ten percent approval and eighty two percent disapproval, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor couldn't give Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace a straight answer about why they're so low. I've got a few suggestions for him should he ever decide to answer.
Republicans have done nothing but pass one abortion bill after another in the House along with their latest overreach where they're ready to go after the contraceptives mandate as well. All they've offered that Cantor calls "jobs bills" here are more tax cuts for the wealthy and gutting our social safety nets. And they're completely unwilling to govern responsibly or compromise on anything and would rather obstruct anything that might improve the economy rather than see President Obama reelected.
All we got from Cantor was more lies and pretending the Republicans have not been trying to balance our budget on the backs of the elderly, the poor and what's left of the middle class and par for the course, Chris Wallace in another softball interview let him get away with it.
Transcript below the fold.
Ed Schultz and Joan Walsh discuss the upcoming mid-term elections and this constant drumbeat we're hearing about how the Republicans are going to have a "GOP tsunami" this time around and regain the House and possibly the Senate. As Joan noted, these national polls that are being made so much of are all over the place and it might be a little bit early to put too much stock in them and as she also noted that generic poll that showed the Republicans up by ten points last week now shows them tied again.
That apparently isn't stopping the media from yapping non-stop about how the Democrats are going to get beaten horribly in the mid-terms. While I agree that the enthusiasm gap is real, I think the media is doing their best to create a self-fulfilling prophecy with their constant carping on the issue.
UPDATE: Joan has more on her interview over at Salon and I agree completely with this statement on how our mainstream media is acting right now.
I don't want to sugarcoat the Democrats' obstacles from here to November. It doesn't look great. But there's an MSM groupthink going on where for now, there's a rush to be the one to declare the Dems are in the WORST trouble. Soon, someone will decide to get attention by going counterintuitive, and suggest things aren't so bad for the Dems. Then, finally, we'll have the actual election and know what happened.
As she also noted, it's quite possible some of those poll numbers aren't looking too good because voters just aren't paying attention yet. The Democratic Party has their problems but I don't think our country can survive the Republicans getting control back of the Congress right now. I know I'm getting sick to death of watching this constant drumbeat by our media acting like the elections are already over and the Democrats have already lost. Some of them are actually talking about it in the past tense. It's pathetic. Note to the Villagers, it's not November yet as much as you'd like it to be.
The cast of Morning Joe which included Chris Matthews had themselves a little love fest with Sarah Palin's and touted her chances of winning the 2012 Republican nomination for President. They praised her as some sort of king maker while failing to acknowledge that most of the people she supported were ahead in the polls already while ignoring anyone she supported that lost, and they also refused to address what is really her biggest problem if she would ever want to be taken seriously as a candidate.
You should not be allowed to be considered a serious candidate for anything if you cannot survive even the most basic questions from any media organizations besides Fox "News" or right wing radio hosts, and you can't run for President from your Facebook and Twitter pages.
As long as the media keeps allowing the Sarah Palins, and now the Sharron Angles and the Rand Pauls of the world to be taken seriously as candidates without having to face the same scrutiny anyone should be forced to go through if they want to represent this country, this is a huge problem. They're basically giving all of them permission to throw out their extreme rhetoric to their base without having to explain what they said or answer any questions on actual policy matters or how they'd govern if elected.
Sarah Palin should not be allowed to be a part of the media at Fox, and then spit at the rest of the media and have her flame throwing treated as something the public should pay attention to or take seriously. They need to be putting her on ignore mode until she's willing to go on the air with someone besides Fox and quit giving her more credibility than she deserves.
She'll never survive a Republican primary unless the media continues to give her the same pass they are now. What's frightening is listening to this type of debate from those who would enable her to continue doing what she is now with avoiding any real scrutiny by the media and who should know better. If Matthews thinks she's actually a viable candidate for President in 2012 he's been drinking a bit too much wingnut Kool Aid.
Rep. Alan Grayson and former Rudy Giuliani staffer and king of the false equivalencies Wingnut author John Avlon had a little dust up over polls on John King's show. Grayson took Avlon to task over a recent Gallup poll which shows President Obama's approval rating down to 38% with independent voters. What I wish he'd have called him out for is his claim that voters are more worried about the debt than jobs and the economy. Since he used the words "independent voters" and didn't say which poll he was citing it's impossible to say if he was cherry picking some statistics.
The larger problem with what Avlon did here is one that Digby pointed out a few weeks ago.
FAIR does an overview of the polls which show that the beltway obsession with the deficit is not, in fact, shared by the country.
But I did want to highlight this one piece of evidence supporting my contention that to the extent people do care about --- they just don't understand it. [...]
This is one of the reasons why I have been so frantic that the administration was feeding into the deficit hysteria. They don't seem to get that people don't actually care about "the deficit," they care about "the economy" and they fail to make a distinction between the two, especially since we have right wing wrecking crew that makes a point of conflating the two.
It's a problem.
Yes it is and people like Avlon here hyping fears over the deficit is just another example.
Transcript via CNN below the fold.
I know there are a lot of legitimate reasons for voters out there to be upset with many of the things the Obama administration has done. His liberal base actually has a lot of genuine concerns that are probably driving his poll numbers down. That said, I cannot think of anyone less qualified to talk about bad poll numbers and what they mean to a president than Buch flack Dana Perino who sat up there day after day with the White House press corps and tried to explain what one of our worst presidents in history was doing to deserve his bad poll numbers.
Sorry Dana, but the administration you worked for did a lot to cause the problems going on in our day to day lives that have led people not to trust their government, like the sort of policies and lack of government oversight that led up to the collapse of our financial markets.
Republicans only use for government is to prove it can't work so they can privatize everything to enrich their campaign contributors and their lobbyists who move in and out of government. Something the Bush administration took to new heights. Why anyone should consider Dana Perino someone to take seriously on poll numbers and what they mean after who she worked for is beyond me.