William Galston, who writes for The New Republic (i.e., he’s a Leftist), is not sanguine about Obama’s standing in the presidential race. Without getting into the why of Obama’s decision to run a staggeringly vindictive campaign (which would force him to acknowledge that Americans dislike both what Obama has and has not done), he looks at polls which indicate that this tactic has Obama treading water, rather than swimming away from Romney. After examining several polls that show the two candidates in a statistical dead heat, he turns his sights on an outlier, and professes bewilderment (emphasis mine):
For reasons I don’t understand, the Pew surveys have pretty consistently yielded better results for Obama—larger edges and higher shares of the electorate—than have those from most other organizations over the past few months. For our purposes, however, the most important finding from their latest survey is this: “there is no clear trend in either candidate’s support since Romney wrapped up the GOP nomination … The presidential campaign’s dynamics have changed little in recent months.”
Maybe Glaston should start reading National Review, as I do. If he’d taken a minute to check things out over there, Jim Geraghty represents a letter that explains why those Pew surveys have funny numbers (emphasis in original):
Starting in 1992, EVERY Pew poll appears to lean to one direction — always towards the Democrat, and by an average of more than 5 percentage points. Worse this is a reflection of the “final” poll which even the Democratic firm, Public Policy Polling, usually gets right.
After being wrong in the same direction so consistently, wouldn’t you think that Pew might attempt to adjust their sampling techniques to adjust their techniques to avoid under-sampling Republican voters? Keep in mind the polls I have highlighted are the last polls in the race. I find it interesting that not one of their poll statisticians came out and said, ‘Boss, these results look whacked out because the electorate is going to be more than 24 percent Republican, and self-identified Democrats aren’t going to outpace Republicans by 9 percentage points.’
I know why no Pew employee has suggested re-weighting the polls and why Galston professes ignorance about Pew’s peculiar results: As Thomas Gray said, “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”
Incidentally, if you’re wondering just how nasty Obama’s side of the campaign is getting, it’s getting this nasty:
I thinks is a superb ad, because it’s going out to an audience that neither knows nor cares that these vicious claims have been resoundingly and repeatedly debunked. Nor will anyone care that Barack Obama personally approves of this multitude of lies. You and I are rightfully disgusted; they don’t want to know that there’s anything to be disgusted about.
Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.