"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Limits of Exit Polls

UPDATE:  Michael Barone today concluded that the exit polls, when reweighted to account for the standard Democratic bias, actually showed a dead heat between Romney and Obama.   He also waggishly recalled that an academic study of exit polling errors showed that they were most biased toward Democrats where the interviewers were female graduate students.   Hmmmm....


Some liberals in the media were touting the exit polls last night that showed Obama still leading Romney in Wisconsin by 51-44.   Since the Regular Guy was one of the few who called a blowout for Walker before yesterday's results (see below), let me add my two cents. 

Ignore it.

That's right, ignore the exit poll showing Obama still beating Romney in Wisconsin.  

First, these are the same polls that showed Walker and Barrett in a dead heat on election day.   So they were about seven points off.   It's highly likely they'd be the same amount off in assessing Obama's support.

Second, the polls obviously won't take into account the effect of the Walker triumph itself.   Low information voters/independents/self-styled "moderates" tend to break toward the side they think is winning.   Republicans are winning, and winning breeds more winning.

Third, Wisconsin's most popular politicians are all Republicans -- Ron Johnson, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and former Governor Tommy Thompson.    All will be out there in force campaigning with Romney.   Thompson will be the Republicans' U.S. Senate nominee running against a very weak Democratic candidate for Herb Kohl's open seat in November.   He will win easily, and that win will drive the Republican vote for President too.

Fourth, Wisconsin was very very close in 2000 and 2004.   It was only a Democratic blowout in the annus horribilus of 2008.   A closely divided state is the default; a Democratic majority is the exception.

Finally, there is a real chance with the continued bad national economy and repudiations like Wisconsin (and Democrats like Bill Clinton jumping ship and throwing Obama under the bus) that there will be a "preference cascade" against Obama.   People are tired of his act, tired of his whining excuses, tired of his narcisissism, tired of his incompetence.   Once it becomes socially acceptable to criticize Obama and come out against him, I'd expect a lot of so-called "moderates" to break for Romney.

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