Survey Says: I’m Getting That Sick Feeling

I have said frequently and vociferously that Obama would lose this election, and lose big.  But that was back in the good old days, when we had things like “banks” and “stock markets.” Now, where those things used to be, there’s just a giant, smoking hole filled with the angry tears of people who expected to retire one day, instead of working til they keeled over.  That being the case, I’m afraid we have to reassess the situation.

I try to be more optimistic than the average bear, but the fact is that if McCain wins, it’ll be the biggest upset in presidential election history.  We are well into “Dewey Defeats Truman” territory here.

A lot of conservatives–bless their hearts–are still holding fast to hope. At RedState, Dan Perrin optimistically gives the seven reasons McCain-Palin is a lock:

The first and foremost reason McCain-Palin will win is the absolute arrogance, elitism, condescending, patronizing and in-your-face voter suppression campaign – don’t vote for McCain, he can not win — being conducted by the national media on Senator Obama’s behalf.

Americans do not like to be told what to do. But the national media has become a feminized, electronic vote-for-Obama nagging machine. There is plenty of precedent for the average American telling those telling them what to do, to go pound sand, especially to those who tell them over, and over, and over again.

A couple of people have also dug into the polls that have been consistantly giving Obama big leads. Zombietime looks at poll results as a combination of Obama supporters’ strategy and untruthful pollees:

A substantial portion of the Left’s strategy during this campaign is to create the perception that as many people as possible are supporting Obama. They strive to not simply show that he has a lot of supporters (which, obviously, he has), but to purposely inflate or exaggerate the numbers in order to make his support seem larger than it really is. The drive to do this seems almost automatic; it is assumed by Obama’s supporters to be the most effective campaign strategy. It’s so automatic that they perhaps are no longer even aware that it is a strategy. But why? What purpose is possibly served by this behavior? Has anyone on the Left ever paused, stepped back, and asked, “Wait a minute — why are we doing this? Are we sure it’s the correct course of action?” Doing everything possible to inflate the perceived support of Democratic candidates has become so de rigueur that the Left has long ago forgotten why they’re even doing it.

This essay examines the underlying faulty assumptions of this strategy — and shows why it’s not only counter-productive, but could backfire disastrously.

A key component of this strategy is an over-reliance on polling, since poll numbers which show Obama apparently in the lead can be used to club undecided voters or McCain supporters into submission. You’re all alone. Nobody else thinks like you. Your side is losing. You’re out of touch. Change your mind — join the winning team. But the polls may not reflect what we imagine they reflect.

…I posit that the vast majority of people actually doing the polling are themselves Obama supporters. Not necessarily the CEOs who own the polling companies, but the people actually picking up the phone and making the calls, or walking door-to-door.

And Wizbang compares Obama’s polling to the “support” for New Coke:

Well, I am not a big believer in conspiracies, but I do think that the polling groups have fallen into a groupthink condition. I wrote earlier about the fact that of the major polling groups handling national and state polls, all of them are based deep in pro-Liberal, anti-Conservative territories.

The thing most folks forget about polls which get published in the media, is that the polls’ first need is not to accurately reflect the election progress and report on actual support levels; it’s about business. A poll needs clients to survive, and the media – always – wants a good story more than they want facts. So polls sell that story, and what would actually be a gradual development of support, with modest changes brought about as the public learned about candidates’ records and positions, is instead sold as an exciting roller-coaster race, careening madly all over the place. If a candidate appears to be popular and charismatic, he might be allowed a strong lead, or the poll might tighten things from time to time just to keep attention on the polls. That’s where that whole “bounce” thing after the conventions comes from – do you really think republicans or independents got more excited about Obama because of his convention, or that democrats and independents were more likely to vote for McCain because of the GOP convention? When you think about it, it should be obvious that these bumps are artificial unless there is a clear cause to show a change in support. And when you take apart the polls and drill down to the raw data, what you find is a close race with a gradually declining but still large pool of undecided voters, which is consistent with the known facts and actions we see from both campaigns. Obviously, though, the polls want to finish as close as possible to the actual results, but this year they have a problem. There has been unprecedented manipulation of demographics, corrupting even the raw data to the point where effective resolution of public opinion is doubtful.

These guys make compelling arguments, and I’m looking for a reason to believe as much as anybody who’s going to be on the short end of any future wealth spreading.  But when you’re clinging to anecdotes and polling discrepancies as support for your candidate, that’s a sign that you’re in deep, deep trouble.

I spent a lot of the ’96 election trying to convince myself that Bob Dole was in good shape to win, and I used arguments that were a lot like these. I’m afraid that McCain is now in the same bind that Dole was.

Don’t read this as a surrender.  Comebacks happen; miracles happen. Get out and vote. It couldn’t possibly hurt. But brace yourself; Tuesday may be hard to watch.