Man Without Qualities

Monday, August 02, 2004

Ah, The Bounce! V

Today's CBS News poll finds a 1% positive bounce for Kerry-Edwards (although the article says there was "no" bounce). That poll has in the past also had serious methodological issues. This time it is worth noting that the sample was not even restricted to registered (never mind anyone's notion of "likely") voters:

The CBS News poll was conducted among a sample of 1,052 adults, interviewed by telephone July 30-August 1, 2004. There were 991 registered voters in the sample.

Today's CBS "poll" found the Kerry-Edwards ticket to now hold a six-point lead over the Republican incumbents among "adults" (including, apparently, French tourists), 49 percent to 43 percent — only slightly wider than the 49 percent to 44 percent lead the Democrats had in a poll taken July 11 to 15.

ABC News:

Among registered voters, 50 percent support Kerry in this ABC News/Washington Post poll, 44 percent Bush and 2 percent Ralph Nader — a gain of four points for Kerry and a loss of four for Bush from the pre-convention ABC/Post poll. That net shift of eight points is about half the average, 15 points, for challengers running against incumbents in elections since 1968 ranging from +30 for Bill Clinton in 1992 to -3 for George McGovern in 1972).

The average bounce for all candidates is 12 points. Among likely voters, Kerry's six-point edge slips to an insignificant two points — 49 percent support for Kerry, 47 percent for Bush and 2 percent for Nader, a net (and at best very slight) six-point shift toward Kerry from the pre-convention poll.

The spin provided to both the ABC News/Washington Post poll and the CBS News poll includes the hilarious concept of Kerry-Edwards "solidifying" certain aspects of their support. Since the bounce from any convention normally (certainly often) soon vanishes completely, the assertion that anything in these polls indicates a "solidifying" of any aspect of Kerry-Edwards support borders on the disingenuous, and certainly represents at best hopeless incompetence on the part of the ABC and CBS spinners. Do these guys really believe the hooey they serve up to their audiences?

Weirdly, today's Note breathlessly warned: With all due respect to Newsweek and Gallup, hold onto your hat and hair for tonight's ABC News/Washington Post poll. And please say "boost" or "bump," and not "bounce." But with these ABC News/Washington Post poll results we needn't have bothered with the hat/hair clamp. I do agree that "bounce" is too strong a word for what showed up there. "Blip" works.

But one message is coming through loud and clear regardless of the background noise generated by the spinners: The Democratic Convention did very little to increase the Kerry-Edwards aggregate support level, and may have damaged it. The Convention therefore did not accomplish even a small part of what the Democrats desired.

Round One in this campaign goes by default to Bush-Cheney.

UPDATE: An astute reader points out this amazingly droll passage in the ABC spin:

There was some movement in political party identification in this poll: Among registered voters, 39 percent say they're Democrats, 29 percent Republicans and 26 percent independents (among likely voters, who account for 55 percent of adults in this poll, it's 40 percent-32 percent-24 percent). That's more Democratic, and less Republican, than usual; it was 34 percent-33 percent-29 percent among registered voters in the last ABC/Post poll. Moving loyalty, of course, is precisely what conventions are all about.

Put another way: It is likely that essentially all of the already tiny Kerry-Edwards bounce (I mean "blip") in ABC News/Washington Post poll is caused by simple over sampling of Democrats by the pollsters. In the past, the CBS poll has suffered seriously and often from this same sampling affliction - and it would not be surprising to find it infects today's CBS poll, too.

One can say this about the post-Convention polls: The polls with the better methodologies (those restricted to a good notion of "likely voter," having unbiased samples, etc) show less bounce - or negative bounce - for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

Torturing poll sampling methodology so that the liberal media's favored candidate can have a post-Convention "bounce" is on par with putting the thermometer in ice water every time its taken from the patient's mouth but before the doctor gets to see it. One can argue that the patient doesn't have a fever. The patient's readings look better, and the patient's friends and relatives feel better, right up until the patient dies.

But the key passage in the ABC spin is this indication of a dimly dawning awareness in the foreign-affairs-drunk mainstream media:

While Kerry won some ground on Iraq, his gains occurred disproportionately among people who say the economy is the most important issue in their vote — making the economy look increasingly likely to be the tipping point in this election.

So the economy looks increasingly likely to be the tipping point in this election? Imagine that. Perhaps not quite a paraphrase of "It's the economy, stupid!" - but close enough.

Which is why reports on the progress of the domestic economy - in this case the continuing acceleration of the American manufacturing sector whiloe inflation pressures moderated and hiring slowed - are the key to this election. The price of energy - especially gasoline and natural gas - are important. Employment numbers, of course, are even more laden with electoral significance. On average, economists predict the U.S. economy added 215,000 new jobs in July, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

But most of the analysis in the mainstream and the blogosphere is just silliness.

Comments: Post a Comment