The Enthusiasm Gap: More Reasons Traditional Polls Are Wrong - Granite Grok

The Enthusiasm Gap: More Reasons Traditional Polls Are Wrong

The popular narrative is that Romney is not enthusing the base, and that the swing states have already swung Obama, indeed, in an exercise that can only be called “opinion making” rather than opinion polling, WMUR just reported Obama with a 15 point lead in NH, and that is on top of a recently reported 10 point lead in Ohio (or is that OIHO?). If those polls don’t ring true to you Republicans, and for the Dems (I know you’re watching), if they seem too good to be true, then your suspicions are probably right.
As I have recently reported, LameStream Polling has been seriously skewed, so much so that a cottage industry has grown up around decoding the skew and decanting the truth from their numbers, but let’s take a look at the ground game in NH, shall we? While Rasmussen is reporting Romney +3% amongst likely voters, there’s also the small matter of the enthusiasm gap – the people who actually get off the couch and go to the polls. Anybody who did the math on September 12th might have noticed that 12% more Republicans than Democrats turned out to vote! Do the math: Romney +3% from a reliable pollster, plus 12% enthusiasm gap, and you are looking at a 15% GOP victory IF we keep up the hard work. But there’s more, much more……

Nobody can beat Obama, they said.
(H/T James Taranto, WSJ)
Remember the primaries of summer? When they said ‘Nobody can beat Obama’ and Nobody came awfully close to beating him! Remember when an unknown lawyer, a convicted felon, and nobody at all, pulled about 42% of the Democrat primary vote in Arkansas, West VA, and Kentucky? Do you really think, with even more people having given up looking for work, and the war on coal intensifying, that Obama is MORE popular in those places?
The Other McCain
Portrait of a Reporter
And then there’s Ohio (and the small matter of whether Buckeyes will forgive Obama for the’OIHO’ debacle). While the LSM were touting an improbable 10% lead for Obama last week, our friend Robert Stacy (The Other) McCain was busy wearing out some real shoe leather (and Ali Akbar’s tires) getting the real story on the ground, and proving once again the truth of Yogi Berra’s adage ‘You can observe a lot by watching’.
First, Stacy trekked to a Paul Ryan rally in Lima Ohio, where he reported ‘The Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center is packed for this afternoon’s “Victory Town Hall” event’. Bet the regular media didn’t tell you the place was packed, but I’d place much longer odds against any of them reporting this little exchange:

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus just held an impromptu press gaggle and said, “We’re going to outspend the DNC 10-to-1 for the next six weeks.” Asked about polls showing Romney-Ryan trailing in Ohio, Priebus said “we’re within a field goal and we’re going to crush [the Democrats] on the ground.”

No wonder they’re making up 10% leads for Obama out of thin air – you can smell the Democrats’ fear from NH!!
After covering events in Cincinnati and Dayton, and just squeaking the deadlines for his Campaign Crawler articles in American Spectator, it was off to…. Holy Toledo Batman, look at those crowds!…

OK, if you believe the polls, Mitt Romney’s 10 points behind in Ohio. But then there are those people — THOUSANDS of people — who stood in line in the rain to get in to see Mitt this afternoon in downtown Toledo….

There were times during this rally when the crowd just went wild cheering and began chanting “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!” People who say Mitt isn’t “exciting” should attend one of these rallies.

Stacy is noticing the skewed polls, too, and filed this:

A recent series of three polls — by the Washington Post, Quinnipiac and Fox News — show Mitt Romney getting blown out of the water in Ohio, and those of us who are skeptical about these numbers (c’mon, 10 points?) are being derided as “poll denialists.”

It is worth pointing out that these polls were all taken in the immediate aftermath of the “secret video” uproar, and all of them are now at least five days out of date. The Fox poll was taken Sept. 16-18, the WaPo poll was taken Sept. 19-23 and Quinnipiac’s poll was taken Sept. 18-24.

There has been no new public polling since Monday, which is significant in that Paul Ryan and Romney spent three days this week campaigning in Ohio — Lima, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo. We must ask: Do polls matter more than the campaigns themselves? Do the national media control the narrative to such an extent that 4,000 people turning out for Romney in Toledo can be dismissed as irrelevant? Is all the grassroots effort by Americans for Prosperity moot?

We’re still four days away from the first debate, Wednesday in Denver, and yet we are being told that Obama’s headed for a landslide victory in Ohio, and thus re-election Nov. 6.

Really? Reports of declining Democrat registrations don’t justify even a tiny smidgen of doubt about this allegedly foregone conclusion?

And then this coup de grace on the real situation on the ground in Ohio – like Yogi said, you can observe a lot just by looking, and Stacy looks where the LSM ignores the evidence:

One of the bits of Conventional Wisdom you hear about why Mitt Romney is having a hard time in Ohio is that the economy isn’t so bad there. Republican Gov. John Kasich’s pro-business policies have ameliorated the state’s woes, and many Ohioans are also grateful for the GM bailout, so therefore (according to the Conventional Wisdom) Romney’s economic message doesn’t resonate as much.

Being habitually skeptical toward the Conventional Wisdom, I doubt the sufficiency of these explanations. And my doubts were bolstered last week when I walked into a convenience store and saw the headlines in Thursday’s Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum:
Those three front-page headlines in this small-town paper (in Crawford County, Ohio, where my wife is from) tell us a lot about what’s really going on in Ohio these days:

Unemployment remains the same
Even though Crawford Co. unemployment rate
fell 1 percent, more people are not employed

Study says more children
have health insurance
Despite increasing poverty, the number of children with health insurance increased across Ohio last year.
(due to government programs)

Local children
are going hungry
‘Pack the Park’ event aims to help
BUCYRUS — There is a harsh reality in our community: children in Bucyrus and Crawford County are going hungry. The proof exists in the rising percentages of free and reduced-price lunches in school districts throughout Crawford County.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, local citizens can help combat this growing issue during an event called “Pack the Park” at Aumiller Park.

Sounds mournful, doesn’t it – read the whole thing, and you’ll see why Obama’s chances just aren’t that good! (Read the whole stories at, and/or click his picture above if you appreciate real reporting and want to support him.)

NH primary enthusiasm gap, Democratic lack of enthusiasm for Obama, on the ground reporting in Ohio – add it together, and you can see why the Democrats are as demoralized as hell, as Pete likes to say.