NBC's Chuck Todd: Our Poll Was Skewed

Last night, I noted how NBC News was swimming against historical trends in pushing a poll with a deeply partisan skew in its sample. The poll, produced in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal, had a D+11 sample, i.e. 46% of the sample identified as Democrat, 35% identified as Republican. In 2008, a very big year for Democrats, the electorate was D+7, 39% Democrat, 32% Republican. In fact, you have to go back nearly thirty years to find an election with such a partisan skew. 

This morning, on MSNBC's Morning Joe, NBC political director Chuck Todd admitted their poll had a skewed sample (around 3:50 mark) and stated that, if this poll were weighted similarly to their last poll, the race would have been unchanged, instead of Obama extending his lead over Romney to 6 points. (Of course, this invites the question as to why they didn't use the same weighting in this sample.)

Credit to Mr. Todd, then. Of course, when he previewed the polls results on a local NBC affiliate yesterday, he didn't mention anything about the skewed sample. And, of course, his acknowledgement that the poll oversampled Democrats by a wide margin hasn't stopped him from opining about lots of other information "found" in the poll. 

Note to Mr. Todd: a highly partisan skew doesn't just affect the head-to-head match up. It affects pretty much every other finding in the poll. Obama and Romney's likability? Who is better to handle particular issues? Every single "result" will be skewed due to the flawed sample used in the poll. There is simply almost no real information to be accurately "learned" from this poll. 

Well, that isn't quite true. We can learn that Obama's campaign is continuing to struggle with voters. Even with an 11-point "thumb on the scale", Obama can't crack 50% and leads Romney by only 6 points. If this poll were weighed within the same time zone as reality, Romney would likely be leading. Worse for Obama, even with the heavy Democrat skew, Romney IS leading Obama on who is better to handle the economy by 7 points, 43% to 36%.

Remember that media polls are often nothing more than propaganda. They are used to reinforce a narrative that the media wishes to advance. If they conform to the media's agenda, they will report them honestly. But, if they go against that narrative, the media will either ignore or, as seems to be the case here, "juice" the numbers to be the preferred result. 

In the end, though, the media is just deluding itself. In November, the voters will have the definitive say. 

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