We’ve written often about tricks media companies can use to juice their polls. There is the obvious Democrat bias of polls surveying adults or registered voters as opposed to likely voters. But perhaps the most pernicious is how they “weight” their partisan sample. Now, polling companies need to weight their sample, so that it reflects the overall electorate. But, the latest WaPo/ABC poll has a particularly skewed sample; it assumes that only 24% of the electorate identifies as Republican.
Now, Republicans haven’t made up 24% of the electorate since probably 1856, when the party was first founded. Even in the Democrat wave years of 2006 and 2008, the GOP made up over 30% of the electorate. Traditionally, Republicans make up 34-38% of the voting universe.
The latest WaPo/ABC poll basically spots Obama a couple goals before the results are even tabulated. Even with this “thumb on the scale”, though, Obama’s reelection looks very shaky.
Overall, the poll shows Obama and Romney tied at 47% nationally among registered voters. Worse for Obama, 54% of voters in this sample–which undercounts Republicans–disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy. This sample gives Romney a 5-point lead on better “handling the economy” and a 10-point lead on better “handling the deficit.”
One can only imagine the results if this poll were screened only for “likely” voters and the partisan breakdown was something approaching reality. No wonder the media are now obsessing that Romney’s campaign needs a “staff shake-up.” His current staff is winning.
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