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December 06, 2005

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Dwilkers

Polls are fickle. I wasn't much interested when they showed Bush in the mid-30's and IMO the recovering numbers don't mean a helluva lot either.

Here's a good one though:

* After 10 quarters of 3%-plus GDP growth with low inflation and 5% unemployment, “A total of 35% of Americans rate the national economy as excellent, very good, or good and 63% rate it as bad, very bad, or terrible.”

* In the near-total absence of data that would indicate that there is trouble ahead, “A total of 13% of Americans say that the national economy is getting better, 36% say it is staying the same, and 50% say the national economy is getting worse.”

* This one’s more judgmental, but with no compelling evidence of economic storms on the one-year horizon, “A total of 17% of Americans say they believe the national economy will be better a year from now, 20% say it will be the same, 61% say it will be worse, and 2% are undecided.”

And 43% believe we're in a recession. The power of the legacy media I suppose.

I get interested in polling in the run up to elections but not when the parties aren't actively engaged in a campaign.

kim

Scott was very edifying until right near the end there where he claimed to be an independent pollster.

Ah, polls, how fondly I remember the polls of August '04, when Kerry swiftly went from leading for the previous three months to trailing for the next 3 months.
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kim

Dwilkers, legacy media certainly isn't celebrating the marvelous economy we have, but I'd guess those skewed results you show above are from poor polling technique or from the fact that the pollees, regular Americans, I presume, are generally terminally ignorant about the sort of thing they were being asked. I'd bet that while opining about recessions, fewer than 5% of them could have defined one. So it was a case of garbage in, garbage out. What is your source?
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Specter

You are right Kim. Part of the problem is that many pollsters slant the questions to get the answer they want - and then do not publish the questions, just the results.

I have had quite a few discussions with people on other blogs where they believe, no matter what facts are posted, that the economy is going downhill. That is because they read it somewhere. Oh well...these are the same people that cast their votes on the basis of TV sound bites....

Specter

kim

Everyone is acutely and painfully aware of their own economic situation, and for most, it feels rickety. They never had it so good.
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Dwilkers

Its an American Research Group poll.

I do agree that methodology matters a lot. That's why I take polling with a large grain of salt. I think you can track trends but absolute numbers are difficult to pin down, whether due to the framing of questions or sample composition.

kim

Polipundit was reliable last year about polling.
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DougJ

Right on, Tom. I have to believe that the reason that all of robo-polls consistently show Bush close to or above 50% is that the human poll-takers have a liberal-bias. Not surprising, since generaly pollster=statistics Ph.D. and, generally, Ph.D. = liberal.

It's shame that aren't more robo-polls. Or maybe, it's not: this way the Moonbats think they're winning which spurs them on to still greater heights of insanity.

There's supposed to be a very positive Gallup poll in the pipeline...don't know when it will actually be released (Gallup is slow!).

clarice

In 2004 I found the most interesting and reliable data came from Jay Cost, a graduate student who ran The Horse Race Blog. In today's Real Clear Politics he has a very informative article about Congressional polling. Cost on Congressional Polls (He doesn't see any significant change coming.

TM

I wonder if falling gasoline prices will reassure people that the economy is not poised on a cliff.

maryrose

REmember dems polls on election day 2004? Now there's polling we can count on. To my mind rasmussen is the only one worth a grain of salt. I saw him on the Fox channel. He actually looks honest.

DougJ

"I wonder if falling gasoline prices will reassure people that the economy is not poised on a cliff."

How about 30 months with an average of 4% growth? But the media would rather talk about the negative, but, is there anything negative about the economy right now? Nothing I can think of.

maryrose

Oil companies overplayed their hand and actually thought people would pay 3.00for gas.People bought less gas and then there was no profit.. Hence lower gas prices and people start to fill their tanks again.

kim

DougJ, there is a huge and unconscionable wealth transfer going on from youth to the elderly. It is utterly unsustainable. And the Medicare Drug bill hooks our seniors on drugs, with money stripped from the young. Robbers! Thieves! Murderers!
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kim

It's at least possible that the terror premium on futures has dropped. Thanks to Kerry and Wilson and Berger and Clarke, of course.
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DougJ

"there is a huge and unconscionable wealth transfer going on from youth to the elderly."

Sounds like an argument in favor of private Social Security accounts to me ;)

Let's hope we get enough of a majority in 2006 that we can finally get that done. The system is broken and for once we've got a president with enough guts to fix it.

Truzenzuzex

DougJ:

How about 30 months with an average of 4% growth? But the media would rather talk about the negative, but, is there anything negative about the economy right now? Nothing I can think of.
Iraq is driving the economy off the front page right now. Energy prices, because of their volitility, is driving people's perception about the economy. Even if the newspapers hailed the economy right alongside their negative Iraq coverage, the public perception wouldn't be any better.

Most people look at their wallets to determine how the economy is doing, and the media has always prefered reporting bad news over good news for a number of reasons. In fact, research suggests that people find bad news more credible - which is part of the reason, no doubt, that the media prefers to report it.

kim

It might surprise you, DJ, to know how many 20-35 year olds understand and regret the income transfer and Ponzi scheme otherwise known as Social Security. They will grow into a majority happy to change it. I'd say 2010.
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DougJ

2010? I think more like 2007. After the next election cycle, we'll have a big enough majority to push it through. I foresee massive losses for the Dems in the Senate in 2006. I'm less sure about the House, but trust the leadership there more to get things through with or without a resounding majority.

The left is going to get slaughtered on cultural issues in 2006. Word is, there's (finally!) legislation protecting Christmas displays and carols in school as well as a "Natalee's Law" to deal with extradition issues for Americans harmed abrad coming down the pike in a few months. It's beautiful when issues that one feels strongly about are also political gold. Howard Dean and his atheist ACLU friends aren't going to know what hit them. Mark. My. Words.

DougJ

"It might surprise you, DJ, to know how many 20-35 year olds understand and regret the income transfer and Ponzi scheme otherwise known as Social Security."

Oh, and it doesn't surprise me, which is why say the Ponzi scheme ending sooner rather than later.

cathyf

Instapundit had a comment a couple of days ago that I found perceptive -- that the gloomy economic news the the MSM reports is a reflection of gloomy economics of the MSM. They are in a dying business, and so what they see around them is economic decline.

(An old boss of mine has a PhD in urban demography. He had a professor who had this whole act like John Houseman in Paper Chase. Some foolish student would make a comment about "everyone I know" and the professor would proclaim in a stern sonorous boom that, "The sample made up of people you know is the very worst sample indeed!")

cathy :-)

dorf

In 15 years the Social Security system will be deemed permanently unsustainable. The market will deal with what politicians and the AARP refuse to. It's as simple as that.

noah

dorf and kim:

Unfortunately you are wrong about the prospects for reforming entitlements. Time has just about run out because as the boomers retire the constituency for reform will inexorably decrease (remember the statistic about 2 workers v. 1 retiree?)! Witness the elections in Germany which is further along the social dependency/demographic time bomb...the voters there said no to entitlement reform.

We need to get out and work hard for republicans this Fall...the train is leaving the station.

dorf

Noah: We are talking past each other, but I think we are in general agreement. My point is that reform will be be put upon folks because they will not reform on their own now. For example, the AARP position is criminally negligent. I think the only ethical position is to allow people to opt out of a defined benefit and give them the choice of where to invest their money. In fifteen years when the system collapses on itself, we will get the choice because there will be no other choice.

cathyf

I think that entitlement "reform" will come about as a side effect of the democrats taking power and surrendering to the global caliphate. There is no social security in the koran, after all.

cathy :-)

ed

How is 46/52 good? It's been there since Thanksgiving.

paul

The number one factor for the middle class?

Their 401k statements. Clinton had a good run, excuse me, great run...(I don't believe he had anything to do with it, other than getting elected at the end of a global recession.

Every 3 months, a lot of people get their statements. Looking at the general 401's around the office, things do look better-but for the most part I still have to explain what the increase means...

The public is economically illiterate, but since I've seen very few high school classes geared towards actully educating the public about our economy, understandable.

Also funny, but worth noting, is that the number of dems willing to discuss the guilt of Libby at this site, but the silence that seems to have fallen on them in discussing the economy here.

TP

Clarice. I agree with your assessment of Jay Cost. His election day coverage was incredibly good. I wish we saw more from him.

maryrose

TP,
Just finished the Jay Cost article today on realclearpolitics .com and he is right on the money.

DougJ

"I think that entitlement "reform" will come about as a side effect of the democrats taking power and surrendering to the global caliphate. There is no social security in the koran, after all."

LOL. The only unrealistic part of that scenario is the Dumbokrats taking power.

noah

dorf: By then it will be too late. Demographics aren't there for sustainable growth and prosperity. Wouldn't really matter that much if Congress passed Bush's SS reform...Medicaid, Medicare, federal retirement obligations, etc. loom as large or larger.

By not doing much about immigration we may be inadvertently stumbling into the solution if we can integrate all those immigrants but I am not optimistic. The fertility of assimilated American women needs to increase dramatically or the America we know will disappear forever. I hope I am wrong.

noah

No wonder we obsess over Plamegate. It is just one of a myriad of unsolvable problems (puzzles!) but secretly we know the answers are largely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

millco88

If you want to know the real reason why Rasmussen's robots differ from human pollsters, it's one big assumption he makes -- party ID. He adjusts his sample based on 2004 exit poll data believing that political party affiliation has not changed. That's not the case with virtually all the "human" polls -- they adjust based on demographics, but not party affiliation.

IOW, if a human pollster gets a sample of 37% Dem, 30% Rep and 33% Ind, he doesn't adjust his numbers; Rasmussen would.

DougJ

So, millco, you're saying that the robotic polling can't adjust to changes in party ID? That doesn't make any sense.

millco88

DougJ,

They CAN; Rasmussen doesn't. His assumption is that party ID doesn't change very much, especially among likely voters, so he adjusts his sample accordingly. You can agree or disagree with that. MysteryPollster is a pretty good place to start for a discussion along these lines if you're interested.

The robots reference is merely a recognition of the collection technique. Rasmussen doesn't use live callers; most other pollsters do. But that's merely another issue regarding polling. The main reason Rasmussen's numbers differ from live pollsters is the party ID adjustment. Personally, I think it's closer to reality than a lot of people changing party affiliation.

DougJ

Thanks for the explanation Millco. IMHO, Democrats are generally a lot more likely to answer polls because, well, they've got nothing better to do. There were all those polls the week before the election showing Kerry with 10-12 point leads, but it ended up being a blow-out for Bush.

millco88

DougJ,

You're making the case for why you hold party ID constant. If that phenomenon exists (differing response rates by party), then you have to adjust your sample to account for it. Rasmussen does it by holding party ID constant. Other pollsters use more refined methods. As long as you use the same technique over time, the results should be comparable.

But you're hitting on one of the big questions regarding data collection. How representative are the people who answer these polls of the population they're supposed to represent?? It's not just political pollsters struggling with that one; everyone associated with data collection is.

DougJ

Thanks for the explanation, Millco. I really don't know much about polls except that I think they skew way to the left of what the public actually thinks. What you say helps me understand why this may be.

Gary Maxwell

One other item to understand about Rasmussen. He has a note in th body of his report. In 2004 he was doing "likely voter" polling. Now he is doing registered voter polling. He says the difference is around 2-3%. So when you want to compare 2004 to now add 2-3% to Bush popularity numbers. Amazing thing is that we are right about where we were in early November 2004 when Bush won with a majority of over 3.5 million more votes than Lt Reporting for Dooty.

kim

DJ, the late bulge to Kerry was pretty clearly the 'independent' pollsters trying to swing the momentum to Kerry. I think a related, but less conscious, phenomenon happened on election day.
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DougJ

"Amazing thing is that we are right about where we were in early November 2004 when Bush won with a majority of over 3.5 million more votes than Lt Reporting for Dooty."

Yup, the mandate is still in place. The press loves to talk about how Bush has "lost his political capital" but if you ask me he's just been saving it up for bigger stuff in 2006.

kim

On SS, Bush is just going to have to point out to the young the gunpoint they are held at. Then he'll show them how to unload the weapon, and turn the butt into a hammer to build a future they can live in.

It'll make Carter's Habitat for Humanity look like Potemkin Villages.
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ed

Scratch that! 45/53 again. Sorry.

ed

44 like a rocket!

kim

Or maybe he can show them the swordpoint they are held at then show them how to forge it into a corn knife, AKA machete, to clear the land for all those subdivisions in the fastest growing counties.
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kim

Social Security need not be a thief; it could be a partner. The secret is vesting the power in the people. Let them control their own money. What a liberal idea. It liberates the money, it liberates the government to more honestly finance its works, and it liberates the labor. It is so obviously the right thing to do, it will, rather must happen. No other solution works as well.
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ed

Today 43 55
Dec 8 44 54
Dec 7 45 53
Dec 6 46 52
Dec 5 48 52

kim

It's as inevitable as thermodynamics.
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Wilson/Plame