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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ignorance Becomes a Political Tactic

The Republican break with reality is nearly complete. From the historic failure if trickle-down economics to global warming to evolution to the fact you don't choose to be gay, conservatives have been waging a War with Reality for years. And it's the nature of that war that the believe they're winning, despite the fact that they can't possibly. I wrote about an aspect of it yesterday, but that was before this story broke on Buzzfeed:

Republicans have taken their complaints about media polls allegedly favoring Democrats a step further this morning, embracing an obscure new polling website that re-engineers public polls to add more Republicans to their samples, and which gives Republican Mitt Romney a wide lead.

Some Romney supporters have long complained that public polls suggest higher Democratic turnout, and lower Republican turnout, than they think is likely this year. Pollsters have replied that their samples are dictated by what poll respondents themselves say. (This exchange between Hugh Hewitt and Lee Miringoff is illustrative of the argument.)

Dean Chambers, a blogger on Examiner.com who writes from his home in Duffield, Virginia, took that complaint a step further — producing wide Romney leads far beyond what the Republican's campaign or Republican pollsters have suggested is the case.


The site -- unskewedpolls.com -- is of course made entirely of the purest, most highly refined BS. Basically, he takes polling samples that are the most favorable to Republicans, then applies those percentages to other polls. In other words, if he believes the poll oversamples Democrats, he subtracts a percentage of dem respondents and adds a percentage of GOP ones. As you can imagine, this changes everything radically. Buzzfeed posted a Chambers chart from yesterday and Romney leads in a spread of +3 to +10.

↓ CONTINUED AFTER THE JUMP ↓

"[Y]ou cannot compare partisan weighting from one polling firm to another," pollster Scott Rasmussen told Buzzfeed in response to this story. "Different firms ask about partisan affiliation in different ways. Some ask how you are registered. Some ask what you consider yourselves. Some push for leaners, others do not. Some ask it at the beginning of a survey which provides a more stable response while others ask it at the end."

And, as the number of people who will vote a certain way changes from day to day, so does party affiliation. If the pollster isn't asking how a person is registered (and in a lot of states, you don't have to register with a party), then the party affiliation numbers will also change from day to day. This is not astrophysics and the party percentages aren't unchangeable like the speed of light. How do you determine the partisan make up of the populace? You ask them, in a survey, and then -- and here's the real important part -- you don't just ignore what they say.

As a result of these BS rejiggered numbers, many on the right are expecting Mitt Romney to win by a landslide. And consider the rationale for doing all this; the media is colluding in a conspiracy to reelect Barack Obama. They've all gotten together, agreed to skew polling, and (somehow) this means Barack Obama wins. But that's way too complicated; if the press really wanted to get together to sink Mitt Romney, they'd just publish photoshopped images of him hunting malnourished, homeless children for sport or something. Trying to get everyone to join in on some bandwagon effect would be a gamble, to say the least.

But that wouldn't play into the conservative penchant for victimhood. They're planning their martyrdoms in advance now. After November, should Romney lose (as is looking more and more likely), they're going to run shrieking into the streets, waving these totally madeup numbers, and claiming to have proof that Obama stole the election. The media was spinning polls so you wouldn't notice how far off the final vote tally was. It was all a big conspiracy to take over the country for socialism or terrorism or terrorist socialism or whatever. And a blizzard of victim cards will fly. "Obama stole the election" will be the new birtherism. If the old birtherism is any indication, the new variety will spread like plague.

The whole thing's as dangerous as it is delusional. This is a party that almost literally worships guns. If the government is seen as illegitimate, these are exactly the sort of nutjobs who would use their "second amendment freedoms" to right that egregious wrong. The Tea Party right is already a bonfire of stupidity, gullibility, and misplaced anger. Rightwing blogs are preparing to throw gasoline on it.

They think that'll work out great. As I said, they aren't big fans of reality.

-Wisco

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