Is the Swing State Story a Big Media Fairy Tale?

| October 2, 2012 | Reply

I don’t know about you all, but I usually take opinions polls with a dino-killer asteroid-sized grain of salt. I’ve seen people talk to pollsters, on the phone or on the street, and I know darned well that a lot of them aren’t particularly honest to the poor schlubs with the clipboards and scripts. Of course, that assumes folks talk to pollsters at all, which Pew revealed recently very few people do.

Polls do have a few good purposes. For instance, if you look at that last link, you’ll see that the number of people who agree to take polls has fallen through the floor, that adults are more difficult to reach on the phone (perhaps because they’re screening their calls), and that a company like Pew tries a lot harder than our government does to get a representative sample of America. These are all useful pieces of information when you see a headline that reads:

Polls show Ohio remains elusive for Romney as GOP ticket wraps up bus tour

You can go on to read how, according to a couple different polling companies, Barack Obama is running away with the election with roughly a month to go. It’s the same just about everywhere. Virginia? Wisconsin? Big Obama lead. Florida? Pennsylvania? Romney’s cooked. Call it the Swing State Story — the overarching narrative that Barack Obama is pulling away from Mitt Romney in all the critical states even before the debates, where the master orator will grind his stiff and stodgy opponent into the dirt and put the whole election away before anyone casts a vote.

On the other hand, there are reasons to doubt the story the MSM has been constructing these past few weeks, even as they ignore a few other stories that might have made the headlines:

Any one of these stories in another administration would have drawn a week of screaming bold headlines from the New York Times and Washington Post for at least a week. I know that. You know that. The people who write the headlines know that. The folks who work behind the scenes to coordinate stories Journolist-style know that.

All these poll stories are part of a larger narrative designed to enervate you and those around you. The subtext of these stories is simple and insidious. You are on the wrong side of an unstoppable tidal wave. You can not hope to prevail. Stop trying to win. Stay home. Give up. Give in.

In order to believe them, though, you have to ignore a few things — things you can see with your own eyes if you only look around. Stacy McCain, who is in Ohio right now, picked up a local newspaper and saw a few things the national media are not telling us. A few of Instapundit’s readers looked around and saw a few things, too. So did Jim Geraghty, and what he found more or less kicks the Swing State Story right in its caboose.

This news release – announcing that there are now roughly 20,000 more registered Republicans in Iowa than registered Democrats – suggests that Hawkeye state Republicans can crow about a dramatic turnaround, pointing out that back in January 2009, Iowa Democrats enjoyed a 110,000 voter registration advantage.

In terms of how many voters are registered with each major party, Democrats continue to hold advantages in several key swing states, but in all of those states, their advantage is considerably smaller than it was in 2008.

In other words, the polls, most of which use models that assume voter turnout in November will look like voter turnout did in 2008, do not reflect the current make up of registered voters much less likely voters. The electorate has changed since 2008 and the MSM is acting today like the historic 2010 wave that swept Democrats out of office never happened, like people aren’t hearing about Libya and wiretaps and the President’s utter inability to do more than whine and blame George W. Bush for everything from the moribund economy to gum disease.

There’s also another election story about which the MSM have been strangely silent and it’s one that could explain why voter rolls have changed and why their turnout models are all wrong. Moe Lane hit on it yesterday.

Seems like a pretty big story, no? I bet you haven’t seen a thing about ACORN since the MSM pretty much universally decided it was brought low by conservative dirty tricks and dangerous insurgents in new media.

The big media organizations have worked themselves into a position of distrust usually held by guys in grimy trench coats who sell knock-off watches in dark alleys. They’ve sold their integrity for cheap but they don’t quite realize it yet. I, for one, can not wait to hear their confused and angry tantrums the day after Election Day, when they finally get just how far on the margins of popular opinion they are.

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Category: Political Pontifications

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