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EIB WEB PAGE DISGRONIFIER

Pollsters Got It Wrong in 1980

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Miles in Minneapolis, you're next as we go back to the phones here on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Thank you, sir. I appreciate your taking my call.

RUSH: You bet.

CALLER: Sir, with regard to the article, or the bit you were talking about a while ago about people of color looking at the election and not necessarily believing in it. (sigh) Um, I'm a college professor and I'm a conservative educator which makes me kind of an oddball to start with. (sigh) And just roughly talking to my students, I'm finding out that, yes, there are a lot of -- there are a lot of Kool-Aid drinkers that are going along with the election and whatever else, but there are also a number of students of color that step back and say, "I don't know where he's coming from. I don't know. We've heard these promises before." Many of my students are second-generation immigrants, and they said, "Uh, we came to the country legally, we followed all the rules, and yet for some reason, everything is being bent and changed with these," like I say, "empty promises," and they're not falling for it. I don't think they're buying into it. And one thing I see that troubles me, is I think the media is sitting there saying, "Look at this run. Look at this run towards the election. We're going to have all this landslide, overwhelming support from all these different groups." The groups that are supposedly overwhelmingly for him, don't necessarily support him. So this is purely anecdotal, but it's something that you wouldn't expect to see when you hear all of the trends that we're hearing about.

RUSH: Yeah. You know, I've got a bunch of things like this that I could cite to you. For example, there's a story in the December 1st, 1980, issue of TIME Magazine. It's by John Stacks. So I printed it out yesterday. It's six pages. "Where the Polls Went Wrong." It is a luscious, luscious story. Hang on here just a second, Miles. Let me give you some... Remember, they had Reagan and Carter tied two days before the election. And then all of a sudden, Reagan pulls away in a landslide. This TIME Magazine story was all these pollsters trying to figure out what went wrong. What did they miss? What didn't they catch? Let me just give you some excerpts of this, 'cause it's just delicious.

"Looking for explanations of what went wrong, [Reagan pollster Richard] Wirthlin believes that the other pollsters erred by estimating that there would be more Democrats in the final body of voters than there turned out to be. ... One puzzling phenomenon that the pollsters have not been able to cope with, or even explain thoroughly, is the so-called closet Reaganite. For whatever reason, people clearly voted for Reagan in this election who had said they would not. ... The other lesson of the polling season was that the experts have by no means perfected the questions or the techniques that enable them to predict how undecided or unhappy voters will go on Election Day. ...

"If the pollsters are united on one point, it is that they are not solely to blame for misleading the public; the fault must be shared with the press, they say, which has never fully understood the limitations of surveying." I mean, I was laughing out loud reading this. Everybody, after the Reagan-Carter election in 1980 -- six page story, TIME Magazine -- was doing a big CYA, and you had the pollsters turning on the media. "Well, the media! Don't blame us! The media is largely responsible for this. They don't know how we do what we do." Well, the media says that about themselves and everybody else. You can't call what we do biased; you don't know how we do what we do!

"Says Cuff Zukin, poll director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics: 'We are overconsumed with predicting what will happen. Polls predicting who is going to win the election are worthless. First, they can be very inaccurate at the time of the election because they are only accurate at the time they are taken." This is a 28-year-old story that could have been written today. Media shocked that they lost in 1980. Pollsters can't figure out why they got it wrong, and there are a lot of undecideds in these battleground states. There are a tremendous high percentage of undecided voters. Also, this business of the early voters, listen to this story. This is CBS News reporting early Voters Favor Obama over McCain 47-38. "The survey is consistent with many other polls that also show that Obama is leading as Election Day approaches. Although the poll shows a clear advantage for Obama, a closer look at the data reveals that much of the lead stems from a disproportionate share of traditional Democrats among early voters. The poll, for example, samples 50% registered Democrat voters, only 30% Republican voters. Also, women comprise 60% of the early voter poll sample, while blacks comprise 16%. Both figures exceed the expected share of the overall pool of likely voters for the two demographic groups, and these groups tend to vote for Democrats."

Now, wherever you want to look on the Internet, you can find anybody who's anybody or anybody who's nothing who has gone back and done research and is trying to find any bit of evidence (besides anecdotal) that these polls are just as wrong now as they were back in 1980. I do say every poll taken is so over-weighted with Democrats, it's hilarious. But this fits the template and the trend as well. So you have all these early voters, and they're supposedly so many Democrats. But in the early polls, I don't know what this early voters favor Obama over McCain 57-38%. Now, that's 95. What about the other 5%? These are early voters, these are people that voted. What, did they vote for the Socialist Workers Party? Did they vote for the Communist Party? What's the difference in that and the Democrat Party this time around, in terms of agendas, in terms of platforms? So there's an onslaught, folks. It is an onslaught that is designed to make you think this is over, that you have no reason to even go vote, that it is hopeless. I'm going to bring Miles back in. Miles, are you still there?

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: Okay, so you give us... You say that the story you told a moment ago is not anecdotal?

CALLER: Well, it is anecdotal, because I'm talking to students just in passing and whatever else.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: And, you know, and I'm hearing -- and I'm asking... You know, I ask the students, "You know, what are you thinking and this and that?" and I don't want to go into politics in the classroom because I don't believe it belongs there, and I tell them, "You vote for whatever you want to. I'm not... I'm an educator. I'm not here to sway you," which is odd in itself. But part of the -- you bring up a good point, and I wanted to interject is, the way the question -- how the question is asked -- I'm a behavioral scientist, and I can get the poll or the survey to go any direction I want, and as part of what I teach my students, "You can get people to believe whatever you want and get the results you want by how you ask the question."

RUSH: See, that, to me, is more interesting than the anecdotal, "This group's got people in it not going to vote for Obama." I am more interested in why people are going to vote for the guy.

CALLER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: Take party loyalty out of it. After that, I am mystified, and that's what has me concerned. What has me concerned is, Obama is Obama. We know who Obama is, but so damn many of our fellow citizens appear not to. You know, if I have, you know, a great concern here, it's the makeup of the population in this country. If all this rotgut preelection polling turns out to be accurate, and if this turns out to be an Obama landslide, it's not enough to say that this is simply an angry reaction to George W. Bush. It's not enough to say that it's just people want to throw the bums out, because there's far -- and I know he's tailored his message. I saw a poll the other day. Get this. Rasmussen. Rasmussen said, "We cannot ignore the fact that in the polling, a majority of Americans think that Obama is going to cut their taxes and McCain won't." Now, where's that come from? The 95% remark: 95% of Americans are going to get a tax cut. We'll find out soon enough, my friends. It's just, what, 30 some odd hours away now?

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: All right, Fox News latest poll, final poll before the election, Fox News poll is out, and it has Obama 50-43%. However, there's something interesting in this poll. You go nuts finding this stuff all over the place; you can literally lose your mind. Obama's lead among those who say they have already voted has almost disappeared. He has a one-point edge, 48-47 in the Fox poll of early voters. That's down from a 52-43% lead previously. The last time they polled the early voters was October 28th and 29th. So here's another myth. The early voters are all Democrats and they're voting for Obama and that's it and it's over. And now it's a one-point lead among the early voters if you want to use the Fox poll from Opinion Dynamics.

END TRANSCRIPT

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