The New Jim Crow — Why Some Polls Under-Report Obama’s Approval Numbers

I have noticed for some time now, the disconnect between polling done by Gallup on the national level and that done by organizations doing polling in the states. Gallup seems to represent polling results that are 2-3 points lower than you would expect judging by the state data. At worst, Gallup often agrees with Rasmussen – which isn’t really in the business of polling, and operates as an arm of the Republican Party. Pew, and some of the other polling organizations seem to come up with numbers consistently higher for Obama that Gallup.

Unlike Rasmussen – there is no reason to believe that Gallup is tweaking the poll numbers. Gallup is the most established and highly respected pollster out there. So why the difference?

The difference appears to be race. And no – Gallup isn’t racist. Nor is there any evidence that they intentionally skew their numbers. That is not what is being said here.  It has to do with how they assemble their samples. With 90% of black voters supporting Obama, and under-participation of black folks in the polling has almost a 1-1 correlation with the results. That is, if the statistical sample doesn’t match the racial makeup of the population, then the result skews 1 point for each point of over, or under – representation of black, and Hispanic voters.  Gallup’s current polling methodology under-counts Minority voters.

The following is a really good article on how Gallup does its polling, and how their choices of how to do sampling impacts their data.

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Obama’s Approval Rating has been consistently lower by a few points on Gallup (in red) versus other polling organizations.

Race Matters: Why Gallup Poll Finds Less Support For President Obama

With the race for president between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama now shifting into high gear, politicians, journalists and the general public are scrutinizing each new poll, with every small swing in one direction or another elevated to outsized importance.

Among the many polls released every day, one always stands out. The Gallup Poll is arguably the most trusted survey brand in the world, a name virtually synonymouswith public opinion polling. It has measured presidential job approval and vote preference without interruption since the 1940s and now conducts a daily tracking poll that reaches more than 3,600 adults every week — a volume of data that dwarfs that produced by other firms. As a result, Gallup’s numbers enjoy unique influence and public prominence.

Over the past few years, however, polling junkies have noticed something curious: Gallup’s polls have produced results that appear slightly but consistently more negative to President Obama than those produced by other firms.

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Romney’s projected percentage of vote has been consistently higher on Gallup (in red) than in other polls.

The Huffington Post has conducted an independent analysis that confirms the phenomenon and points to a likely explanation. The problem lies in the way that Gallup handles the racial composition of its samples, and the findings highlight significant issues with how polls are developed and conducted today.

The dirty little secret of telephone surveys now conducted by most media outlets is that their unweighted samples alone cannot provide reliable estimates of population demographics like race and Hispanic ancestry. A dramatic fall in response rates has led to what pollsters call “non-response bias” in their raw data. Partly because survey response rates are typically lowest in urban areas, unweighted samples routinely under-represent black and Hispanic Americans.

As a Pew Research Center study recently demonstrated, random-sample surveys continue to provide accurate data on most measures — but only when their samples of telephone numbers include both landline and mobile phones, and only when the completed interviews are weighted to match the demographic composition of the population. That means the weighting procedures that pollsters use are critical to producing accurate results.

The need to weight accurately by race and ancestry is particularly significant when it comes to evaluating the contest between Obama and Romney. As Gallup itself reported in early May, Romney led Obama among non-Hispanic white voters by 54 to 37 percent, while the president had the support of more than three-quarters of non-white registered voters (77 percent). Obama’s support among African Americans on Gallup’s tracking poll stood at 90 percent.

That gap makes the way pollsters account for race hugely important. When pollsters weight their samples to match population demographics, every percentage point increase in black representation translates into a nearly one-point improvement in Obama’s margin against Romney. The difference of just a few percentage points in the non-white composition of a poll can produce a significant skew in its horse race results… (Read the rest of this article here)

Americans Have No Love for Congress

In what quite possibly is the most pissed off public and American History, a new Gallup Poll has found that Congress has hit historic lows in terms of public confidence. Now, in no small part this recent downward opinion drop is likely due to the Debt-Ceiling Debacle manufactured by the Tea Bagger Republicans…

But respect for Congress has been going downhill for quite a while.

Trend: Trust and Confidence in the Legislative Branch of the Federal Government, Consisting of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives

Americans Express Historic Negativity Toward U.S. Government

The findings are from Gallup’s annual Governance survey, updated Sept. 8-11, 2011. The same poll shows record or near-record criticism of Congress, elected officials, government handling of domestic problems, the scope of government power, and government waste of tax dollars.

Key Findings:

  • 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
  • 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.
  • 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.
  • 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.
  • Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.
  • 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.
It gets worse.  Let’s call this one the Palinization of Political Figures. That is, the running of people who neither have the intellect, morality, or basic integrity to hold public office, who are put up as candidates solely for adherence to political ideology, sex appeal (in the case of the MILF candidates), or ability to say something totally off the wall.
Snow Black and the 7 Dwarfs in the current Republican Presidential Primary – where the only guy with the capability and skills (Huntsman)…
Is dead last.
1972-2011 Trend: Trust and Confidence in the Men and Women in Political Life in This Country Who Either Hold or Are Running for Public Office

Lowest Congress Approval in History?

How LOW can you go?

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Republicans like to cheer at every real or perceived drop in President Obama’s “Approval” ratings…

In truth, it’s nothing more than trying to bring the President down to their level.

Congress’ Job Approval Rating Worst in Gallup History

Americans’ assessment of Congress has hit a new low, with 13% saying they approve of the way Congress is handling its job. The 83% disapproval rating is also the worst Gallup has measured in more than 30 years of tracking congressional job performance.

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And approval of Republicans in Congress…

Is lower than the temperature in Buffalo, which just got 6-8 feet of snow!

7%?

And Gallup tends to lean slightly in Republican’s favor!

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