Aug 08 2010

The Inflated Polls Of August

Published by at 10:14 am under 2010 Elections,All General Discussions

Update: It seems the Washington Post is seeing the same change in the public mood that I outlined below, and came to the same basic conclusion:

But when the shouting dies down, it becomes possible to hear something else, something Democrats know is an even greater threat to them this fall.

With polls consistently showing that dissatisfaction with Washington is at or near record levels, another word for what voters are feeling right now might be “frustration,” or “despair,” or “disgust.” Ask Donald Burroughs which best describes his feeling about elected officials these days and he says, “All of it.”

“People are really smart,” said Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg. “They know the economic collapse happened before Obama. They hold lots of people responsible, and they’re realistic enough to know you can’t change things overnight. People are more angry at Washington being broken, and the wrong people being helped.”

Peter Hart, another Democratic pollster, agreed. “All they see is they’re being left out of the process,” he said.

Bottom line – the country is going to send DC a clear and unambiguous message come November. And soon a lot of Democrats will know what it means to lose their jobs. – end update

This is all gut feeling stuff I have been pondering, but I finally decided it would be interesting to share what I think will happen to the polls as we leave another summer of economic disaster and head into the fall election season.

I have seen Obama’s approval numbers sort of flatten out in Rasmussen and Gallup for a week now and I believe this confirms what I think the country is going through generally. Rasmussen uses likely voters (LVs) and compares the strongly approve/strongly disapprove categories for Obama. In today’s numbers the Obama deficit is at a recent high of -10%. It had been as bad as -20% in June and July many times. So why did this number show so much positive movement in August? Was there any big news worthy of that much shift? Not really.

Same thing with Gallup, which samples “national adults” at this time of year (they will transition soon to LVs or RVs). This is the kindest measure possible for President Obama and has had him near 50% disapprove the last month or so. But it too has shown an uptick in support in August.

The only metric showing a massive decline of late is in the generic congressional average at RCP, which is hitting historic levels for the GOP in advance of the Dems.

So why is there support increasing for President Obama while his policies and his colleagues in Congress are taking a royal beating?

I think there are many factors at play here – all of which are effecting the poll accuracies. First off, this year is unlike any other in recent history in terms of economic pain and voter anger with DC. Which means all polls are going to miss the mark because of their reliance on historic demographic trends that just don’t fit this year. These demographic models are the method pollsters use to translate a small sample into a statistical representation of the general public. They will all be out of kilter this year, sometimes in many areas simultaneously.

Then there is the shifting allegiances with parties, as a secondary effect. While the Democrats are bleeding support,  the GOP is not gaining any. Everyone is moving to the ‘unaligned’ or ‘independent’ column. This too is going to royally mess up demographic models.

Even more so given the third effect I think could be in play, and that is voter anger and resignation. For a year the voters have been making it clear in town halls, protests, in the voting booths, party registration and party donations they are fed up. They have been screaming from the top of their lungs – and no one has paid attention. They may have just disengaged until the can hit the electric shock buttons in the voting booths, which seem to be the only way to get a Pol in DC to pay attention these days.

This frustration to the deaf political industrial complex is resulting in a major tuning out of politics while people salvage what they can from their summer vacations. I suspect a major portion of the electorate is no longer accessible to pollsters, the very same portion ready to vote the bums out en masse.

That is not to say these angry voters will not reengage this year. These people will be back in the fall with a vengeance, and probably back in the polls as early as mid September (once the kids are back into the groove of school). Then the inaccurate polls of August will start to fade as the more accurate measurements come in play. Once Gallup stops wasting time on samples of ‘adults’ Obama’s support is going to crash. Once every pollster moves to likely voter (LV) samples the Democrats’ pending implosion will become frighteningly clear. RCPs averages will be all LVs at some point.

And through it all President Obama’s numbers may not cave. There is a small chance America will give him one more opportunituy to pay attention to We The People. Some Americans who voted for him may provide one last rally of support, give him one last chance to get right with the country after they send the message and wipe out much of his party. Then again, they may already be so fed up the see no reason to give any more chances.

Either way, the inflated polls of August will disappear in the coming weeks and months to something much more accurate, and I predict much worse for the party that let America down and refused to listen to her people.

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “The Inflated Polls Of August”

  1. Mike M. says:

    He won’t pay attention.

    In 1994, the Republican dealt the Dems a pasting at the polls. Clinton decided he liked being President more than being liberal and moved to the center. Obama is a fanatic – and not nearly as cunning.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Free To Prosper, AJ Strata. AJ Strata said: new: The Inflated Polls Of August […]

  3. WWS says:

    There’s an article out by Larry Kudlow about how the Dems are starting to panic about the economy:

    Idiots. I believe that they really did drink the koolaid and that all of them – all the way up to Obama – truly believed that this “stimulus” was going to rev the economy back up, guaranteed, and that all of the people like us, who claimed that it was just throwing away money that would do no good at all, were just rightwingnuts who knew nothing. That’s why they were never worried – they were sure they had this election in the bag, because the economy was “guaranteed” to have picked back up by now. They were going to say it was all because they were so wonderful – that’s why Biden has been out on his “Recovery Summer” tour.

    Ain’t it a pain when you got a fantastic marketing campaign all set up, but then the product you’re trying to sell just never shows up?

    And now, the stimulus has failed, the economy is failing, and they have no idea what to do. And they’re waking up to the fact that there’s no longer enough time left to have any impact before the election. It’s no longer possible for any big hiring wave to take place, no matter what government policies are followed.

    Having never run anything, and having absolutely zero real-world experience, President Zero has no concept of lead time. He’s finding out about it the hard way – just like every amateur does when he’s thrust into a job he is not even close to being qualified for.

    Oh sure, they’re panicking – but it’s too late for their panic to do any good. Time’s up.

  4. tarpon says:

    People are really smart, Obama, not so much so.

    Boy do those Styrofoam Temples look really dumb in the rear view mirror.

    Maybe why the shrieking wild eyed Obama always looks like he is hollering at Kenyans, like he was talking to the crowds of Odinga supporters, with them all hopping up and down, dancing, banging their machetes for effect.

    The wave is building …

  5. BarbaraS says:

    I still think the polls are inflated for Obama deliberately. It doesn’t seem possible that congress would have such low numbers and the dim party to be in such trouble and Obama is not? I have always thought the poll companies are in the tank for Obama just like the media is. Probably they also helped him get elected by fudging the number and making voters feel it likely Obama would win. Voters like voting for a likely winner. It disapoints to vote for a loser. That is the immature thinking of younger voters and others who do not think things through. It is never wise to vote for the popular candidate. Vote for the one whose ideas most meet yours.

    Remember before the 2008 election how the polls were so skewed until just before the election and suddenly started to be more rational. The poll companies had to get in line with each other and reality to remain credible. They waited until voters had made up their minds to change their polling methods. It is nice to see the dims falling apart but I do not believe Obama has as much support as the polls say.

    Has anyone noticed the media saying the Gulf disaster is not as bad as was first thought. This was a worse spill than the Exxon Valdez disaster and suddenly it is cleaning itself up with no effort on anyone’s part? They must think the public are all gullible fools. It took months for the Exxon Valdez disaster to right itself and just a couple on months for this one to clean itself up?

  6. Frogg1 says:

    I can’t get the Pat Caddell “there’s a revolution coming” video out of my mind. I feel it too. It is all over.

  7. […] year-long low – 08/08/2010 Surfing the waves of Recovery Summer! more… The Inflated Polls Of August – 08/08/2010 This is all gut feeling stuff I have been pondering, but I […]

  8. Frogg1 says:

    Dems in Deep Doo-doo

    By PoliPundit ~ August 8th, 2010

    Are things as bad for House Dems in 2010 as they were for the GOP in 2008? No, they’re much worse!

    Red State has the numbers:

    “Back at the equivalent point in 2008, we were looking at 33/68 D/R wary seats, 20/33 worry seats, and 8/23 panic seats (and [the Republicans] ended up losing a net 21 in November).”

    By comparison, the numbers for 2010 are 102/18 D/R wary seats, 66/7 worry seats, and 36/4 panic seats.

  9. oneal lane says:

    I cannot for the life of me understand why the Stock Market is nearing 10,700. Given the state of things it should have never crossed back above 7,000 or 8,000 after the big sell off.

    Somewhere in time it must correct to the true state of things. Perhaps traders and fund managers are so hungry to make back everyone is trading out of hope and not reality.

    Anyone here a veteran trader please chime in.

  10. roylofquist says:

    I have been very interested in politics for a while – since 1951. Not only in policy but the behavior of voters. In the last little while I have been amazed by the response of people I have known, and also relative strangers. People who have never expressed much interest are, of a sudden, extremely engaged – and pissed. I have heard more politics in stores and coffee shops and barber shops than ever. And they’re pissed. You’re right. The experience-rated polling methods are not equipped to deal with this year. Bye, bye Dems.

  11. oneal lane says:


    Have you read the David Stockman article blasting the GOP for ruining the economy?


  12. […] 25% lead in enthusiasm is incredible, and also must be near all-time historic highs. As I predicted in Earl August, it will be getting much bleaker for democrats in the coming weeks, as Gallup (and other pollsters) […]

  13. […] As I noted in an early August post, I am not surprised to see President Obama’s numbers rebound a bit as his party takes a historic drubbing. Much of the energy in this wave is voter anger at the President for not fulfilling his campaign rhetoric about being bipartisan, transparent and open,  and able to turn things around. He and his party have been hyper-partisan in their policy wins (almost no GOP support), he used all sorts of rank deals to get his legislation passed, and the dismal results are more than worthy of the big boot. […]