Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 2 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/19/10

"Likely Voter" samples over-represent the GOP (MUST-READ)

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     (# of views)   3 comments
Author 2591
Message Mark Crispin Miller
- Advertisement -
Will any mainstream pollster--like Nate Silver--ever deign to talk about this matter?

From Election Defense Alliance's Jonathan Simon:

- Advertisement -
Stephen Herrington's examination of the polling sleight-of-hand that occurs when pollsters move to "Likely Voter" samples as elections approach unfortunately misses a key point, perhaps the key point.
The "Likely Voter" samples, which so strongly favor the Republicans relative to the "Registered Voter" samples, are generated by the "Likely Voter Cutoff Model" (LVCM), first instituted several years ago by an extreme right-wing descendant of the reputable and venerable George Gallup.
- Advertisement -
What LVCM does is exclude ("cut off") entirely from the sample any respondents who do not pass the seven-question "Likely Voter" test which Herrington reproduces and which is now a polling standard. Thus a whole group of voters who will in fact go to the polls (their aggregate likelihood of voting might be 30% or 50%) are assigned a zero likelihood of voting and dropped from the sample (a methodologically sound poll would weight responses based on respondents' likelihood of voting, but not arbitrarily assign a zero weight, excluding them entirely). As Herrington notes, these excluded respondents are disproportionately Democratic voters. "Likely Voter" polls therefore substantially oversample Republicans and their results are skewed accordingly.
Here's the rub: these Likely Voter polls are used and relied upon because, in the era of computerized voting, they keep getting important and competitive elections "right." How can a poll that relies upon a methodological abomination "work" so well? No one--certainly not pollsters or the MSM--is bothering to ask this disturbing little question. Disturbing because the only rational answer is that
the official vote-counts themselves are skewed Republican or "red-shifted."
- Advertisement -
Election forensics experts have found the red-shift--rightward shift of vote-counts relative to exit polls, tracking polls, and hand counts--in every biennial election since 2002. What we're seeing now, however, is that polling is catching up to the red shift. Tracking polls use the LVCM to account for the unexplained but pervasive pattern of competitive contests coming out more Republican than
a methodologically sound poll would predict. And both tracking and exit polls are now weighted according to demographics (e.g., party ID) drawn from exit polls "adjusted" rightward to match red-shifted votecounts in prior elections, a further boost to Republicans.
So outcome determinative computerized manipulation of elections to the right now enjoys full cover from distorted tracking polls and exit polls. "Shocking" results are no longer shocking if they've been predicted by the polls. The LVCM is a big part of that story, since it adds to the weighting distortion derived from the "adjusted" exit polls of prior elections. It's all sewn up rather neatly and, unless someone influential begins asking the disturbing little questions immediately, will ensure that election theft continues to determine the direction of America in this bizarre new world of computerized "democracy."
In a message dated 10/14/2010 4:06:26 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

Everybody's breathlessly asserting that the Democrats are cooked, and that the Tea-Bag Party will take over Congress on Election Day. Thus the MSM and GOP apparently agree; and so we seem to hear it everywhere, and endlessly.

Here Stephen Herrington points out that this scenario is based on a skewed reading of the polling numbers. If we're talking "likely voters," as the MSM keeps doing, the GOP does seem to have a 5-10 point lead. Among the nation's registered voters, however, the Democrats apparently now hold a 6-point lead.

This matters greatly, because the myth of the GOP's invincibility could easily function as a self-fulfilling prophecy, by making all that party's "stunning upset victories"--however inexplicable they actually may be--seem just as natural as the rising of the sun: "Well, of course s/he won!" the press will think, or say, no matter how preposterous the outcome.
"Weren't the Democrats in trouble all along? After all, that's what the polling said!" That complacent notion will allow the journalists to keep on comfortably not doing what they ought to do--i.e., investigate all evidence of fraud.

Kudos, then, to Stephen Herrington for making this important point. (And for a helpful complement to his piece, see Richard Charnin's at

The Invisible Six Point Democratic Lead
Stephen Herrington What's Your Reaction: oint-d_b_757555.html

The "enthusiasm gap" is driving the midterm election narrative. You hear, everywhere from every MSM and polling source, that the generic ballot shows a 5-10 point lead for the GOP. That lead is constructed entirely on the "likely voter" model. Among likely voters, you hear, the GOP has a 5-10 point lead. Have you ever heard the results of polls of registered voters not qualified by the "likely" modifier?

In the latest CNN public opinion poll released 10/08, someone slipped up and mentioned that, among registered voters, the generic Democrats have a 6 point lead. A 6 point lead is about what it took to sweep Congress and the White House for the Democrats in 2006-08. So the sentiment of the country favors Democrats by 6 percent and the press reports only the pollster construct of right leaning likely voters as representing the sentiment of the nation.
What is a likely voter? Different polls have different methods and most are proprietary. Gallup has shared their battery of questions used to determine a likely voter. From Mystery Pollster :
1) How much have you thought about the upcoming elections for president, quite a lot or only a little? (Quite a lot = 1 point)

2) Do you happen to know where people who live in your neighborhood go to vote? (Yes = 1 point)

3) Have you ever voted in your precinct or election district? (Yes = 1 point)
4) How often would you say you vote, always, nearly always, part of the time or seldom (Always or nearly always = 1 point)
5) Do you plan to vote in the presidential election this November? (Yes = 1 point) [presumably updated for 2012]
6) In the last presidential election, did you vote for Al Gore or George Bush, or did things come up to keep you from voting?" (Voted = 1 point) [presumably updated for 2010-12]
7) If "1" represents someone who will definitely not vote and "10" represents someone who definitely will vote, where on this scale would you place yourself? (Currently 7-10 = 1, according to this "quiz" on USA Today)
It's easy to see that the questions used to determine a likely voter skew in favor of older people and those with long term political involvement. Note that only one question, number 7, directly asks if you plan to vote and voting history is the most weighted measure by far. What is apparent in the battery is that complacency is judged an immutable pattern of the U.S. voter, 2006-08 notwithstanding for some reason.
Fair reporting on the subject of this current election would be that the press has decided that the same American public that voted out the GOP in 2006-08 is intent on putting them back in office in 2010. Despite the tribulations of the first two years of Obama, Americans seem still in favor of Democratic rule, but their "enthusiasm" is measured by only two of the Gallup battery questions, numbers 1 and 7. Question 1 can be interpreted as having not had to think about the election too hard in order to make a choice. Question 7 could turn on the notion that if things appear to be in hand, then I won't bother. Rather gaping holes in both questions for the polls and press to rely entirely on them as a litmus of political fact. Rather thin criterion for the claim that America is a center right nation, these two questions, but that is what the MSM has made of it in practical terms.
News organizations are depriving the public of a vital piece of information that is significant. That piece of information is that the public actually supports the Democrats more than it does the Republicans, just maybe not enough to bother with voting. Only reporting the horse race aspect of the election, which party's voters are most likely to show up by historical statistical standards, serves to skew the perception that America is leaning right when it's not. Issue polls bear this out, America is the most left on issues that it has been since the sixties. What comparing the likely voter and registered voter numbers show is a GOP willing to use big money enabled anger to impose its will on a public that, in majority, doesn't want it to.
Because of this distortion in reporting poll outcomes, some on the left will stay home or vote a third party because they think the Republicans will win anyway. The tragedy of this is that the "unenthused" left majority will suffer the all too predictable pains of a GOP Congress legislating against their interests and wishes. The public wishes government to be left of center and not right, according to the polls.
Democrat are by avocation democratic, so if the majority is leaning politically right they are more likely to accept a right wing future than Republicans are to accept a politically left leaning future. The right is just always more enthused about forcing everyone to live according to their rules than is the left. But then, actual enthusiasm is not a central component of the likely voter calculation, history is.
Pollsters always push the "likely voter" qualification because it is intuitively the more exact predictor. It is an exact predictor until "enthusiasm" swings, right up to and including the day of the election. It is the old "if the vote were held today" codicil to predictions that allows them to predict in polling at all. But the pitfall of that is a misrepresentation of the political landscape that the press and polls undertake at the risk of being proved wrong, like the market crash of 2008 propelled Obama to a 6 point lead and win out of a virtual tie. Happily for the press and pollsters, the public has the long term memory of a mayfly (lifespan one day).
Conspiracy theorists might jump to the conclusion that the conservative owned press is willfully misrepresenting the public temperament. More likely is that the American press has just become too lazy and arrogant to care whether what they are fed by pollsters who should know what is happening in fact do not know what is happening, or even whether they are being fed propaganda crap by them. The drumbeat of the Democrats being beat like a drum is everywhere that Fox News can feed a tag line. The somnambulism of the left, having won something but not so much that it appears to have upset business as usual, is innervated further by dire predictions of losing even what has been accomplished. Time for the left to surrender, according to Fox.
Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and Republicans, listen up and listen tight, surrender is not a word any American takes lightly.


- Advertisement -

Rate It | View Ratings

Mark Crispin Miller Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Mark's new book, Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008, a collection 14 essays on Bush/Cheney's election fraud since (and including) 2000, is just out, from Ig Publishing. He is also the author of Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform, which is now out in paperback (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

This bill will kill small farms, and wreck our food supply

Scott Walker Goes To Chicago, Gets His Mic Checked! (Must-See)

Notorious Saudi prince is Fox News Corp's 4th-largest voting shareholder

Was Prop 8 Actually Defeated??

Peter B. Collins going off the air

Obama won by MILLIONS MORE than we've been told