RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Sullivan writes: "There are two snapshots of the polling right now. One of them comes from Rasmussen and Gallup...the other comes from all the other polling organizations that show a slight Obama lead."

Gallup says their model for 2012 is '36 percent Republican; 35 percent Democrat; and 29 percent Independent.' (photo: Unknown)
Gallup says their model for 2012 is '36 percent Republican; 35 percent Democrat; and 29 percent Independent.' (photo: Unknown)

Earth to Gallup!

By Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast

28 October 12


here are two snapshots of the polling right now. One of them comes from Rasmussen and Gallup, which show a clear lead for Romney; the other comes from all the other polling organizations that show a slight Obama lead. Rasmussen, a firm headed by a committed partisan Republican, whose polls are the basis of countless polling quotes from the Republican blogosphere, has nonetheless been removed from Fox News' polling unit, which tells you something. Even Fox News doesn't trust him. And they shouldn't.

Gallup, though, is a different case. There's no indication of editorial partisan bias - or an obvious strategy to provide polls for purely propaganda purposes for one party. Just a party identification sample that produces different results than every other polling organization. Nate Silver noted:

[Gallup's] results are deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race, and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case.

To wit: in 2008, Gallup missed the margin of victory for Obama by six points. That's a huge discrepancy. And that time it was in Obama's favor: they predicted a landslide double-digit 11 point victory, when it was only 7 percent. But they were dead-on in 2004; and now they are claiming that the demographic make-up of this year's electorate is almost exactly the same as they measured 2008. So with the same turn-out in terms of race, age, gender etc. they are predicting this time a Romney victory over Obama of five points. From 2008 to 2012, Gallup believes that Obama has lost 17 points to the Republican challenger.

Gallup weights its sample for measures party identification, but doesn't put much emphasis on it in their model. They say their model for 2012, with the same demographics as 2008, is 36 percent Republican; 35 percent Democrat; and 29 percent Independent. The poll of 705 other polls shows party identification as 29 percent Republican; 36 percent Democrat; and 31 percent Independent. What has happened since the summer is a sharp drop in the "Independent" category - giving gains to Democrats and Republicans pretty evenly, with the Democrats gaining a tiny bit more.

Here's the Gallup/Rasmussen analysis of the race since September, if you just use those two polling outfits:

Here's the same graph in the same period for all the other polling organizations combined:

In the model with the least smoothing, Gallup and Rasmussen have shown a clear Romney lead since the beginning of September. Obama has never led the polls on that graph since September 1:

In all the other polls, on the same unsmoothed graph, Romney was only ahead from October 6 - 13; and then briefly on October 23.

So you either believe that Romney has held the national lead 100 percent of the time since September 1; or you believe that Obama has had the lead for 86 percent of the time since September 1. Obviously, the two models cannot both be true.

They are in completely different universes. Well, as Larkin put it, we shall find out. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+160 # NanFan 2012-10-28 11:53
Scam for the GOP steal the election and convince the people that,'s a close one folks...we told ya so!

Get a grip! Where the hell is the mainstream press, pushing to expose the Rovian propaganda machine that will do ANYTHING to WIN.

Five Repub presidents in a row have been criminals who have stirred up the public's underbelly of hatred of all things other than Republican: their racism, their contempt for legalized, safe abortions, their fear of people raising their taxes because they need welfare. All the while, the GOP is laughing all the way to the bank with their Ponzi scheme money and win.

Wake up America! If you see yards predominantly covered with Obama/Biden and other democrat signs in neighborhood after neighborhood, believe it!

The polls are trumped up to get you pumped up to believe it when Romney steals this election through fraud and any other means he's given to do so.

Then...we're all in DEEP trouble. The Perfect Storm of total chaos in America like no hurricane Sandy could ever come close to's the warning bell...listen.

+39 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-10-28 14:17
I'm right there with you, NanFan.
+58 # maddave 2012-10-28 12:21
Beware the "tie-breaker" here in the swingin' States of Virginia & North Carolina! Expected to deliver 10" of rain & damaging 60+ mph winds, Sandy is certainly going to trump the polls by suppressing minority voters here in who cannot take advantage of necessary (for them) week-end voting.
+50 # TomThumb 2012-10-28 13:04
"George Gallup founded the American Institute of Public Opinion, the precursor of The Gallup Organization, in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1935. He wished to objectively determine the opinions held by the people." "In 1936 Gallup successfully predicted that Franklin Roosevelt would defeat Alfred Landon for the U.S. presidency; this event quickly popularized the company. In 1938 Dr. Gallup and Gallup Vice President David Ogilvy began conducting market research for advertising companies and the film industry." "Gallup Inc. was founded in 1958, when George Gallup grouped all of his polling operations into one organization." "The Gallup family sold the firm to Selection Research, a research firm headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1988." All from Wikipedia.
As can be seen, Gallup has a long history in the political polling business, and was once the 'gold standard', but so were Moody's and Standard and Poor's at one time in their field. I recently got a call for a poll commissioned by my bank, Wells Fargo, on how I rated their service.
After all these decades, does anyone really believe Gallup forgot how to do political polling. As the article states, they do not appear partisan. This leads to the conclusion that they are being influenced, probably by a group of high level Republicans reepresenting another group of wealthy Republicans who promise to either enhance or diminish their business. Tommy Rimes
+39 # in deo veritas 2012-10-28 15:57
The only way to defeat the oligarch lie machine, including polls, is to GET OUT AND VOTE Democratic! DEMAND a paper ballot. Exit polls need to be manned and monitored. Too many times there is a big difference in the votes between the exit poll and the precinct results by the time the ballot box reaches the courthouse where they are totalled. That is why federal supervision is needed especially in places like Ohio, Wisconsin, and several other states with a track record of voter fraud and rigged voting machines.
+75 # brianf 2012-10-28 13:08
For as long as I can remember, whatever the polls said, Republicans have gotten a little bit higher percentage of actual votes. So I'd be worried about all the above polls.

And that was before the widespread Republican cheating in swing states for the last 12 years (at least). Before 2000, the exit polls matched with actual results very well. After that, Republicans have done better in crucial swing states than the exit polls indicate. Even if there were no other evidence (and there is plenty), this is a clear indication that Republicans have been manipulating the actual votes, and that is after all the caging and voter disenfranchisement.

If you want Obama to win, you'd better do whatever you can to help him in the swing states, because he'll need to win by enough to overcome the cheating.
+7 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-10-28 14:21
Are you telling us that for as long as you remember the official result of elections was always above what the polls had predicted?

If the pollsters know their job, what does that tell you?
+15 # Regina 2012-10-28 14:42
Neither the exit polls nor the pre-election polls are conducted with finagle-prone computers. The actual vote is, and the results are "guaranteed" to the party that makes much screech alleging "voter fraud." Their "tally fraud" is the REAL election crime.
+1 # bmiluski 2012-11-06 16:33
The repugs have done very well in states that use the no-paper-trail electronic voting machines.
+49 # PGreen 2012-10-28 13:29
I confess to a suspicion that this is orchestrated by powerful partisan interests. If the national election produces a surprising upset which contradicts most pollsters, it is useful to the (then) so-called "winning" party if at least one major poll supports its victory. It gives shady results the appearance of legitimacy, and allows the establishment media to focus on this aspect in explaining the election to the public.
-84 # edge 2012-10-28 13:57
Here is a real shocker, you don't like the results so now it is the pollsters fault!

You were fine with the polls when Obama was winning but now it must be rigged...moroni c!
+33 # PGreen 2012-10-28 15:01
I don't recall saying anything about liking the polls when Obama was winning. It seems to me that you have a bit of a defensive edge. :) It would actually be surprising if a major political party did not try to orchestrate results to their liking. In this case, it is suspicious because Gallup contradicts other major establishment polls, and has a history of doing so erroneously. One would think that given their prominence in the media establishment they would correct their methodology -- unless they like the results. The NYTs writes, "The Gallup poll seems to have an outsize influence on the subjective perception of where the presidential race stands, however — especially when the poll seems to diverge from the consensus." This is a reason to want their poll in your favor.
Or do you hold that Romney supporters are above suspicion in a way that Obama supporters are not?
+29 # in deo veritas 2012-10-28 16:03
There needs to be enough of a backlash against the voter fraud, voter suppression, lying trash ads on TV, and prosecute people like the Va clod caught destroying voter registration forms that the Repugs will get REALLY worried. These criminals have no place in this country!
-11 # edge 2012-10-29 09:23
Quoting PGreen:

The NYTs writes,

+4 # Billy Bob 2012-10-29 12:23
Yeah, the NY Times is also too conservative. Good call.
+22 # Billy Bob 2012-10-28 15:43
Actually, Obama is still leading in most of the polls. These are outliers. Not that the details matter to a person like you, but if ten of your friends tell you your fly is unzipped and one of your friends says it isn't, are you going to check your fly, even though the fact that it's unzipped isn't what you want to hear?

If you're a repug you'll just listen to the one friend who tells you it isn't and ignore the rest. Relying on Rasmussen and (lately) Gallop, is the same as only listening to that friend.

That's moronic!

Even Rasmussen shows a trend of Obama winning over 270 electoral votes, which means that even Rasmussen acknowledges Obama is ahead in the race to the White House.

Stating that Obama is now "losing" is also moronic!
+15 # unitedwestand 2012-10-29 02:21
You should be as concerned as Democrats if the vote can be rigged. Since 2000 I've not trusted the vote results of many campaigns. The reason President Obama won in 2008 is because Republicans couldn't steal enough votes, since Obama had such a wide support.

How would you feel if you found out that a relative of President Obama was supplying the machines we are going to vote on? Since Romney and his son Tagg have some control of the voting machines, shouldn't we be suspicious, they also count the votes.

Democracy cannot live when the very basic right of the people is compromised, it is so Third World.
+12 # Billy Bob 2012-10-29 12:24
Think about what you're attempting. You're asking a conservative to actually think as though he had concern for other people and could imagine what it would be like if the shoe was on the other foot.

If he could do that he wouldn't be a conservative.
0 # bmiluski 2012-11-06 16:35
I believe your fellow asses were braying the same thing. So be very careful whom you call a moron.
+55 # She Cee 2012-10-28 14:46
When you look at all the voter fraud (Not the kind the REpubs are doing by disenfranchisin g millions of legal voters) there has been practically none....perhaps a few....througho ut the whole country the past 20 or so years. With Romney's son providing voting machines do you really think the voting results will be reported honestly?

When I read that notices are being sent out to voters in minority communities that inform them that the day to vote is a day after the true date, I have to believe in voter fraud and deception by the Republicans. When I hear all the lies told by Republican candidates, I consider that voter fraud. When I hear Romney talk about creating 12 million jobs when he is the master of outsourcing jobs it shows me what a lier he is. This man has no intention of creating jobs unless it is in a country with cheap labor.
Any of you can come up with dozens of examples of voter fraud by Republicans.

I don't love Obama but I am terrified at the thought of living in a country controlled by an Romney administration that is intent on stealing more of this country's wealth for the 1% by depriving everyone else of basic needs.

The GOP makes me sick!
+20 # Billy Bob 2012-10-28 15:48
Rasmussen doesn't appear to be cooking the results. They can verify how they arrived at them. What they ARE doing is applying a standard for collecting that no one else is. They are oversampling repuglicans, and they robo call in a way that doesn't call you back if you don't answer. If you're working two jobs and don't answer, you don't get to vote. If you're sitting around watching tv you do. This also makes repugs look better, proportionatelly.

Then again, with all the valid registrations being destroyed by repugs who hate democracy, and all the slimy repug tactics to trick, intimidate, and make it a pain in the ass for poor people and minorities to vote, it might all work out.

In other words, the Presidential race isn't about who gets more votes.

It's about who gets his votes COUNTED!
+28 # PsychePhixer 2012-10-28 16:27
I have been making volunteer calls to swing states for for over a month to get out the Democratic vote. I am talking to wonderful people in PA, VA, Ohio, Fla, NE who are appalled at the possiblity yet another election might be stolen. Let’s say the GOP does steal another election - is that something to be proud of?

First cons cons got Citizens United passed to make corporations “people” with unlimited campaign donations pouring into elections to buy control of the the House in 3010. Next we got voter ID laws to knock out 5-10 million legitimate Dem votes. Nest the GOP shut down early voting & Sunday voting so old people, poor people, minorities & working people who can’t get off work can’t get to the polls. Finally we got massive GOP voter fraud in 27 states with Strategic Allied Consulting. Dems registered then registrations tossed or altered so won’t be acceptable at the polls.

Now we also have many coroporations telling their employees Obama better not be elected or they won’t have jobs. That is voter intimidation & is illegal.

Is this what Democracy is now? A plutocracy of the richest 2% suppressing the people? It is pure evil and pure corruption at it’s worst.
+20 # Abigail 2012-10-28 16:42
I don't think any of this makes any difference. Most, if not all, of the voting machines are manufactured by a company owned by Romney or one of his sons. There is a possibility that they can be pre-programmed. If so, the election will be worthy of any third world country, and lost before it begins. Even the observers that the UN is sending won't be able to spot this.
+1 # bingers 2012-10-31 19:15
They actually only control some in the Cincinnati area, but Diebold, controls tens of thousands and they're committed to the Republicans.
+5 # Replicounts 2012-10-28 17:16
Take a look at this: Retired NSA Analyst Proves GOP Is Stealing Elections Part I,
0 # 666 2012-10-31 14:57
it's interesting to consider that every dem elected president over the past 50 years has, for the most part, been (really "run as") an "outsider" (excepting perhaps LBJ) running against the system and thus defeated gop machinations at the polls. the gop solution: control the polls now that the technology is available.
for example: 2008 obama - "outsider" won despite fraud
[2004 kerry - insider, defeated also probably by fraud]
[2000 gore - insider, defeated by fraud & ussc]
1992 (& 1996) clinton - outsider, somewhat surprising victory over sitting bush sr.
1988 [bush sr - dukakis did not define himself as an outsider]
1984 [reagan - mondale - insider]
1980 [reagan - carter defeated by october surprise treason and helped by anderson's 3rd party run]
1976 carter - outsider, won in outcry over watergate & ford's pardon of nixon
1972 [nixon - mcgovern defeated by october surprise treason]
1964 - johnson, although marginally an outsider was helped by support after jfk's assassination
1960 JFK was also - age-wise - an outsider, even though he came an elite family
0 # bingers 2012-10-31 19:19
I don't see how you can call Johnson an outsider, he was the most powerful Senate majority leader in history.
0 # 666 2012-11-01 15:27
mea culpa; however the point about jfk's assassination helping lbj's election stands and does not change the observation.
+2 # wfalco 2012-10-28 17:21
I tend to believe Romney is going to win. I support the re-election of Obama but have noted that down here in the I-4 Corridor (the no where land between Tampa and Daytona Beach,Fl-"no where" referring to empty space in my fellow Floridians'sun baked brains)-it looks like Romney is definitely ahead.
The "I-4 corridor" has always been used as a predictor of national elections. Also it seems like the Romney signs and bumper stickers easily surpass the Obamas. I got a bad feeling about this folks.
+7 # stonecutter 2012-10-28 18:22
Just pay attention to Nate Silver's "538" blog and the projected EC Vote and Obama winning percentage. The rest of this chaotic mess is just that: a chaotic mess that doesn't deserve a moment's attention. It's all a stat geek's wet dream. Nate Silver is the bottom line.
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-10-28 21:15
We are so sucked up to believing Polls, Surveys that the headlines seem believable
Yesterday was my Bday and for the finish I am listening to Emerson Lake and Palmer. My cat Tipser just knocked over my bloody mary to C'Est La Vie....(keyboard???)
Unless we get out and promote Democratic Vote, perhaps this is the American Peoples' Song C'Est La Vie
I am giving lots of my Birthday WIshes to Zoner but more to voters...Peace

./,mvz[pooooooo ooooooooo7u890 71234nnn
+3 # Douglas Jack 2012-10-28 22:16
Considering the ability of computerized-vo ting-machine corporations to pervert US election results with unverifiable results, the only response this late in the election is for Barack Obama, by Presidential executive order, to defer the election until verifiable voting machines can be guaranteed to work. It will take at least 4 months until verifiable computer voting machines with verifiable paper receipts placed simultaneously in ballot boxes can be made available to all states. A large government budget will need to be raised in order to hire polling clerks & secretaries. The recent Venezuelan election with verifiable results & finger print identification is a model for the USA to follow. The majority of Democrat representatives & senators will need to stand with Barack. One should not expect Republicans or Blue Dogs such as Lieberman to stand up. Some Republicans such as Ron Paul will stand as well as out-going Democrats such as Dennis Kucinich.
+7 # moby doug 2012-10-28 23:30
Gallup has been in the bag for the GOP for many years. The old Gallup Poll, the one with integrity, is long gone, replaced by yet another GOP propaganda wagon.
+3 # cafetomo 2012-10-29 03:50
Quite so, you need to muddy the waters, to obscure the fact that the owners of the electronic voting process will be taking ten percent of the votes from the other side and adding it to theirs. Which effectively values the Democratic voter at four-fifths, a compromise that sounds familiar. After all, it does bring us another fifth of the way along since the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. Back then, we could not even vote, we were merely there for benefit of increased representation in the House and the Electoral College.

We've come a long way, Bubba.
+6 # GGmaw 2012-10-29 06:03
Gallop (and others) predicted in 1948 that Dewey would win instead of Harry
+6 # ericlipps 2012-10-29 09:05
There is a possibility that President Obama might lose in the popular vote but win in the Electoral Vollege. Right now he seems to be closing in on the number of electoral votes he needs to win.

Let me offer a prediction: if the above happens, Republicans will command that the Electoral College be abolished, pronto. Since 1876, three presidents have been installed via the EC despite losing the popular vote, every one of them Republican: Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), Benjamin Harrison (1888) and of course Bush the Younger, and Republicans have demanded that the country accept it. But if a Democrat wins that way, it'll be a whole new ball game!
0 # 666 2012-10-31 14:58
many of us non-gops would support eliminating the electoral college since it was created as a barrier to true democracy
+5 # MainStreetMentor 2012-10-29 10:58
A fundamental ploy I have witnessed within the realm of conservative politics originating in 1998 has been: Stack the deck in our favor - no matter what the action ... no matter the criminality ... no matter the consequences, because the "pay off" is: We Win. Morales be damned. Ethics be damned. Winning is the ONLY thing for this type of duplicity.
+5 # panhead49 2012-10-29 12:32
I used to get and participate in polling when I had a land line. Got rid of that (bought my # from ATT) and have not had a single call from a pollster since I went to cell service only.

So thank you Mr. Sullivan for letting us know what our grandparents are thinking. Course if they got hold of any of my relatives then they just had a ball lying to you.

VOTE EARLY!! Even places that don't have precinct early voting you can go to your local ROV office and vote early there.
+2 # deeprepeat 2012-10-29 15:50
Andrew, thank you for your article. Here is another take on what is going on. BTW, we are two mad scientists working out of our virtual "basement”. Tired of polls limited by language, we wanted to find out what people really think about the Presidential candidates. Our polling invention is based upon nonverbal responses, thus sidestepping verbal biases. The poll is online, and we are not controlling our sample, instead simply allowing folks to 'find' us from some Google Ads - we have almost a thousand responses so far. After starting out close together in mid September, Romney took a really commanding lead over Obama by early October. Romney’s lead then declined in mid October while Obama was advancing. And, for the last couple of days, Obama has taken the lead. You can find our poll and add your nonverbal perceptions at
+2 # offthecharts 2012-10-30 10:03
Nonsense, Andrew, Gallup didn't get it wrong in Obama's favor. The electorate got cheated electronically: the Republican convicted felons who own the voting machines couldn't get away with throwing more than 10% of the vote to the Republicans, and that only in the larger precincts with the HAVA-imposed electronic voting machines. Ever since, most pollsters have been assuming that there is a "Democratic shift" - that, despite all their sophisticated statistical methods, they somehow miss a percent of Republican voters. In other words, the polls are adjusted to take into account prior election outcomes. (Rachel Maddow blandly talked the other night about this "Democratic shift" in the polling data - without considering the statistical improbability of 10% of the votes in the LARGER precincts where it wouldn't be noticed being consistently shifted toward the Repbulicans (or, in the case of the recent Republican primary, toward Romney from Santorum and Paul).
0 # bingers 2012-10-31 19:23
Well, since both Santorum and Paul are borderline insane Romney was thought of as the mainstream choice. Sadly, Romney truly IS insane.
0 # bmiluski 2012-11-06 16:45
I wish all the repugs that post here could tell me which they'd prefer....Socia lism or Fascism and why.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.