Pollster.com

Articles and Analysis

 

Department of Irony: Markos Allows Himself to be Influenced by Rasmussen

Topics: Approval Ratings , House Effects , Obama

Recently, Markos Moulitas of DailyKos questioned if Rasmussen's polling was designed more to set a narrative than to accurately predict election outcomes.

I was thus highly amused by his appearance as a guest on ABC's This Week on June 6. Commenting on Obama's reactions to BP's oil spill, Markos stated: "I mean I don't think there's any doubt that the polling is slipping for Obama."

Really? Let's suppose that Markos is using Pollster's trend line averages as the evidence for this statement. The most current trend line as I write this on Sunday, June 6 does indeed show an apparent recent tick down in Obama's approval rating.
Obama_approval_6_6_10.pngHowever, as I have pointed out previously, movements in Obama's approval rating can be sensitive to the ubiquitous polling of Gallup, YouGov/Polimetrix and - you guessed it - Rasmussen. For whatever reasons - and there are potentially many - these pollsters tend to be the least favorable to Obama. I do not want to argue about the accuracy of these polls, I'll leave that to others. It is sufficient to note that these pollsters poll often and tend to be the least favorable to Obama and Democratic candidates.

The other national pollsters often run their polls on a regular monthly or so schedule, absent any major event to stimulate them to run an additional survey. At times, this causes lulls in the polling among these national pollsters. When a lull occurs, the Pollster trend line becomes dominated by the frequent pollsters and tends to move in a negative direction.

We are in one of these lulls right now. And as a consequence, the Obama trend line has moved in a negative direction. You can see this by using the "Tools" to remove Gallup, YouGov/Polimetrix and Rasmussen from Pollster's Obama job approval plot.

Obama_approval_6_6_10_modified.png

In fact, if you look closely at the recent polling, Obama's approval rating from all three of these polls has recently trended higher.

Obama Approval
Rasmussen: 5/23-25/10 (43%), 6/1-3/10 (48%)
Gallup: 5/25-27/10 (45%), 6/1-3/10 (48%)
YouGov/Polimetrix: 5/22-25/10 (44%), 5/29-6/1/10 (45%)

If these pollsters didn't consistently have a lower job approval rating for Obama compared to the other national pollsters, Obama's job approval trend line would actually be increasing!

The punch line is that Markos allowed himself to be influenced by what he claims to be a Rasmussen narrative. And the moral is that care should be taken in interpreting the Pollster trend lines.

 

Comments
AySz88:

Please, please adjust pollster data to the median house effect. It's very hard to notice whether or not this polling frequency effect is happening, so this is going to keep occurring if an adjustment isn't done. Please.

____________________

iVote:

Thank you for writing this article, Mr. McDonald. When the trend line is dominated by just several tracking polls (one of them an internet poll and another with a strong Republican house effect) it does indeed tend to skew the average.

____________________

Ptolemy:

Well, let's suppose that Markos is NOT using Pollster's trend line averages. Maybe he's using his own poll data about Obama's favorability, not job approval, and which hit an all-time low in the latest Kos/R2k poll.

____________________

@Ptolemy: Well, Markos just fired R2K. I guess that speaks to the validity that he now assigns to R2K polling.

This website is built around the premise of using all available surveys to make judgments about the direction of public opinion, not just one pollster. Still, Pollster's trend line averaging has its flaws, too, which can lead even smart consumers of Pollster to go astray.

____________________



Post a comment




Please be patient while your comment posts - sometimes it takes a minute or two. To check your comment, please wait 60 seconds and click your browser's refresh button. Note that comments with three or more hyperlinks will be held for approval.

MAP - US, AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY, PR