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Why It's Taking So Long


So I went off the the beach with spouse and kids a few hours ago ("vacation," remember?), assuming that I'd come back to news on Obama's running mate. But as of the moment I clicked "publish" on this entry, nothing had been announced.

The reason a lot of us assume the announcement is imminent is the report that has been airing on CNN all day that a "highly placed Democratic source" who says Obama "called some people on his shortlist for the vice presidential slot Thursday night to tell them he had not selected them as a running mate." Usually, when the phone calls start, the news leaks out almost immediately.

My colleague Marc Ambinder confirms that Obama has called some "who were vetted by didn't quite make it." He adds: "Maybe these aren't the short-listers. Maybe these are the long-listers."

"What the hell is taking so long," Noam Scheiber asks? In retrospect, I think the reasons for the timing seem obvious to me. The slow drip of "news" is entirely consistent with maximizing response to their "Be the First To Know" email/text message campaign.

Think about it: The week starts with a leak to the New York Times generating a front page story that tells us:

Senator Barack Obama has all but settled on his choice for a running mate and set an elaborate rollout plan for his decision, beginning with an early morning alert to supporters, perhaps as soon as Wednesday morning, aides said.

Somehow, Matt Drudge hears about the article the day before and gives the news the full Drudge treatment. Meanwhile, the Obama campaign runs banner ads on web sites all over the Internet promoting the email text message alerts. Then after days of speculation, Obama confirms yesterday that he has made a decision. Today his campaign confirms to reporters that some potential running mates have been called. And nearly every story features some reference to the fact that the campaign will share its news via email or text messaging.

Coincidence? I think not.

PS: One of Marc Ambinder's readers points out the irony of CNN "begging viewers to stay tuned so CNN can bring them coverage of a text message." Another "triumph of new media" is the timing itself: Major campaign news timed not for the evening news, but (perhaps) for prime text messaging time.

 

Comments
boskop:

cagey. tricky snookery.
you can have his 'gotcha' wiseacre behavior even if he does take my fav..biden.

wont change me over to him now.

i've seen all i need to know about obama and everything he does just supports my take on him.

what happened to richardson? he's your veep. haul that quizzling him over to springfield so he can start singing is resume.

biden must stay in the senate for checks and balance and freedom to perform. he doesnt need the constriction of a nothing job.

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Basil:

Wow, Boskop!

As though R's (and some D's) haven't tried every sleazy thing in the world to get any political advantage they possibly could on any possible issue! That's what Gingrich, Norquist, Rove (and OK, the Clinton's too) do out of habit. Maybe McCain was different once, but not now.

It's a gimmicky tactic, OK, but it's just that--not an outright lie like "Hey, I'm not questioning Obama's patriotism or anything."

.Are you just jealous that Obama found some marginally new way to work the system while McCain's holding for tech support on his rotary phone? Methinks thou dost protest too much, dude.

Are you still angry that Richardson dumped the candidate you thought would be easier to beat?

Is there a name for this game, like "roll the troll"? Maybe "agent provocateur" would be more apt, rather than troll. I don't see you getting paid for this stuff.

And it's "quisling", in case anyone ever quizzles you on it.

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Actually, Basil, the label you are looking for is not "agent provocateur." Nor is it "troll."

It is "voter."

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faithhopelove:

It appears Biden will be Obama's pick. He's a relatively safe pick--experienced, some name recognition, and he looks like most American presidents and vice-presidents have looked (old, white, and male).

Biden brings the following to Obama's ticket:

1) he has a compelling life-story--winning a Senate seat at the age of just 30, working through the loss of his first wife and infant daughter in a car accident, winning re-election numerous times, and surviving a potentially fatal ailment;

2) as an older white Roman Catholic (he is a grandfather), he has the potential to connect with two demographics with which Obama has struggled--namely, white seniors and Roman Catholics (Florida has many white seniors, while Florida, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Montana, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada, Indiana, and Alaska--battleground states--all have large Roman Catholic populations);

3) he has foreign policy expertise (not to mention a son in the military), shoring up Obama's credentials in this area;

4) he is from the same region as the swing state of Virginia (about a two-hour drive from Delaware), was born in the swing state of Pennsylvania (where his wife was also born), and went to law school in the Northeast;

5) he developed a relationship with voters in the swing state of Iowa during the primary season;

6) he performed well in the primary debates, flashing a winsome smile and wit;

7) his wife is an educator who is an activist in the fight against breast cancer.

Past mistakes aside (plagiarism, the occasional dumb remark), Biden is a pick who is unlikely to hurt Obama. He is already familiar to Iowa voters--a state that is already Obama's to lose. His Roman Catholicism and Pennsylvania roots should seal the deal for Obama there (where he already leads). His Roman Catholicism and connection to the Northeast should help keep New Hampshire in the Democratic column. Obama's upcoming schedule now makes better sense--in Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Montana (not to mention Colorado), the Roman Catholic church is the largest denomination.

Finally, being from the same region as Virginia and having foreign policy expertise, he may help Obama pull an upset there. Obama will appeal to young people (who are registering to vote in droves there) and African-Americans. Biden will appeal to veterans. Biden's wife will appeal to women.

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faithhopelove:

Here are some numbers (from Rasmussen, likely voters) to back up my pro-Biden arguments:

(All Likely Voters)
43% Favorable
38% Unfavorable

(Women)
43% Favorable
35% Unfavorable

(Catholics)
49% Favorable
34% Unfavorable

(65+)
49% Favorable
38% Unfavorable

Biden's strength with older voters (he's one of them) will not only help Obama in Florida, but also in Pennsylvania, another state with a large number of seniors.

States with above-average (12.4%) senior populations include (in no particular order):
Florida (16.8%)
Pennsylvania (15.2%)
Ohio (13.3%)
Iowa (14.6%)
Missouri (13.3%)
North Dakota (14.6%)
Wisconsin (13%)
Montana (13.8%)

Obama has been targeting all of these states.

Two more reasons Biden is a solid choice for Obama:

1) having just visited Georgia, he takes the Russia-Georgia conflict off the table as a possible winning issue for McCain; and

2) he will likely out-perform McCain's rumored VP choice, the robotic Mitt Romney, in the VP debate.

McCain may instead choose Pawlenty or Portman, but they would not help McCain beyond their own home states (Minnesota and Ohio, respectively). The pro-choice Ridge is now off the table, as he would no longer be able to deliver Pennsylvania, and his presence on the ticket would depress turnout among conservative evangelicals, causing McCain to lose Colorado (Colorado Springs). Obama would win the election with the Kerry states plus Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado.

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brambster:

I guess I called it right. Joe Biden all the way.

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Basil:

Ciccina:
Voter, yes. But not a very typical voter, I hope. But yes.

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Basil:

Ciccina:
Voter, yes. But not a very typical voter, I hope. But yes.

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PJ:

I don't get it, in terms of strategy (that is, maximizing EC-votes). I mean, Biden is from Delaware, and the last time I checked Delaware happened to have only THREE EV, and registered rather solidly in the Obama-column already.

Furthermore, Biden hadn't even enough appeal to the Democratic Party to see his own campaign survive the Iowa caucus, dropping out after the first possible - and indeed devastatingly so... like, what, less than one per cent of the votes? - negative event.

Furthermore, I don't see Biden as playing to any strengths of Obama (poll-wise, that is), and for, like, protecting Obama against attacks, he'll only be performing well amongst old males (because just like McCain he is one himself... which then again will minimize his potential appeal...), Roman Catholics (though supposedly not on abortion, which also reduces the appeal among the targeted part of the population on one hand, but potentially scaring off evangelicals an other protestant voters en masse!) and maybe foreign policy - yet, even that might turn out to be more a liability than an asset.

I am SO not convinced that Biden is a sound, well-reflected, strategically helpful choice... According to my (metaphorical) book, this spells "d i s a s t e r"... But then again, we'll only be able to tell after Election Day...

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carl29:

@"I don't get it, in terms of strategy (that is, maximizing EC-votes). I mean, Biden is from Delaware"

Joe Biden is called "Pennsylvania's third Senator," why? He is originally from Scantron, PA. He is very popular, especially among old Democrats in industrial regions, from the time when Unions were powerful in Washington.

I really think that Joe Biden is the best choice out there because demographically he appeals to old yellow dog democrats. Remember that under 45 Obama is OK; however, he needs someone who can help him with those old Dem., and Joe Biden is definetly the old guard.

Joe Biden is a fantastic attack dog. So, Obama can stay above the fray and let Joe take her of McCain. Joe Biden has a great reputation of bi-partisanship. Joe Biden's son is being deployed to Irak in October 4th of this year. Joe Biden has a strong family message, a great father. Ah...he got just one house!!

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carl29:

I mentioned the "one house" thing because if McCain picks Romney, just imagine all the fun democrats are going to have counting the McCains and Romneys's houses. The ticket is going to look like "Rich/Richer '08." Imagine Cindy McCain and Ann Romney mingling with regular, working class women: the waitress, the nurse, the secretary. I don't see how the only child of a multi-millionar and the wife of a multi-millionar can identify with every-day women of this country.

Jill Biden and Michelle Obama are going to make a fantastic team, two working women, campaigning among their peer.

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thoughtful:

Good Morning,

I have nothing good to say about Obama, this morning, and his pick other than Vice Presidential picks normally have no bearing on the outcome of elections.

Picking mediocrity will not reassure anyone or in the end help win the election.

Pragmatism you can believe in.

Cyncism you can believe in

Change you can believe in,

This tells you everything you need to know about Obama.

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carl29:

"Pragmatism you can believe in."
WOW!!! You read my mind. I really want a pragmatic president, not a naive kid. Time and time again, Obama is proving to be a very clever cookie. Joe Biden was hard on Obama during the primaries; however, that didn't keep Obama from picking him to be his running mate. Obama is putting the party's and the country's interest above himself. He knows how knowledgeable Joe Biden is, and his expertise will be critical to take the country out of the Bush-Cheney's ditch.

I love this pick!!! I used to watch Biden campaigning in Iowa, with his wife, and what a good impression he made in me. Obama-Biden '08

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thoughtful:

I was wondering when NC would be re-classified as yellow.

Back to Biden, I really have never thought that Senators were up to much other than talking the talk.

Now what if, McCain doesn't pick Romney, instead picks a woman?

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carl29:

@"Now what if, McCain doesn't pick Romney, instead picks a woman?"

I've been thinking about a woman in the Republican party who McCain can tap into, but I just can't think of any.

a)Carly Fiorina: I don't know about her in terms of abortion rights and other "conservative/religious values." In addition, it seems that she didn't perform that well as a CEO. I really don't know her to be honest.

b)The ebay CEO, whose name I don't remember, is pro-choice. Again, the same problem with "conservative/religious values" voters.

c)I think that the best female pick for McCain could be Sara Palin, Alaska's Gov.; as far as I know, her "conservative/religious" credentials are undeniable. However, she doesn't have that much of "experience," and remember that is McCain's main point, that experience matters and matters a lot.

Before McCain's houses gaffe, I would have bet on Romney; however, now I think that Palenwty looks better for McCain. Pawlenty is a working class, every-day guy, whom I suspect doesn't have 7 houses, in addition to being pro-life and evangelical.

Now I'm think more about Pawlenty, but I really don't know. I think that Romney has his down sides, especially with his former "liberal" record in MA and his religion, an issue among crazy evangelicals.

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richard pollara:

I went to the NY Times comment board to get a sense of what the reaction to the Biden nomination was. At 10:15 there were about 725 comments. A huge amount considering this was leaked at 1am. I decided to do a poll of a small slice of the comments (#'s 576-600). These 25 had been posted between 8:23 and 8:39 so you would assume people had already had at least one cup of coffee and were not posting under the influence of last nights Cosmo. Here are my results:

Very favorable: 7
Favorable: 2
Unfavorable: 3
Very unfavorable: 10
Neutral: 3

The numbers don't really tell the full story. Those that liked him used words like: experienced, intelligent, good choice. Those that were unhappy were really unhappy; terrible, disaster..one compared him to Dick Cheney.

So from my very unscientific survey I deduce a couple of things. First, many Democrats are not thrilled about this choice (I assume that most of the posters were Democrats). Second, this will do little to heal the chism in the party.

As for me they say that the VP pick is a window into the future decision making process of the future President (see Dick Cheney 2000). I wonder how the Obama campaign could have taken two months and made such an uninspired choice. I guess its time to check and see if In-trade is still giving 2-1 odds on McCain....

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faithhopelove:

Re: Biden helping Obama win electoral votes:

He definitely helps in Pennsylvania. He may help in Virginia (not far from Delaware). Also, he's Roman Catholic. Even if Obama chooses not to return to the airwaves in the 7 states in which he is suspending ads, he remains on the air in 11 states, of which 7 are red states that total 67 electoral votes (OH, IN, IA, MO, CO, NM, NV--note that Obama and Biden are visiting MO and IA in the coming days). In all of these states, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest denomination. Obama needs to win the Kerry states plus 1 or 2 (at most 3) of these states to prevail.

Re: McCain's VP pick:

A scandal has recently erupted involving Palin (something about her getting a police officer fired).

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Baz744:

Alright. Originally I thought it was a mistake not to pick Hillary. But now I'm getting the full argument for Biden. He really was the best pick.

1) He seals up PA.

2) He appeals to older Democrats.

3) He gives experience balance to the ticket.

4) He gives foreign policy cred to the ticket.

5) He doesn't alienate as many independents as Hillary does.

Obama-Bden '08!

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Baz744:

As for me they say that the VP pick is a window into the future decision making process of the future President (see Dick Cheney 2000). I wonder how the Obama campaign could have taken two months and made such an uninspired choice. I guess its time to check and see if In-trade is still giving 2-1 odds on McCain....

I'm sure the decision making process involved not only the question of whether the candidate helps him to get elected, but what happens after he gets elected. Hillary tried to blackmail her way onto the ticket. Even this past month, her surrogates have been doing everything in their power to create the impression that Obama is "snubbing" her; to create exactly the disappointment people are experiencing today.

Yeah, maybe Obama is taking a little hit today. But if he does get elected, he just *cannot* have a vice president who plays those kinds of games. Above all, he needs a vice president who's a team player. Hillary is not that.

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brambster:

Baz744, you nailed it on the head.

While the VP selection isn't the end-all of the election, this was not a mistake. Obama didn't cave in and select a runner-up from the primaries, he didn't pick a no-name, he picked someone that many would be quite happy to see as President and is clearly qualified to be President, and he helps with Obama's weaknesses. There's nothing wrong with this choice at all. Biden is definitely a net plus.

Regarding McCain, I think he's really stuck between choosing a no-name and Romney. That's not a good position to be in. If Palin wasn't having her own issues with abuse of power, along with the implosion of Republicans in Alaska, she would be a great choice for McCain. Plain also has very young children, and would appeal very well to Women, but that also would hold her back from wanting to shake up her life so much. The political firing she was involved with really ruined her chances though.

I wonder if the McCain campaign really understands how bad a Romney pick would be as it would expose such hypocrisy to their campaign of painting Obama as a celebrity and elitist. Of course this was hypocritical to start with, and I think to their strategists, they are only words so they might not pay attention to this fact.

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Baz744:

Poll I'd like to see put in the field:

Did McCain forget the number of houses he owns because:

a) He's senile, or

b) He's just got so many, he can't keep track of them all?

Maybe we're being a little hard on the man. Haven't we all forgotten the number of luxury homes, yachts, or pairs of $520 Ferragamo shoes we own at one time or another? This is obviously something that could happen to anyone; not just an out of touch elitist who can't relate to the problems ordinary Americans face in this tough economy. Let's all lighten up on poor old Moneybags McCain!

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eddie59:

I find it fascinating to read the comments here about how Biden can help Obama in this state or that state. VPs historically don't really have much of an impact on the overall ticket.

Remember Kerry/Edwards. Kerry was the older/staid northerner who needed a bright/young southerner to help balance out the ticket. I seem to remember people saying things about how Edwards would help Kerry in Southern states, like Florida. But he didn't. They didn't even win Edwards's home state of NC (Bush won 56-44).

People vote for the top of the ticket, not because of the VP. The #1 rule in picking a VP candidate is "do no harm." I think the Biden pick probably fits that rule, but I'm not positive that Obama's process followed that rule. Clinton's supporters are upset that she wasn't seriously considered, and they're saying it publically. And although Biden is not afraid to be the attack dog (which will benefit Obama), Biden voted for the war in Iraq (which makes it a little harder for Obama to make a big deal about his position against the war) and Biden has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth which could cause some issues on the campaign trail.

Remember too that Biden had a very, very poor showing in his own campaign. He did well in the debates, but he didn't get hardly any votes. And to say, as someone else suggested, that his exposure in Iowa is somehow going to help there, flatly ignores that fact that Biden dropped out of the race right after the Iowa caucus because he did so poorly. So, unlike Hillary, there are very few people who already wanted Biden to be president.

But the idea, as mentioned above by another poster, that Biden could help in Virginia because it's "in the same region" as Delaware is a big stretch. I'm not sure what "region" that would be as Virginia is a Southern state (especially politically and culturally) and Delaware is a northern state. Yes, VA is turning bluer, but once you leave the counties of northern VA, you are in the deep south here. I live in Virginia and Biden has no profile here. No one thinks of Delaware as being close to VA, and it's a long ways from Richmond or Newport News or Lynchburg to Delaware. Biden will not deliver any votes for Obama in this state. Many people here will vote for Obama...he could even end up winning the state. But it will have nothing to do with Biden. It will be because people believe in Obama. Perhaps the choice has some marginally positive impact in PA because Biden is a big deal there...but I doubt it.

No one should start counting on this choice to "seal up PA" or any other state. Historically that just hasn't been the case.

And as upset as some Clinton supporters are, Obama couldn't have picked Hillary as his VP. Could anyone really imagine Obama and Hillary working well together as Pres/VP? That seems like even a worse pairing than Reagan/Bush (who eventually were able to work out some of their issues). If you were Obama, would you want to have to deal with the specter of Bill Clinton all the time? It would have electrified the Democratic party's base, but I just think it would have been unwieldy for Obama to try to manage and deal with Hillary and Bill throughout his presidency.

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I just read an article stating that Hillary asked not to be vetted unless she was going to be the pick. That sounds pretty unreasonable and I don't blame Obama for deciding early on that it wasn't worth it.

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thoughtful:

Good Morning,

Denver - 1
It's now a good 24 hours after the Biden pick has been announced.

On analysis, throughout his political career, Obama throws great feints but he really is a middle of the road politician with a ruthless and pragmatic streak.

I think every body agrees with the proposition that a Veep pick can do more harm than good.

All the potential picks had downsides, from the vitriolic clips of primary debates and TV interview to the lack of national and international experience of the Democratic Governor contenders.

You can seet that from the Hillary attack ads just released by the McCain Campaign and the Biden one!

Biden is being advertised as the best (safest) amongst Democratic Politicians for the slot. Certainly the best attack dog, though Wes Clark would have simply been dismissive of what John McCain/Bush has on offer.

The election though is primarily about the economy, not so much about national security,

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brambster:

Just visited the Rasmussen site and found two headlines listed under their "Breaking Poll" section:

39% Say Biden the Right Choice, Women Less Enthusiastic

McCain’s New Ad Featuring Joe Biden

Not only has Rasmussen's poll results been found to be generally biased towards Republicans, and their volume of polls serves to drown out others, but now they are posting Republican campaign attack videos prominently on their site without even adding journalistic text.

When is Pollster going to start placing a big far (R) next to their name whenever publishing a poll result of theirs, and when is Pollster going to do something to minimize the effects of this one biased organization that adds significant skew to their results?

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Basil:

brambster:

Someone recently argued that Ras has been relatively accurate in previous elections, but I agree with you. Why not put the R there? Would it compromise Pollster's image somehow? Would the wrath of Ras descend on it?

Nobody in the world is objective (which is why "objectivism" is such a joke, like "fair and balanced"), but when it's so easy to identify a bias like Ras's, it amounts to deception not to reveal it. Please don't tell me that a partisan pollster tries so hard to be accurate that his principles are irrelevant.

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Baz744:

Just caught a Hillary adviser weighing between Romney and Pawlenty as McCain VP picks. She poo-pooed Romney, but said "I just don't see Pawlenty going against Biden in a foreign policy debate."

Translation: Romney's an obviously terrible pick for a lot of reasons. So she's trying to help Pawlenty in the pre-debate "downplay the expectations" game which is now becoming a tradition.

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brambster:

@Basil

Rasmussen in 2004 was one of the most accurate, but in my own review of the 2006 final polls in 27 senate and governors races, Rasmussen got the difference perfect in 3 polls, over-polled the difference for the democrat in 6 races, and over-polled the difference for the Republican in 18 races. Overall, the net over-polling across all 27 races was +2.04 difference for the republican candidates on average.

There is no doubt that there are other independent pollsters with skews in their methods that favor certain demographics over others. The Pollster presidential approval chart is a good way to track this, and there are clearly some pollsters that are consistently under and over polling Bush's approval. Unfortunately Rasmussen's way of asking their presidential approval question does not match with the standard that most others use (5 choices instead of 3), so nothing really can be learned from the comparison.

Just the other day Charles Franklin did some work on what the national poll averages would look like without Rasmussen, or Gallup Tracking, or YouGov, and without all three.

/blogs/how_we_choose_polls_to_plot_pa_3.html

It showed that Rasmussen, apart from June (they adjust Party ID weights monthly based on the past three months data), was consistently under-polling the difference for a net of between 2 and 5 points in McCain's favor. While Gallup Tracking was also regularly over-polling the difference for McCain, it was always within about 2 points of the trend without Gallup Tracking. Rasmussen was the only poll that had such a large effect that it broke the 95% confidence interval.

Rasmussen certainly has an agenda. They are the 'Fox News' of pollsters. Posting attack ads for Republicans in features on their home page right next to Biden poll results is so blatantly biased, and their headlines regularly spin results to look better for McCain, or look worse for Obama, and they ask certain questions in a way clearly advantages the expected Republican response. It's pushing an agenda through poll results.

I can't say if their actual polling skew is purposeful, but I can say that it is definitely real. It may be simply that they choose methods for weighting polls, or choose samples for polling, that disadvantage Democrats, or that disadvantage Democrats in years where the electorate moves measurably in the Democrats favor. Liberal pollsters would push for RV results and only demographic weighting in such an election, while Rasmussen uses LV results with Party ID weighting which is a very questionable practice. My guess is that it is all due to their Party ID weighting, and that they have under-estimated the effect in 2006 and 2008 with a more static view of how many D's R's and I's should be represented after weighting. When you take these samples and then adjust them for other polled data such as Party ID, you are in effect multiplying the MoE of both samples, and worse, those errors will be longer-term since their weighting will keep the same skew in the numbers for the most part. This is especially bad with state polls where the sample is very small (500 LV's)and the Party ID weighting is a sub-set of the 15,000 per month that they sample (an average of about 300 included respondents per month per state).

Rasmussen also makes a mistake in how they sample Party ID IMO. They ask a less fluid question of "Are you a ________?" They don't ask the more fluid "What party do you most closely identify with?". They actually called me on a national sample just a couple of weeks ago and I answered Independent to the question they asked because of how it was stated, but I would have definitely answered Democratic if they asked about whom I most identified with. So even the way that they ask this introduces even more MoE it would seem.

Anyway, Rasmussen has both a skew and an obvious bias towards Republicans, and regardless of whether the two are connected, they deserve a big fat (R), and Pollster should take special care to not overweight them because it does in fact affect the results.

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Baz744:

It's pushing an agenda through poll results.

I've read push-polling called "illegal." I found that very unlikely. Are there really any laws or regulations governing the way polls are conducted?

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brambster:

@Baz744

In no way was I suggesting that they "push-polled".

What they do is they take poll results and then feed them to the media with headlines highlighting sub-sets of data that are not good scientific conclusions, but instead represent bias. They also ask hot button questions often times in a way that would seem to serve as talking points for Republicans. These might be good questions to ask in a general sense, but they over-dumb the way they ask them, and the results are predictable.

Let's take today's main headline poll of theirs for example:

39% Say Biden the Right Choice, Women Less Enthusiastic

They offer these numbers without context and this is meant to mislead to present it this way.

Their results say that overall +14 thought that Biden was the right choice, and 35% of respondents were not sure. I'm not expert on history in this context, but I think that's a pretty good result for a very polarized electorate. To just merely state that 39% approve suggests that a majority disapprove, and that is not the case.

They also said that women were less enthuiastic. Wouldn't it be just as accurate to state that men were even more enthuiastic? Women in this poll had a net positive favorability of +6. It's not a surprise to see women trailing men in the opinion of Biden as Hillary was getting a big majority of women in the primaries, and there was a movement at foot. Biden is also a guy's guy.

I don't see anything bad in all of this. Obama already has a comfortable majority of women supporting him, and Obama has a better personal appeal to women than McCain does (except for scorned Hillary supporters). Obama's biggest weakness was with white men, and Biden is about the best choice he could make for that demographic.

You can even read deeper into Rasmussen's release and while it isn't 100% slanted, it seems that they take special effort to pull tidbits out of context to show a darker side of the story that doesn't exist. This is not an exception, it is the norm.

And one more thing that I would like to mention. Rasmussen is currently plastered with a clearly racist cartoon ad for a Republican attack group. Obama is clearly drawn up to look like a monkey even if the effect is subtle. These people know what they are doing. Rasmussen appears to be content running such ads, and those that run the ads feel that Rasmussen's site is a good place to put them.

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Baz744:

You said:

Rasmussen certainly has an agenda. They are the 'Fox News' of pollsters. Posting attack ads for Republicans in features on their home page right next to Biden poll results is so blatantly biased, and their headlines regularly spin results to look better for McCain, or look worse for Obama, and they ask certain questions in a way clearly advantages the expected Republican response. It's pushing an agenda through poll results.

Then you said:

In no way was I suggesting that they "push-polled".

I confess I'm not a professional pollster. I'm just a curious guy trying to learn a little. My understanding of "push-polling" was that it consisted in asking questions in a way that encouraged a particular response. While maybe unethical when the results are used to deceive, and certainly not conducive to producing meaningful gauges of public opinion, I don't see anything in this practice that would normally warrant government regulation.

Which was my actual question--whether in fact there are any governmental regulations on the practice of polling.

But your response raises another question: since by "push-polling," you don't appear to mean framing questions in a way that encourages particular results (which meaningless results are then used to influence public opinion rather than to gauge it), what actually is "push-polling?"

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brambster:

@Baz744

Asking a question in a biased way in order to lead the results is not push-polling. Push-polling is the practice of asking poll questions with the intention of leaving an impression on the people that are polled.

For instance, in 2000 the Bush campaign under the direction of Rove concocted a push-poll in South Carolina where they asked:

"Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?"

Google push-poll for more information.

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