The polling picture just now is rather grim for Republicans. They almost unanimously show Obama with a 4 to 9 point lead. This is not good. It also is not the end of the world.
Everyone wants to be up in the polls. No matter how much we disparage them when we are behind, we all know we would rather be up, much as a football team would prefer to lead by two touchdowns to begin the Fourth Quarter. But just as no PROFESSIONAL football team would give up when time remains on the clock, neither should Republicans give up 33 days before Election Day.
There are several reasons why but here I’ll deal with the polling issue.Polls are a snapshot of RIGHT NOW. Assuming that people are not lying to the pollsters, we can be almost certain that IF the election were held today Obama would win. However the predictive ability of polls 30 days out is very shaky for the very good reason that polls are reflections of the present not forecasts of the future. Some examples:
A. In 1948 Dewey lead Truman by 5 to 15 points in September & October. On election day Truman won by 4.5 points.
B. In 1968 Richard Nixon held substantial leads in various polls throughout August and September. Yet on Election Day he eeked out victory by less than 1 percent.
C. In 1976 Jimmy Carter held huge double digit leads over Gerald Ford from the conventions and deep into October. Ford was burdened with the baggage of Watergate and his own less than inspiring debate performances. Yet by Election Day Ford managed to close to within 2.6 points of Carter.
D. In 2000 George Bush lead Al Gore by 5-6 points through much of September & October only to come up a half point behind on Election Day.
The point here is not the simplistic “the polls are wrong”, but to point out the unarguable fact that public opinion CHANGES over time.
This is a very odd election. I’ve been closely following presidential elections since 1980. I have studied many other elections going back to Lincoln’s time. This is not a “normal” election and thus we shouldn’t be surprised if some odd twists await us over the next four plus weeks.
The media has completely lost its objectivity and in some cases has lost even the pretense of same. In some respects this has come to feel like a holy war where the media has decided that Barack Obama MUST be the next president and that facts which suggest the contrary simply don’t matter.
However the media doesn’t vote and no matter how dark things look today they could change in the blink of an eye.
This election, like all others, will be decided by who chooses to actually vote. Republicans must keep getting out the truth about Obama. We must continue to urge our conservative friends to be engaged in the process. We must turn out on November 4th.