Yesterday, I posted about the Strib’s Minnesota Poll. It isn’t surprising that King and Michael talked about the STrib’s poll during the Final Word this afternoon. King mentioned that the new polling company has been around a long time. If King says that they’re a reputable firm, that’s good enough for me. That means I won’t cast aspersions on the polling company.

What I will do, though, is talk about media polls in general because I think that there are different motives for media polls.

If we’re talking about the AP-Ipsos poll, my first assumption is that it’s used to ‘create news’, which is then cited in later stories that follow a desired storyline. That storyline usually is that Democrats are poised to mop the floor with the GOP.

The way that they achieve that storyline is by vastly oversampling Democrats and undersampling Repblicans. Another trademark of the AP-Ipsos poll is that they all but eliminate independents. I recall seeing an AP-Ipsos poll where 47% of the people sampled identified themselves as Democrats, 37% identified themselves as Republicans, with the remaining 16% identifying themselves as independents.

I first noticed the AP-Ipsos polling in 2005, though they’ve been around longer than that. The reason why I noticed them was that they were tanking President Bush’s JA ratings. I didn’t think President Bush was doing a great job by any stretch of the imagination but I didn’t think he’d tanked that bad at that time. That led me to check the sampling.

What I found was that things broke almost perfectly along party identification lines. the net negative JA Rating was almost identical to the party breakdowns.

Later, in 2006, I noticed how frequently dreadful poll numbers got reported. Certainly, people were upset with Republicans for immigration and their loose spending habits. There was no doubt that conservatives were upset with President Bush. Still, I got the impression that the constant drumbeat of dreadful poll after dreadful poll was intended to drive down conservative turnout.

Was it inevitable that GOP turnout would be less in 2006 than in 2002? Definitely. That isn’t the most important question though. This is: Did these polls drive turnout down more than if they hadn’t been reported with that frequency? I can answer with total certainty that the 2006 polls drove down turnout.

The point is this: The various polls show tha the race is over. That’s what they said in August, too.

GOP strategists stuck inside DC’s Beltway say that this might be a worse year for the GOP than 2006. These so-called strategists aren’t getting their information from GOP activists because we’re ready to run through walls for the House GOP caucus and for Sarah Palin.

MSM Effect

In this instance, the MSM I’m referring to isn’t the mainstream media. I’m referring to a new MSM, namely that Message Still Matters.

It’s time we stopped paying attention to the polling. It’s time our candidates started running with a Palin-like confidence. It’s time that we stood for 3 simple principles that Reagan and Goldwater stood for. Those 3 principles are liberty, prosperity and security.

  • If we tell people our vision for achieving longterm prosperity, we’ll appeal to alot of voters.
  • If we explain to voters how our policies translate into greater security, whether we’re talking about national security, retirement security or homeland security, we’ll win lots of elections.
  • If we tell people that our policies must pass the ‘liberty test’, meaning that we won’t pass legislation that limits our freedoms, then we’ll appeal to alot of voters.

These are appealing messages. This summer, I had the opportunity to tell a community leader what I believed. I told this leader that 2006 didn’t have to happen again. I told this leader this:

“It isn’t like the American people suddenly said that they got sick of stable marginal tax rates, that they didn’t suddenly say tha they got sick of seeing their taxes being spent too efficiently, that they didn’t stop saying that they felt too safe against future terrorist attacks.”

Polls matter but message matters more.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

6 Responses to “Polling As a GOTV Tool”

  • J. Ewing says:


    I’m firmly convinced that we lost in 2006 because we spent the last 72 hours trying to get out the vote, when we had spent the previous 6 weeks giving them absolutely nothing to vote FOR. How can we give the Party that message?

  • Walter hanson says:

    Well there is one nice thing about John Mccain if he loses. we have been told we have to reach out to the liberals to win. Well if Mccain has his ass handed to him doing what these stupid pundits have said they will finally be unenmployed and politicans who want to win will find the pundits who want to fight and run on conservative principals.

    One quick way to win is if our House and Senate Candidates put out another contract with America.

    You think they might remember what happened with the last one:

    * We got controlled of Congress!

    * We passed some very good legislation because we promised to vote for it.

    What on Earth do those pundits not understand about that!

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Gary Gross says:

    Jerry, I totally agree with you on not giving voters something to vote for.

    Here’s how we change that: We adopt a specific list of pro-prosperity items as part of an overall agenda. This list should also include specific plans for protecting us from terrorist attacks & an agenda for giving people a greater list of options on a wide range of issues.

    To me, our highest priorities should either make us more prosperous, more safe or more free.

    Agree or disagree???

  • J. Ewing says:

    I agree that the key to victory, up and down the line, is a clear, specific, simple, BELIEVABLE (and common sense conservative, which is redundant) agenda. It can be done otherwise, but it is more difficult to get through the media filter in 30-second commercials and 10-minute sound bytes on the highly liberal evening TV news. The key is getting the message out– “GOTM”– meaning a) having a message, and b) getting it out through the liberal media filter.

    Walter, I applaud your optimism. For me, though, I have every faith that, if McCain loses, the Republican Party will conclude we need somebody even MORE liberal to win! After all, if Obama wins it will be proof that 50%+1 of American voters want the most radical leftist in US history to be President.

  • walter hanson says:

    J Ewing:

    Part of the problem is that this country is conservative. The battleground poll has shown a consistent 20% edge for those people who consider themselfs to be conservative over liberal.

    What has Mccain in trouble:

    * He isn’t running on a real conservative message. When you have two liberals running the people vote for the real liberal!
    Conservative wins when it is run against liberalism.

    * The people think the economy sucks and blames Bush and the Republicans. The trouble as the public doesn’t understand like with the mortage crisis is that it is liberal democrat policies that caused the mess. Part of the job of Mccain which he isn’t doing is to properly educate the public.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • J. Ewing says:

    Walter, you are right that a considerable majority of the country is conservative at its core, but that isn’t necessarily the way people vote, for two reasons:
    1) the most obvious is that Democrats lie, all the time, and the liberal media amplify their lies until they’re believable. Thank you, Dr. Goebbels.
    2) Republicans do a poor to middling job of delivering their message but are frustrated by the same liberal media.

    Find a way around those linked problems, and we have a winner. McCain, if he wins, can be thankful that he is running against a candidate who is completely unqualified and dangerously radical. Now all we have to do is get the rest of the country to figure it out.

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