Reader Frogg passed along this really interesting commentary from a professional pollster who is (a) a die hard Obama supporter and (b) laughing at the public polls:
I was having dinner a night ago with a friend of mine who is a statistician for a well-regarded private polling company. They do some work for Republicans in California, but most of the work they do is for Democrats or Democrat-leaning operations (Unions, etc.). Anyway, her shop was retained to do a few Presidential polls for targetted states on behalf of a union so the union could decide where to spend their ad dollars for the last week. They did Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Missouri. After mocking the hell out of the voter id spreads used by Rassmussen, Zogby, etc. (and this is coming from a committed Dem who will be voting for Barry O) she said the results of their polling lead her to believe that McCain will definitely win FL, OH, NC, MO and NV.
She says Obama definitely wins New Mexico. She said that Colorado and New Hampshire were absolute dead heats. She said she thinks there is a 55% chance Obama holds on in Pennsylvania and a 75% chance McCain wins Virginia. She absolutely laughed at the public polls showing Obama leading Virginia-and pointed out that all of those polls rely on Dem turnout being +4 and as much as +7, when in 2006, Republicans actually had the advantage by +3. She also pointed out that the numbers for Obama in SWVA look absolutely awful and that McCain is running 10 points better then Allen did in NoVa.
Anyway, her company's conclusion is that the election will come down to Colorado, New Hampshire and the Republican leaning district in Maine, which in her opinion might very well decide the Presidency (apparently the district in Nebraska that Obama thought he might be able to get is now off the table). She said she has very little doubt that the public polling is part of a "concerted voter suppression effort" by the MSM. She said IBD/TIPP was the only outfit doing public polling that was "worth a bucket of warm piss".
The turnout model scam of 2008 will be the big story of this election. In my last post on polls I noted how many of the polls out there are starting to fall into two camps. The first camp is the traditional approach using historic turnout models where party affiliation is actually quite close as both sides turn out their base equally well. The second model is new and unverified, and assumes there will be a huge difference in party affiliation turnout this year.
The first class of polls show a very tight race, the second class are so heavily weighted towards the dems they assume all the anger with the direction of the country has no impact on Democrats and their media puppets. The DC/NY Political Industrial Complex is mostly liberal in its make up, and it has recently become more and more isolated in its echo chamber. Just look at how it reacted to Sarah Palin. The end result is the polls of polls are showing a classic bimodal result with clusters of polls at one of these two modes: "traditional' and "extended" - just like the two turnout models now being openly produced by Gallup.
I think this pollster has it about right. LJStrata and DJStrata have been out doing the GOTV stuff this week and what they find here in our part of Northern Virginia is there are about equal numbers of Obama and McCain supporters, but the Obama supporters are more open, and the McCain supporters are a bit down because of the tilted polls. The GOP support is quiet, but just as massive as the Obama support.
Sadly, one of the better pollsters has gone to the dark side of the bimodal results. Rasmussen has decided to increase his Democrat edge to new heights, under the naive assumption Dem and GOP supporters are equally engaged in answering pollsters:
Like all polling firms, Rasmussen Reports weights its data to reflect the population at large. Among other targets, Rasmussen Reports weights data by political party affiliation using a dynamic weighting process (see methodology)..... The targets are not set arbitrarily. Rather, they are established based upon survey interviews with a separate sample of adults nationwide completed during the preceding six weeks. A total of 500 nightly interviews are conducted for a total of 21,000 interviews over the six week period.
While it sounds reasonable, the fact is willingness to participate in polls may not be uniform between the left and right. And pollsters are more and more considered part of the problem, part of the Political Industrial Complex which the public blames for the country being on the wrong track by 90+%. There is a `pox upon all your houses' mentality in the country that is starting to lump the media, the pollsters, the consultants in with the politicians from both sides. Trust in the political class is gone.
Rassmussen now gives the dems a questionable 33-40 edge in turnout (Indies at 27). Previously in September he had Rep-Dem-Indie (RDI) at 34-39-28. Each time he increased the dems edge McCain lost ground - duh!
Let's look at the latest Newsweek Poll which has Obama up 12%. One look at the internals gives the answer to the large lead. Supposedly from 1204 interviews they distilled out 1092 Registered Voters, which were further distilled down to 882 Likely Voters. Of these they claim 299 Reps, 380 Dems and 381 Indies.
If we do the math the total sample size for party affiliates is 1060 - which cleverly doesn't map to interviews, registered voters or likely voters. What is also interesting is they have error bars on their party ID? They claim the Rep error bar is +/-7 (which comes out to 2%.) and the indie/dem error bar is +/- 6. Not sure why they are not sure what party people claimed they were associated with was in doubt, but there it is.
Anyway, if we do the math the Newsweek RDI turnout model is 28-36-36. Recall Rasmussen's model was 33-40-27. I mean they are not even close!
One of the problems is a lot of people are still on the fence to some degree and pollsters are trying to push them into a lean for one candidate, but this is very shaky ground to be on. Look at this Minnesota poll which is making people sit up and take notice:
A St. Cloud State University poll shows that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama leads Republican opponent John McCain 42 percent to 37 percent in Minnesota.... After earlier surveys showed DFL challenger Al Franken with an edge, the SCSU poll shows Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman leading with 36 percent, compared with 27 percent for Franken. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley trails with 16 percent.
Not only is McCain down only 5%, there are an enormous number of undecideds given the low numbers for both candidates. I included the surprise Senate seat race for comparison because it shows similar numbers for Coleman and Franken (with the Rep out front), but there is a substantial number voting for a 3rd party candidate in that race. There is no major 3rd party candidate on the national level. In MN and with this poll, the race is wide open because of the enormous number of uncommitted voters. Obama could easily lose this state if this poll is to be believed.
So what do we have? We have polls using dynamic turnout models which link willingness to take a poll to willingness to get out and vote (a very suspect assumption IMHO). Especially since different pollsters are deriving vastly different turnout models as a result of this approach. All these polls share one thing, they tend to show massive Obama leads, while the traditional turnout models show a tight or tightening race.
Much more here
Congressional folly is destroying the basis of America's prosperity
By ARTHUR B. LAFFER
Financial panics, if left alone, rarely cause much damage to the real economy, output, employment or production. Asset values fall sharply and wipe out those who borrowed and lent too much, thereby redistributing wealth from the foolish to the prudent. This process is the topic of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book "Fooled by Randomness."
When markets are free, asset values are supposed to go up and down, and competition opens up opportunities for profits and losses. Profits and stock appreciation are not rights, but rewards for insight mixed with a willingness to take risk. People who buy homes and the banks who give them mortgages are no different, in principle, than investors in the stock market, commodity speculators or shop owners. Good decisions should be rewarded and bad decisions should be punished. The market does just that with its profits and losses.
No one likes to see people lose their homes when housing prices fall and they can't afford to pay their mortgages; nor does any one of us enjoy watching banks go belly-up for making subprime loans without enough equity. But the taxpayers had nothing to do with either side of the mortgage transaction. If the house's value had appreciated, believe you me the overleveraged homeowner and the overly aggressive bank would never have shared their gain with taxpayers. Housing price declines and their consequences are signals to the market to stop building so many houses, pure and simple.
But here's the rub. Now enter the government and the prospects of a kinder and gentler economy. To alleviate the obvious hardships to both homeowners and banks, the government commits to buy mortgages and inject capital into banks, which on the face of it seems like a very nice thing to do. But unfortunately in this world there is no tooth fairy. And the government doesn't create anything; it just redistributes. Whenever the government bails someone out of trouble, they always put someone into trouble, plus of course a toll for the troll. Every $100 billion in bailout requires at least $130 billion in taxes, where the $30 billion extra is the cost of getting government involved.
If you don't believe me, just watch how Congress and Barney Frank run the banks. If you thought they did a bad job running the post office, Amtrak, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the military, just wait till you see what they'll do with Wall Street.
Much more here
Justice and Vote Fraud
Lawyers who supervise voting rights are Obama donors
We've all read a lot about the "politicization" of the Justice Department in recent years, and that political pounding is having an ironic effect. The prosecutors who are supposed to guard against voter fraud don't seem very interested in running the political risk of doing their job.
If voter fraud would ever be ripe for investigation, this would seem to be the year with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn) having been caught filing thousands of bogus voter registrations in at least 14 states. Acorn's history of deceit and the national sweep of today's scandal demand a federal probe. Safeguarding the integrity of the vote is every bit as important as protecting access to the polls, yet Democrats want Justice to pay attention only to the latter.
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers recently sent two letters to Attorney General Michael Mukasey deploring a news leak that the FBI is investigating Acorn, and warning Justice to focus instead on "voter suppression." Barack Obama has also joined in this political intimidation, demanding in two letters that Mr. Mukasey appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Justice staff who he claims are engaged in "unlawful coordination" with John McCain's campaign to pursue "so-called 'election fraud.'" There is zero evidence that such coordination exists, but it is remarkable that a Presidential nominee would dismiss election fraud as a myth.
The lawyers at the Civil Rights Division are already falling into line. Justice recently decided to reverse a policy in place since 2002 to send criminal attorneys and other federal employees to monitor polling places. The decision came two weeks after a September meeting to which the Civil Rights Division invited dozens of left-wing activist groups to discuss voter "access" to the polls.
Justice has also failed to enter the fray in Ohio. As many as 200,000 new voter registrations in that state are suspect, yet Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is refusing to follow the 2002 Help America Vote Act that requires her to verify these registrations. The Ohio Republican Party sued Mrs. Brunner, but the Supreme Court said the GOP lacked standing. Justice does have standing -- it is charged with upholding that law -- but has ignored the fight. The Justice excuse is that it isn't appropriate to file litigation so close to Election Day.
Yet that hasn't stopped the Civil Rights Division this month from filing a lawsuit against Waller County, Texas, to correct alleged violations of the Voting Rights Act; a lawsuit against Vermont for failing to report accurately on overseas ballots; and an amicus brief in a case filed by a civil-rights group that is suing to stop the Georgia Secretary of State from complying with voter verification rules. Justice's election suits always seem to side with liberal priorities.
It doesn't help Justice's credibility that attorneys charged with supervising voting issues are avowed Barack Obama supporters. According to Federal Election Commission data, James Walsh, an attorney in the Civil Rights Division, has donated at least $300 to Mr. Obama. His boss, Mark Kappelhoff, has given $2,250 -- nearly the maximum. John Russ, also in Civil Rights, gave at least $600 to Mr. Obama.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand now up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH (2), TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)