Erick Erickson’s a politically savvy guy. He shows up on CNN and other news outlets regularly, has a radio show and is the main drive behind the popular conservative blog RedState.
I have met Erick on several occasions and have a lot of respect for him.
While not mentioning my name or Virginia Right!, he linked to my post saying:
Both sides in Campaign 2012 have a very unhealthy fixation on daily tracking polls. The media is using the polls as an excuse to not cover the growing disaster in Libya and instead focus on Romney. The right is using the polls as a tool to reinforce their disgust with the media. It is getting so bad, some are even now accusing RealClearPolitics of gaming the polls for Barack Obama.
The word “some” links to my post.
To be clear, I did not “accuse” RCP of anything. I simply noted the anomaly as an observation and raised the question.
And it is a fair question to ask. How does Real Clear Politics decide when to retire a poll from their daily average?
What they did yesterday was retire a poll with a bit newer data showing a +3 Obama advantage for a poll with older data and a larger margin of error. Oh, and a +5 Obama advantage. Doing the math, that decision kept Obama at a +4 advantage in the RCP average. Had they gone with the newer data instead, the average would reflect a decline of .3% (3 tenths) for Obama, moving the race a bit closer.
I have reached out to Real Clear Politics and have had no response so far.
But I am only questioning the methods at RCP. And that is both fair and the right thing to do. Several Conservatives (including Erickson) seem to think that because this is an organization that was started by Conservatives I should give them a pass.
Sorry, Erick et al. That’s not going to happen.
I was quite clear in letting readers know that my finding was not “proof” of anything. And “the jury is still out” as far as the objectivity of RCP.
And I also disagree with Erickson on the Conservative’s questioning the polls. The Mainstream Media (like Erickson’s employer CNN) loves to use the poll averages to bolster their attacks on Romney.
“See, the polls indicate that Romney is off base attacking Obama over Libya. RCP still has Obama at a 4 point advantage – unchanged.”
That narrative disappears if RCP removed the older poll instead. With a .3% decline in Obama’s lead, it will not bolster any arguments at CNN, except Romney is actually having a negative effect on Obama’s poll lead.
I am not saying they are doing anything at all, but the data shows what it shows.
So, thanks all the same, Erick. I plan to continue to question and analyze the polls – even if they show Romney with a lead – until the election is over. Fox does not gat a pass. CNN does not get a pass and Real Clear Politics does not get a pass.
I always find that shining a little sunlight on things keeps them clean. Even if they are not really all that dirty to begin with.