Commentary — The GOP spin machine has gone into overspin as polls indicate incumbent candidate President Barack Obama leading challenger Mitt Romney in several key swing states, and instead of campaigning harder, making a stronger case or … oh, I don’t know, putting up some more lawn signs, Republicans across the blogosphere instead have tried to blame the polls themselves for being “skewed” or “oversampling Democrats.”
The “skewed polls” meme has persisted and snowballed in the conservative media since Obama began taking a clear lead in several states needed to win the election due to the fact they are key swing states. Republican blowhard and noted reality denier Rush Limbaugh even went so far as to allege a liberal conspiracy in the polling, saying of the lead Obama has shown in the so-called skewed polls:
“They are designed to do exactly what I have warned you to be vigilant about, and that is to depress you and suppress your vote.”
Which seems a bit counterintuitive, no? Would one not assume that those who genuinely out-and-out passionately supported Romney would be even more inspired to vote should their candidate show signs of flailing in polls? (And as a counterpoint, if you are an Obama supporter, do not get overconfident — go vote!)
But it’s not just fringe loudmouths like Limbaugh crying “skewed polls” as Obama assumes an ever larger lead in states that could go either way — even top Romney advisors like Eric Fehrnstrom pooh-pooh the work of polling outfits, saying they’ve overlooked key elements of voter turnout in making predictions:
“They contain some flawed methodology that’s been pointed out by other people that assume a higher Democratic turnout in 2012 than we actually experienced in 2008. I don’t know any political operative or political scientist who believes Democrats are going to turn out in the same numbers that they did four years ago.”
Indeed, if there is one thing we can take away from the “skewed polls” controversy this voting season, it’s that polls should never influence one’s decision to cast a vote in any single election. But a grand-scale conspiracy to give Republicans sadfaces and not vote? Probably not a likely occurrence.