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Tags media criticism , Real Clear Politics

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Old 8th October 2019, 09:18 PM   #1
Foolmewunz
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REAL CLEAR(ly biased) POLITICS

Some people have a hobby, like tennis or philately
I have a hobby, re-reading Lady Chatterley

(Tom Lehrer may be the greatest source of ear worms in my life)

My hobby (not that there's anything wrong with Lawrence) is watching over the liars at RCP. They've become the Go To for poll averages, but not only do they manipulate the polls while giving the appearance of political neutrality, but they link to a whole lot of news article, seemingly from a cross-section of the political spectrum but with an obvious agenda.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/realcl...ar-right-memes

First, as to their poll averaging... I noticed early in '18 that they were changing dates around rather arbitrarily. They'd have a sampling of, say, 12 polls with an overall "Disapprove/Approve Margin" at something under 10% on average. Those polls might be from between 1 and 15 days ago, or 1 and 30 days ago. It seemed to always manage to come out something below 10%. That target is no longer attainable, but they still do whatever they can to keep those approve/disapprove numbers more palatable to their conservative readership and sponsors. Two weeks ago, as the tried and trusted Rasmussen was slipping into negative numbers (upon Pelosi's announcement of impeachment hearings), they discovered a new bellwether, the Hill/Harris X poll which is pretty horrible and is an outlier and coincidentally the only poll that shows Trump in a close to positive regard.

By picking a current cut-off that excludes, in this case, Gallup (-16% for a poll taken in the 2nd half of September) and discovering Hill/HarrisX (-2%), they keep Trump at an approval rating almost 2% points better than the fivethirtyeight average.

But still, they have that seemingly bipartisan coverage of news articles, so they offer some solace to the people who think 11% Disapprove is a good number. "Seemingly" because more often than not, if they link to an article in the NYT, WaPo, or even the LA Times, Boston Herald, St.Louis Post Dispatch (just naming moderate-to-liberal news organizations I've seen on the RCP site), those are quite often Op-Ed or Guest Columns by conservatives. It gives the cursory appearance of offering up "balanced" coverage and is enough to fool those willing to be fooled. I believe the appearance of being non-partisan is useful in selling their polling agglomeration and the popularity of the polling agglomeration helps sell their ultra-conservative slant on things.

Now, thanks to the sharp eyes of another ebil liberal member, we have an actual indication of just who RCP really are.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/realcl...ar-right-memes

The article is longer than the attention span of most conservatives, but it's pretty damning. It also goes to explain where they get all those nasty reactionary comment-ers to their news articles (check out the comments on articles written by RCP staff); they come from their nasty-assed rumor mongering yellow journalism site.


ETA: I arbitrarily posted the link twice. People don't get to the bottom of lengthier posts and that link is really the inspiration for the thread/post. I don't expect a long thread on this; it's my pet obsession and people don't seem terribly interested in the topic.
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Last edited by Foolmewunz; 8th October 2019 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 8th October 2019, 10:16 PM   #2
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While that was an interesting read, I think had already decided RealClearPolitics was a conservative site. I look for bias in everything these days and try to correct for it. As for polls I'm not a big consumer; I don't always understand the lingo and methodology which is my own failing born of ignorance. Virtually none of them seem neutral to me, but more than that, I just really don't trust them to be ... predictive. I was going to say "accurate," but I think as far as they go they are often accurate, but a 51-49 split with a margin of error of 2 percentage points doesn't do much good.

The question that comes to mind is, do liberals have any similarly run enterprises using the same trick? Are there bored teenagers in the Balkans busy thinking up ways to monetize fake anti-Trump news? He may be just too difficult to satirize.
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Old 8th October 2019, 10:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
Two weeks ago, as the tried and trusted Rasmussen was slipping into negative numbers (upon Pelosi's announcement of impeachment hearings), they discovered a new bellwether, the Hill/Harris X poll which is pretty horrible and is an outlier and coincidentally the only poll that shows Trump in a close to positive regard.
HarrisX actually IS Rasmussen, isn't it?

For example: (when you click HarriX from here at 538)
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...rs=false&gid=0
Quote:
This ScottRasmussen.com/HarrisX poll of 759 Democratic leaning definte voters was conducted October 5 - 8, 2019
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Old 8th October 2019, 10:45 PM   #4
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I found this:

https://scottrasmussen.com/harrisx-p...-announcement/

Quote:
Washington, DC, August 29, 2018 — HarrisX, a leading research company specializing in online surveys, has partnered with veteran pollster Scott Rasmussen to produce the ScottRasmusen.com Daily Tracking Poll, an ongoing gauge of American voters’ political sentiment. The poll will anchor Rasmussen’s new public-opinion website, ScottRasmussen.com, officially debuting today.
I guess they're partnered, but different.

Looks like Rasmussen is mostly just wanting to rebrand to me, tho.
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Old 8th October 2019, 11:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
HarrisX actually IS Rasmussen, isn't it?

For example: (when you click HarriX from here at 538)
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...rs=false&gid=0
I hadn't seen that but I believe that Scott Rasmussen completely sold Rasmussen polling a few years ago. Having someone else as lousy as Rasmussen(the polls) wouldn't make sense, so it's conceivable that they're one and the same.

They have the same Scott Rasmussen flaw as the OLD Rasmussen polls. They concentrate on matching demographics with the census, so have very good numbers as to % of female vs male respondents and residents of different regions. "Very good" means "aligns with US census". But as a result of someone saying, for instance, "hey, you need to get another dozen people from the South, and make 'em 4 men and 8 women", they actually wind up with skewed income or age or education demographics. It's kinda telling when their 3 last polls all had very similar percentages in the major categories.
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Old 8th October 2019, 11:14 PM   #6
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Bragging about having an approval rating of less than 50 percent strikes me as weird anyway. Even with Trump-friendly polling he can't crack that ceiling.
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Old 8th October 2019, 11:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Bragging about having an approval rating of less than 50 percent strikes me as weird anyway. Even with Trump-friendly polling he can't crack that ceiling.
Well, whether you can trust the actual numbers of the polls or not (on which we agree - I don't trust them, specifically, just generally), the key is how much ground he's LOSING.

Their (the GOP) favorite pollster, Rasmussen has gone from Approve +6 to Disapprove +7 from in about fifteen days. That's a huge swing. In all the other polls, their previous numbers were much more favorable to Trump. They're all "down" by five to twelve per cent.

In Not RCP polls, the "House should follow up on impeachment investigation" has had about a 15% increase and it's only that low because Republicans aren't the whole electorate.... they've gone from 7% of Republicans to 28% from July to present.
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Old 9th October 2019, 04:44 AM   #8
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The only reason I view RCP is for the polls. I know they're right wing; that's obvious.

The case that they play fast and loose with polling data in order to favor Republicans hasn't been convincingly presented. In order to be convinced, I'd need to see (1) the HarrisX poll is as bad as presented and/or (2) there are better pollsters they omitted and/or (3) left-leaning polls of similar quality as HarrisX are omitted and/or (4) a clear example of monkeying with cutoff dates.
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Old 9th October 2019, 08:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by varwoche View Post
The only reason I view RCP is for the polls. I know they're right wing; that's obvious.

The case that they play fast and loose with polling data in order to favor Republicans hasn't been convincingly presented. In order to be convinced, I'd need to see (1) the HarrisX poll is as bad as presented and/or (2) there are better pollsters they omitted and/or (3) left-leaning polls of similar quality as HarrisX are omitted and/or (4) a clear example of monkeying with cutoff dates.
I can't comment on HarrisX outside of this poll because I can't even get a clear picture if this is Harris Interactive and what the difference is between HarrisX, Harvard Harris and the original Harris Poll which was an old analog variation. (With Roper and Gallup, they were one of the Big Three polling organizations.)

Fivethirtyeight doesn't have a review for HarrisX. They have a low ranking for Harris Interactive, but with fivethirtyeight's known aversion to on line polls that could be one explanation.

As to RCP's "shenanigans" in choosing date breaks or which polls to include...

1.Hill/HarrisX. It's suspiciously out-lying. That's all I have to go by for that one, plus their date of 9/28 was right when all this was breaking and every other poll saw Trump's approval dropping, while they went up 4 points. And I hadn't noticed them in previous agglomerations on RCP.

2. They're all over the map with date ranges. I'm actually fine with their current span of dates.... 26/09 to 8/10. It's only 12 days but they are the twelve days of polling that would give respondents time to have heard and absorbed the news.

Just for bookmarking purposes, today's average covers 8 polls, 26/09 to 08/10. Average is 10.0 towards "Disapprove". All we can do is check back and see if they are consistent. Even that, though, is hard to do. As the news keeps breaking the period where voters are made aware of the charges and counter-charges is going to be greater than 12 days. Thus, if there are a bunch of new polls (ones that haven't done polling since the impeachment investigations were announced) it'd be fair to stretch that 12 days to 30, even, include 15 or more polls.

But this topic takes a lot of watching. I'm not sure the I have the will to monitor them until an anomaly shows up. (I really wanted to post the article about their FB account, but got caught up in my obsession.)
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Old 9th October 2019, 01:14 PM   #10
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I can remember John McIntyre often appearing on the Hugh Hewitt show, so it's no big secret that the site is going to slant right. That said, I mostly look at their links page to get two sides of an issue. And their polling analysis guy, Sean Trende, seems pretty honest and fair.
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