Last Updated:August 21 @ 11:24 am

Towery: Elite Media Distorts Wisconsin Exit Polls and Results

By Matt Towery

They are at it again. Following what can only be described as a butt-kicking win for Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin's recall election, many media pundits were trying to "split the baby" by acknowledging Walker's win, but pointing to exit polls that show President Obama with a seven-point lead against Mitt Romney in that state. There is just one problem with their story: It fails to acknowledge just how far off the exit poll was in the gubernatorial contest.

To add insult to injury, the elite media bashed Matt Drudge for supposedly posting information saying the exit polls showed Walker safely winning, declaring the polls to show the race as very tight. Turns out the exit polls they referred to were wrong. Perhaps we should just go to The Drudge Report to get the accurate information from now on.

I continue to contend that exit polls are darn close to useless. I prefer polling a base model and then taking key county or even precinct results as early numbers arrive in order to project a winner. It works better and actually can often be released with a better sense of accuracy than these horrible exit polls that the media are often afraid to release.

Considering the exit polls the media relied on showed a razor-thin difference between Walker and his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the logic behind some huge lead for Obama, produced by the same exit polls, melts away. Walker defeated Barrett by seven-point margin.

Apply that same analysis to Obama's seven-point lead in the same exit polls and the race in Wisconsin is actually closer to being dead even. Wisconsin is hardly a bastion of Republican power or conservative might, yet it is even up for grabs. And this says much more about all of the polls and predictions we have seen to date.

In order for an exit poll to truly have any value, it must somehow take the various selected precincts from which information is gathered and attempt to place it in some "model" that reflects party identification, age, race and gender proportions normally seen or expected for a certain statewide race. My guess is that these polls likely skewed stronger towards younger voters and perhaps Democrats than was the actual turnout.

This would suggest that pollsters who are "weighting" their polls in other states, particularly the critically close swing states such as North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, might want to reexamine their allocation of young voters as well as consider increasing their proportion of "independent" voters that they use as they process the raw data they collect.

What might that mean in terms of these states? It might mean that Florida and North Carolina, traditionally Republican presidential states, are not as close as recent polls suggest, with Romney leading Obama. It would also make states like Missouri and Colorado, considered potential swing states that lean Obama, more than likely toss-ups that could easily go Republican in November.

And I am not a GOP rah-rah pollster (yes, my opinion is more rah-rah!). In fact, when polling for one of the nation's top sources of political news in 2008, my results showed Obama carrying both Florida and North Carolina. But a few things have changed in four years that cause me to believe that, if the election were held today, Romney would carry both states. First, we do not see the "on fire" energy for President Obama in 2012 among voters under 30 that existed for candidate Obama in 2008.

Second and more importantly, the percentage of those who view themselves as moderates or who say they are "independent" as to their party affiliation in a general election (regardless of how they might be registered for primary purposes) is not only high, but is leaning more Republican than in 2008. Many of these same "independent" voters desperately wanted change in 2008 and supplied Obama with the margin of victory in the major swing states.

We are still far from November, and as will remain my contention, the result of the presidential debates will likely determine who wins the contest for the presidency. But my Wisconsin-based interpretation of the national electoral mood is based on something more tangible than a guess about the strength of unions or weariness over recalls. My evaluation is tangible based on the exit polls -- as compared to reality.

Matt Towery heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage. Follow him on Twitter @matttowery. To find out more about Matt Towery and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

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35 Comments

  1. billwvComment by billwv
    June 7, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    If the truth be known: There is no telling what kind of an avalanche of voters will support Romney to get rid of the Odimwit. I [personally] do not think that the election will be even close: BUT the drive by media will play out their lying / deceitful part right up till the bitter end.
    What I say is: Come on November and we’ll see just how right these so-called exit polls are; the only poll that will matter is the election voting poll.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      June 7, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

      “BUT the drive by media will play out their lying / deceitful part right up till the bitter end.”

      Wouldn’t it be interesting if the GOP took the WH, House, and Senate and then told the media that they were not welcome because they have proven they are not credible and unable to report the truth?

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      June 7, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

      Yeah, wouldn’t that be some great payback?

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    • pypypypyComment by pypypypy
      June 7, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

      I hope it will be a landslide victory for Gov Romney. Now the left is really worried about ObamaCare and BO’s henchmen are already starting their spin, trying to pin ObamaCare on Gov Romney. I hope this too will backfire on them. The latest backfire is the leaking of the K list and 2 other leaks (you know which ones I mean)

      For their info, it was NOT, NOT Gov Romney who shoved ObamaCare down our throats! So go ahead, pin it on Romney, it wont stick

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    • Allen SComment by Allen S
      June 7, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

      The GOP needs to counter every lie the liberal media tells with the truth on every information site as possible. The truth must be heard to get the votes we need against 0.

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    • vevaComment by veva
      June 7, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

      Exit polls are a sneaky way to deprive voters of the “secret ballot” – do it often, get voters used to having their ‘secret balloting’ revealed, etc. I’ve read that voters are disgusted with the media who think they need to predict the election results, before anyone else, and lie to the media. Way to go! If they ever ask me I’ll tell them ‘where to go’. Americans have become too willing to have their ‘opinions’ heard, without considering the source of the questions!

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  2. bobnipComment by bobnip
    June 7, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

    Let’s see…he’s catered to the occupiers, the gays, the global warming knuckleheads, Marxists, anarchists, Black extremists, illegal aliens, habitually unemployed. Every relationship has been a movement toward division and conflict.

    He has alienated our allies and pandered to our enemies who want to destroy this nation.

    What a community organizer like Obama doesn’t understand is he has forgotten mainstream Americans…and we are on to you and what your idea of “hope and change” really was. No one has had the guts to take the Presidency away from you despite your ineligibility. But, true Americans will show up at the polls in November to rid ourselves of your stench.

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    • sophillyjimmyComment by sophillyjimmy
      June 7, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

      Our Dictator and Chief violated his oath of office more times then any of us could count, he chose his buddy from The Chicago Democrat gangsta machine to be the AG who has not only should be arrested as an accomlice to involuntary manslaughter for the death of Border Partol Officer Brian Terry but has also perjured himself several times and witheld vital documents at a Congressional Hearing pertaining to Fast and Furious then attempted to use the race card as a defense.
      Now the AG is backed into a corner and is demanding that the CI be exposed so he could have him/her arrested which is extortion in the highest degree since it will implicate the Congress people that received the information from the CI.
      The corruption in this current administration runs long and deep, and I hope that those that we elected will respond to the petitions so many of us signed to get to the truth just like Wisconsin judges responded to the petitions that wanted to recall Governor Walker, including the judge that wouldn’t give the Walker team time to check all the names on the said petition, since Mickey Mouse, Adolph Hitler and even the judges signature was on the petition. Perhaps now they realize that the liberal media, judges or anybody else cannot get away with illegal tactics when the final word comes from We The People since Governor Walker is still Governor Walker because the people spoke at the polls and that is a clear sign to those that want to control our freedoms cannot and will not get away with it since our government is Of the People and For the People.
      The media could put any spin they want to when it comes to the liberals in our government, even now that with Governor Walkers overwheming victory the media that spoke of nothing for over a year except the recall fell silent and wrote a few sentences on Walkers victory for one day but nothing since except to state the exit polls in Wisconsin claims that Obama still has a 7 point edge over Romney in Wisconsin. Obama’s minions are dropping like flies after sprayed with Raid and if We The People can’t see them abandoning a sinking ship like the bunch of rats they really are, we deserve to have this known socialist for 4 more years so he could complete his mission of changing our government from a democracy to a socialist country. Enjoy your freedoms while you can since the possibility is still looming that Obama could still win in November and if that happens just realize that our Constitution which seperates the U.S. from every other country in the world will only be a piece of useless parchment paper that contains words that will mean nothing.

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  3. JDZComment by JDZ
    June 7, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    The Dems that come out of the voting booth are afraid in many cases to admit to anyone, let alone a stranger taking a public polling, if they voted for someone on the other side. This is especially true if they are a member of a union, and in this case, especially the public service unions.

    The teachers in Wisconsin know that Walker did them a favor by changing the collective bargaining umbrella and by not allowing unions to get their union dues collected upfront deducted from their paycheck by the government. This dues collection process change is what really set off the unions who have had to hire staff to bill their members directly, and the unions have lost 50% of their membership over the last year and a half as the members can now drop out by not paying dues.

    The changes Walker made saved planned layoffs of teachers and has given the local governments and school districts more money to work with in their budgets. It is a good thing, and enough Wisconin voters have figured it out.

    The Election in November in Wisconin is up for grabs.

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  4. bobnipComment by bobnip
    June 7, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

    One other thing- the Demos are starting to panic. It is essential that we not let them steal the election in November via voter fraud. I would suggest that Republicans and Independents station representatives at every voting location where ballots are counted to ensure that the dead are not counted this time. Groups like “Houston Votes” need to be closely monitored for their outright lying and cheating tendencies. Video cameras need to be present at voting stations to photograph groups like the New Black Panther Party when they attempt to intimidate White voters. Oh…I forgot. Obama and Holder wouldn’t do anything about that anyway….would they.

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    • sophillyjimmyComment by sophillyjimmy
      June 7, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

      I am from Philadelphia, Pa. and I was approached by a member of TNBPP when I was going to vote, and one actually asked me who I intended to vote for and was very enraged when I told him his father by way of the Philadelphia White pages since I was insinuating that he doesn’t know who his father is and when he started to get verbally aggressive I showed my badge and he saw the bulge on my hip and quickly walked away. How many people did they actually intimidate since 99% of the voters didn’t have a badge and a #357 clipped onto their belts?
      When I told the Republican committeeman what happened he just shruged his shoulders as though he was saying what could I do about it, and since it was not my job to enforce the voting rules and by law cannot get involved in politics except to vote I voted and left.
      I believe we will be hearing allot about race riots in the cities and every other scare tactic before November to keep many people from going to the polls, but if any of you are afraid of the intimidations that are going to be shown on the media just remember, we are the majority and there is strength in numbers, and we are also the ones that embrace the 2nd amendment of our great Constitution so fear not and please go and cast your vote for who you think will save our Country before it is to late.

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  5. celador2Comment by celador2
    June 7, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    The only poll that matter were the one posted by voters when they entered the voting booth. Scott won, Rebecca and three of four state senators. And they whupped the Democrats BIG TIME!

    Media and their exit polls exist to form and mold opinion in favor of Obama by making a win for him look inevitable.

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  6. profchuckComment by profchuck
    June 7, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

    The liberal response to the recall illustrates that they are incapable of recognizing reality. This is a serious flaw in their character and can be used to defeat them in November.

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  7. Robert Edward JohnsonComment by Robert Edward Johnson
    June 7, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    The reason that the Wisconsin victory “really does” mean that BO will likely lose every state except DC is the Bradley Effect. All the so-called pundits said that even though Walker won, “clearly” the polls show Barack Obama will still take Wisconsin. Yeah, ask Tom Bradley about the Bradley Effect, especially in a groovy kumbayah state where no one wants to “look racist.” If the typical guy who voted for Walker admitted he would vote for Romney, the pollster would think he’s in-SENNNNNN-si-tive and THAT would make people feel un-COMMMMMMM-fortable. Scott Brown won MA, and sister Goldern Hair Surprise Fauxcahontas will probably be wiped out by an even bigger margin. Walker just won WI by an even bigger margin than LAST time, and both WI and MA usually go Dem. So, WHY, OH WHY, are the libs STUPID enough to be certain that there’s a SINGLE STATE OF THE UNION where BO will win? Mondale nearly didn’t even win his own state of MN (he barely took it by 60,000 votes). BO is done, put a fork in him.

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  8. bbarrett49Comment by bbarrett49
    June 7, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    they lied about how unclose the race was, and they lied about obama. you expect truth from the lame street boys? not

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  9. bbarrett49Comment by bbarrett49
    June 7, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

    polls taken at the polls to those just having voted were contrived by all that took them. and the voters also gave false readings of what they just voted for. complete garbage. results proved them wrong.

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  10. jruss45Comment by jruss45
    June 7, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

    Fortunately voting is still SECRET. If union bosses were allowed to watch voters vote, I think the vote would more closely match the exit poll.

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  11. Allen SComment by Allen S
    June 7, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

    My question is where did they take the exit polls; in high liberal areas or did they even bother to go to the strong conservative voting areas? Who really believes everything they hear on the news?

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    • tbt222Comment by tbt222
      June 7, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

      John King on CNN tried to explain this on Tuesday night.
      He pointed out that many republicans do not participate in exit polls because they do not trust the media. (Go figure!). He further noted that those that are most voluble about their feelings are more inclined to participate.

      I would add that Democrats who crossed over did not participate with good reason.

      Reason- Death threats against Governor Walker!

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    • teapartyproudComment by teapartyproud
      June 8, 2012 @ 6:00 am

      Who really believes ANYTHING they hear on the news. Fixed it for ya.

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  12. daniel2Comment by daniel2
    June 7, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    Nobody likes to vote for a loser. That is one of the first lessons you learn in mass communications. That is why there are so many “world famous, First National, number ones, etc. The same goes for the slant that the media gives. Everyone knows that the MSM is in the tank for progressive liberals and they vainly try to hide it in election coverage using the results of exit polls to put their spin on it.
    Once it became apparent that Walker would win they had to shore up Obama using the exit polls and at the same time taint Walkers’ victory by blaming money for the win. I would like to point out at this time that I believe that people of Wisconsin were not influenced by amount of money spent. I think they could make up their own minds themselves.
    Obama and company knew that Wisconsin was a lost cause and that is why Obama did not show up there. Obama did not want his image tarnished and his handlers were afraid that showing next to the loser would make O look bad. Image like polls are everything.

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  13. tbt222Comment by tbt222
    June 7, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

    PLZ note that Fox got it wrong with Charles Kruathammer backing up Joe Trippi’s comment re the 7% exit poll lead for Obama.
    I immediately sent an email to Rush, Greta and O’Reily pointing out the flaw of believing polls that were completely wrong on Walker but assumed right on Obama. Only Rush immediately picked up on it.

    I love Charles but it goes to show that even a brilliant guy like him is not infallible. He also said that Geithner was the only hope to save our financial system and needed to be confirmed.

    This is why I support Charles K, Romney and Senator Hatch. They are human but their intentions are patriotic, they have potential for great good and they are right most of the time. They are near perfect compared to the flawed on almost all things-Obama.

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    • Robert Edward JohnsonComment by Robert Edward Johnson
      June 8, 2012 @ 8:39 am

      tbt222, if your basis for supporting someone is that at least they’re better than Obama, that’s a pretty low bar. Charles Krauthammer as you pointed out was for Geithner being confirmed. He’s a bilious neocon windbag who supported the Iraq war and all things expensive that gave us $100 oil, etc. Romney supported Affirmative Action when he was trying to out-Kennedy Kennedy in 1994 (you can see it yourself on youtube). Romney stands for nothing – but Romney. Hatch is almost as bad as Lugar eventually became. Lugar went from being better than Steve Forbes in 1996 (Forbes was for a flat tax, Lugar was for ABOLISHING the IRS and going to a value-added tax) to being just another RINO, and Hatch is just about there as well. I’m starting to believe you’re pretty ignorant, or a RINO lurker/trawler.

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    • tbt222Comment by tbt222
      June 8, 2012 @ 9:11 am

      Robert Edward Johnson the third

      I’m starting to think that you are a blind advocate of talking points and senseless labels.
      Stick to the facts man and avoid emotions. Plan to win the WH, the Senate and keep the house in November instead of shooting your wad to get the perfect candidate.

      Go ahead and support Gingrich and Santorum continual droning on about being out spent when they didn’t spend the time to organize in all the states and get donations. Tell me that the MSM and Obama did not pick up on this lame *** argument.

      Try considering some other opinions and show some breadth of thought for a change instead of being a mirror of most every liberal blogger. Start with the following link:
      http://www.calldrmatt.com/Differences_Between_RomneyCare_and_ObamaCare.htm

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    • Robert Edward JohnsonComment by Robert Edward Johnson
      June 8, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

      Uh, tbt222, you defend a mainstream hack like Krauthammer who literally used to be a big lib before his alleged “conversion” from being a Carter hack to a neocon somewhere in the early 1980s during his New Republic days. You defend Romney who literally out-Kennedyed Kennedy in 1994 not only on Affirmative Action but Reaganomics. You defend a RINO like Orrin Hatch. Yet I’M the one mirroring points from liberal blogs? And what about my remarks about Krauthammer being a “bilious neocon windbag who supported the Iraq war and all things expensive that gave us $100 oil, etc.” would make you think I’d support neocon morons like Santorum or Gingrich? Pretty clearly my surmise that you were EITHER “pretty ignorant or a RINO lurker/trawler” wasn’t harsh enough. You’re BOTH ignorant AND a RINO lurker/trawler. Look, if Romney is the best offering of the Ford Republicans who retook the GOP thanks to Reagan’s “I’m the Star” mentality (which handed over the GOP to the Poppy-Rockefeller wing early on, with a brief respite from them thanks to the Contract with America back when Newt made sense which got smashed by Son of Poppy who lied to us about his “modest” foreign policy and gave us Big Government Republicanism and with Rove RUINED the GOP), well, maybe we need to put up with another four years of Obama until someone in the Tea Party finally “gets it” and weeds out the neocons and theocons who are still holding us down which hands the party over to the Ford Republicans, and thus ultimately to the Democrats.

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    • tbt222Comment by tbt222
      June 8, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

      johnson
      Your comments warrant only the following response.

      GET HELP AND RESIGN FROM MOVEON.ORG!

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      June 8, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

      Robert Edward Johnson:
      While your ideals may be noble, they’re not realistic. You’re looking for a perfect world where all of the Tea Party principles rule, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen right now. Sometimes one has to compromise a little in order to win in the long run. Romney may be flawed, but look at the alternative. If you stay home because he’s not your perfect candidate you won’t be doing yourself or the country any favors.

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  14. tbt222Comment by tbt222
    June 7, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

    The MSM claims of 7 to 1 or 10 to 1 expenditures by Walker is a message that they learned from Santorum/Gingrich. The liberals usually have nothing new. With Santorum/Gingrich I was offended by the claim, even if true, in that it reflected poor dedication to the campaign and poor organization (were not on all the state ballots). With Walker, I do not believe that the spending imbalance really existed. The MSM learned from the Obama campaign, or got the talking point from the WH and Media Matters, how to be deceitful by limiting the time span to 3 months for expenditures vice the real 14 months over which money for the recall was spent.

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    • JDZComment by JDZ
      June 7, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

      Actually, the 7 to 1 funding difference was a huge misrepresentation of facts. What was ignored is the ground troops provided by the unions and the cost of all of the help brought in by unions from outside of the state. The real normalized comparison of spending by the two parties is much closer to equal then to the MSM and desperate excuses made by the DNC of a huge difference in spending. The Dems and DNC chair Wasserman Schultz just won’t admit that they were beaten at their own game primarily because the Wisconsin voters have figured out what is going on with the unions and Democrats.

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  15. cgretiredComment by cgretired
    June 8, 2012 @ 7:27 am

    “I continue to contend that exit polls are darn close to useless. I prefer polling a base model and then taking key county or even precinct results as early numbers arrive in order to project a winner. It works better and actually can often be released with a better sense of accuracy than these horrible exit polls that the media are often afraid to release.”

    When you govern by polls, you fail to lead. Clinton governed by polls and he was probably the worse leader, until Ohbama came along, that is. It amazed me how much scorn and vitriol that George W. Bush took during his time in office, yet he ignored it and led us on. The thin-skinned democrats can dish it out, but they certainly can’t take it right back at them. If they can’t blame Bush, they will blame the polls.

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  16. KAHR50Comment by KAHR50
    June 8, 2012 @ 8:37 am

    Personally I LOVE to see Obama ahead in the polls.

    It will do two thngs

    1) Energize conservatives to make sure they leave work to vote

    2) make liberals think it is in the bag so their lazy arses stay home.

    Polls are useless becasue you can not get uniformly diverse respondents. The “model” referred to above is a mathmetical hypothesis – if soneone did a regression model against expected to actual results predicted by a poll, I would bet there would be no statistical significance in the results.

    Ask yourself – do you answer polls? Most everyone who reads this is a conservative who will most likely answer that question with a “no”. So that tells you who does respond to polls – not people who are like you.

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    • TRUTHTELLERComment by TRUTHTELLER
      June 8, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

      You’re right about Republicans and Conservatives not answering polls.

      Here in California, ninety-nine percent of these polls, both exit and phone canvas, are generated by the left wing, with loaded questions, to which the only choice of answers are pro-left wing.

      These survey and poll questions remind me of the lawyer, questioning a witness in court, asking: What was the exact date you stopped beating your wife?

      The only people answering these polls and surveys are liberals, answering liberal questions. Of course, the results will be severly skewed to the left.

      The’re worthless and should never be paid attention to.

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  17. Robert Edward JohnsonComment by Robert Edward Johnson
    June 8, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    On a happier note than my screeds against tbt222, I got this from MoveOn.org (I joined their list due to my opposition to the Iraq War, and just sort of stayed on their list! bwahahahahah!):
    “Dear Robert,

    Since our last email, Gallup released another big poll showing Obama down by two points to Mitt Romney.1 And Romney’s campaign just announced that they raised an unbelievable $76.8 million in May—$17 million more than Obama.2 So we could really use your help.

    Please chip in $5.”

    To prove their point to their base, you can see they even put in two foot notes, which I’ve omitted.

    As you can also tell from the context, they’d PREVIOUSLY had an email that was ALREADY scared-sounding, which went something like “Think Obama’s a shoe-in? Think again ” etc. and then mentioned the first Gallup poll that was showing good movement for Romney.

    Since the original topic was how the lib-meisters try to spin the Walker Wisconsin victory saying that Obama will still win Wisconsin and even the general election, this is proof that none of the organizers-on-the-street are that stupid. They “get it” that BO is DOOMED – unless Mitt Romney keeps putting his foot in it. What a race to the bottom: Richie Rich the Rockefeller Republican who out-Kennedyed Kennedy versus the Dumb Commie Token. I’ll retire to bedlam.

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  18. tbt222Comment by tbt222
    June 8, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

    Obama’s latest on the economy proves Rush’s months old claim that Elmer Fudd could beat Obama!

    It sure is looking that way.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      June 8, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

      You would think so, but even the latest Rasmussen poll shows Obama ahead of Romney by 2 points. You have to wonder what the hell people are thinking.

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