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Forget Polls, Romney Backers Say, 'He'll Win'

Many Republicans dismiss the large lead some polls say the president has going into the first debate.

Add polling data to the growing list of things Republicans and Democrats don’t see eye to eye on.

With Barack Obama, by the reckoning of most polls, surging ahead of challenger Mitt Romney in recent weeks, many prominent Republicans have begun questioning the methodology, and the motives, of the pollsters. The skepticism has trickled down to the local level.

At Romney’s Sept. 28 rally at Valley Forge Military Academy—a state where he faces, according to election forecaster Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com, an 8.6 point deficit and has just a three percent chance of winning—each of the attendees Patch spoke with expressed the view that recent polling data isn't an accurate reflection of the state of the race.

Poll Dance

Sharon Kanze is among the dubious. The problem, to her mind, is this: it’s a broadly accepted political truism that voters are more likely to support candidates who they perceive as doing well. So left-leaning pollsters, aided by members of the media with sympathetic views, have gamed the system to give the president a reelection nudge.

“That’s why I think they’re being manipulated in that direction,” the Romney supporter explained from her spot in line outside the academy. “The press is just so pro-Obama.”

Polly Beckham, a Romney volunteer out of Ambler, doesn’t have quite as fully-formed views as Kanze’s about the hows and whys of the polling problem, but she shares her sense that there’s a growing disconnect between how the race is being reported and the actual facts on the ground.

“I work in the Conshohocken Ryan/Romney office, and I talk to people. I’ve had people on the line who have said, for instance, a Democratic leader in Aliquippa, said ‘I’m so sick of this environment, I’m voting Republican.’”

She added, “There’s a lot going on below the surface. I think we’re about even in Pennsylvania.”

Brian Peppel, the head of the Phoenixville Republican Committee and a key player in Romney’s Chester County campaign, said, polls aside, there are other important indicators that auger well for his candidate.

Because TV ads are prohibitively expensive in Pennsylvania, both campaigns have focused on the “ground game”—old-fashioned, get out the vote efforts—and in that area the Romney team, Peppel says, is well ahead of the competition.

“The voter contacts we’ve made in Chester County have surpassed the last two elections already. And we’re leading the nation in voter contacts and get out the vote efforts,” he said.

“Pennsylvania is in play, despite what people are saying.”

Bad Intentions or Just Bad Technique?

Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-6), who spoke at the rally, told Patch he thinks the polls are off, but attributed their shortcomings more to bad methodology than ideology.

“[Pollsters] are using the wrong turnout model in their polling. If you’re using the 2008 turnout models, you’re using the wrong models, because Republicans have more voter intensity right now than Democrats. That’s the opposite of what it was four years ago,” said the congressman who is, by measure of the very polls he criticized, a heavy favorite to return to Washington for his sixth term.

Gerlach also threw cold water on the notion that the impression of a lead in a campaign necessarily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“I’ve been in this before, it cuts both ways,” he said. “It might depress your turnout.”

Edward Kochman, a Romney supporter who has residences in King of Prussia and Florida—“Two swing states,” he noted—is similarly optimistic.

“I’m very glad that the pollsters are saying Obama has a lead,” he laughed. “I hope the Democrats will stay home hoping he doesn’t need their help again.”

Marc Lombardi October 02, 2012 at 06:46 PM
The government is against them. The unions are against them. The liberal media is against them. The pollsters are against them. Is there anyone that the the right-wing conspiracy lovers DON'T think is against them?
Justsaying October 03, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Apparently Mitt Romney is now less popular than… George W. Bush. That’s according to a new Bloomberg News poll, which finds that former President Bush has 46 percent favorable ratings and 49 percent unfavorable ratings among adults. By contrast, the current GOP presidential candidate Romney has a favorability rating of 43 percent and unfavorable ratings at 50 percent. President Barack Obama came in with higher favorability than both Republicans, racking up 52 favorable ratings and 44 percent unfavorables. Romney did, however, beat out Vice President Joe Biden‘s 42 percent net favorable ratings. The poll’s most favorable leader found was former President Bill Clinton, who polled at 64 percent favorable and 29 percent unfavorable. Coming in second was First Lady Michelle Obama, with 63 favorable and 29 unfavorable.
Colter95 November 03, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Yes, Marc. A majority of the PA voters, who vote on facts, not ideology. I saw Obama yesterday claiming the new job numbers are proof that his policies are working and that we are in an economic recovery. Fact is, that is not the truth, or even close to the truth. First, the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% and the year-to-date monthly average of 157,000 payroll jobs is barely enough to keep up with population growth -- much less make up for the 8 million jobs lost during the Great Recession. Second, the so-called real unemployment rate (U6) remains elevated at 14.6%, albeit down from 14.7% the prior month. Similarly, the labor participation rate is at 63.8%, up from its multi-decade low but still incredibly weak. Third, average hourly earnings fell a penny in October and average hours worked fell to 34.4 from 34.5 in September. Stagnant wages means "we're not generating income," Reinhart says. "That's a problem in terms of the durability of an economic expansion, which is usually fueled by consumption. To get consumption you've got to generate income." Also, just look at your checkbook. We are paying a lot more for everything now than we did in 2008. The price of gas has doubled. At the same time, wages have gone down, and that's if you're lucky to have a job. In 2008, 25 banks went out of business. In 2012, 48 banks have gone out of business. Almost double the amount. Does that sound like recovery to you? Don't believe the Obama lies!! Romney/Ryan 2012
Colter95 November 03, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Please don't let Obama sweep Benghazi under the rug... Lets not forget those four who were left to be slaughtered in Benghazi... Every voter needs to read this excellent article... Very well worth your time... http://spectator.org/archives/2012/11/01/benghazi-obamas-core-deceit/ These are pretty good as well: http://www.gazette.com/opinion/romney-146793-obama-benghazi.html http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/benghazigate-obamas-many-lies-about-libya/ http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/50657 http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2012/10/25/CBS-Busts-Obama--and-Itself-Hidden-60-Minutes-Clip-Proves-White-House-Lied-About-Benghazi Romney/Ryan 2012
Colter95 November 05, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Obama is wrong on the economy, wrong on Benghazi, and wrong on the auto bailout. The time for real change is NOW!! Cut, paste, read, and forward!! http://www.policymic.com/articles/14285/obama-lies-obama-auto-bailout-did-not-rescue-detroit http://www.factcheck.org/2012/06/obamas-outsourcer-overreach/ http://twitchy.com/2012/10/23/obama-lies-about-romneys-position-on-auto-bailouts-conservatives-hit-back/ http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jack-coleman/2012/10/26/letterman-slams-obama-auto-bailout-lie-followed-maddow-parroting-same- Romney/Ryan 2012

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