On Wednesday, Michael Barone said that a Democrat takeover of the House is the likelihood, but not a certainty. I don’t think those in the media, and even some of my friends on the right, are convinced that is the case. Quite a few seem convinced that a GOP defeat is certain and are now predicting just how many seats will be lost. It may be an old-fashioned concept, but I think it would be nice to let people vote first.
I realize that polls show Democrats with a decided edge, but the only polls that count are the ones taken on Election Day, and I am not talking about the exit polls that were so wrong in 2004. I am talking about the poll taken in the voting booth.
Those ready to throw in the towel based on opinion polls should remember that opinion polls do not always accurately predict what people will actually do at the polls on Election Day. A blogger at Ankle Biting Pundits did an analysis of the most recent New York Times poll and the stories reporting it and found that “the “news” stories provide no context about the poll demographics, nor do the polls accurately reflect who is actually going to show up on Election Day.” He found that “in the NYT poll, 23% of respondents aren’t even eligible to vote. And of those 77% that are registered, a full 37% didn’t vote in the last mid-term election, and an additional 13% don’t remember if they voted then.“ Over half of the respondents either did not vote or can’t remember voting in 2002!
If the polls do prove correct, though, I will see a Democrat win as a huge media victory and I am not ready to see the media rewarded for their lousy performance over the past year.
For the past year or more those in the media have heralded dire predictions about the fate of Republican candidates. Those stories of doom and gloom for the GOP were not just reports of what polls were showing, those stories played a role in shaping voter opinion. When news organizations run hundreds, if not thousands, of stories the year leading up to an election about how the winners and losers have already been decided, it affects public opinion. Voters begin to see certain candidates as the winners and others as the losers. Many voters do not cast their votes based on the issues, but rather on an overall impression of the candidate. If a candidate looks like a loser, that candidate is going to suffer in the polls.