On polls

Rasmussen had a poll this weekend that got a bit of flurry in some circles. OMG, Ron Paul is as popular as Obama! go the blasts. And since Ron only got a tiny fraction of the vote in 2008, OBVIOUSLY Obama is doomed.

Great little lesson here. In simple, be careful when interpreting a poll that you’re not adding things that aren’t there.

See, what the question asks is not what Rasmussen then interprets it as being. (Yes, “some circles” includes the pollster. Way to lose professionalism.) It is basically an “incumbent or a Republican challenger” question.

Here’s the deal The poll asked four questions, one of which was “I\\ In thinking about the 2012 Presidential election suppose you had a choice between Republican Ron Paul and Democrat Barack Obama. If the election were held today, would you vote for Republican Ron Paul or Democrat Barack Obama?”

41% chose Paul, 42% chose Obama, and the rest were either “other candidate” or “Not sure.”

On the other hand Rasmussen’s been running a daily poll numbers for a long time. Care to guess what Obama’s numbers look like there? Unfair, to some extent, as the latter poll is Strong approval/disapproval, but if you get to the additional info you discover it’s pretty close to what Obama vs Paul got.

Places like RedState are crowing that this means Obama is doomed. No, sorry. It means that Democrats will vote for Obama over Paul, Republicans will vote for Paul over Obama, and the independents haven’t yet made up their minds.


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