With the first Presidential debate just a few days away, heavy scrutiny is being directed at the polls and the organizations that conduct and report on them. Many have been critical of the methodology behind the way many of these polls have been conducted. Stu even wrote his latest blog post analyzing a recent Bloomberg poll whose questions painted seemed to favor Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. The mainstream media has not reacted well to the criticism, with the New York Times’s David Carr penning a response to the accusations and Fox News’s Chris Wallace getting very defensive during a radio interview.
“You’re going to have to do your own homework,” Glenn warned the audience. “Just do your own homework on the press. Be very, very, very careful. And I say this about left and right. I say this about libertarian and big government. I say this about me. You have to do your own homework. You have to know who you believe. But be very, very careful.”
“Don’t ever take somebody in the media, including mine, don’t ever take their word for it. I know I try to do my best. We do an awful lot of research. We get it wrong sometimes. We’ll correct it if we get it wrong. But it is still also my research and my opinion. You have to do your own.”
Glenn reminded listeners that recent polls showed only 8% of people trust the media, and there is a reason for that.
In response to the criticism’s, New York Times writer David Carr wrote:
In the last few days, conservatives have become agitated about Mitt Romney’s drop-off in the polls. So did they think the stumble was because of the ill-fated “47 percent” slip of the lip, or the hasty effort to gain a political edge after the death of an American ambassador in Libya, or more problematically, a campaign that can’t seem to stop pratfalling no matter what the news?
No, in their view, the mysterious drop can only be explained by the fact that the mainstream media have their collective liberal thumb on the scale, in terms of coverage and, more oddly, polling.
But the pushback goes beyond coverage. Now even the polls themselves are being impugned, with suggestions that they are skewed by left-leaning math. Various conservative bloggers and pundits have complained that a slew of polls showing gains by President Obama were guilty of “oversampling Democrats” and “confirmation bias.”
“Let me just say something. This criticism of the polls is craziness. I’ve done some research on this today, which is more than you’ve done. No self-respecting pollster in the country — including Fox, I might add — when they poll, they’re trying to find out things about people and to weigh it, they will weigh how many men, how many women, how many blacks, how many Hispanics, because that is immutable. But to ask someone what your political opinion is do you consider yourself a Republican or a Democrat, that changes all the time. So they don’t weight it to that. And the fact of the matter is, in 2010, when they asked what do you consider yourself, more people said they were Republicans. Now, more people are saying that they’re Democrats.”