The truth about 2012 polls

In the 2012 race for the White House President Obama is ahead, but the polls are misleading.

It seems that each new poll brings good news for Obama. He’s up six points nationally according to the latest Bloomberg numbers. Gallup’s weekly tracker has the president up six as well. And it looks like crucial swing states are going for Obama in a big way: the latest Quinnipiac poll gives Obama a nine point edge in Florida, a 10 point advantage in Ohio and a 12 point lead in Pennsylvania.

To be sure, Obama is ahead in this race. But by how much has become a serious point of contention and one that deserves further examination.

Republicans and Democrats alike have honed in on the fact that recent media polls are oversampling Democrats. Indeed, we have seen many polls that are heavily skewed. There was the Washington Post/ABC poll that had a +9 Democrat skew in late August. There was the Marquette poll for Wisconsin from two weeks ago with a D+8 sample. And the newest swing state poll from Quinnipiac gave Obama a spread between Democrats and Republicans that was even greater than the historic Democrat advantage in 2008, a seven point spread between voters identifying themselves as Democrats or Republicans at 39 percent to 32 percent, in each state they polled.



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