Big Shift In Generic Polls

If you’ve been to my blog in the past, you know that I’m not a huge fan of the polls. I think they tend to be skewed to the left, in that they oversample Democrats and they ask misleading questions or questions designed to prompt a certain answer. In other words, they can be rigged to show what the person doing the poll wants it to show. So take what I’m about to write with a grain of salt.

AJ Strata is pointing out that the lastest Washington Post/ABC News poll has shown a huge shift towards Republicans:

What happened to the increasing generic ballot lead of the dems? I have seen numbers ranging from 11-15% for the Dems. But now comes out a Washington Post/ABC News poll showing only a 6% lead for the dems! It was 14% in the last poll. I would take that as a big turn for the Reps here in the last weekend of this election.

The poll is here.

There are a few things of interest in the poll, but nothing that I would say really is an “a-HA!!!” in regards to possible election results.

First, among Registered Voters, Dems have a 53-43 lead. However, when you factor in Likely Voters, it becomes 51-45…Republicans make a 2 percent point gain. Why is that important? It means that people who might go vote or who are thinking about it could make all the difference in the world here, as they are (again, if the poll is to be trusted) leaning towards Republicans. If such a small sample yields an increase of 2%, it could balloon further using larger numbers. That’s not a given, no…but it’s a possibility.

Second, the issues that are important to voters have seen some changes. Iraq is at 31%, up from 27%; the Economy is at 21%, up from 19%; Healthcare and immigration have each dropped 1%, with terrorism and ethics in govt. also seeing a decline. What does this mean? Well, it’s good that the economy is becoming more of an issue, because Republicans can easily win on that. Iraq is another story, as it depends on what the breakdown is on it (that is, whether they support or oppose it).

The number of registered voters who think the country is on the right track has increased, too, up to 39% from only 32% a few weeks ago. I know, that’s not a huge increase, but it is an increase (and given how polls are usually skewed, as I said, it could mean more than we think it means).

Congressional approval is also up 5% which, again, could mean a lot more than we realize. Most importantly, voters think that their own individual Representative is doing a good job (56%). That’s HUGE, as it means that this will be, as it always is, a local election, and that Republicans stand to maintain their majority because we have more incumbents on the ballot.

Another positive sign, the old question of “who do you trust more..?” sees the Democrats knocked down to even levels with Republicans, both tied at 42%, which is a 6% drop for Dems and a 2% gain for Republicans (although, those who answered “neither” went up to 11%).

I could go on, but it’s quite a lengthy poll. But as I said, they can be skewed, so it’s not the end-all, be-all of polls. And I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: in the past, the media used to publish the sample data; that is, what parties the people polled belonged to. Since the blogosphere has begun pointing out the continuous oversampling of Democrats, they are no longer publishing this information, so it’s quite possible this poll is even more favorable to Republicans than what it shows. In fact, I’d count on it.

That’s why I’m not one of these “doom and gloom” people who think we’re going to lose on Tuesday. Yeah, we’re going to lose a few seats, but I don’t think the Dems are going to take control, and it sure as heck isn’t going to be a “mandate” or any kind of a landslide. If Republicans can motivate the base and do what they do best, turn out the voters, then we’re going to win this.

(Hat tip to Jay for the link.)

[Note: I edited this post for clarity and a couple of typos.]

Brian runs the website Iowa Voice, and is filling in for ST for a few days.

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