Should We Believe Gallup's Poll?

Nate Silver skeptical Romney is leading, though conservatives scoff
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2012 10:46 AM CDT
Should We Believe Gallup's Poll?
In this Oct. 3 file photo, Mitt Romney and President Obama wave to the audience during the first presidential debate.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

The latest Gallup poll suggests that Mitt Romney is still riding the wave from the first debate with a full 7-point lead nationally. Be skeptical, writes poll guru Nate Silver at the New York Times. Almost all other polls have the race roughly even or with Obama ahead. Silver offers a lengthy analysis, arguing that Gallup has a bad track record in similar instances over recent election cycles. Bottom line: "It's much more likely that Gallup is wrong and everyone else is right than the other way around."

Ezra Klein at the Washington Post also sounds doubtful. He thinks Gallup's method of surveying likely voters, rather than registered voters, sounds like "a model that would tend to overstate the effects of major events that favored one candidate or the other, as their supporters would grow temporarily more enthusiastic and attentive, while the other side would grow temporarily disillusioned." Conservatives, though, are livid that Romney isn't getting credit for the poll and are going after Silver in particular given his status as a numbers whiz. "Anyone's who's pegging Obama at a 64.8 percent chance of winning the Electoral College at this point's obviously running a couple of quarts low already," writes Donald Douglas at the American Power blog. (Read more poll numbers stories.)

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