News & Politics

6 Conservatives Desperately Trying to Convince Themselves the Polls Are Wrong

These “poll sample truthers” are falling over each other to convince themselves and us that the numbers favoring an Obama win are lying.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney waves as he makes his way off the stage at a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio.


With six weeks until Election Day, newpolling from Quinnipiac, the New York Times and CBS News shows President Obama leading in crucial swing states including Ohio, Florida and Iowa. As Obama’s lead grows, so does the number of conservatives who claim polls in general are biased and cannot be trusted. Similar to their dismissal offact-checkers who flagged lies in Romney’s ads and Paul Ryan’s convention speech, conservatives are now claiming the media outlets that conduct the polls are attempting to discourage Republicans from voting by falsely tipping the polls toward Democrats.

Helping this narrative along is a new website, Unskewed Polls, which claims, after liberal media bias is removed, Romney is in fact beating Obama by a wide margin in every poll. Business Insider unpacked how the website is manipulating data to come up with a Romney victory.

Nicknamed “poll sample truthers” by Dave Weigel, the skeptics are falling over each other to explain how the numbers are lying:

Erick Erickson
Erickson, Editor-in-Chief of and CNN political contributor, accuses the media of a “confirmation bias” that makes them conform their data to what they want: “The polls are confirming what the press thinks and that they have a larger than 2008 Democratic turnout is of no consequence to them.”

John McLaughlin
The Republican pollster explains the poll conspiracy: “The Democrats want to convince [these anti-Obama voters] falsely that Romney will lose to discourage them from voting. So they lobby the pollsters to weight their surveys to emulate the 2008 Democrat-heavy models. They are lobbying them now to affect early voting. IVR [Interactive Voice Response] polls are heavily weighted. You can weight to whatever result you want.”

Hugh Hewitt
Radio host Hugh Hewitt thinks the CBS/Quinnipiac/NYT poll is “junk”, choosing instead to focus on Rasmussen and Gallup’s daily polls, which have Obama leading by a smaller margin. These polls, he says, amounts to “lots of evidence this morning that their campaign is in terrific shape.”

Dick Morris
Tea Party icon Dick Morris insists if the election were held today Romney would win by “4 or 5 points,” carrying Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania — leading Sean Hannity to exclaim, “Oh, come on!” Morris later declares, “The polling this year is the worst it’s ever been.”
Watch it:

Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) 
Mack’s Senate campaign manager dismissed polls finding him behind in the Florida race, saying, “A variety of polls commissioned by the media have attempted to paint the Florida Senate race in a light that is simply not accurate.”

Bret Baier/Fox News
Bret Baier hosts a segment warning how “the fine print” of polls could skew data because of oversampling, which Business Insider attributes to higher voter registration among Democrats.

The Romney campaign is also insisting the data showing they are losing is inaccurate. One adviser scoffed, “Public polls are what public polls are,” and claimed they had an internal poll that put the race much closer.

Aviva Shen is Associate Editor of ThinkProgress. Before joining CAP, Aviva interned and wrote for Smithsonian Magazine, Salon, and New York Magazine. She also worked for the Slate Political Gabfest, a weekly politics podcast from Slate Magazine.

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