Conspicuous Lack of National Polls In Wake of Foley Scandal
by Chris Bowers, Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 02:44:20 PM EDT
Most important are the change coefficients. If Bush's approval, as measured by the Index, rose by one point from, say, from the 15th of the month to the end of the month, on average we can predict that one-third more pollsters were in on the action in the latter period. The Index had also risen by one point between the end of the previous month to the 15th of the current month, we can predict another one-third pollster.
Apparently when Bush's popularity is rising relatively quickly, more polls are taken. You can bet that if a big scandal had broken out last Friday that was harmful to Democratic chances in this election, that there would already be several congressional generic ballot polls completed and widely reported on. You can bet that those polls which were least favorable to Democrats would be the most widely reported on of all. You can bet that poll or polls would be worked into a national media narrative of how Democrats are plummeting in the upcoming elections, and Republicans are likely to retain control. We have seen this time and time again. We even saw it two weeks ago, as the Gallup poll of likely voter models showing a tied race received far more press than, say, the AP poll showing Democrats ahead 14 points among likely voters that came out at the same time. That was particularly amazing, since AP owns the nation's largest wire service and all. (click here and here to compare the ink received by the two polls).
By way of contrast, with a major scandal seriously cutting away at Republican chances in this election, we have seen all of one congressional ballot poll since last Friday. Usually in this campaign cycle, we have seen about three or four every week. This week, just one. In fact, the latest poll from NBC / Wall Street Journal, which was conducted entirely after the Foley scandal had broken, mysteriously did not even publish their usual question on Congress:What is your preference for the outcome of this year's congressional elections: a Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?" They have asked this question in all eleven polls they have taken since May of 2005. Why hasn't it been released along with their latest Bush job approval numbers? It could just be a matter of time, but it sems very strange to me that it did not come out with the initial release. Where are those numbers? Why have they been delayed? Were they even asked this time?
Last week, there were four generic ballot polls released to the public. The week before that, there were three. Before that, there were five. However, this week, in the middle of a huge election season scandal that is dominating the news and involves the Republican leadership of the House, we only have one. Where are the polls to help feed the media narrative now? A two day poll could have started on Monday, four days into the scandal, and been released by now. A three day poll could have started on Sunday, three days into the scandal, and been released by now. Only CNN has done that so far. Every other news organization remains silent with their pollsters.
Maybe these polls are in the field, and there will be a big wave of them tomorrow. Or, maybe, there will be a big wave of them on Friday and Saturday, outside of the main times when people read the news. Or, maybe, these polls are not in the field. This is particularly frustrating--don't people want to know how this scandal is affecting Republicans in the upcoming elections? You can bet good money that if the scandal had gone in the other direction, there would already be multiple polls out and released by now.
If they have not done so already, news organizations that regularly commission political polls need to get on the phone and commission one right now. Otherwise, they are simply not giving Democrats equal time, or a fair shake when it comes to building a broader narrative. I would like to be proven wrong about this tomorrow, and hopefully I will be. However, I am not holding my breath.
Update: MyDD diarist InigoMontoya reports that an AP-Ipsos poll is currently in the field. Good.