What John McLaughlin is saying about pollsters, weights, and voter suppression

John McLaughlin is a Republican pollster and source for Jim Geraghty of National Review. Geraghty asked McLaughlin about undecided voters, and got some discussion on general polling in the bargain. Of particular interest was this comment (Campaign Spot):

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. Some polls have included sizable segments of voters who say they are “not enthusiastic” to vote or non voters to dilute Republicans. Major pollsters have samples with Republican affiliation in the 20 to 30 percent range, at such low levels not seen since the 1960s in states like Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and which then place Obama ahead. The intended effect is to suppress Republican turnout through media polling bias. We’ll see a lot more of this. Then there’s the debate between calling off a random digit dial of phone exchanges vs a known sample of actual registered voters. Most polls favoring Obama are random and not off the actual voter list. That’s too expensive” for some pollsters.

Read that again: “Major pollsters have samples with Republican affiliation in the 20 to 30 percent range, at such low levels not seen since the 1960s in states like Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and which then place Obama ahead. The intended effect is to suppress Republican turnout through media polling bias. We’ll see a lot more of this.”

Buckle your seat belts, folks; it’s bound to be a bumpy ride.

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