Don’t believe the conspiracy theories about presidential polls
being manipulated by the mainstream media to make it appear President Obama has
a bigger lead than he has in reality. After all, those claims would have to
include polling by Fox News and the Wall Street Journal in this so-called liberal media
It’s also important to note that the media, especially
the TV networks, typically want a close race. They want to tease and titillate
their viewers from now through Nov. 6. Normally, they especially don’t want voters
to think the contest is over before the broadcast and cable networks can pack
in many millions of viewers for the upcoming debates.
The networks don’t necessarily lean left or right. They bend over
backwards to rack up ratings, which means more revenues.
However, the news coverage of the polls seems to fly in
the face of past practices. The networks, and to a lesser extent the top
newspapers, are banging away at a narrative that says the Romney campaign is
in a “tailspin” and the polls are becoming a huge perception problem.
Yet, those types of broad generalizations don’t fit the
Here’s a news bulletin: In seven of the nine battleground
states, Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney is within the pollsters’ margin of error.
That’s according to the averages of all polls taken which
is compiled by RealClearPolitics.
RCP has Obama with an average lead of less than 4 percent
in Florida, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire, Nevada, Colorado and North Carolina.
Those are toss-ups, statistical ties, not Obama leads. Those are the kinds of
races that are decided by 11th-hour political developments and
turnout on Election Day, not by polls taken in late September or debates that are
The media knows all of that. But they choose to focus on
stories that say Obama is “winning” in all the battleground states.
It is true that the president’s 7.8-point average lead in
Wisconsin shows that Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate has not
had the hoped-for impact for the GOP in the congressman’s home state.
What’s more, RCP averages that show the Republican
nominee trailing the incumbent by 5.6 points in Ohio must be causing quite a
bit of anxiety within the Romney camp. (As we’re always reminded every four
years, no Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio.)
But there is no tailspin. There is no mounting, dominant
lead established by the president.
What you have is essentially an unpredictable finish. Sounds exciting. You
would think the media would leave it at that.