GOP polling denial: Since returning from that federal bunker this Tuesday night, we have had our time grabbed away by a bit of a banking calamity.
For that reason, we haven’t been posting at normal volume. And we haven’t followed up on Wednesday’s post about Rachel Maddow and Elizabeth Warren.
See THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/26/12. But first, let’s consider Kevin Drum’s post about GOP polling denial.
As Obama seems to gain in the polls, a conservative blogger named Dean Chambers has started saying the network polls are fixed. Drum says that idea is nuts—and he says a bit more:
DRUM (9/28/12): Chambers doesn't even pretend that his approach has any rigor. He adopted it, he told BuzzFeed, after seeing a poll that "just didn't look right." After a closer look, he decided that none of the others looked right either. And what does he think accounts for this widespread blundering among the nation's pollsters? Not simple incompetence, Chambers says. It's all quite deliberate. "Any poll that says NBC, CBS, or ABC is going to be skewed and invested in trying to get this President re-elected," he explained.We agree that Silver is a different cat from Chambers. Having said that, we think there’s an air of liberal triumphalism here that ought to be handled with care.
This is, to put it bluntly, nuts. And it suggests a fundamental difference between left and right, one that Chris Mooney wrote about earlier this year in The Republican Brain. Neither side has a monopoly on sloppy number crunching or wishful thinking, but liberals, faced with a reality they didn't like, ended up accepting reality and deciding to learn more about it. That's the Nate Silver approach. Conservatives, faced with a reality they didn't like, invented a conspiracy theory to explain it and then produced an alternate reality more to their liking. It's a crude and transparently glib reality, but that's apparently what the true believers want.
We read Mooney’s book about six months back—and we were surprised by what we found. We were struck by the amount of “motivated reasoning” which seemed to drive his insistence that the other tribe is driven by “motivated reasoning.”
We thought it was a very weak book—a sloppy French kiss to us liberals, to our liberal vanity.
Silver’s a different cat from Chambers. But as the liberal world continues to grow, we liberals have shown a taste for the sorts of blinkered analyses which have been driving the pseudo-right since Rush took over the world.
For our money, Maddow’s reports about Warren this week were striking examples of that unfortunate liberal drift.
The true belief isn’t all “over there.” We still plan to review those reports when we get the time.