By Bob Cesca: Last week, when the conservative British commentator Stuart Varney said on Fox News Channel that every poll, including the Fox News poll presumably, doesn’t “feel right” and dismissed the “mathematical gobbledegook” used to ascertain the respective results, it all made sense to me.
Conservatives are liars. To themselves more than anyone else.
The conservative self-deception has fooled many of them into believing the president is less popular than he is, that Mitt Romney is more electable than he is, and that the economy is worse than it really is. Rewind through the last four years and recall the syllabus of non-reality-based attacks on the president. He’ll destroy the nation. He’s a secret Muslim. He’s lazy and shiftless. He’s a socialist. He’s a Nazi. He’s somehow a Nazi-communist-socialist. He’s the only politician who uses Teleprompters. He’s solely responsible for the national debt, which somehow didn’t exist prior to January 20, 2009. He’s pushed “failed economic policies” “down the throats” of the American people. He’s responsible for the biggest tax increase in the universe. He gutted welfare reform. He stole from Medicare. He’s an unpopular, idiot “man-child” lightweight failure who’s apologizing for America and bribing poor black people with free Obama Phones.
None of that is true, except to conservatives who, above race and every other nearsighted justification for their anti-Obama apoplexy, are simply terrified that center-left policies might actually work.
Consequently, when they see contrary poll numbers showing that voters aren’t in lockstep with their epistemic bubble — their breathless, outraged fantasies about the president and the economy — the polls have to be skewed, otherwise everyone would agree with their hilariously fictitious boardwalk caricatures of the president and the national situation. The polls, all except Rasmussen, have blasted a gaping hole in the conservative anti-Obama bubble and it’s utterly confusing and frightening them. The bubble is rapidly decompressing and so they’re frantically plugging the breach with Unskewed Polls, a website founded by a Virginia Republican who clearly doesn’t understand a damn thing about polling.
Unskewed founder Dean Chambers is the Bizarro Nate Silver. Whereas Silver is a mathematical and statistical savant who’s a half man, half slide-rule chimera — a skinny New Yorker who’s devised astonishingly accurate forecasting models for both sports and politics, and who exhaustively explains his work on a daily basis aboard his FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times. And then there’s Chambers, a portly Southern amateur who thinks he’s uncovered a widespread polling scam when, in fact, he’s merely stripped out any and all accuracy or calculated methodology and just, you know, made stuff up to confirm his political bias, boost his internet traffic and win the adulation of terrified, flailing conservatives scrambling for electoral life preservers as the Romney-Ryan campaign ship rapidly takes on water.
Unskewed Polls appears to display the results of the major pollsters, but Chambers has recalculated the numbers based on his ridiculously defective home-brewed Republican/Democratic split. Naturally, the split is heavily favorable to the Republicans, so the results are vastly different with Romney leading handily in every poll. Put another way, imagine being diagnosed with a deadly illness and, instead of listening to the diagnosis, just grabbing the doctor’s chart out of his or her hands and randomly scribbling your own diagnosis, “Not sick! Blah-blah-blah! Cured! Weeeee!” That’s what Unskewed Polls is doing.
But since when did intra-conservative debunking or “mathematical gobbledegook” stop the Republican base from totally flying off the rails with an insane conspiracy theory to justify its wildly skewed view of the rest of the known universe?
I can only imagine what’s next in the post-truth discourse.
It occurred to me that perhaps conservatives will embrace Unskewed Election Results. If the president wins this thing, the Republicans will absolutely lose their collective shpadoinkle — more so than ever before. How could this have happened?! He’s the most unpopular president ever?! The economy!! Teleprompters!!!
So Dean Chambers will create a website, or a vertical on his existing site, that will “unskew” the election results to show Mitt Romney winning the election.
Perhaps he’ll use exit polling data to ascertain how many Republicans or Independents voted for Obama and give those votes to Romney. After all, how could Republicans possibly vote for President Obama? He could also come up with some sort of equation that will show the percentage of voters who were either illegal immigrants, college students, Black Panthers or “Obama Phone” recipients and strike those votes from the total. Or, most likely, he’ll simply take his Unskewed Poll margins and apply them to the election results. Whatever results he comes up with, it’ll surely be the nonsensical, ludicrous work of a polling dilettante. However, his conclusions will help to fabricate an alternate reality election in which Mitt Romney won.
They say insane people don’t realize they’re insane. They believe they’re perfectly normal and everyone else is insane. The ultimate irony is that no one is more politically skewed right now than the Republican base and yet they’re attempting to unskew everyone and everything else.