Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, June 05, 2013


Seven months after Election Day, the Gallup folks have figured out how they missed Obama’s big win—-sort of. They have charts to explain about cell phones, land lines, time zones, what callers told them about their race and other high-tech stuff we civilians wouldn’t understand.

All this goes back to 1936 when a magazine Literary Digest, which had accurately forecast previous elections, predicted FDR would lose a reelection bid to Alf Landon, who ended up winning only Maine and Vermont in the most lopsided landslide ever. It turned out they had called up their own readers in days when poor people couldn’t afford magazine subscriptions and had no phones.

Gallup called it right with a smaller sampling and became a brand name.

The larger question here is about the picture of the world we are all getting, not only from pollsters but cable pundits, bloggers, tweeters and all the noisemaking apparatus that obscures a dwindling number of real journalists reporting hard facts in a real world.

Now polls picture the President as beleaguered by Benghazi, IRS scandals and other Issa noise, but is that what’s really going on?

Today’s sound bites show Michelle Obama being heckled by a Lesbian activist, which will generate tons of talk, but is anybody telling us what’s going on with the economy, the sequester and the President’s upcoming summit with the President of China?

In this hall of mirrors, where is reality? 

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