Shortly before the 2006 midterms, Karl Rove, who was responsible for shaping the Republicans’ strategy for the year, talked to NPR about what to expect. Correspondent Robert Siegel noted polls showing Democrats in a strong position, but Rove was incredulous – he’d found a secret math gave him insights that mere mortals couldn’t comprehend, and this math told him Republicans would keep the House and Senate.
“You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I’m entitled to the math,” Rove said. When Siegel said he wasn’t sure if people are entitled to their own math, Rove snapped back, “I said the math.”
A week later, Democrats won control of the House and Senate.
The media is trying to create a sense of momentum and inevitability about the Obama candidacy. One benighted Newsweek reporter even speculated about a possible Democratic landslide.
On Friday, I saw the real numbers. These state-by-state polls, taken by an organization I trust (after 40 years of polling), show the real story. The tally is based on more than 600 likely-voter interviews in each swing state within the past eight days.
The trend line is distinctly pro-Romney.
So, to recap, political observers of every stripe have seen the poll numbers, but Dick Morris has seen the real numbers. Who conducted these secret polls? Morris wouldn’t say. Why are the secret polls more reliable than the published polls? Morris wouldn’t say. Who paid for the secret polls and wrote the questions? Morris wouldn’t say.
But rest assured, based on Dick Morris’ sterling reputation and unimpeachable credibility, he’s seen the data and Romney’s in great shape. Oh, and he’s confident about Republican control of Congress, too.
To be sure, the 2012 elections remain very hard to predict, and the possibility of Republican control of the White House and Congress next year is quite real. But when strange media personalities claim to have access to secret, reliable polls, which we can’t see but should nevertheless supersede the available data from independent outlets, I recommend caution.