National tracking polls are silly and Romney probably isn’t leading Obama among women

The latest CBS News/New York Times poll is bullshit. (Sorry, Mom!) No, seriously it is. That’s the latest national poll of women voters which puts Romney ahead of President Obama by 3 points.

Excuse me while I go and laugh uncontrollably.

Confession: I’ve long thought national tracking polls for presidential races were totally stupid and pointless. Why do they exist? It’s not like we haven’t had an election where the person who won the popular vote lost the election. (Well, I guess technically that election was stolen, but you know what I mean.) Since we have the electoral college, the only polling that I pay attention to is state polls. Even more importantly, my focus is always on the battleground/swing state polls. Ya know, the ones that are yellow on Chuck Todd’s map on MSNBC. Those are the polls that really matter.

The reason why I don’t trust national polls–or believe they matter–is because they are over hyped by the media (big red flag!) and because, while they might help shape a narrative in said media, they don’t actually affect outcomes. While it’s true that President Obama has benefited in the so called “war on women”–and poll after poll shows a huge gender gap–national polls of women, just like national polls of both genders, are always prime for inconsistency. They go up and down all the time.

I’m not saying that Romney can’t be ahead of Obama in a poll; I’m saying that it is highly suspect that Romney is ahead of Obama in a poll of women. Any poll that says that given all that has happened in recent months is likely flawed. And it turns out that yes, this one is likely flawed. The Obama campaign certainly thinks the CBS News poll is “biased.” The same CBS poll last month was the only one that had the presidential race tied and instead of using a different sample of voters this time, the CBS pollsters used the same people for this month’s tracking numbers.

But, of course, because these national polls are for the media, the flawed poll isn’t explained away as an outlier. Instead, it’s used by conservatives like Rush Limbaugh to show that the “war on women” is made up and that women really do like Romney more than Obama–despite the fact that all of his policies would make our lives suck.

So quit it with these national polls folks. They’re dumbstupid.

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