The biggest victim of our post-truth 2012 political campaign has to be the field of statistics:
In the two new national polls, President Obama and Romney are now tied among all registered voters. In Gallup, this is change from a five-point Obama edge in the three days leading up to the Denver debate; for Pew, it is a shift from a nine-point advantage for Obama in mid-September.
So who moved in Romney’s direction?
Well, not political independents, for one. There was no meaningful change in their support for Obama or Romney in either poll.
All of the change in both polls came from the composition of each sample. In pre-debate interviews by Gallup, self-identified Democrats outnumbered Republicans by five percentage points, according to Gallup’s Jeff Jones. By contrast, in the three days following the debate, the balance shifted in a GOP direction, with 34 percent of registered voters identifying as Republicans (two points up from pre-debate), 33 percent as Democrats (four points down).
For Pew, a nine-point Democratic advantage in mid-September is now plus one percentage point for the GOP. (The turnabout in “likely voters” was even more dramatic, shifting from Democrats up 10 to Republicans up five.)
It’s all part of the GOP plan to erode public trust in anything, well, public.