Election Notes

Federal Agencies Holding Back Flood

Several times in recent months federal agencies, especially the EPA, have announced delays in proposed regulations.  It would be hard not to suspect there were political motivations in doing so.  Needing all the votes they could get, it behooved agencies not to further enrage groups like producers of energy, food and electricity or the workers who create those things.

But talk show host Mark Levin has really put a point on it.  Back in August, his Landmark Legal Foundation filed suit to try to force the EPA to reveal just how big a tidal wave of regulations it was holding back until after the election.  It also asked for expedited treatment of the request because of the short time frame until an election on which the information could have a bearing.

To no one’s shock, the EPA has not responded with information.  Part of Levin’s contention is that the EPA has habitually ignored Constitutional limitations and exceeded its authority.  Later filings noted that in a related case, EPA was held in contempt for violating a court order, erasing computer hard drives and backup tapes that could have contained related information.

At the recent North American Meat Association convention, Washington political observers indicated other federal agencies, including USDA and FDA, appeared to be pulling the same trick.  A whole raft of federal regulations is expected right after the election if the president is reelected.  But a veritable deluge would come if the president is defeated and it could be expected agency power could be reined in.

Barone Provides Perspective on Polls

Michael Barone, the election expert even Karl Rove willingly plays second fiddle to, provided some interesting commentary on the poll data we’re seeing in this election cycle.

Amid new polls by National Public Radio and CBS/N.Y. Times both indicating Mitt Romney has a 12-point lead over President Obama among independent voters, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked Barone why this kind of data doesn’t seem to be reflected in swing state polls(11/01/12).

Barone explained that pollsters are struggling to adapt to new conditions.  They are operating under polling theory developed when Americans had a land line phone and answered it when it rang.  Now, government statistics show one-third of households are cell-phone only households, with a major effect on polling normally conducted primarily on the telephone.

Barone suspects pollsters are operating with a “loose screen” when qualifying voters.  That means when asking registered voters screening questions designed to find out whether they were likely voters — the subset which is a more accurate indicator group of election results — Barone thinks the questions are designed to make sure too many don’t get screened out.  The need for total survey numbers to validate polls is too urgent to turn many potential respondents away.  But the accuracy of the results may suffer from less stringent screening.

Barone also noted absentee requests and absentee votes by party have drastically shifted in Ohio, for example, as one of the indicators political observers are using to read shifting conditions.  He also said virtually all data has shown the enthusiasm among Republican voters is significantly higher than Democrats this year.  He added that there also is no evidence that if President Obama were to win, he would win by the margin he enjoyed in 2008.

Published in: on November 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. We, too, are wondering if current polling techniques have kept apace of shifts in phone usage and the ways in which people politically affiliate themselves and respond to polling, and, like Mr. Barone, we suspect that there may be some unintended bias favoring Mr. Obama in some polling data. As to the EPA, we are opposed to the kinds of rollbacks on protections and enforcement experienced under Mr. Bush… and find it unfortunate that unless Mr. Obama is re-elected, said rollbacks appear to be a given. Clean water and air and respect for our “Crown Jewels” – our wonderful national parks – ought to be values we can agree on across the political isle. We had a strong economy and a strong EPA under Mr. Clinton. It is possible…

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