Mathis: Republicans are grasping at straws to explain Mitt Romney's shortcomings
Are polls perfect? Nope. Are they biased? Not usually, no.
But they’re not telling Republicans what they want to hear. (Or at least, they weren’t before Mitt Romney’s apparent debate victory over the president Wednesday night.) So rather than face that reality — and adjust accordingly — the GOP and its surrogates have come up with their own reality. Again.
If Romney’s candidacy is doing badly, it’s because of a media conspiracy. Or a polling conspiracy. Or because 47 percent of voters want so badly to get welfare checks instead of standing on their own two feet. Or because — as conservative columnist George Will explained to his readers this week — American voters are so politically correct that they just don’t have the heart to fire a black man.
These explanations all share one thing in common: They spare Republicans the hard task of taking a look at themselves and their party.
If polls are biased, then Republicans don’t have to contemplate whether they made a mistake of nominating a charisma-free business leader with an embarrassingly long history of flip-flops.
If polls are biased, then Republicans don’t have to consider whether their platform is the right one to appeal to a majority of American voters.
The GOP, it seems, can never fail. It can only be failed.
In a few weeks, Americans will vote. We’ll have a much better idea then just how accurate all the polling has been.
But if Obama wins — and super-accurate polling guru Nate Silver gives him an 81 percent chance of victory as of this writing — you have to wonder: Will Republicans accept the facts even then? Or will they blame a Romney loss on voter bias?
Joel Mathis is a writer in Philadelphia.