The Great Right Wing Freakout

The very old radio in my Subaru has basically two settings: the default and the backup. The default is 102.7 FM, the Peak, a modern rock station out of Vancouver that has a tolerable mix of old standards and new music. The backup is 790 KGMI AM, the local talk station that runs Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and local newstalker Dillon Honcoop.

The switch goes from the Peak to KGMI whenever the Peak a) has an extended commercial break or b) annoys me, so I get quite a bit of talk radio driving around Whatcom County.

Lately, I have been switching back pretty quick because conservatives are just freaking out over Mitt Romney’s poll numbers. They keep casting them as some sort of media-engineered Democratic plot to reelect Obama.

Look, polls are far from infallible (and exit polls are basically garbage), but they can tell us useful things about a race.

In this case, the polls are telling us that Obama is proving surprisingly resilient and that Romney is having a hard time making headway, and that certain important states electoral college-wise present a serious difficulty for the GOP.

These findings don’t necessarily mean that Obama will win or that Romney will lose. Rather, they give us an imperfect snapshot of where things stand right now. The radio talkers know this, so it’s weird that they are going so crazy about the poll numbers.

What could they possibly hope to accomplish by attacking pollsters? I’m no judge of what works for their audience, but wouldn’t it be better to simply mention the polls and then move on to talk about other things?

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