Polling under fire once more

I had to chuckle when I read the story about Republican officials questioning the polls that show President Obama with a widening lead over GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

They say the polls are “skewed” in favor of the Democratic incumbent.

Why did I chuckle? Because if the polls had shown Romney leading, it would be Democrats howling about skewed results.

But RealClearPolitics.com is a website I check daily to track the status of the campaign. RCP does something few political sites do: It averages out all the major polls. As of this morning, the RCP poll average had Obama with a nearly 4 percent lead over Romney, which might be just outside the margin of error for all the polls taken into consideration. And those error margins vary widely as well, with some polls declaring a 2 percent margin and others citing as much as a 5 percent margin of error. A 5-point margin of error could produce as much as a 10-point swing, meaning that a 50-50 race could end up 55-45 percent for either candidate.

The RCP average of all those major polls has been trending in the president’s favor for several weeks, owing mostly to the string of Romney verbal mistakes and, I should add, obvious signs of improvement in the nation’s economy.

Let’s also stipulate that the RCP average does include several traditionally Republican-leaning pollsters. The Rasmussen poll – which is the in-house polling firm used by the right-leaning Fox News Channel – generally tilts significantly in Romney’s favor. Rasmussen’s results tend to tighten the overall average. Without Rasmussen, the president would enjoy an even larger lead.

So, here’s the question of the day: Why the silly Republican complaints about the polls?