Rove: 'Be careful' with polls; Carter once beat Reagan

Are the polls dishonest?


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 26, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY: Now for the "Top Story" tonight, let's bring in Fox News analyst Karl Rove who joins us tonight from Washington. All right, let's take Ohio and Florida first. Do you believe the polling today?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No, I don't and for a very good reason. Let's take Florida first. I got the white board for you. A little bit of context here. The biggest poll that we -- the most important thing about a poll is its partisan matrix the division between Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The biggest poll that we have to understand what the partisan matrix is about, are the exit polls.

In 2008, Florida had three points more Democrats than Republicans. In '04, it had four points less Democrats than Republicans. More Republicans than Democrats voted in '04. In '00, a two point advantage to the Democrats. The CBS "New York Times" poll has nine points more Democrats than Republicans. Do we really think the Democrat margin over Republicans in Florida is going to be three times what it was in 2008? That is to say the Democrats are that much more wired up? This time around than they were last time around?


O'REILLY: No that's not going to happen. So the next, wait. Let me answer.

ROVE: Yes.

O'REILLY: So the logical question is and the "New York Times" didn't hide that data. That data is out when you look at the poll. However, CBS News and I listen it at 8:00 a.m. on the radio every morning they didn't report that so the people wouldn't know it unless they went themselves to the poll.

But -- but that begs the question. Are these polls dishonest?

ROVE: No. Look, we endow them with a false scientific precision they simply don't have. If you've got nine points more Democrats than Republicans and you're nine points more --


O'REILLY: You you're going to have a poll that reflects that.

ROVE: -- yes, nine points more Obama. Think about this. Romney and Obama get each roughly the same percentage of Republicans and Democrats as -- as their opponent. That is to say they carry their -- their base overwhelmingly. Romney, among Independents is winning by three points.

So -- so if Romney is winning the Independents and winning the Republicans do you think in a battle ground state like Florida, he's nine points down and the answer is no.

Look, I've got to tell you, CBS, "New York Times" has a history of this. I remember in 1980 when I was the young executive director of Texans for Reagan/Bush, the first week of October a poll came out saying that Carter was beating Reagan in Texas.

And I can remember all the meetings I had to go to and have my posterior chewed by the leaders of the campaign about what the heck were we going to do about it? And of course Texas was comfortably won by 13 points basically four weeks, five weeks later. So you've got to be careful about these polls. It went down with false scientific precision we don't have.


O'REILLY: Ok but I don't have to be careful because I report honestly. But the rest of the media isn't going to be careful because they're rooting for Barack Obama.

ROVE: No, yes.

O'REILLY: And this props them up. In Ohio.

ROVE: No look -- Ohio.


ROVER: In `08, the Democrats had eight points more turnout than the Republicans did. And in '04 the Republicans had a five point turn out advantage. Democrats five -- five points less than the Republicans. In 2000, the Democrats had one point more in turnout than did the Republicans.

Now, CBS/"New York Times" has nine points more Democrats than Republicans. So they say Democrats are even more hipped (ph) up than they were in 2008 and the Republicans are less hipped (ph) up. Now who thinks that? It's not going to eight. It may not be that the Republicans outnumbered the Democrats by five points. But it is somewhere between those two it's not nine.

And again, Romney is winning the Independents and getting the -- getting great numbers among Republicans Obama getting great numbers among Democrats. And yet, Obama winning by 10 points in the CBS/"New York Times" poll.

Same in the "The Washington Post" poll up by seven, Democrats more than Republicans. And up by eight for Obama.

So look, we've got to be careful about, you know, we have a proliferation of these polls. There have been 87 national polls in the last 30 days. That's more polls than were run in the last six months of the 1980 presidential race.


O'REILLY: All right.

ROVE: Last week -- last week alone, we had 51 state level polls; and the week before that, 41.


O'REILLY: I understand that but -- but here -- here -- look, from my point of view as a news analyst and I believe that the folks know I'm honest in that regard, when news agencies like the CBS News on the radio report the polling and it shows that Barack Obama has leapt out to a big lead in Florida and Ohio, that gets inside people's minds. They remember that. And that can only help the President. That helps the President.

ROVE: Sure.

O'REILLY: Because the perception is he is going to be the winner.

ROVE: Right. And look this was not easy to dig out these numbers. They are not printed in the pages of the "New York Times." You have to go to the Web site and go into the -- the instrument that they fielded and dig the data out of there.

But look, it's not just -- let's not pick on CBS, "New York Times". "U.S.A. Today" has now run four battleground state polls of 11 states that were won by President Obama in 2008 and they are up for grabs this time around. The last poll I believe had President Obama 47, 45 in the battleground states.

And the headline was isn't this great? Well the no context was provided. President Obama won those 11 states by over 54 percent to 45 percent last time around.

O'REILLY: All right, real quick, real quick, your board, the Karl Rove board where is the race in Ohio and Florida in your opinion?

ROVE: Well, toss-up in both states.

O'REILLY: Toss-up? It could go either way at this point in history.

ROVE: Sure.

O'REILLY: All right, Mr. Rove. We appreciate that.

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