John Dickerson on Gallup poll: Be skeptical


CBS News Political Director John Dickerson said on "CBS This Morning" Friday that the Gallup daily tracking poll that shows Mitt Romney with a seven-point leadin the presidential race is an outlier and that, as with all polls, Americans should view it with skepticism.

"If you're Mitt Romney, you love that number, it means something is moving in your direction," Dickerson told Norah O'Donnell. He then noted, however, that there is a lot of debate over the survey, specifically over "whether it lags behind where the debate really is."

"After the first debate, which everybody scored as a clear, resounding victory for Mitt Romney, the Gallup daily track still had it up for the president, so - there are also other criticisms of the way it looks at likely voters, and it's a bit of an outlier from some other polls," he said. "So if you're Mitt Romney you like it, but we should, with all polls, be really really skeptical."

Gallup's Frank Newport told the Washington Post that his likely voter model takes into account changes in voter enthusiasm, which he acknowledged would make it "very sensitive" to changes in enthusiasm such as the one that followed the first debate. In the 2008 cycle, the Gallup poll at one point swung 26 points in a month and a half

The Real Clear Politics polling average, which includes Gallup, currently shows Romney with a one point lead nationally.

On "CBS This Morning," Dickerson noted that swing state polls show that Romney is doing better in the battleground states, "but in some places better than others."

"In Florida and Colorado, those are the two big ones," he said. "In North Carolina, some people in both parties basically think that's done, that it's gone to Romney." He noted that while polls earlier this week showed Romney gaining ground in Wisconsin, a new survey shows President Obama leading there by six points.

Dickerson also discussed the political impact of the Libya terror attack ahead of Monday's foreign policy debate. He said the Romney camp is currently not pushing Libya in part because "they think the better issue for them is on the economy" and in part because of the notion that Romney lost the exchange over Libya in the second presidential debate.

During Monday's debate, Dickerson said, Romney needs to look presidential on a range of issues. The president, he said, needs to make the case that Romney is "playing politics with foreign policy" while showing he is still in command.