Gallup judges Ryan with methodology it disparaged in '08

"Reaction to Ryan as VP Pick Among Least Positive Historically," reads the headline from Gallup. It is already being regurgitated by the Obama propaganda machine, aka the MSM, as proof that Mitt Romney made a poor choice of running mates.

Gallup claims:

Four in 10 Americans rate Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate as either "excellent" or "pretty good," while 42% call the choice "only fair" or "poor." This even division is among the least positive reactions to a vice presidential choice Gallup has recorded in recent elections.

Even in lumping these four categories into two, Gallup is doing Ryan and Republicans a dis-service. It could also be said that 63% rated the Ryan selection as either  "fair," pretty good," or "excellent." Gallup chose the more negative interpretation.

And Gallup compiled those results using methodology that it disparaged during the 2008 election. Gallup based the Ryan survey on a sample group of all the adults (about 1,000) they surveyed.

Four years ago, however, Gallup said this of the national adults figure they used to report the Ryan pick:

(W)e almost never report this figure. It's unrealistic to do so because we know that a percentage of these national adults not only won't vote, but can't vote -- because they are not U.S. citizens or are not registered to vote in their local areas.

So we narrow down the national adult sample to registered voters. This is the group who in response to a standard poll question say they are "registered to vote in their precinct or election district." This is the group whose data we report most often, because it represents an estimate of Americans who in theory are eligible to vote and could vote if they want to.

Gallup went on to explain that polls of likely voters are more reliable than surveys of even of registered voters, and that polls of likely voters usually favor the Republican candidate. (Again this was written in 2008.)

"Comparing across national adults, registered voters, and likely voters, one can see that at this point, shortly after the Republican National Convention, the more we winnow the sample down to voters with the highest likelihood of voting, the better McCain does. This is not unusual. The Republican candidate often benefits from a turnout advantage."

Indeed, the Gallup report shows that the polls of every other VP pick they've compared the Ryan selection to, going back to 1988, were of registered voters, not the almost whimsical-and probably least-friendly-to-Republicans-national adults numbers they dismissed as "unrealistic" just four years ago.

So, in addition to comparing apples to oranges in the Ryan survey, Gallup is comparing apples to what it said in 2008 were rotten oranges.

-William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author