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Poll Dancing
Posted by: MichaelW on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

People are raising lots of questions about the accuracy of current polling in the Presidential race. Some are almost certainly doing so out of a sense of desperation, hoping against hope that McCain isn't as far behind as it seems. But then, some have legitimate concerns about the state of the polling process, and whether or not the numbers we hear every day have enough integrity to properly handicap the horserace.
The polls are wrong this year, very wrong. I have been saying this for months, and I have backed up my claim with both statistical and anecdotal support. The claims I have made have inspired some, caused others to laugh in derision, and brought others to test their assumptions and revisit the hard data. Along the way, there have been a lot of questions about how and why the polls could be wrong. The most common complaint, is that for all of the polls to be wrong, there would need to be some sort of conspiracy, or else an incredibly stupid decision made across the board. Well, I am not a big believer in conspiracies, but I do think that the polling groups have fallen into a groupthink condition.
DJ Drummond lays out a fairly comprehensive theory as to why polling this year is particularly unreliable, and it's not based on accusations of media bias as one might expect. Instead, he presents a logical case for why polling has become skewed, and raises some interesting issues that should cause one to question the accuracy of polling results. One point in particular that I found interesting is that, from a business standpoint, polling may often be used not to convey an accurate picture of the electorate's views, but instead to drive the current narrative being sold by the media.
That's where that whole "bounce" thing after the conventions comes from - do you really think republicans or independents got more excited about Obama because of his convention, or that democrats and independents were more likely to vote for McCain because of the GOP convention? When you think about it, it should be obvious that these bumps are artificial unless there is a clear cause to show a change in support. And when you take apart the polls and drill down to the raw data, what you find is a close race with a gradually declining but still large pool of undecided voters, which is consistent with the known facts and actions we see from both campaigns.
I've often wondered why there would be a "bounce" after a convention. Especially one that doesn't seem to last for more than a week. Could it be a self-fulfilling prophecy in that pollsters are simply finding what they expect to be there? I can't say for sure, but it does raise some interesting questions.

Even more interesting, however, is the last sentence in the quoted paragraph above. If the polling is accurate, then why are the campaigns behaving contrary to what those polls are telling the rest of us? Every news junkie knows that campaigns do their own internal polling, and that these are generally considered the most accurate. How different are they from what the media is reporting? One concrete example suggests "very" [HT: HotAir]:
Despite a double-digit deficit in polls, Sen. John McCain is throwing almost everything he can into Pennsylvania, seeking to flip soft supporters of his Democratic rival — many of whom favored Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primary, with some boldly acknowledging that race was a factor.

[...]

"He's 13 points behind in the state polls, Obama's outspending him 4-to-1, Obama has a huge field organization that he can't begin to touch, and the race hasn't tightened in a week. Did I miss anything?" said Terry Madonna, director of Pennsylvania's Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

[...]

One of [McCain's] senior advisers said recently that not all is lost in Pennsylvania.

"We're seeing very different poll numbers," the adviser said. "We're not seeing double digits; we think it's much closer."

An aide on the ground in the state, meanwhile, said internal polls show Mr. Obama's lead in the "mid- to low single digits."

Getty Images Young supporters cheer for Mr. McCain at the United Sports Training Center in Thorndale in southeastern Pennsylvania. The McCain campaign sees the state as a must-win in the election.

The Obama camp is cautiously optimistic.
Ed Rendell seems to agree with both McCain's internals and Obama's cautious optimism:
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has sent two separate memos to the Obama campaign in the past five days requesting that the Democratic Presidential candidate—as well as Hillary and Bill Clinton—return to campaign in Pennsylvania, Rendell told CNN's Gloria Borger.

Rendell said the McCain campaign is clearly making a push to win Pennsylvania, given the recent visits by the Arizona senator, his wife and his running mate. As a result, he wants Obama to appear in western Pennsylvania, Harrisburg and one more “large rally” in Philadelphia. Democrats generally worry that the race is significantly closer than what recent polls have suggested. According to Rendell, there is also worry among Democrats the McCain campaign has successfully raised the enthusiasm level among Republicans in the state.
In my book, when you want to know what someone really thinks or believes, pay attention to what they do, and not so much to what they say. When both campaigns are staking out a particular battleground, you can rest assured that, whatever the media polls are telling you, there is a real battle about to take place.

Of course, even if the polls are deviating significantly from the on-the-ground reality of this election (and consummate poll-watcher, Michael Barone, doesn't think they are that far off), that does not mean that McCain is actually ahead, nor that he doesn't have serious work to do if he expects to win on Nov. 4. My best guess is that he's still behind Obama in the key battleground states, although it is probably only by a point or two in places like Virginia and Missouri, and he may even have a lead in Florida and North Carolina.

Strategically, however, it's clear that Obama has many more paths to victory than McCain, and that McCain will have to make darn good use of what little money he has over the next few weeks. Even then it may not make a difference, but if he were to base his decisions on the media polls it would be understandable if he just decided to quit now. Apparently, McCain's internals are dictating a different strategy.

The only thing we can know for sure at this point is that we won't be able to judge the accuracy of the polling until the only one that counts is concluded on Nov. 4th ... umm, most likely.
 
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Comments
The polls have been wrong for as long as I’ve paid attention to them.
Al Gore won, John effin Kerry won, the GOP didn’t lose control of both the Senate and House, need I go on?
People lie to pollsters, some people don’t talk to pollsters and pollsters manipulate the data to get where they want to go.

I trust global warmmongering exactly as much as I trust polls, not at all.
 
Written By: Veeshir
URL: http://
I dunno....I can’t deny that Sen. ACORN has a good chance at winning/stealing the election, but the polls seem all over the map at times.

You just get the feeling that many many people won’t be making their minds up until they’re actually in the booth with their hands on the lever
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Strategically, however, it’s clear that Obama has many more paths to victory than McCain, and that McCain will have to make darn good use of what little money he has over the next few weeks.
I’d say offhand, he’s already doing that. The spending ratio is something like four to ne in favor of Obama, and yet McCain has remained as close to the margin of error as no matter. Obama’s lead if lead it be, is fragile, and Rendel knows it. So does Obama, if the angry demeanor we’re seeing on the stump the ast few weeks is of any indication. . How? Because of what their own internal polling is showing them. I’m hearing from several sources that the Republicans internal polling is also showing they’re quite a bit ahead on PA.

So much for the idea of campaign money simply buying elections. So much, too, for the idea that the polls being sent thrugh the MSM have any relationship to reality.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
It’s hard to say. In 2004, exit polls aside, the polls were pretty good — a close race with Bush having the edge. Perhaps pollsters were chastened by the 2000 debacle and really worked hard to get it right.

However, this election has been in a cocked hat from the beginning and included Hillary’s electrifying victories against the polls, so who knows?
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Which of course, has the effect of basically provoking a riot if McCain wins.
Heck, even if McCain loses close, lots of Obama supporters will be incredibly upset
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
One point in particular that I found interesting is that, from a business standpoint, polling may often be used not to convey an accurate picture of the electorate’s views, but instead to drive the current narrative being sold by the media.
That doesn’t make any sense at all. Drummond is reaching.
First of all, Drummond seems to think he’s on to something by listing where all of the major polls are located – deep in Dem Blue territory. Then he goes on to state that he doesn’t believe that the polls are deliberately skewed. The man probably plays chess with himself, “Nice move, D.J.”… “Why thank you, Mr. Drummond.”

He describes the major polling firms to be bewitched by some kind of “group think” because of their geographical location. One must imagine that he forgets that FoxNews along with the WSJ and other Murdoch media is also located deep in Dem Blue territory, not to mention countless other conservative/republican friendly corporations. Wake up, Mr. Drummond, it’s freakin’ New York City. That’s where the parties are. So the fact that these major polling firms are located in the heart of corporate darkness should come as no surprise to anyone.

And he’s wrong about the “roller coaster” ride of the polls. There’s been no such roller coaster ride, unless you consider the coin operated race car outside of your local supermarket to be a “roller coaster”. Fact is, the polls have shown consistent trend lines.
Drummond seems to think that this imagined roller coaster is what’s behind these polling firms business models. Roller coasters tend to make people sick. If these polls were constantly rising and falling, no one would consider them credible and they would stop tuning in.

But whatever, Mr. Drummond. Back to your chess game. I think D.J. has his bishop threatening your rook… Whatever will you do about it?

Look, polls are not completely accurate. If they were, there would be no reason to have an election. We all know this. But they are pretty close.
Just look at the polling data from October, 2004.
Gallup: Bush 51, Kerry 46
Democracy Corps: Bush 47, Kerry 49
Zogby: Bush 45, Kerry 47
Survey USA: Bush 48, Kerry 50
ARG: Bush 47, Kerry 50
Rasmussen: Bush 50, Kerry 46
They were all within a couple of points of the actual outcome. And what’s hilarious is that Mr. Drummond’s whipping boy Gallup was the most accurate. Whatever happened to this “group think”.
Check mate, Mr. Drummond.

What’s equally amusing are these charges that the polls are “all over the map” so they can’t be trusted.
What I find that’s all over the map are the reasonings from conservatives as to why their candidate is performing poorly in the polls. All the way from Mr. Drummond’s phantom “group think” in the haunted graveyard of Dem Blue, to the comparison of polls to giant bags of marbles and candy bars.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Ok Pogue, latest poll today shows McCain within 1.

Now what?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Then I would ask which poll. Then I would ask what evidence do you have that this poll isn’t an outlier. Then I would point to the average of all polls available.
Then I would predict that the near ten point lead that Obama has in the average of all polls available won’t hold.

I’m not about to pull a McPhillips and suggest that one candidate or the other will win by ten points.

My prediction: Obama wins the popular vote by 3-5. The EV spread is much harder to predict. I will say that if Obama wins Virginia, he wins the election.
But what I won’t say is that whatever poll you have that puts McCain ahead by one, is comparable to a bag of marbles or a candy bar, nor would I suggest that wherever this polling firm is located, it’s probably not subject to a kind of mob mentality.

That would be absurd.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Sorry, should read within one.

It’s Wednesday of course, which means it’s mid-week martini time.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Dammit!!
nor would I suggest that wherever this polling firm is located, it’s probably not subject to a kind of mob mentality
Should read: nor would I suggest that wherever this polling firm is located, it’s probably not subject to a kind of mob mentality.

I should probably switch from vodka martinis to gin. Which means I’ll have to make a trip to the bottle shop. Too bad I’m not in Australia, or I could have my gin delivered via taxi.

But I know you’re all sportsmen, you’ll grant me a mulligan, right?

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
If Obama didn’t have the media’s complicity in concealing every aspect of his past from the public while he takes the presidency, he would be polling at about 20%. Because that is the actual number of people that would support a guy who surrounds himself with racists, slumlords, socialists, communists, and unapologetic domestic terrorists. Between the media’s whitewashing and ACORN doing the mechanical stuff, he’s got the undermining of our Democracy pretty well covered, huh?

I have advised people to read this: The Friends and Associates of Barack Obama. It contains mainstream sources for every documented fact about Obama’s past and his two decades of surrounding himself with these people. Definitely worth a read.
 
Written By: Nate
URL: http://www.theslippingmask.com
Mahone:
I’m not about to pull a McPhillips and suggest that one candidate or the other will win by ten points.
McCain should win this election by ten points. That’s how a center-right candidate should finish against an extreme Leftist, especially one who belonged to a racist church for 20 years.

He might well have been on the way there when the financial crisis hit.

So, now, as this thing comes to a close, I expect McCain to pull ahead and win by 4 points.

The case against McCain is thin. (He’s George Bush!) The case against Obama is huge, profound, and growing. Most recently, his running mate admitted that Obama’s election would result in an international crisis almost immediately. The campaign had to send out the repulsive Madeline Albright to try to double-talk the the thing. Who’s next? Sandy Berger?

While the MSM pooh-poohs this accumulating case, or simply refuses to take note of it, the voters are squaring their jaws to deal with it, and to deal with it above and beyond the ACORN sponsored graveyards that will be voting.

And law enforcement is getting ready for trouble in the community.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
PogueMahone - Then I would ask which poll [shows the gap to be within one point]. Then I would ask what evidence do you have that this poll isn’t an outlier. Then I would point to the average of all polls available.

You put your finger on the problem with the polls: they are rather inconsistent with each other. I suspect that this is what Drummond means when he describes the "exciting roller-coaster race, careening madly all over the place": depending on which poll you look at, the gap can swing pretty wildly, pretty quickly. For example, RCP includes the following results today:

RCP Average————————Obama+6.8
Associated Press/GfK——————-Obama+1
Pew Research————————Obama+14

A THIRTEEN point gap between the high and low results??? Think of the different news headlines that could be written based on those results:

"Obama heading for landslide victory"

or

"With two weeks to go, it’s a toss-up"

We’ve all seen stories - usually cited by gleeful partisans to "prove" that their candidate is winning - about how so-and-so has a huge lead. Inevitably, somebody will come back with a different poll that shows no such thing. Who to believe?

I also don’t agree that Drummond is "reaching" when he says that the polls drive the media narrative. However, I think he’s got it backwards: the narrative drives the polls. This is where geography has some bearing. The polling agencies and the MSM they serve are based mostly in the DC - NYC corridor: blue country. Reporters are overwhelmingly liberal. Surprise, surprise: polls often skew for the liberal candidate. Let’s go back to the polling data cited above, especially the Pew results. Pew has this headline to accompany their poll:

"Growing Doubts About McCain’s Judgment, Age and Campaign Conduct"

Would Pew have written this headline if their poll showed a tighter race? Or... Did they write this headline and jigger the poll numbers to support it?

Drummond deals with media bias and demonstrates how it can affect poll results:
I have noticed in the details, that all of the polls are asking about the public’s opinion of the economy, and of their opinion of President Bush, even though he is not running this time. Also, I have noticed that many polls ask a question about John McCain just after asking about the voter’s opinion of President Bush, subtly linking the two men. For comparison, no questions have been asked about approval of the specific performance of either Majority Leader Reid or Speaker Pelosi, and no other politician is linked to Barack Obama in the same way that polls link President Bush to John McCain. This is a clear violation of the NCPP’s guidelines, yet it is done in absolutely every poll I have seen. Further, polls taken since Labor day have not mentioned foreign policy at all.
Why would the polls go to such trouble to link McCain with the unpopular President Bush but NOT attempt to make any linkage between The Annointed One and the more unpopular leaders of his party? Could it be that the pollsters and the MSM WANT people to associate McCain with Bush? The dems’ campaign ads certainly push this idea very hard.

Also, consider the last statement cited from Drummond. Doesn’t it dovetail rather nicely with the MSM narrative that the economy is single dominant issue right now, and that Americans don’t care about foreign policy at the moment? I’m not trying to claim that it isn’t very important, what will being daily told that the economy is in recession and The Great Depression v2.0 is just around the corner, but isn’t it curious that the pollsters don’t even bother to ask about something they apparently already decided wasn’t an issue?

Bottom line: Drummond is dead right when he says that, "The polls are wrong this year, very wrong."

Somebody is right, or close to it. The others... Well, you have to wonder whether they are simply forgetting to carry the one, or are actively trying to carry The Annointed One.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
If Obama didn’t have the media’s complicity in concealing every aspect of his past from the public while he takes the presidency, he would be polling at about 20%.
LOL!!

Why go to your link, Nate? The readers of this blog are well aware, thanks to McQ’s four dozen or more posts about the subject, of Obama’s past associations.

But maybe Nate can help me out with these two memes that seem to be mutually exclusive.
First, we have a VP pick that is supposed to have an overwhelming popularity with the people. Then we have this “overwhelmingly popular” VP pick that continuously discusses these past associations of Obama to the people who are supposed to be “concealed” from Obama’s past associations.

So which is it? Is the governor overwhelmingly popular, or is it that the people are “concealed” from Obama’s past associations?

Or is it, as the polls suggest, that Obama’s past associations are of the least of concerns with the voters?

But perhaps that’s a discussion for another day. So stick around, Nate.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
McCain should win this election by ten points. That’s how a center-right candidate should finish against an extreme Leftist, especially one who belonged to a racist church for 20 years.
He might well have been on the way there when the financial crisis hit.
Yeah, yeah. And if ifs and ands were pots and pans, there would be no work for tinkers. But that didn’t stop you from hammering away back last spring that McCain would no doubt win by ten. Unfortunately, these are the words you have to live with. It’s as foolish for you to predict McCain by ten as it is foolish for sports prognosticators to predict who will win the SuperBowl on week 3 of the NFL.
By the way, who do you like to win the SuperBowl? I’m just asking so I know who not to bet on.

But hey, you wanna amend your prediction… Okay. So it’s McCain by six.
I’m keeping book, so do you wanna wager anything on it?
Let’s say McCain wins by six. I’ll write on any given post here at QandO that I am a fool and McPhillips is an all knowing sage for everyone to heed to. (Hell, I’ll even spot you three.) But if he doesn’t, you do the same.
How ‘bout it? Deal?

C’mon… If you’re so confident, then this should be an easy one.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
I suspect that this is what Drummond means when he describes…
Yeah, too bad he didn’t explain it the way you did. It’d be much better had Drummond explained what he meant when he wrote the thing. Or what you think he meant, anyway. It’s become common practice when discussing polls, to discuss the average. At least in the blogosphere.
I also don’t agree that Drummond is "reaching" when he says that the polls drive the media narrative. However, I think he’s got it backwards: the narrative drives the polls.
Well, you may have a point there. With the media narrative driving the polls with what questions to ask. That makes perfect sense. However, how could you defend Drummond for not “reaching” and you then immediately claim that, “However, I think he has it backwards.”?
Does he have it right, or does he have it backwards?
Also, consider the last statement cited from Drummond. Doesn’t it dovetail rather nicely with the MSM narrative that the economy is single dominant issue right now, and that Americans don’t care about foreign policy at the moment?
Well, you know… sometimes the pieces of the puzzle do fit quiet nicely. You’re suggesting that it is convenient for the media that the dominate issue is the economy. Well, are you then suggesting that the economy is not the dominate issue? Does it surprise you that with energy prices, mortgages, bailouts, ect. dominates the issues of the day, or do you believe that this is a media driven, poll driven strawman of some sort?
Bottom line: Drummond is dead right when he says that, "The polls are wrong this year, very wrong.
"

We’ll see.

Hey docjim… One question, though…
What do you think of MichaelW’s “interesting point” that Drummond drums on about the polling firms business models? And what do you think about Drummond’s current whipping boy Gallup?
Were they just lucky with the polls last election? Or did they buck “group think” pressure?

How wrong will Gallup be this year?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
I never believe the polls, but my gut feeling, for various reasons, is that the Republicans will be smashed on election day. Then the real fun begins. I have absolutely no hope whatsoever that the democrats will either know what to do or will do the right thing in a bad economy even if they did know.

I am not saying great depression, because I don’t think that could happen again, but certainly the worst recession in a long time.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Or is it, as the polls suggest, that Obama’s past associations are of the least of concerns with the voters?
The MSM has done a bang-up job covering for Obama on this.

Voters are used to over-the-top retoric, and since these associations have not been picked up in the media (except for Fox News, with Hannity), they tend to discard the associations.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Mahone:
Yeah, yeah. And if ifs and ands were pots and pans, there would be no work for tinkers. But that didn’t stop you from hammering away back last spring that McCain would no doubt win by ten. Unfortunately, these are the words you have to live with. It’s as foolish for you to predict McCain by ten as it is foolish for sports prognosticators to predict who will win the SuperBowl on week 3 of the NFL.
By the way, who do you like to win the SuperBowl? I’m just asking so I know who not to bet on.
1972: Extreme far left Democrat, unpopular war, the Left and the liberal media raging against Nixon. Result: 20-point win for Nixon.

The political common sense of the country has obviously deteriorated since then.

So, 2008: Even more extreme far Left Democrat, unpopular war (but now essentially off the table), the Left and the liberal media raging against Bush and Republicans and John McCain. I predicted a 10-point win back in the early summer.

A world financial crisis unfolds in September, after the conventions, the party in the White House takes the hit. The even more extreme far Left Democrat can’t put the race away. Some polls narrow, some show a wider lead. I say McCain goes ahead in the final days, wins by four, taking the crucial states that he needs.

My prediction is based on how a center-Right candidate vs. extreme-Left candidate race has turned out in the past.

Plus, this is an era of time compression, so that more information is available more rapidly to voters than in the past. Voters know McCain, so there’s very little that they are going to learn about him in the high-compression period during which they test their vote against their own conscience. Obama, on the other hand, is one huge, messy, stumbling question mark.

"Not this guy. Not now." And probably not ever. Obama cannot pass the test against the majority of the voters’ conscience. That’s why he could not close his race against Hillary and needed the superdelegates, even when he was the media darling and had already been declared the "winner." His "superdelegates" this time out are the "he sends a thrill up my leg" media, but they don’t actually get to vote, and are not very popular.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
What do you think of MichaelW’s “interesting point” that Drummond drums on about the polling firms business models? And what do you think about Drummond’s current whipping boy Gallup?
Were they just lucky with the polls last election? Or did they buck “group think” pressure?
IIRC, prior to the election some of the polls showed questionalbe results, then they mostly narrowed in near the end.

This year they seem to be bouncing around more. A lot of uncertainty due to the atypical voters who may or may not vote this time . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Mahone:
How wrong will Gallup be this year?
Gallup itself isn’t sure about who to poll, as made obvious by their two methods for likely voters.

But going into the final weekend, if not sooner, they will probably pick up the move to McCain.

Why will there be a move to McCain? Because there has never been a major candidate with a more profound case against him than Barack Obama.

Going into the end of this race enough voters will know that Obama is wrong for America, and many will know as well that he’s a wrong guy. Sufficient numbers to defeat him.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
So, McPhillips, I take it that’s a "no" on the wager.
The wager being that you would write on any given post here at QandO that you are a fool and PogueMahone is an all knowing sage for everyone to heed to if McCain didn’t win by six (and remember, I’m totally willing to spot you three points). And of course I would write the opposite if I lost?

I am a man willing to back up what I wager. Perhaps it’s just because I am inherently prone to whores and horses, drink and dice. Father knows best, you understand.
Such a man with such vices should be easy to wager against.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
It’s become common practice when discussing polls, to discuss the average. At least in the blogosphere.
"Common practice" is not a synonym for "statistically valid." What Drummond has done over something like a dozen posts is to take apart the polls and look at their underlying numbers. For example, how is it that in many polls throughout the year, McCain has led among independents, and led among Republicans by more than Obama has led among Democrats, but the bottom line numbers showed Obama well ahead? The answer is simply that Democrats who answered the poll were weighted more heavily, on the pollsters’ assumption that Democrats would turn out in higher numbers this year than Republicans. If they’re right, the polls are close to reality; if not, well....

But it’s even odder than that, really, because it’s also the case that the polls cite a margin of error of around 3% and a confidence interval of around 95%. In that event, you would expect that 20 polls sampling the same demographic would result in 19 polls within six points of each other, and one poll outside that margin. But that has not been the case: about half the polls can fit into a six point spread, and the other half fall outside that spread. If you ignore all the polls outside that spread (not statistically valid, but bear with me), you would see Obama winning (at present) by between 1 and 7 points, nationally. But with that many polls by reasonably reputable polling firms that far outside the margin, can we trust that group? I don’t think so.

Now, my gut tells me that Obama is going to win, narrowly in the popular vote, but widely in the EC vote, because he’ll barely win a lot of swing states. But that’s just my gut feel from talking and listening to people all over the place. The polls are not illuminating, because their variances are too wide to give the polls credibility: even if some of them turn out to be correct, it could well have been lucky guessing. Heck, if Gallup gets it right, we have to ask which of their three models (none of which are based on historical norms) got it right.

I feel for the pollsters, because this race features a woman on one side and a mulatto (generally presumed black by himself and the population at large, it would seem), and those both introduce large uncertainties, because the polls haven’t come across that situation in a Presidential race before. I suspect that Palin doesn’t throw the polls in doubt as much as Obama does, both because she’s not at the top of the ticket, and because there isn’t a Bradley Effect with women. Heck, there might not be, at least not any longer, with blacks. So they’re all making guesses, and that may be as good as they can do. But that doesn’t make the polls trustworthy this year, and I suspect that we will find them wildly off at both the national and state levels, at least in terms of predicting the outcomes.

 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
PogueMahone - Well, you may have a point there. With the media narrative driving the polls with what questions to ask. That makes perfect sense. However, how could you defend Drummond for not “reaching” and you then immediately claim that, “However, I think he has it backwards.”?
Does he have it right, or does he have it backwards?


I would say that he identifies the right cause and effect, but confuses them. I admit to otherwise poor construction. Touche.

PogueMahone - Well, you know… sometimes the pieces of the puzzle do fit quiet nicely. You’re suggesting that it is convenient for the media that the dominate issue is the economy. Well, are you then suggesting that the economy is not the dominate issue? Does it surprise you that with energy prices, mortgages, bailouts, ect. dominates the issues of the day, or do you believe that this is a media driven, poll driven strawman of some sort?

Please read what I wrote. I think that I made it clear that the economy is OBVIOUSLY a very important issue. I would even say that it is THE most important issue. My problem is that the polls assume that it is the ONLY issue, dropping questions about foreign affairs completely. Hmmm... Bad economy usually helps democrats (spit)... Ask lots of questions about that... Foreign policy usually helps Republicans... Don’t ask any questions about that. Don’t you think that might skew the results in favor of the democrat (spit) just a teensy bit?

PogueMahone - What do you think of MichaelW’s “interesting point” that Drummond drums on about the polling firms business models?

I think, like Drummond, he has it backwards. My belief is that the MSM has a narrative, and the polls are jiggered to support it.

PogueMahone - And what do you think about Drummond’s current whipping boy Gallup? Were they just lucky with the polls last election? Or did they buck “group think” pressure?

Which Gallup? RCP has two different Gallup polls with spreads that differ from each other by three points. It’s nice to have two chances to answer the same question at the same time. Wish I could do that in my job.

Given that the two Gallup results straddle that RCP average, I’d guess that Gallup will be pretty close to the actual result. Close enough, anyway, not to make themselves a laughing stock. As it happens, Gallup was not the closest in ’04; the laurels go to Pew in the final polls prior to election day:

ACTUAL
Bush - 50.75
Lurch - 48.30
spread - 2.45

Pew
Bush - 51
Lurch - 48
spread - 3

TIPP
Bush - 50.1
Lurch - 48.0
spread - 2.1

Harris
Bush - 49
Lurch - 48
spread - 1

Gallup
Bush - 49
Lurch - 49
spread - 0

Zogby
Bush - 49.4
Lurch - 49.1

The other poll results were amazingly close to these, but, then again, it was a tight election. Wonder why the polls vary so widely this year? I also wonder if they’ll magically tighten up within the next several days. Oh, and one final note about the ’04 polling results: almost all underpredicted Bush’s numbers. Go figure...

A cynic might say that the polls are deliberately skewed in the period before the election to boost some candidates and trash others with an eye to affecting donations, volunteer rates, and ultimately turnout. However, the polls magically tighten right before the election so that the pollsters can claim "we called it right last time!" when the next election season comes around. AP is running a story now with the headline "AP presidential poll: Race tightens in final weeks".

Does it tighten because undecideds are finally making up their minds, or does it tighten because pollsters are making more effort to report correct data and less effort to affect the outcome?
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
"Common practice" is not a synonym for "statistically valid."
Here here...

It is still a poll afterall. Barone was saying that exit polling is likely to skew towards Obama by up to 15%.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Mahone, I’m not interested in your bullsh!t. I gave you the valid historical exemplar for the type of presidential contest this is. I made a 36-years later time-distance correction for the deterioration of American political common sense and called it a ten-point win instead of a twenty-point win.

Kwanza came early for Barack this year, and he got a world financial crisis just when he needed it.

But then there’s YouTube. And I’m saying that right now McCain will take this thing by four points and sufficient electoral votes. I do not believe that there is a majority of American voters, despite the economic news and the smoke blown up their a$$es by the media and Obama himself, who will elect someone who attended a racist church for twenty years President of the United States. And that’s just one of the ten or fifteen strikes against him.

That’s my predicition and it’s up to American voters to prove me wrong. I don’t think they will.

Obama is a wrong guy.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
And not just McPhillips…
Any one of you. Surely most of you think me a fool anyway, but wouldn’t it be a tasty morsel for one to blockquote. Anytime anyone of you has a disagreement, would it not be an ace in the hole, or perhaps icing on the cake, to be able to pull up a quote of me calling myself a fool?

That’s gotta be tempting.

If these polls are as “skewed” as you think they are, then what’s the harm? I’ll give you your McCain -3. IOW, if McCain wins by more than three.

It should be an easy decision for most of you. Especially if you take Drummond’s opinions to heart. After all, these polling firms are victims of “group think”. They’re obviously wrong.

Nevermind the fact that Gallup, Drummond’s whipping boy, last election got it right almost to the point… which in my mind makes Drummond’s and MichaelW’s post some kind of flight of fancy… Nevermind that all the other polls, including local polls commissioned by firms not located in Deep Blue Dem territory also suggest the same numbers… Nevermind that all credible news organizations, including FoxNews, relies on these very same polls….
No, no… it’s all “group think”… It’s all liberal MSM driven.

Excuse me while I ROFL.

Any takers?

C’mon. There’s gotta be one of you.
Shark?
Capt. Joe?
Looker?
Shiell?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
"Common practice" is not a synonym for "statistically valid." What Drummond has done over something like a dozen posts is to take apart the polls and look at their underlying numbers
Well, Jeff, could you or Drummond explain why if Gallup was so wrong in their polling models, that they got the 2004 numbers almost spot on? Were they just lucky?
Besides, that’s not what Drummond was claiming in this article. He was suggesting that there was some kind of “group think”. That because of their geographical location, they were victims of some kind of mob mentality. That’s what he wrote. Nothing about taking apart the polls and looking at their underlying numbers.

Why is that?

And why didn’t you address that part of his article?

It seems odd to me that you would aid in the dismissal of these polls, and at the same time have a “gut feeling” that Obama will win. Isn’t that kinda’ like Jimmy the Greek telling you the Giants will win the SuperBowl, but you dismiss Jimmy and instead rely on your “gut feeling” that the Giants will win?

You know I respect you Jeff, so that’s why I’m genuinely curious as to why you wouldn’t analyze Drummond’s notion that these polls are influenced by their geographical location – though he insists that they’re not “skewed” – but at the same time inform us that their end all results are the same as your “gut feeling”.

Do you really believe, despite your reasonable criticism of their methodology, that Gallup and others are victims of some kind of “group think”? And if so, why is it that your gut feelings contradict your questioning of their methodology that conclude the same over all results?

Sláinte
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Mahone, I’m not interested in your bullsh!t
Shorter McPhillips: I don’t put my money where my mouth is.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Nevermind the fact that Gallup, Drummond’s whipping boy, last election got it right almost to the point
That contradicts what docjim505 posted:

ACTUAL
Bush - 50.75
Lurch - 48.30
spread - 2.45

Gallup
Bush - 49
Lurch - 49
spread - 0
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
What would it be for, a bottle of whiskey?
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Capt. Joe?
Me? I am a big believer in "people deserve the leaders they get". If they vote in Obama, they deserve him.

I also believe that Obama is a dirt bag. So if they vote him in then they deserve what he brings. Given the degree of fraud and cover by the MSM, if he doesn’t, no one that far left could ever win.

I also believe that McCain is the better candidate and would do no worse for the country.

Is that what you wanted to hear?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Given that the media is doing this, I think my comment about Obama and the media stands.
MSNBC has launched a news project with a variety of left-wing special interest groups to boost their Election Day coverage and help viewers experiencing problems at the polls.

One of the groups involved in MSNBC’s "Election Protection" project is the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now. ACORN has been involved in rampant voter registration fraud across the nation this election cycle and is actively supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama for president.

"Our partnership with Election Protection will play a major role in NBC News’ ’Making Your Vote Count’ coverage, said Phil Alongi, Executive Producer of NBC News’ Election Coverage in an Oct. 22 press release. "Not only will we be able to direct voters who are experiencing problems with a hotline to call, we will also have our team of reporters and producers follow-up on the information Election Protection is gathering."

When asked for comment about ACORN’s role in the project MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines wrote Townhall in an email "this a question for them, not us.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Oh, and even McClacthy has caught on to the fact that the media coverage of McCain is predominantly biased.
The results: While the candidates are receiving equal amounts of coverage, 59% of stories about McCain were "decidedly negative in nature," while only 14% were positive.
I wonder what the polls would look like is the media was not so biased. I could go on and on about the stories that are suppressed because they would make Ob look bad but so what, they reap what they sow.

 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Pogue — 2004, aside from the exit polls, was an exception to the usual rule of iffy presidential polls that generally discount the Republican candidate.

Furthemore, your claim to the contrary, this election cycle has been a rollercoaster. Remember when the polls said the primaries were a lock for Clinton/Guiliani? And McCain was dead in the water last summer? Then there was Clinton’s unexpected victory in New Hampshire despite Obama’s. 7 point lead .

Obama is the strangest candidate I can remember, and this is strangest time period too—the dotcom bust, 9-11, wars in Afghanist and Iraq, the culture wars, and now this huge financial meltdown plus blatant media bias.

I have no idea who will win or how accurate the polls are. People will be writing books about this election for decades.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
That contradicts what docjim505 posted:
What part of "almost to the point" don’t you freaks understand. As if .03% somehow proves Drummond’s argument.

What would it be for, a bottle of whiskey?

I’m game. How about a nice bottle of Aberlour 18yr old. The finest 18yr old single malt whiskey for the money, I can assure you.

Is that what you wanted to hear?
In a way I guess, capt. joe. But if you wanna fall into this ridiculousness that the polls are skewed because they are based in Blue states and that McCain will win by 6, then I’ll take your book like the rest of them.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Mahone:
Shorter McPhillips: I don’t put my money where my mouth is.
While I’m sure that you do put any number of things where your mouth is.

I’ve explained to you the basis for my prediction this summer of a ten-point win for McCain. I’ve modified that to a four-point win to factor in the economic crisis.

Further than that, I’m simply not interested in your bullsh!t.

On the other hand, I remain interested in the racist background of Barack Obama and how he stayed with that church for twenty years.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
In a way I guess, capt. joe. But if you wanna fall into this ridiculousness that the polls are skewed because they are based in Blue states and that McCain will win by 6
Have I said that? Odd that is what you interpret from my statements. I thought I was quite clear.

I have no idea if McCain will win or lose.

Will he win? No idea, maybe and maybe not. Too close to tell and I never win the lottery, so count my opinon on matters of luck is not relevant.

Do I think he should win? Yes

Do I think Obama might win? Maybe

Do I think he should win? No

Do I think Obama is a fraud and liar? Yes, again
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://

Further than that, I’m simply not interested in your bullsh!t.

On the other hand, I remain interested in the racist background of Barack Obama and how he stayed with that church for twenty years.
That’s funny, because according to the polls, you’re one of the few who actually are interested in that apparently meaningless BS.

You let your own concerns cloud your judgment about what other people concern themselves with. Which is why your previous predictions were so ... oh, what’s the word... Bullsh!t.

You know, coming from the guy who thinks gay marriage will destroy western civilization as we know it, your prediction that the Wright episode should have ended Obama’s run is not surprising.

This isn’t your America. It’s ours.

Deal with it.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
This isn’t your America. It’s ours.
Being the curious cat that I am, whose is the "ours"?

I know what you want to say and I really just wish you would come out and say it and stop being so passive aggressive.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Our’s is everyone’s, joe.
Black, white, gay, straight, liberal, conservative. And sometimes, our vote goes for the "socialist" not from the "pro-America parts of the country".
I know what you want to say and I really just wish you would come out and say it and stop being so passive aggressive.
Sure joe, just as soon as you stop being so passive aggressive. What is it that you think that I am so eager to say but can’t say it?

And show your work, please.

 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
You know, coming from the guy who thinks gay marriage will destroy western civilization as we know it, your prediction that the Wright episode should have ended Obama’s run is not surprising.
That’s quite a segue: You support "gay marriage" and racist "theologies."

Why, you’re clearly a broad-minded individual.
This isn’t your America. It’s ours
.
"Ours"? Well, scratch that individual part.
Deal with it.
I’ve clearly dealt successfully with you: you’re splattered all over McQ’s sidewalk here. Maybe it’s that mixture of alcohol, "gay marriage," and "black theology" that caused the fall.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
Sure joe, just as soon as you stop being so passive aggressive.
Tu quoque?
And show your work, please.
Sorry, I was copying from the paper on your desk. All you will see is your own work. :)

our vote goes for the "socialist"
Ok, for the dirtbag then. good, hopey and changey, yeay!!

Make sure you get a good seat for the Obamagasm
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Our’s is everyone’s, joe.
Black, white, gay, straight, liberal, conservative. And sometimes, our vote goes for the "socialist" not from the "pro-America parts of the country".
The "everyone" you speak of found its fullest expression in the civil rights era, which could be marked from 1964 onward.

The high principle of that era is that people are judged on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. That’s been one of the most successful changes ever to take place in America.

But Jeremiah Wright preaches the antithesis of that. He preaches black separatism. Indeed, he preaches black supremacy. He is a racist.

Barack Obama chose Wright’s church, stayed there for twenty years and three-quarters of the way into a race for President of the United States.

No one can see into another man’s heart, but twenty years in a racist church gives you a pretty good indication of where his sentiments might lie, or at least how keen his judgment is.

"I just went to those Klan meetings because the Grand Imperial Wizard was like an uncle to me. But I never burned any of the crosses. I swear."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
There was a great podcast on econtalk.org about polling, and the PhD in political science who owns a polling company also said that the regular polls have problems with their weightings and "groupthink." He came up with a different method than weighting the polled, using the internet.

Very interesting stuff.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Any takers?
On what exactly? I don’t think McCain is going to win by 4 or 6 or whatever. I have honestly no clue who’s going to win at this point except my (bold!) prediction of earlier still stands - it won’t be this mythical blowout they’re trying to sell us on

The polls are all over the map, but I’ll focus on how the candidates and their surrogates are acting. I don’t get the sense that it’s over - I get the sense it is close. And I guess when Ed Rendell thinks the same thing, well....

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I almost hope Obama wins so I can stop hearing about how evil the GOP is. I’m sure that’s part of the media/Dem plan, though.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I’m sorry to burst your bubble Harun, but you will never stop hearing that the GOP is evil. It has been saddled with that smear for generations now. Obama being elected will not change that.

Even as the minority party, they will still be shouldered with the blame for everything that goes wrong.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
What would it be for, a bottle of whiskey?
OK, but not Jamesons. That’s Protestant whiskey.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net

 
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