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Polls:

Today's polls released so far show everything from a 47-45% Obama lead (well within the margin of error), with 8% undecided, in the TIPP poll, to a 52-43-5 result in the "Gallup expanded." The CBS and ABC News polls, so far the most favorable to Obama, aren't out for today. So the polls are predicting everything from an Obama blowout to a tossup, perhaps leaning McCain (if, as most observers seem to expect, the undecideds break at least 2-1 in McCain's favor).

Overall, the picture is of a comfortable victory for Obama, but if the pollsters are wrong in their assumptions about turnout (will young people turn out now that the Iraq War has faded from the scene? Will Sarah Palin bring out a higher turnout of conservatives than expected? Will African Americans vote in unprecedented numbers, as expected?) and voter party i.d. (Rasmussen, for example, who has Obama up 51-46, is assuming 39% to 33% favoring the Democrats), it could turn out to be either a huge Obama victory or a close race. One interesting datum: McCain seems to have made serious inroads in Pennsylvania, reducing a double-digit gap of a week ago into the mid-single digits. Very likely too little, too late, but something of a rebuke to the "experts" who claimed that McCain was foolishly wasting resources there.

UPDATE: FWIW, a reader points out that Clinton did three points better in the Pennsylvania primary that the Real Clear Politics average of polls had suggested. Most likely, the undecideds broke overwhelmingly for Clinton.

Donny:
You seem to have misunderstood the "experts" argument about Pennsylvania. Their argument was that McCain would never win PA. Reducing a double-digit lead to a single-digit lead doesn't win him any electoral votes. Hence, bad strategy. If he could change the margin in such a big state with such extreme focus, he might have been able to flip VA, or CO, or both. As it stands, he's gained nothing.

You should also read Nate Silver's analysis of the TIPP poll methodology, here: Silver on TIPP .
11.2.2008 2:05pm
Angus:
Comparisons to the primaries are useless. Primaries are magnitudes harder to poll than general elections because in Primaries you have to filter out: a) those of the opposing political party who lie to get polled (Operation Chaos as Rush called it) b) those who think they can vote in the primary but actually can't because they aren't registered in that party. On top of that, you can't just poll "Democrats" generically, but have to figure out what is a representative demographic representation of Dems specifically.
11.2.2008 2:06pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
I just went through the state by state polling averages (not the projections) on fivethirtyeight.com. Those in which Obama is ahead have 364 electoral votes while those in which McCain is ahead have 274 electoral votes. This would give Obama Missouri, where he's ahead by .6% and North Carolina where he's ahead by 1.9, while giving McCain Indiana by .2%

The projection would give McCain Missouri by .6 and Indiana by 1.3.

You also have to compare the get-out-the-vote effort. Obama's is as good as any I've seen, while McCain's, ah, isn't. McCain actually pulled money from his GOTV effort to buy some last-minute advertising. I think he's got his priorities wrong there.
11.2.2008 2:08pm
huskerfan:
Interesting comment about the youth vote and the Iraq war. however, I tend to give young voters a little more credit than being single issue voters. Is there anything that suggest something to the contrary?
11.2.2008 2:10pm
Jeff Boghosian (mail):
I thought it was foolish too until I realized the extent of early voting. Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Carolina are already over 65% of their totals in 2004. Florida and Georgia are over 50%. Pennsylvania (and maybe Virginia) is really his best shot - not so much because it's likely to happen but because he doesn't have many other paths to 270.
11.2.2008 2:14pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Only that in past elections, despite earlier predictions to the contrary, young people in fact didn't turn out, but they did for Obama in the primaries. The question is whether this was primarily an "Obama effect" or primarily a "let's vote against the war and Hilary voted for the war" effect. I actually think it's most the former, but there's really no way to know for sure until election day.
11.2.2008 2:15pm
Angus:
Jeff, I think that's why McCain and Palin have been holding rallies in PA almost every single day for the last 2 weeks. If they can grab PA away from Obama, their path to victory suddenly opens up in multiple directions.
11.2.2008 2:16pm
DiversityHire:
Whoever wins, I think Senator Obama and Governor Palin are fascinating reflections of America (McCain, too, but Obama and Palin are fresh). Their effect on the "national dialogue" or what-have-you has been fascinating. They and their respective supporters have a lot to learn from one another. I'd love to see the Obama and Palin families on "Wife Swap."
11.2.2008 2:25pm
Dave N (mail):
Syd Henderson,

Just to correct your typo, I think you were meaning 364 for Obama to 174 for McCain.
11.2.2008 2:27pm
Asher (mail):
Will African Americans vote in unprecedented numbers, as expected?

They already ARE voting in unprecedented numbers as expected. Haven't you seen the reports on early voting in the southern states? In every instance, their turnout's way up from 2004. For example, in North Carolina blacks comprised 18% of the early vote in '04; this year, 26%. 36% of the early vote in Kentucky has been cast by blacks. You can see some numbers here.

http://elections.gmu.edu/early_vote_2008.html
11.2.2008 2:34pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Dave N (mail):
Syd Henderson,

Just to correct your typo, I think you were meaning 364 for Obama to 174 for McCain.

I did. I thought I'd corrected that.
11.2.2008 2:36pm
Kelly (mail):
Regardless of whether or not McCain's Pennsylvania strategy is successful (I think it very likely will not be), it was still a good strategic move. Flipping Pennsylvania is his best, and probably only, shot at 270 electoral votes.

Obama opened up a clear path to 270 months ago - the Kerry states plus Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado (273 EV). In order to win, McCain has to hold at least one of those states. He's been behind in Iowa by double-digits all cycle and his ethanol stance will never fly there. NM and CO both have large early voting operations (something like 50-60% of people have already voted in those states), so McCain's window to catch up was much narrower there. The only other Kerry state he has a shot at is NH, and he's way behind (and NH only has 4 EV, meaning a 269-269 tie, which probably goes to Obama). So Pennsylvania it is.

It's definitely a Hail-Mary, but it really is his only play at this point.
11.2.2008 2:39pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
They already ARE voting in unprecedented numbers as expected. Haven't you seen the reports on early voting in the southern states? In every instance, their turnout's way up from 2004. For example, in North Carolina blacks comprised 18% of the early vote in '04; this year, 26%. 36% of the early vote in Kentucky has been cast by blacks. You can see some numbers here.
Early voters will tend to be the most enthusiastic voters. It's not surprising that African Americans who were going to vote anyway are going to be especially enthusiastic about voting for Obama. The question is whether the marginal voters will turn out. The early election data don't tell us that.
11.2.2008 2:40pm
Asher (mail):
NM and CO both have large early voting operations (something like 50-60% of people have already voted in those states)

This is just unfathomable to me. Presidential turnout has been in the high 40s to mid 50s the past few elections - how can it be that 50-60% of voters have already voted? Once everyone votes what will turnout be in these states, 70%? 80%? Yet you see this number cited everywhere.
11.2.2008 2:42pm
Asher (mail):
Early voters will tend to be the most enthusiastic voters. It's not surprising that African Americans who were going to vote anyway are going to be especially enthusiastic about voting for Obama. The question is whether the marginal voters will turn out. The early election data don't tell us that.

But they're still votes. I mean, yes, it's possible that on Election Day black turnout will be no higher than it's historically been, but, even then, when you total up all the votes, black turnout will still have been much higher than it's been in the past. Unless black turnout is lower than usual on Election Day, thereby canceling out all that high early turnout. But that's very unlikely. I also don't think you can say that the early voters were all going to vote anyway. If that were the case, early turnout itself wouldn't be way up, and it is.
11.2.2008 2:46pm
Jeff Boghosian (mail):
Asher, See my link above. The percentages are typically based on the total number of actual voters in 2004.
11.2.2008 2:47pm
Kelly (mail):

NM and CO both have large early voting operations (something like 50-60% of people have already voted in those states)

This is just unfathomable to me. Presidential turnout has been in the high 40s to mid 50s the past few elections - how can it be that 50-60% of voters have already voted? Once everyone votes what will turnout be in these states, 70%? 80%? Yet you see this number cited everywhere.

This site from GMU has really good early voting numbers. Colorado is at 68% of the total 2004 vote already. There aren't total New Mexico numbers available, but it's largest county is at 72% of its 2004 vote.
11.2.2008 2:48pm
A Keyboard and a .45 (mail) (www):
I heard that in some places up to 80% of likely voters called by the pollsters refused to comment. If true, this might bode well for McCain.

All the news coverage of the early voting turnouts might help McCain on election day also. The occasional voter who would prefer a McCain victory seeing the early turnout and hearing that this turn out is in support of Obama may just get his or her rear of the couch and show up at the polls on Tuesday.
11.2.2008 2:49pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
I think you misunderstand, Asher, though it hasn't been explained very clearly. I believe what they're saying is that the total number of those who have already voted is 50-60% of the total who voted at all four years ago, not 50-60% of eligible voters, which would indeed be remarkable. So if 50% of eligible voters voted four years ago (I'm too lazy to look it up), we have some states in which 25-30% of eligible voters (50-60% of 50%) have already voted, which suggests a larger than average total vote is likely.
11.2.2008 2:49pm
Franklin Drackman:
Rush Limbaugh said McCain will carry every state hes less than 10 points behind in. Sort of combination of Bradley Affect/Media Bias. Using that criteria I get McCain winning with 285 electoral votes. Not that I'd bet any money on that.
11.2.2008 3:01pm
trad and anon:
So the polls are predicting everything from an Obama blowout to a tossup, perhaps leaning McCain (if, as most observers seem to expect, the undecideds break at least 2-1 in McCain's favor).
In 2004, the last-minute Dem spin was that "undecideds break for the challenger." This was, of course, no actual evidence for this claim, and it didn't pan out. This "2-1 for McCain" spin is equally baseless. It could happen, but anything could happen.

And checking pollster.com, if McCain wins all the "strong McCain" states, all the "lean McCain states," and all the "tossup" states, that still only gets him to 227. To hit 270, he also has to get all the "lean Obama" states, and that's only 274, which means a loss in any of those states with 5EV's or more gives him a loss (since a 269-269 would go to Obama in the House). fivethirtyeight.com gives the same results.
11.2.2008 3:02pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Trad, your second paragraph is correct, but you have to assume that the state predictions are based on state polls, which assumedly are making the same general assumptions as the federal polls. If it turns out that Obama is really leading by the 2 points in TIP and not the 6 points or so on average, or more generally the polling assumptions are wrong, then the state polls are inaccurate 2. Put another way, if McCain is really more or less tied with Obama in the national polls in reality (which I doubt, but bear with me), then there is no way that the current electoral map projections are correct.
11.2.2008 3:12pm
trad and anon:
Obama opened up a clear path to 270 months ago - the Kerry states plus Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado (273 EV). In order to win, McCain has to hold at least one of those states. He's been behind in Iowa by double-digits all cycle and his ethanol stance will never fly there. NM and CO both have large early voting operations (something like 50-60% of people have already voted in those states), so McCain's window to catch up was much narrower there. The only other Kerry state he has a shot at is NH, and he's way behind (and NH only has 4 EV, meaning a 269-269 tie, which probably goes to Obama). So Pennsylvania it is.

It's definitely a Hail-Mary, but it really is his only play at this point.
I agree 100%. It's extremely difficult for him to win without PA, though not impossible. When you're way behind in the fourth quarter with sixty seconds to go, the Hail Mary pass is your only option. And that's the position McCain is in now.

At this point, the only McCain can win is if the new Republican theory that all the polls are screwed up pans out. Either that or a terrorist attack.
11.2.2008 3:13pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
But that's very unlikely. I also don't think you can say that the early voters were all going to vote anyway.
Well, one can say it; whether it's true or not is something we'll have to see.
If that were the case, early turnout itself wouldn't be way up, and it is.
That doesn't follow at all. Someone who ordinarily would vote on Nov 4 votes on October 31. This does nothing in terms of changing the outcome of the election, but represents an increase in early turnout.
11.2.2008 3:16pm
A Law Dawg:
An anecdotal data point:

I live in an *EXTREMELY* Republican county in Georgia. The number of African Americans here can be counted on one hand and I expect Obama to get maybe 10% of the vote here. (Bush got over 80% in 2004 and Obama, unlike Kerry, is a Muslim/terrorist sympathizer according to most of the conventional wisdom around here. Oh, and he's black, which just doesn't fly in this county. See above.)

Supposedly 40% of *registered voters* had already voted in our county by Tuesday of last week. I did not hear this directly from the voting supervisors so it's possible the figure is actually 40% of 2004 turnout. Either way, that's a lot of votes banked for McCain.

I think the conservatives are going to show up for McCain come Hell or high water. My prediction is that the moderate Republicans are either going to flip to Obama (as I did) or stay home and that will make the difference.
11.2.2008 3:18pm
Light Hearted (mail):
Huskerfan: "I tend to give young voters a little more credit than being single issue voters."

Correct. Sadly, they are poorly informed, overly emotional multi-issue voters...
11.2.2008 3:20pm
trad and anon:
Trad, your second paragraph is correct, but you have to assume that the state predictions are based on state polls, which assumedly are making the same general assumptions as the federal polls. If it turns out that Obama is really leading by the 2 points in TIP and not the 6 points or so on average, or more generally the polling assumptions are wrong, then the state polls are inaccurate 2. Put another way, if McCain is really more or less tied with Obama in the national polls in reality (which I doubt, but bear with me), then there is no way that the current electoral map projections are correct.
Fair enough. If the antecedent is true then the consequent follows. But since the antecedent is very likely not true, the truth of the conditional provides very little additional support for the consequent.

Of course, we could be surprised. The exit polls were screwed up in '04. Truman did defeat Dewey.
11.2.2008 3:23pm
mdn:
Actually, if McCain's efforts in PA just take him from a double-digit deficit to a single-digit one, the scare-quoted experts will have been vindicated, not rebuked. When the electoral college system works the way it does, it's the definition of waste to tighten the margin in a state you can't actually get over the top in. Especially when your opponent doesn't even have to devote extra resources to stop you, which is the only thing that makes Obama's little plays for Montana and so forth non-stupid.
11.2.2008 3:35pm
trad and anon:
I think the conservatives are going to show up for McCain come Hell or high water. My prediction is that the moderate Republicans are either going to flip to Obama (as I did) or stay home and that will make the difference.
I think it will make a big difference that Obama's GOTV operation seems to be much stronger than McCain's. McCain made a big mistake by accepting public financing when Obama wasn't. By the second week of October, Obama's September and October fundraising had more than doubled McCain's money from public financing.

Obama's turnaround on this point broke his promise to accept public funding, but voters care very little about politicians breaking procedural pledges. Most of the '94 House Republicans who had pledged to stick to three terms turned around and ran for reelection '00, and voters didn't care.
11.2.2008 3:40pm
Donny:
DB, did you read the analysis of the IBD/TIPP poll? Do you disagree with it?
11.2.2008 3:41pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Actually, if McCain's efforts in PA just take him from a double-digit deficit to a single-digit one, the scare-quoted experts will have been vindicated, not rebuked. When the electoral college system works the way it does, it's the definition of waste to tighten the margin in a state you can't actually get over the top in. Especially when your opponent doesn't even have to devote extra resources to stop you, which is the only thing that makes Obama's little plays for Montana and so forth non-stupid.
What it means if that the overall momentum were to shift to McCain by a few points at the end, he would win Pa. and potentially the election. A week or so ago I suggested that McCain's best hope is to come within 2 or so points of Obama in the popular vote, and squeeze out a narrow electoral college majority. He probably needs Pa to do that. If he loses by 3 or more points nationwide, nothing would have helped him. But in the unlikely event the popular vote race tightens, the momentum he has in Pa. could push him over the top there. If McCain was still 10 points behind, even a late surge to him wouldn't help, even if the pollsters were off by several percent it wouldn't help.
11.2.2008 3:43pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
All the analysis means is that that one particular day or days of polling something was screwed up in the sample. Today's TIPP poll shows Obama leading among young voters 64-32.
11.2.2008 4:04pm
mdn:
What it means if that the overall momentum were to shift to McCain by a few points at the end, he would win Pa. and potentially the election. A week or so ago I suggested that McCain's best hope is to come within 2 or so points of Obama in the popular vote, and squeeze out a narrow electoral college majority. He probably needs Pa to do that. If he loses by 3 or more points nationwide, nothing would have helped him. But in the unlikely event the popular vote race tightens, the momentum he has in Pa. could push him over the top there. If McCain was still 10 points behind, even a late surge to him wouldn't help, even if the pollsters were off by several percent it wouldn't help.

Even then, it seems that he could have done better by fighting Colorado and Virginia, which together give just as much as Pennsylvania (one vote more, in fact), and in which he was less behind. Devoting just as much resources to those states, presumably he'd be able to tighten things just as much. Pennsylvania has been a trap for Republicans these past few cycles - the candidate always thinks "it's close, I can do it" but it always ends at beast in a sad 2-4 point loss, and I don't see anything different happening this time.
11.2.2008 4:05pm
Paul B:
A two point lead as in the TIPP poll does not constitute a "toss up." It means that a victory for the underdog is not out of the question when considering only sampling error. In this particular case where this poll shows McCain in a far better light than any other of the major polls, the logical conclusion is that this poll most likely overestimates McCain's strength.

The more important question is whether all of the polls overestimate Obama's strength. I don't think the "Bradley effect" is the issue. Instead, I think that the efforts of the MSM to constantly support Obama are likely to color what respondents feel they should say to pollsters.

As to Truman/Dewey analogies, it must be remembered that polling in those days stopped a few weeks before the election so polling could not catch the big swing to Truman in the Midwest during the last month of the campaign.
11.2.2008 4:15pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I think it will make a big difference that Obama's GOTV operation seems to be much stronger than McCain's. McCain made a big mistake by accepting public financing when Obama wasn't. By the second week of October, Obama's September and October fundraising had more than doubled McCain's money from public financing.
He only made a mistake if you assume that he could have raised the kind of money Obama did, and that he could have done so without interfering with his campaigning. I'm not sure either is true.
11.2.2008 4:17pm
Jiffy:
@DB:


you have to assume that the state predictions are based on state polls, which assumedly are making the same general assumptions as the federal polls. If it turns out that Obama is really leading by the 2 points in TIP and not the 6 points or so on average, or more generally the polling assumptions are wrong, then the state polls are inaccurate 2.


Of course, it is also possible that pollsters' assumptions are off in the opposite direction--that is, that they underestimate Obama's lead. Is there any reason to believe that is a less likely scenario than the opposite? The discussions I've seen of pollster assumptions suggest that many of them are "conservative" in that they are too heavily based on 2004 and 2000 reality and may not adequately consider changes in the balance of party identification, Obama's extensive GOTV advantage, etc.

In any event, two days will tell.
11.2.2008 4:18pm
JosephSlater (mail):
"I cannot foresee a scenario that John McCain is elected the President of the United States," Republican pollster Frank Luntz said on Nov. 2.
11.2.2008 4:24pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Of course, it is also possible that pollsters' assumptions are off in the opposite direction--that is, that they underestimate Obama's lead. Is there any reason to believe that is a less likely scenario than the opposite?
If you read the original post, you'll see that I acknowledged that the polls could be off in either direction.
11.2.2008 4:50pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Joe, you need to relax. I guarantee the world, or at least, the world you live in, isn't going to change dramatically either way.
11.2.2008 4:51pm
Joe - Dallas (mail):
A better prediction is how soon will all the US attorneys get fired - ie under the quise of bush's political witchhunt of wasting everyone's time with bogus election fraud.
11.2.2008 4:58pm
LM (mail):
DavidBernstein:

All the analysis means is that that one particular day or days of polling something was screwed up in the sample.

No it doesn't. He showed that TIPP's methodology was totally screwed, and comments like this:

Today's TIPP poll shows Obama leading among young voters 64-32.

were largely the problem. So long as the results seemed "right", TIPP swept its sampling flaws under the rug. When implausible "young voter" results inevitably appeared, TIPP's credibility was shot. Not only did it use intolerably flawed methodology; it was caught whistling past the graveyard, needing an unlikely run of good luck to avoid exposure as an amateurish operation. Bottom line, it's not a reliable poll.

As Nate Silver pointed out, TIPP's reputation was built on one very good poll in 2004. Considering the uncanny if only occasional accuracy of broken clocks....
11.2.2008 5:05pm
JosephSlater (mail):
David:

Honstly, I'm quite relaxed, or at least much more so than I was in 2000 or 2004. As to the world I'm living in, I'm thinking labor law could change a bit under Obama -- it certainly did under Bush. Anyway, I posted a quote that basically agreed with you, right?
11.2.2008 5:05pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Joe - Dallas (mail):
A better prediction is how soon will all the US attorneys get fired - ie under the quise of bush's political witchhunt of wasting everyone's time with bogus election fraud.


Don't they generally get replaced with the new Administration?
11.2.2008 5:17pm
Asher (mail):
I think that the efforts of the MSM to constantly support Obama are likely to color what respondents feel they should say to pollsters.

I think it's far more likely that the efforts of the MSM actually color how people vote than that they make McCain voters lie about their preferences for fear of pollster disapproval.
11.2.2008 6:18pm
LN (mail):

Joe, you need to relax. I guarantee the world, or at least, the world you live in, isn't going to change dramatically either way.


Yeah, no kidding.
11.2.2008 6:27pm
JosephSlater (mail):
LN:

LOL
11.2.2008 6:53pm
Jestak (mail):
As I pointed out in the comments to Jim Lindgren's post, the internals in today's IBD/TIPP poll show a 54-40 lead for McCain among men, which is out of line with every other poll I've seen internals for recently, including Pew, ARG, Rasmussen, R2K, and even the IBD/TIPP poll as of yesterday. It looks like an outlier.
11.2.2008 7:22pm
Angus:
Jestak,
I see what you mean. Yesterday IBD/TIPP had Obama and McCain tied among Independents. Today it's a McCain 54-40 lead. Nothing swings that quickly. That poll has been an odd duck this year.
11.2.2008 7:52pm
Angus:
Sorry, I mean from tied 46-46 among *men. To 54-40 among *men. Not independents.
11.2.2008 7:53pm
Aleks:
Re: Instead, I think that the efforts of the MSM to constantly support Obama are likely to color what respondents feel they should say to pollsters.

Why has this not been a factor in previous elections? Certainly in 2004 Kerry was the media favorite over Bush.

Everyone who posits that the polls are way wrong needs to explain why they haven't been similarly wrong in past elections (including congressional and gubernatorial elections). What would be different this time? The Bradley Effect is about the only serious possibility if the polls are wrong-- and for McCain and his supporters hoping the voters are closet racists has to be a galling branch to hang their hopes on.
11.2.2008 8:43pm
A Law Dawg:
The Bradley Effect is about the only serious possibility if the polls are wrong-- and for McCain and his supporters hoping the voters are closet racists has to be a galling branch to hang their hopes on.


The Bradley effect does not mean the respondents are racists; it means only that they are afraid of being *perceived* as racists.
11.2.2008 9:40pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
I'm not going to go into why deeply - but let me leave you with my prediction:

McCain 53 to 55% of the popular vote. 400+ electoral vote.

Short version of the reason: America is not a predominately socialist/communist country.

As to why the polls are wrong: the pollsters are cooking the books. Operation Chaos screwed voter ID numbers. Republicans don't like being polled. PUMAs are being seriously under counted.
11.2.2008 10:50pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
diversity:

I'd love to see the Obama and Palin families on "Wife Swap."


I agree. Seriously. And I think Palin is headed for her own reality show. Seriously.
11.2.2008 10:52pm
LM (mail):
M. Simon:

I'm not going to go into why deeply - but let me leave you with my prediction:

McCain 53 to 55% of the popular vote. 400+ electoral vote.

Short version of the reason: America is not a predominately socialist/communist country.

Way to veil a smear in a prediction.

As to why the polls are wrong: the pollsters are cooking the books.

Evidence?

Operation Chaos screwed voter ID numbers. Republicans don't like being polled. PUMAs are being seriously under counted.

All possible. We'll see.
11.2.2008 11:28pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
LM,

Interesting - saying America is not a "share the wealth" country is a smear. OKy doake.

Second,

How about all the predictions of Obama wins in the primaries that saw 10, 20, 30, and in some cases 40 point swings (polls vs reality) in Clinton vs Obama.

Big Obama Win Predicted.

Of course the pollsters have gotten all that fixed and now their predictions of a big Obama win are right on the mark. Why take Pennsylvania for instance. Despite a big Obama loss in the primaries, Obama has converted all those Clinton voters and Republicans and is now poised for a big win there.

Sure it is possible. What are the odds?

The polls this year are GARBAGE. Let me spell it out for you: G. A. R. B. A. G. E.

Their connection to reality is tenuous at best. The called a bunch of people. They got answers to questions. The then adjusted the numbers to match their proposed model of reality. Which is all good if their model is correct.

But suppose most of the D surge in registrations was Operation Chaos people? Those should be shifted from D to R. Or perhaps their view of defecting Democrats is about 20% of Hillary voters and it is actually 40%. Obviously if you get "too many" of them in a sample you have to scale it back 60% or 70% of that demographic.

And how about the 80% that won't answer the pollsters. Does their demographics match the 20% that do answer?

With those kind of response rates you have a self selecting sample. A no no in statistics. Not random. All opinions don't have an equal chance of being sampled. So what is the weighting for that? - And how do you randomly sample people that don't want to be sampled to find out what the bias is?

All we know is the statistical margin of error given the sample size. We know nothing about the real margin of error.
11.2.2008 11:59pm
LM (mail):
M. Simon:

Interesting - saying America is not a "share the wealth" country is a smear. OKy doake.

No. Implying Obama is a socialist or a communist is.
11.3.2008 12:05am
LM (mail):
M. Simon:

How about all the predictions of Obama wins in the primaries that saw 10, 20, 30, and in some cases 40 point swings (polls vs reality) in Clinton vs Obama.

You've swallowed some talking points without chewing thoroughly. Here's a tally of Obama's polled and actual primary results. As you can see, Obama outperformed the polling numbers.
11.3.2008 12:24am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
simon:

Interesting - saying America is not a "share the wealth" country is a smear.


Funny how Palin used essentially those exact words ("share in the wealth") to describe what she did in Alaska.
11.3.2008 12:43am
David Warner:
DavidBernstein,

"Only that in past elections, despite earlier predictions to the contrary, young people in fact didn't turn out, but they did for Obama in the primaries. The question is whether this was primarily an "Obama effect" or primarily a "let's vote against the war and Hilary voted for the war" effect. I actually think it's most the former, but there's really no way to know for sure until election day."

I think its a combination of the Millenial effect and the "thank God a post-Boomer is finally running" effect. Based on my informal small-sample size poll of college age swing state voters, Palin has cut into the latter somewhat, but they are voting.
11.3.2008 12:46am
DiversityHire:
LM, Hillary! outperformed in PA. I think McCain has seized on that as his last best shot. I also think both campaigns have internal polls that indicate the electoral race is closer than the public polls indicate. That said, I don't think the public and private polls differ in their outcomes: Obama wins with a mandate.

I don't think there's any question that McCain and Obama are both socialists. McCain's campaign is publicly funded, how's that not socialist? Sarah Palin is the populist governor of a right-wing-welfare-state; she's a socialist, too. Biden doesn't seem to have a consistent ideology but since he funds &rides AmTrak all the time, I'd say he's a socialist, too.

I don't think its a smear to call these folks what they are: socialists. None of them is a libertarian, a communist, or a fascist; just different degrees of socialist with a different notion of redistribution.
11.3.2008 12:58am
DiversityHire:
"thank God a post-Boomer is finally running"

No kidding. Two boomer presidents is two too many to take.

Whenever I hear complaints about Bill Ayers, I think "oh s*#$, here we go with the 60s and 70s again." Who cares if he was in Weather Report? So was Wayne Shorter.
11.3.2008 1:06am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
diversity:

Hillary! outperformed in PA


By 3 points. Not very meaningful.

I like the Weather Report joke.
11.3.2008 1:17am
LM (mail):

Who cares if he was in Weather Report? So was Wayne Shorter.

As was Joe Zawinul, who wrote Pharaoh's Dance for Miles Davis.

Yet people still claim Barack Obama isn't a Muslim.
11.3.2008 7:42am
JosephSlater (mail):
DiversityHire wins the thread with the Weather Report reference.

Oh, and M. Simon, let me spell another word for you: denial. That d.e.n.i.a.l.
11.3.2008 8:48am
JosephSlater (mail):
"That's"
11.3.2008 8:49am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
DiversityHire wins the thread with the Weather Report reference.


But he has some very stiff competition in the form of LM's followup.
11.3.2008 9:03am