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The Two-Track Hypothesis of Voter Decisioning

Earlier this campaign season, I began to question the polling methodology being used, especially when compared to historical norms. Polls released at the same time, claiming to use the same methodology, were publishing results well outside the range of their margins of error, demonstrating fundamental mistakes in their models. While some of those polls played fast and loose with racial, economic, and age demographics, and at least one major poll grossly over-sampled unemployed adults and another poll which had published its demographic internal data through 2006, for this election stopped revealing that data, the most common disparity between poll models has been political party affiliation. These have come in two flavors - polling groups which have oversampled democrats in the belief that democrats will dominate the actual voting to a degree not seen in most Americans' lifetimes, and polling groups which do not weight their samples for party affiliation but merely report the proportion of party affiliation of the people contacted. The first assumption is based completely on subjective prejudice and in some states is wildly variant from the actual election support from the 2006 (last federal) and 2004 (last presidential) elections. The second assumption is absurd on its face. To illustrate, I could have taken a poll at the Democratic and Republican conventions this year, and covered pretty much all of the census demographics, including gender, age, education, work background, geographic hometown, urban/suburban/rural split, religion, and so on. Yet I think we can safely say that polling only democrats or only republicans would produce a poll which would be absolutely useless in telling us how the nation really felt; political affiliation is undeniably a significant vector in voter support for a candidate. You do not have to be an expert in political analysis, to understand that democrats and republicans will overwhelmingly support their party's nominee for president, and so increasing the proportions to favor one party in representation will unavoidably skew the results in favor of that party's nominee.

I have noted before that history shows a remarkably stable proportion of party affiliation, the democrats generally outnumbering the republicans by between 2 and 4 percent. A poll, therefore, which assigns 10 to 15 percent higher participation nationally by democrats in a presidential election is simply unsupported by any historical sample in decades. This raises a valid question, though: Why then are so many people taking part in polls calling themselves democrats? The answer to this question is important to understanding not only why I believe the polls are wrong for the most part, and why the election strategies of Barack Obama and John McCain have always been different by need as well as design.

If you look at the kinds of arguments between democrats and republicans, especially between liberals and conservatives, you may note that the dialogue generally breaks down early. This is not only because common ground is so hard to find, but because the motivations are different. Someone rang a bell in my head earlier this season, when they noted that Obama supporters generally support him because of how he makes them feel. The person I was speaking with, was explaining this as one reason why Hillary Clinton did not win the primaries early on; she did not make democrats feel excited the way that Barack Obama did. I have also noted that people who are still undecided, frequently say that they have not yet made up their minds, that they have questions for which they want answers from the candidate they are considering. In a nutshell, these are the two types of decisioning with voters; some make their decision largely on emotion, while others make their decision largely on intellect. That's not a democrat/republican thing all the time, nor is it that one type produces winners more often than the other, and it's not that people are one or the other; I believe we all react both emotionally and intellectually for or against a candidate, and our personal balance makes the decision. But it does explain how support is collected for a candidate, as the emotional commitment is made far earlier than the intellectual buy-in; in fact I suspect that almost all last-minute deciders are heavily influenced by intellect rather than emotion. If a candidate is charismatic he can win over the emotional base, but an experienced candidate is more likely to claim the intellectual base. When a candidate is able to address both types well (a Reagan or an FDR, for example) then you see landslides. If a candidate is grossly unqualified in one of those venues, then he may lose in a landslide (like McGovern or Goldwater).

- continued -

If this theory is correct, then obviously Barack Obama has the advantage in emotion-based campaigning, while John McCain has the advantage in intellect-based campaigning. Obama's lack of experience makes it very difficult to build a case for him on accomplishments; he simply has no resume. McCain's lack of glamour makes it very hard for him to gain, much less hold, the attention of anyone not already inclined to give him a chance to make his case; he simply does not sparkle. The question at hand, however, is which approach is more effective in this year's campaign. The polls would seem to indicate that Obama grabbed most voters' attention, won them over, and they never gave McCain a serious look. That, however, ignores an obvious side-effect of the emotion-based voter. Pollsters this year have - among themselves - remarked about the difficulty in getting responses from people they contact. Some of this is blamed on new technology and the fact that many people spend less time at home to be contacted, but it is also an important historical fact that democrats have traditionally always been more interested in taking part in polls than republicans, and this year the emotion-based voter is much more inclined to take part in a poll to discuss how he feels, than an intellect-based voter who wants to make sure of his vote before he tells anyone else about it, and who in any case has no particular interest in talking to a stranger about how he feels. As a result, the polls may be feeding off their own assumptions, using the circular logic that the results from their skewed polls justify the bias. If I am correct, more than a few polling groups will be doing a lot of work come December and January to try to figure out what went wrong. The fact that the practices at these groups do not include applying a Deming loop, is a warning sign they missed years ago, so I am skeptical about their ability to learn. The worst-case scenario from my point-of-view, is that the effect of these invalid polls might dismay republicans enough to stay home and not vote, creating the sort of disparity in voting patterns to indicate the polls were right, so that they might never consider that their bias could be creating the effect. We shall see. Obviously, I have to admit that I could be wrong, so in the event that Obama wins all 60 of the states he calls America (where he gets the additional ten states, he has never made clear), I will be reviewing my own work in the interest of honesty and that same Deming loop I was just talking about.

I would like to make a few points in closing this article. If I am wrong and Obama is really crushing McCain, there are certain indicators which will show this. First, the early voting should be much, much heavier among democrats than republicans, and the youth vote we heard so much about should be a big part of the early voting. Second, we should start to see pan-demographic support in the polls for Obama in all geographic and age groups, since this happened in Reagan's 1984, Nixon's 1972, and Johnson's 1964 landslide victories. And third, since Obama enjoys strong support in heavy-population states like New York and California, if he is going to collect 340 or more electoral votes, we should see evidence indicating he will reach 57 or 58 percent popular support nationally. Conversely, strong republican turnout in early voting is an indicator of stronger McCain support than has been indicated. If McCain continues to hold support in the same demographic groups he held in mid-September, again this indicates a much closer race, and since so many of the "red" states are less dense in population, any indication of a close popular race would support expectation of a close electoral race as well, since McCain could strategically win the electoral race as Bush did in 2000, with less popular support nationally than Obama but winning the necessary electoral votes.


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Comments (35)

DJ,I think you're ... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

DJ,

I think you're asking for trouble when you write;

"First, the early voting should be much, much heavier among democrats than republicans, and the youth vote we heard so much about should be a big part of the early voting."

It's my firm belief that no matter what, the Democrats on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and just about every other Obama arm on the airwaves will be reporting by the time I'm eating my breakfast on election day that Obama has not only already won, but he's so far ahead in the exit polls that it's going to be a disaster for Republicans.

It's also my firm belief that this will be as true this year as it was in 2004.

Didn't I see a link on Drud... (Below threshold)
Carol:

Didn't I see a link on Drudge that Gallup says early voting is about even Dem vs Rep, so far at least?

What most don't remember ab... (Below threshold)
Hestrold:

What most don't remember about 2006 was that it was not a landslide for Democrats, that it was a point or two that tossed the House and Senate to the Democrats. When they say party affiliation this time is 5%, 8%, that is just nonsense. Even in a landslide election the skew doesn't go off that far. Instead what happens, is that some of one party break and vote for the other party. They don't go in, change their registrations and become something they are not.

Also still curious about how many Republicans changed registration to help in the Operation Chaos effort.

Extremely well reaso... (Below threshold)
Larry:


Extremely well reasoned DJ. First class work. I would like to add only one thing; infatuation based voting. There is a tail off on this one because the associated brain chemicall, just, well, dies.

So you might find early emotional supporters of Obama rethinking their position and probably not going to the polls. This is going to be strongest in the young demographic.

That's it. My hat is off to you on the rest of your analysis.

And of course, whoever can get the most of their supporters to the polls, wins.

I like FiveThirtyEight's "W... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

I like FiveThirtyEight's "Win Percentage" which has been slowly edging up the last couple of days:

currently it's at 95.7%

"How is Win Probability determined? By simulating the election 10,000 times each day by means of a Monte Carlo analysis, based on the current Projection in each state. The simulation accounts for the following properties:

(i) That the true margin of error of a poll is much higher than the sampling error, especially when the poll is taken long before the election.

(ii) That polling movement between different states tends to be correlated based on the demographics in those states."

What I haven't heard to muc... (Below threshold)
MPR:

What I haven't heard to much about in the media is the Democrats for McCain. It's not that they like McCain as much as they are against Obama. The PUMA's and like groups are going to have an impact on the election. How much remains to seen but, it might not take much.

Unlike elections in recent ... (Below threshold)
Captain America:

Unlike elections in recent history, there are still a very large number of the electorate who will vote but remain undecided.

You can see how this is playing out by the Obama (D-ACORN) campaign. Axelrod employed the same approach with Deval Patrick.

First, he queues up defecting republicans, Gen. Powell, etc. etc. and stages the timing of their endorsements to be daily announcements as we approach the election date.

Then, he promotes the inevitability or "bandwagon effect" to influence the undecideds to join their cause. Everyone wants to ally with a winner goes the logic. It's a common marketing ploy.

Then, look for all his surrogates to increasing promote the idea of looking beyond this election as this one has already been decided. You see that in the leaking of a Obama inaugural speech being prepared, the election celebration in Grant Park, and the like.

Adriane, three questions ab... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Adriane, three questions about 538:

1. What was his specific prediction in 2004, and where is this objectively documented?

2. What is his track record for predictions in all past federal elections, and where is that objectively documented?

3. The monte carlo analysis is only valid by compensating for all historical and empirical variables. Simply running the same scenario thousands of times is not sufficient, nor is it generally useful in experiments involving human behavior (no deterministic algorithm exists in that context). How then does 538 apply the monte carlo simulation method effectively to a condition which is unprecedented in some of its variables, and which has heretofore never produced a viable probabilistic analog?

DJ A very good and r... (Below threshold)
Dogs of War:

DJ
A very good and reasoned article but one thing you for got to mention was McCain does have the emotion-based campaigning in one named Palin. A lot of her supporters are emotionally tied to her.

Conservatives generally don... (Below threshold)
Jamie R.:

Conservatives generally don't fall in love with their candidates they fall in line. I predict this will happen again in this election. Polls show that a large percentage (60%+) of people believe the media is biased, I think this will make them want to vote even more, and specifically against the media bias. At the core I still think people remember the America of rugged individualism and this will carry the day and McCain over the line.

[6] MPR: I agree that we've... (Below threshold)
DougS:

[6] MPR: I agree that we've heard strangely little about the PUMAs. Clearly, there were Hillary supporters who were very upset about how the primaries went, and I can't believe that they have all shrugged it off and fallen into line in the meantime. All it will take is a small number of them in a battleground state or two to have an influence on the outcome; it doesn't have to be a mass movement.

[10] Jamie R., let's not forget either that Americans like to root for the underdog. McCain and Palin are the underdogs now, and systemic media bias has only made them even bigger, more obvious underdogs. So I tend to agree with you there. I think the genius of choosing Palin was that picking on her was bound to seem to many people like picking on Mom and Apple Pie, and not just to conservatives, either.

538 is bogus.All o... (Below threshold)
arrowhead:

538 is bogus.

All of their "Projections.Done.Right." nonsense is based on the polls that DJ and others have spent the last two months debunking. You can come up with all of the different electoral college projections in the world, but if you're basing it on bogus polling data, your "simulations" are worthless.

Let's get our passports now... (Below threshold)
Bill Eggert:

Let's get our passports now! We may need to leave the country before exit visas are no longer available from the new Nobamacommunist gummint! I hear they may round all of us conservatives and republicans up and shoot us!

I'm so frightened I don't know what to do!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K...h? v=KF5ZkgNNBQE

<a href="http://www.gallup.... (Below threshold)
Rndguy:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/111430/Early-Voting-Now-11-Could-Reach-30.aspx


So this chart by Gallup gives me hope. Each canidate is showing about the same support in early voting.

Which means DJ may be right on the money that the party ID will range from 3-6% this year and may confirm that his hypothosis is correct!

The biggest difference I saw was the amount of McCain supporters who will vote on election day.

Colorado is reporting that both parties are about even in early voting.

http://hillbuzz.wordpress.com/2008/10/24/bad-news-for-obama-in-colorado-early-voting/

Boy I tell you what DJ I think you are in the wrong line of business.

Keep up the good work and thank you for giving me anaylsis that is logical and helped me knife through the daily media montra that it is over when it ISN'T!

I think that bradley affect... (Below threshold)
retired military:

I think that bradley affect will be in play as well.

I called my mother who is a LIFELONG democrat. I asked who she was voting for and she said that she is voting for VP this year not President and that she was voting for Biden. I talked to her for about 5 min about what an Obama presidency would do to the country and she stated she would be voting republican at least for the Presidential ticket and democrat for the rest.

I feel that there are quite a few democrats like this out there and it wont take much for them to switch their presidential vote at least.

And yes as much as I hate to admit it my mother is somewhat racist and whereas I didnt use race to get her to switch her vote it wasnt that hard to convince her.

Rather than ever getting ar... (Below threshold)
Herman:

Rather than ever getting around to answering the question he posed some time ago in a previous post -- who would Jesus torture? -- Mr. Drummond prefers to continue to try to trick Republicans into thinking that McCain has a chance. Well, DJ, if this is what you TRULY believe, why don't you PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS? That is to say, the Iowa Electronic Markets are offering like 6 to 1 on McCain, that is you for every $500 you bet on McCain, you get $3,000 in profit when McCain wins!!! Have you made such a speculative investment on McCain, DJ??? YES OR NO??? The answer is "No," isn't it, DJ, because you know that far sharper minds than yours are running the polling organizations.

*******************************************************************
To any Europeans out there: on behalf of the United States I kneel before you and apologize to you for the past 8 years. On November 5th, the worldwide celebrations begin!!!

I do believe that there was... (Below threshold)
RichardP:

I do believe that there was also a report somewhere about Gallup's response rate, where 80+% of those called aren't responding to the pollsters. If this is indeed the case, then the voters that are emotionally tied to their candidate will clearly be the ones most likely to respond.

I think this easily ties in with this article. Here in Tampa, where in '04 and '00 signage was typically about 3:2 Bush to Kerry/Gore, signage has been extremely one way - McCain/Palin. I drive by a ton of homes to and from work. In the '04 election, a good 15-20% of them had signs. Now only about 5% have signs, and they are 20:1 McCain/Palin vs Obama. I'm rather amazed at this. Even neighborhoods that have historically been heavily Democrat have few if any Obama signs with a bunch of McCain/Pailin signs up (funny how the Obama signs just say Obama and the McCain signs have the whole ticket...hmmm...).

All the anecdotal evidence points to a big McCain win, in my opinion, but we'll see. There are bastions where Obama is going to be very strong, but I think his appeal is nowhere near what the media is portraying.

Early voting in Nort... (Below threshold)
Larry:


Early voting in North Carolina indicates a heavy outpouring of blacks. It is something like 210K versus 179K ratio.

Well, I have been telling p... (Below threshold)
sjh:

Well, I have been telling pollsters "Last I heard it is still a secret ballot" before I hang up. And being an unaffiliated voter in battleground Colorado, I have had quite a few this season.

I wouldn't believe any of t... (Below threshold)
Rndguy:

I wouldn't believe any of those investment bookie organizations at all.

The facts are too hard for you to handle, then you may not want to watch election returns on Nov. 4th.

Here is my four prong reasoning (if you are willing to listen)

1) Operation Chaos.....This was done by Rush's listeners to keep Hillary in the race. When Repubs switched to Dem in the open primaries, this caused an increase in Dem registrations. This increase in Dem registration was reported as "enthusiasm". IT WAS NOTHING OF THE SORT.
Most of these Repubs did not switchback. Therefore there is still an increase in Dem registration which in turn causes pollsters to wrongly think there is more Dems ready to vote than Repubs. That is why they are overweighting to the Dems.

2) Oversampling in the Northeast and West. I stated in an earlier post that 35% of the Electoral Votes needed to win are in the Central Plains. A couple of the internals I have read only sample 7% max. of the population in the Central Plains (where I live). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that is out of whack.

3) Real facts on the ground support DJ's hypothisis...Colorado early voting is so far even to a slight edge to the Repubs. http://hillbuzz.wordpress.com/2008/10/24/bad-news-for-obama-in-colorado-early-voting/

Gallup has the same model. http://www.gallup.com/poll/111430/Early-Voting-Now-11-Could-Reach-30.aspx

4) Zogby slammed earlier last week that the AP and (I think IBD/TIPP) poll got it wrong with a one point lead. However Zogby must have changed their party weighting because yesterday they came to a 49-46 Obama split. This is after Zogby for most of the week has been running 10-12 points Obama. There is NO reason for a staticical model to range from 3-12 points in a 7 day period unless you change your internal formulas. Again any lay person can figure out that with a spread like that in 7 days there is volatility in the statistical models and a resulting problem in the results.

Herman's complete attack mode here makes me feel some Dem's must be nervous, very nervous in fact. That they must use such forcefull language because we will not capitulate to the collective.

Herman don't go here either, becuase your head will explode.

http://hillbuzz.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/hey-eeyores-another-take-on-those-polls/

In our history we have never had such a stimulating presidential election.

1) First African-American major party nominee.

2) First conservative female VP nominee.

There is simply no historcal statistical model for this situation. That is why you are seeing a 4-14 point spread in the polling. I go with people who have done it right. IBD/TIPP is the poll I will watch the most. It had the 2004 election within .4%.

Real pollsters know what is going on.

http://hillbuzz.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/hey-eeyores-another-take-on-those-polls/

If Obama has a 55% chance to win PA, then he is in trouble. He can't win the White House without PA, even if McCain gives back CO(questionable), NM and IA (likely). There is no way.

That is why Obama is brining out Bill...Which I have a hard time racking my brain the last person where Bill campaigned for actually got elected (absent the primaries of course).

There is good factual basis for the anaylsis done by DJ. And it is more logical than placing a bet based off odds.

RichardP. I think... (Below threshold)
Rndguy:

RichardP.

I think that is why the media is beating the Obama drum, because they have the same feeling you do!

Herman said"To any E... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Herman said
"To any Europeans out there: on behalf of the United States I kneel before you and apologize to you for the past 8 years. On November 5th, the worldwide celebrations begin!!!
"

That is a good place for you Herman. They wont have to put you on your knees before they cut your head off you are already there.

A point of personal observa... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

A point of personal observation: I early voted and noticed that other than one young woman the average age of the voters was roughly 60. I live in a town with a rough population split of 55 White 40 Black and 5 Latino. The voters in line with me were roughly 3:1 White/Black. My coworker who voted after work noted the line was shorter and the ethnic mix was nearly 50-50. I estimate that county wide it will be McCain with 55%, which is just about what Bush had in '04.

Pretty good piece, DJ, thou... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

Pretty good piece, DJ, though those lengthy paragraphs are hard on these allergy-ridden eyes. If you're correct, I'll be the first liberal over here to say congrats.

And for the record, my support for Sen. Obama has nothing to do with how he makes me 'feel.'

DJ,I believe you sai... (Below threshold)
MPR:

DJ,
I believe you said Zogby and IBD polls were the most accurate in 04'. This has got to be giving the Obambi campaign heart burn. This reported this morning by Reuters.

By Andrew Quinn

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama's lead over Republican rival John McCain has dropped to 5 points, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Sunday.

Obama leads McCain by 49 percent to 44 percent among likely U.S. voters in the daily tracking poll, which has a margin of error of 2.9 points. Obama's lead has dropped over the last three days after hitting a high of 12 points on Thursday.

"Things are trending back for McCain. His numbers are rising and Obama's are dropping on a daily basis. There seems to be a direct correlation between this and McCain talking about the economy," pollster John Zogby said.

So why would the early voti... (Below threshold)
Ed:

So why would the early voting polling not show the same wild swings as the national polls showing Obama with the lead?

Simple:

The national polls are weighted (as DJ has pointed out countless times).

But these early voter pattern polls are asking for D-R and not weighting anything.

This would point towards the credibility of DJ's arguements, that the weighting of the daily polls is WAY slanted to Dems.

Why do Republicans get depr... (Below threshold)
Hestrold:

Why do Republicans get depressed so easily? The last landslide Democrats had was LBJ. Carter squeaked in after Watergate. Clinton became President because of the weasel from Texas, H. Ross Perot. Clinton won comfortably against Bob Dull, but no landslide. Bush beat Gore in an upbeat economy. Bush won a second time after everybody was suffering Iraq fatigue. In 2006 Republicans lost an average amount of seats for that part of the cycle.

Obama is favored to win. Okay. But there are too many variables to make any polls worthwhile.

Racism will definitely ente... (Below threshold)
rls:

Racism will definitely enter into this election...that is, AA racists that are voting for Obama strictly because he is black. He will probably carry over 95% of the AA vote, getting about 6-8% more than Kerry got in 2004. AA's make up about 11% of the population, so I don't think that, though racism is a determining factor in voting, it will be a determining factor in the results.

I think the big factor is going to be the turnout of the PUMA's and other disaffected Dems. They are vehemently against Obama, not just for McCain. Add in the fact that they adore Palin and you will see a large percentage of Dems voting the Republican ticket. Remember that Hillary got 18 million votes in the primary.

RLS...good point about the ... (Below threshold)
Rndguy:

RLS...good point about the PUMA's. It is curious to me how the mantra has stopped from the media telling us how many Hillary supporters will vote for Obama. I haven't heard it in a couple (maybe three) weeks.

Things that make you hummmmmmmmm!

I hope all conservative lea... (Below threshold)
Terry:

I hope all conservative leaning people will get out and vote and take two people with them. I have never believed these polls, as they are way to volatile. The undecided will go for McCain I believe and there may be a Bradley effect. But we need to vote!

I like the idea behind Five... (Below threshold)
Lummox JR:

I like the idea behind FiveThirtyEight's analysis, but how can it be valid if the data on which it relies is highly suspect? It's not enough to merely "account for" a higher margin of error and other influences on the polls; it has been demonstrated that the polls are statistically invalid on many levels. At best you can try to reverse-bias the polls like DJ has done by adjusting their results to actual historical norms, but even there he said the outcome is unreliable because the source data is just no darn good.

Rndguy's link to the HillBuzz article was highly illuminating. I do wonder if even that pollster was able to get any kind of accurate results, with this election being so unprecedented, but it sounds like that company made a good stab at accuracy. I'm curious to see if that analysis holds up a week from now.

Like so many past elections have showed, the polls have to be taken with a grain of salt. This time around, I think we need to unscrew the cap on the shaker and pour away. Whether the anecdotal evidence toward a big McCain win will stand up to the reality of the voting booth I don't know, but I think it has at least as much basis in reality as the national polls. What I would like to know is DJ's take on a question closer to me: What are the actual chances that New York is in play?

If McCain does win big it w... (Below threshold)
retired military:

If McCain does win big it will serve to open a lot of folks eyes that the media and the pollsters are very biased left. Of course the polls will start to tighten the last 3 or 4 days to try to save them semblance of face if McCain wins big.

Rndguy,I ... (Below threshold)

Rndguy,

I stated in an earlier post that 35% of the Electoral Votes needed to win are in the Central Plains. A couple of the internals I have read only sample 7% max. of the population in the Central Plains (where I live). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that is out of whack.

I think your "Central Plains" analysis of the GWU poll has some serious flaws.

1) Arithmetic: You said, "I live in the 'Central Plains'. I define that as IA (7), MN (10), SD (3), ND (3), WI (10), NE (5), MO (11), IL (21) and KS (6). Total 95 Electoral votes or 35% of the total to win."
You list 9 states as part of the Central Plains with 7, 10, 3, 3, 10, 5, 11, 21, and 6 points. That totals to 7+10 (17)+3(20)+3(23)+10(33)+5(38)+11(49)+21(70)+6=76. You somehow got 95. That is not correct and throws off the rest of your analysis. 76 is 28% of 270, not 35%, as you claim. I should also add that you said, "I am not a statistical genius, but I can add, multiply and divide fairly well." I'll give you half credit for the first part of that statement.

2) Logical: You said, "So..with 35% of the EV total, the "Central Plains" were only 7% of the sample." Here, you are equating "35% of the EV total" with "35% of the total to win." They are not the same. You would expect a poll to sample the Central Plains as a percentage of the total representation, not what is needed to win. Therefore, correcting the calculation above to 76, we should use 538 as the EV total, so your Central Plains represents 14% of the EV total.

3) Assumptive:You defined the "Central Plains" above. The link you gave did not explain what the poll was defining as the "Central Plains", so you seem to simply be assuming that your definition is the same as the GWU definition. The "Great Plains" or "West North Central States" are defined by the Census Bureau as seven states: IA (7), MN (10), SD (3), ND (3), NE (5), MO (11), and KS (6). That is 45 EV. Using that instead of 76, we get 8%, which is very close to their 7% representation. Illinois and Wisconsin are almost surely considered as part of the Midwest region in this poll, along with Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan (East North Central States).

4) Interpretive: You are trying to interpret this as an electoral vote poll, not a popular vote poll. The actual total of the seven states I have listed is very close to 7% of the population of the US. Of course, popular vote does not determine the election, as we saw in 2000, but is what this poll was measuring. Trying to make it an electoral vote poll is misinterpreting it.


DJ,If you're still... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

DJ,

If you're still reading this thread, i'd love for your comments on this:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/111430/Early-Voting-Now-11-Could-Reach-30.aspx

I read it three times after reading through Peter Lawler's comment over at No Left Turns. It was:

Gallup tells us that the early voting has mirrored very closely the national polls. That means Obama isn't doing as well as some feared. But it also means he already has a 7 to 9 lead, and those who've voted can't change their minds.

He doesn't provide a link but i'm guessing he's getting his information from that link I provided.

I've read it several times but still can't see how it gets his conclusion, or how Gallup gets theres.

First, Gallup claims:


At this point, there is little significant difference in the propensity to vote early between the Obama supporters and the McCain supporters interviewed in the aggregated sample of all interviews conducted from last Friday through Wednesday (among whom an average of 9% said they had already voted).

Ok, this says to me that if they interview 100 Obama supports and 50 McCain supports, the same percent of those supports said they voted early. So far so good.

Then Gallup says:

Obama has been ahead in Gallup Poll Daily tracking conducted while these data were being gathered. Thus, while equal percentages of Obama and McCain voters have voted early, there are more of the former than of the latter, meaning that early voting generally reflects the same Obama lead evident in the overall sample.

This is where I get confused.

Are there more Obama supporters than McCain supports because they've weighted for that. In other words, there are more Obama supporters than McCain supporters because they say there are?

Or, is someone actually counting votes somewhere already and truely Obama is getting more votes than McCain?

How can they be making these statements with a straight face:

Thus, if McCain gains rapidly in the days left, Obama benefits, since Obama can't lose votes he has already received. If McCain loses support rapidly, Obama will not have the chance to pick up even more support from those who have already voted.

That honestly made me laugh.

Only a polling group could somehow think it benefits McCain to lose support while somehow gaining support benefits Obama.

Is this a joke?

Kneel before the Euros? </p... (Below threshold)

Kneel before the Euros?

I thought our ancestors left that place because they were tired of kneeling.

I suspect Mr. Herman is no American. No matter where he was born.




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