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Primaries, Polls, and Position = Potential Problems?

The polls this year are a bit strange. Real Clear Politics shows McCain leading Romney in ten out of eleven states going into Super Tuesday, where twenty-one states will hold a caucus or primary to choose the Republican nominee for President. This would appear to be a commanding lead for McCain, and many pundits have gone so far as to claim the race is already over. What's odd about that, is that discussions with Republicans shows a strong distaste in the party for McCain as the nominee, and many people have insisted they would never vote for McCain. So, how is it that the polls say something which is so different from sentiment among real people? Is there a 'silent majority' for McCain? Is there an effort by the polls to get McCain nominated? Is someone lying? On the available evidence and the history of past elections, the answer to all three questions would appear to be 'no'.

To examine this farther, let's look at California's primary, where 173 delegates are at stake. That's more than twice what any of the delegates has right now, and it's the richest prize in Super Tuesday's fat wallet of nomination support. RCP's average shows McCain 5.0 percentage points ahead of Romney.

But when we look a bit closer, a different picture begins to appear. The RCP average is built from the major polls taken between January 29 and February 2; of those McCain's range of support runs from 32% (Rasmussen) to 40% (Mason-Dixon), while Romney's range of support runs from 24% (Field) to 37% (Reuters/CSpan/Zogby), which creates a statistical overlap of 66% (McCain has a 9-point range of support, but only the top 3% is higher than poll numbers reached by Romney in the same period). This is important, because polls are not static conditions but fluid; they change all the time, and a report from a polling agency is a snapshot of one look from one perspective - this is one reason why different polls will report different results, even when using the same methodology. Also, it should be observed that while McCain has the lead in California in 4 of the 5 polls used by RCP for their current average, the poll with the highest number of respondents and therefore the lowest statistical margin of error (the Reuters/CSpan/Zogby poll, with 1185 Likely Voters; the next highest is Rasmussen with only 652 Likely Voters), shows Romney leading McCain in California 37% to 34%. That poll is also the most recent.

I am not going to jump to conclusions from the Reuters/CSpan/Zogby poll, however, for a number of reasons. First, while I am confident that the major polls are doing their best to produce an authentic reflection of voter sentiment, it is never a good idea to depend on just one poll for your conclusions. Also, the R/C/Z poll notes that 13% of the voters are undecided, which is far greater than the difference spanning the two top candidates. Also, I have found in years past that no matter what the stated margin of error is, an analyst should not regard any poll as a significant indicator, when the margin between two candidates is 3 points or less. That's not only because the margin of error is often that large or greater, but also because fluctuations in support can - even in a short time - change the picture substantially. And in the case of the California primary, there is another detail which drastically damages the validity of any poll reported up to now; the congressional district allocation of delegates.

[] -- continued - []

Here's the thing; the primary will award 173 delegates, which makes California arguably the most important state in the primary campaign. But the candidate who gets the most votes in California does not get all of those 173 delegates, at least not just because he has the most votes in the state. In fact, it is completely possible that a candidate could "win" California through popular support, but claim fewer delegates than an opponent. This is because the delegates are awarded in California on a congressional district basis. Each district will tally up its results and award delegates on the basis, solely, from that district's election results. That makes California not one state primary, but in real practice it is 53 separate mini-primaries, which collectively will award the delegates. Anyone familiar with California knows that there are liberal areas of the state, and there are conservative areas of the state, and there are nutjob areas of the state; it would be hopelessly naïve for anyone to expect one candidate to win in every one of the congressional districts. The results of the primary are far too complex for opinion polling to give a clear and confident answer about who will claim the most delegates there.

Why don't the media, or even the polls, tell you this? Because they are in the media business. Polling groups exist not just to collect and analyze data for their clients (who, by the way, are not the general public - you should always be wary of any information you get from a for-profit group for free), but to build their company name and sell attention. A poll which never says anything unexpected or controversial will never gain prominence. Also, the media in general makes its living by making clear statements. They would much rather sell a good story and admit later that they were wrong (like New Hampshire's primary this year), than admit how much of their predictions are pure guesswork and assumption. The idea is to keep you interested. This is why stories about Britney outnumber stories about Darfur, for example.

I'd like to finish with a final caveat about the polls. The best poll I have ever seen, based on its methodology, its transparency of procedure, and its explanation of results, is the Gallup poll. However, even the Gallup poll has limits to how good its data can be found. In discussing its methodology of recent primary polling, Gallup reported the following Methodology in its daily tracking polls:

"Methodology: Gallup is interviewing 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide each day during 2008. The results reported here are based on combined data from Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2008, including interviews with 1,080 Republican and Republican-leaning voters, and 1,205 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters."

The significance of that note comes from close examination of the statements. The respondents are not registered voters, or people who voted in the last election. In fact, to reach enough people for their poll results, the Republican and Democrat results are, well, diluted a bit to include "Republican-leaning" and "Democrat-leaning", which when you think about it can be said to mean independents, and people who do not normally vote because they do not identify with either party's values enough to call themselves Republican or Democrat directly. Thus, even the Gallup poll cannot be said to cleanly reflect the sentiments and opinions of mainstream Republicans and Democrats. Given the way the primaries are set up, these 'Republican-leaning' voters and 'Democrat-leaning' voters may be able to vote in their state's caucus or primary, but history shows that people who do not strongly identify with a party or candidate are generally unlikely to take the time and trouble to vote. This is a final and significant point to consider when applying opinion poll reports to a projection of a primary election.


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Comments (38)

DJ "Ostrich" Drummond, you ... (Below threshold)

DJ "Ostrich" Drummond, you forgot to mention the ABC/Washington Post poll released today that says:
"McCain leads former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney 48 percent to 24 percent among probable GOP voters.."

How do you explain that? No let me. All those "probable GOP voters" are really liberal independents that just want to f-u over.

DJ:First, while... (Below threshold)
ryan a:


First, while I am confident that the major polls are doing their best to produce an authentic reflection of voter sentiment, it is never a good idea to depend on just one poll for your conclusions.

Definitely. And this same kind of rationale should be applied to news, IMO. Never formulate all of your opinions based upon a single source. Not really a good idea.

Polls and other statistical means of predicting what people are going to do are by nature limited. They can be useful, but they can also be misleading.

If polls were as accurate as the actual vote, then we wouldn't have to actually go vote. But we do, and there are always surprises...because samples and statistical projections are just that.

Projections and samples.

You know Barney, if you not... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

You know Barney, if you note something on the internet, you should provide a link. I did you the favor of finding that poll.


ABC notes the poll was of 1,249 adults nationally, including an "oversample of 215 black respondents". The poll, as I noted of others, includes Independents with Republicans as "Leaners" if they say that's how they go. Again, these are not "likely voters", not "registered voters", nor do they confirm that they voted in the last election, or that they historically vote at all, much less as the party to which questions they answer. ABC even admits in the text that they included independents as "leaners".

Further, a national poll has little bearing on primary results, unless you assume that the primary voters will vote acording to who is ahead in a poublished poll. Each state has its own issues and perspective, which is why different candidates have won different states. None of the GOP candidates is really out of the race just now, unless his name is Ron Paul.

Now, I thought Question 16 was fascinating. It shows that 38% of McCain supporters say their support is strong, while 43% of Romney supporters say they strongly support him.

Also, in any statistics it is important to note outliers. A poll which shows Romney ahead of McCain outside the margin of error would be an outlier, but so would a poll which claims a 2-to-1 advantage in support, on no apparent cause for the sudden change, in just one poll.

I also found it interesting that the ABC poll indicated that more people liekd the idea of Bill Clinton back in the White House (Question 35) than not, and that most people in the poll felt that Bill Clinton's campaign tactics have been "positive" (Question 36). That, I dare say, is at variance with the common sentiment.

The poll and its claims are therefore suspect at best.

As usual Barney, you are all anal and no analysis.

"...it is never a good idea... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

"...it is never a good idea to depend on just one poll for your conclusions."

The problem with the RCP average (and why this form of interpretation is highly inaccurate) is that they so often mix dated results and compromise their pool. For example, in their Georgia average, they are still including a dated Rasmussen poll that had Huckabee up by 15 percent, but that was taken before McCain's huge win in Florida. The more recent polls have McCain establishing a solid lead there, but their "average" still has Huckabee up by almost 6 points because they include irrelevent data.

I do believe one can achieve rather accurate interpretations by identifying the best pollsters and ignoring the bad ones. Over the past decade, Rasmussen and Mason/Dixon have shown to be the most reliable and tend to trend in unison. This is important in detecting last-minute moves. Other pollsters such as ARG and Gallup have yielded atrociously unreliable results over the past few elections (always skewed to direction most favorable to the liberal agenda) and should be interpreted accordingly.

As for Tuesday, all this hype about the Romney vs. McCain race has masked the fact that iMike Huckabee has the better opportunity to at least slow down the McCain express. Should Huckabee pull upsets in states like Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri and Alabama, then McCain's invincibility may be called into question and upcoming primaries in Ohio and Texas may prove very important. However, if the more likely scenario plays out and McCain ekes out narrow wins over Huckabee in these southern states, he will have such a commanding lead in delegates (over 800) that the rest of the race will be a foregone conclusion. Interestingly, it is NOT Romney, but Huckabee who holds the strongest hope of throwing a stick into McCain's spokes. For this reason, I find it most curious that the Republican establishment has been calling for Huckabee's withdrawal from the race. Moreover, if Huckabee is supposedly sapping votes from Romney, then why was he cast aside as being too liberal?

As for interpreting the latest poll numbers, McCain's leads in the southern states are precarious, but we are just not seeing enough movement in any particular direction... and undecideds tend to side with the frontrunner at the last minute.

Ostrich, you left off a few... (Below threshold)

Ostrich, you left off a few key facts:
1) The black oversampling was weighted back to national averages. That is what they do in polls and surveys it is call weighting the results.

2) These results are supported by the previous results that show a clear trend with McCain gaining in the polls (10% Dec, 30% Jan and 48% Feb)

3) If you are given a choice between voting preference of republican or Democrat why would you "lean" the other way? It makes no sense. Do you really think a liberal independent would say I am leaning towards voting republican when they know the options and are planning on voting for Hillary or Obama?

DJ Drummond, from this arti... (Below threshold)

DJ Drummond, from this article:

many people have insisted they would never vote for McCain

DJ Drummond from "The Base"

We see this, among Conservatives, in those spittle-flecked individuals who cannot stand the President the nation twice elected, or their party members in Congress, to such a degree that many among them openly suggest that abandoning the party and leaving the fate of the nation in the hands of the likes of Pelosi and Reid, of Murtha and Byrd, somehow is desirable. It's the political version of the insane man who kills his wife to prove he loves her. And yet, these guys not only believe that doing everything they can to spite their own party is somehow noble, they also claim to represent the nation as a whole. They claim that they are "the base", and routinely assure us that no candidate can win without their support. Utter dreck, but it's a common meme.

I think this part of your reasoning from "The Base" article is still valid, if you just replace "the President the nation twice elected" with "John McCain". If McCain is the nominee, then then hard right conservatives such as yourself are left with the choice of getting behind McCain or "leaving the fate of the nation in the hands of the likes of Pelosi and Reid, of Murtha and Byrd" and I think that is a lot more unpalatable to hard right conservatives than it is to moderates.

Back to Super Tuesday, I made my predictions for that contest and gave my methodology here. I know you're taking the under on McCain, given your previous prediction that McCain "will never gain the GOP nomination", but I'd like to see what your claimed understanding of statistics will help you come up with.

Joe, you're mixing two diff... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Joe, you're mixing two different kinds of campaigns. The General Election operates under much different conditions than do the Primaries. The fact here is that while McCain enjoys broader poll support, that support is based on the assumption that 'leaners', including independents and people who are not sure if they will vote but who lean his way. Romney has largely secured the support of 'strong conservative' Republicans from what I see in the state polls, and they are more likely to vote than the leaners are, but he does not have much support from the independents. It also hurts Romney that some conservatives still support Huckabee, and in some cases will vote for someone out of the race, like Tancredo or Thompson, in an effort to 'send a message'.

I am too busy with my medical treatment, work, and school to do a proper work-up of the Super Tuesday projections. It's a futile effort in general to try to apply a standard method to caucuses anyway, and the differing nature of the various primaries makes it a mammoth task to project them all in advance. Obviously, I expect McCain to do well in New York and the Northeast, just as I expect Romney to do well in the South and West. What I have done here, and I want to be clear on that point, is to reject the national projections, especially the outliers, because national popularity is not a reflection of the state primaries themselves. Huckabee took one caucus, McCain took three states and Romney another three. That's where things stand right now. Granted, Florida is an important win for McCain, because it was the first state all the candidates really wanted, but even so it's small beans compared to the stakes coming up on Tuesday.

Since the polling in each state shows no candidate at or above 50%, I take that as a signal that the Super Tuesday results will also split; that is, as big as Super Tuesdsay is, the three main GOP candidates will all still be in the hunt after February 5.

Barney, that 3rd-grade educ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Barney, that 3rd-grade education has just not equipped you for critical analysis. To your points:

1. They oversampled. Weighting does not "correct" oversampling, but actually creates a double bias, following one assumption with another, and by so doing reducing the impetus of an untainted pool;

2. You continue to depend on one poll only, and to ignore that it's respondent pool does not match the primary demographics;

3. In at least two of the states McCain won (NH and Fla), exit polling showed that some Democrats had supported McCain in the primary, either because they wanted to influence the outcome of the primary, or because they were undecided on the Democrat side. There remain numerous loopholes which allow people to vote in an opposing party's primary. You either forgot about primary history, or you are arguing through your ass again. Or both.

What really kills off Mitt ... (Below threshold)

What really kills off Mitt and all his fans is that, because Republicans readily embrace unfairness, so many states are "Winner take all [of the delegates]" (rather than proportional allocation), and McCain just so happens to be ahead in states of this type. Example: McCain will gain more net delegates from winner-take-all New York, than Romney would gain from California, even if Romney should win the latter, much more populous state. Indeed, I believe McCain has already won one huge Winner-take-all, Florida. Moral of the story: if you don't like strange results, if you want a candidate that best represents the will of those who vote, DON'T WEIGH ONE VOTER'S VOTE MORE HEAVILY THAN THAT OF ANOTHER!

DJ, I'm regularly surprised... (Below threshold)

DJ, I'm regularly surprised at Barney's willingness to repeatedly demonstrate his lack of fundamental understanding of whatever he comments upon.

Two words can change things... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Two words can change things, Herman: Brokered convention.

Joe, you're mixing... (Below threshold)
Joe, you're mixing two different kinds of campaigns. The General Election operates under much different conditions than do the Primaries.
How am I doing that? My predictions for Super Tuesday are based on the primaries and how they work. My only general election discussion was to point out that your previous analysis is preparing to turn those who dislike McCain into "spittle-flecked" "insane" "haters" IF he wins the nomination and they stay home then. Until then, I would certainly encourage them and you to vote for the candidate that they think is the best in the primaries. I'd prefer that McCain win the nomination without their support. In fact, I'd prefer that he win it with their active opposition, only that they come around for the general election for the reasons you laid out 6+ months ago when you were sure that the nominee would have to be someone you didn't actively dislike.

As for the primaries, your analysis of said primaries has thus far led you to conclude that McCain would never be the nominee (i.e. that there was no possible set of circumstances that would lead to this) and that Giuliani and Thompson (the conservative's choice) still had a chance in this race on 1/20.

For the record, I don't think that the nomination battle will be over on Tuesday, either, but I think we'll have a pretty clear picture of what's likely at that point. If McCain gets over 50% of the delegates awarded and Romney get's 30% or less, as I am predicting, it's going to be really tough (but not impossible) for Romney to come back.

Hey Ostrich, even you would... (Below threshold)

Hey Ostrich, even you would agree that over sampling blacks would affect the democrat results more than the republican, so your argument does not apply to the republican results.

If weighting created a double bias (what ever that means) why is the margin of error only 4/5 points?

If weighting skews the results, why do they do it?

It is not just one poll but the trend from the two prior polls that add validity to the results.

But hey, Romney really cleaned clock in Main.

How could any moderates and... (Below threshold)

How could any moderates and liberals backs war monger McCain. McCain wants to bomb Iran and stay in Iraq for 100 years and promised for more wars. McCain says he wants interest rates to be ZERO out of complete ignorance for how interest rates affect the economy. I'd like to see him say that to retirees on a fixed income. McCain want 10 million illegal immigrants to stay permanently and legal immigrants who can vote do not support it. How could this country be secure if he is in power??? If McCain is nominee, as a republican I would rather vote Clinton than McCain. As least we know Clinton has some intelligence and lead the booming economic. McCain will lead this country to a total ruin with his lack of intelligence and no executive experience. Mitt Romney is an expert in economics and finance and is the man we need as president.

If anyone can rescue the economy at this point, it would have to be Mitt. The US is $53 trillion in debt, that is $400K per household. The dollar is becoming useless and the Euro is now becoming the credible currency. Along with the national debt, most citizens are also deeply in debt. Tommorow the market is likely going to take a dump. If we don't have a good economy you can forget foreign policy, fighting wars, or healthcare, funding for top education. The economy needs to be front and center, not religion, steriotypes and other trivial things.

It's time to remind the public about the Keating 5. Here the banks are falling appart and the economy is going into recession and we want to reward a slime ball like McCain who was wrapped up with Charles Keating, the guy who tanked Lincoln Savings & Loan, driving a previous recession? Go figure. Given what this did to the economy in the early 90's, McCain should have just taken a baseball bat to the knee caps of the American people. Mitt is too kind to this power hungry geriatric sellout!
John McCain has allowed countless billions of American dollars to be siphoned out of this country into Mexico alongside the countless billions of taxpayer dollars spent on health care, education, welfare, crime and mortgage bailouts for illegal aliens. John McCain, in his support for illegal immigration, has allowed Al Qaeda terrorist to use Mexican drug smuggling tunnels to enter the United States and plot to attack Fort Huachuca in southern Arizona. This litany of positions contrary to conservatism and American interests could go on and on.

Mr. Drummond: "It also hur... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

Mr. Drummond: "It also hurts Romney that some conservatives still support Huckabee, and in some cases will vote for someone out of the race, like Tancredo or Thompson, in an effort to 'send a message'."

If this contention of your's is true, then why were you slamming Huckabee as a liberal? If he was a lib, wouldn't his continued presence in this race be "stealing" votes from McCain?

Also, with all due respect, it is extremely disingenuous to claim that those of us who continue to support Huckabee are merely "sending a message". No, we are continuing this campaign because we abhor John McCain and see that Mitt Romney is unlikely to defeat him. Romney has sunk $80 million into this thing so far and has had the support of talk radio behind him. At this point, it is reasonable to conclude that he is not going to ever stop McCain on his own. However, since you did mention it in a later post, Huckabee and Romney CAN win enough delegates to force a brokered convention. Ordinarily, I'd never wish for a brokered convention in the Republican nomination process given the history on these, but with McCain in front, I'm in a "whatever it takes" mindset. He simply cannot be the Republican nominee.

The desperation of anti-McC... (Below threshold)

The desperation of anti-McCain conservatives is breathtaking.

Joe, have you considered wh... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Joe, have you considered what a brokered convention means?

Poor little Barney, doesn't even have one bullet for his gun this time.

If blacks participate in a poll regarding Republicans, a skewed impression of their opinion will indeed skew the results. ABC's statement implies they did.

Weighting is used to correct a number known to be wrong, but in the case of small samples it tends to do more harm than good in affecting accuracy. You have to remember that polling groups are businesses, not scientific groups. The scientist can tell you what happens if you mix certain chemicals together under specific conditions, but the pollster cannot guarantee that his report can be trusted as a projection of actual results. Weighting is PR, not science.

And no, even two polls you like do not mean that it is so. You would first need to explain why the consensus us wrong, and second, what is driving the "surge" you see. To claim an effect with no causal event is absurd, and McCain has not done anything which could reasonably create a doubling of his support in less than a month.

Seriously Barney, you clearly don't understand the subject.

Alan, for me Huckabee does ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Alan, for me Huckabee does not pass the smell test, and that's why I cannot abide the man. In the context of polling, however, he sells himself as a conservative and that's how his support affects the race.

And you are twisting what I said about 'sending a message'. I specifically named people who are not in the race, meaning - as I clearly said - Thompson, Tancredo, and so on. While I do not agree with their positions, I have never said that Huckabee or Paul are out of the race. Granted, I have a very hard time considering Paul to be a contender, but he is definitely in the race and so was not who I meant, or I would have said so.

As for the brokered convention, there are a number of ways it could happen this year, in one scenario even if McCain reaches the number needed to "clinch" the nomination. I agree with you, brokered conventions generally are a bad idea, but this year it may be necessary. If it goes that way, things could get really nasty, however.

"If blacks participate in a... (Below threshold)

"If blacks participate in a poll regarding Republicans, a skewed impression of their opinion will indeed skew the results." DJ

What is your proof of this?

"but in the case of small samples.." DJ

There were 454 republican/leaning republican responders. What is your proof that this is a statistically "small sample"?

"..polling groups are businesses,.." DJ

So, you are saying the "business" group that ran this poll did not use statistically sound methodology, or do not employ Ph.D. statisticians?

"..You would first need to explain why the consensus us wrong," DJ

What consensus is wrong? McCain is leading in most of the super Tuesday polling as you indicated above. The survey findings attribute the increase in McCains polling numbers to the endorsement of Rudy, so again you are just make ship up.

If you can't prove the survey is inherently bias, you should just just shut up.

Barney, you never can suppo... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Barney, you never can support your contentions. I explained my reasoning, but all you can do is bluster and try to change the subject. You present McCain as a done deal, I explained otherwise.

As for the weighting, there is an old saying in math - Garbage in, garbage out.

As for the polling, pretending that standardized methodology makes it scientific is just laughable. You may want to pay attention to who uses weighting the most, and how effective their numbers are.

As for the consensus, you're selling McCain by over 20%. The consensus is that he is leading, but by much closer numbers, close enough to be considered weak by most analysts as a projection. You alone are 'making shit up'.

As usaual.

How coul... (Below threshold)

How could any moderates and liberals backs war monger McCain.

I agree that if you want troops removed from Iraq as soon as the next President takes office that you should not vote for McCain -- you should be a Clinton/Obama backer.

On the other hand, McCain has proven that he has good judgement when it comes to prosecuting the Iraq war, publically calling for a change in strategy long before Bush got around to implementing it, and continuing to support the surge all the way while Romney equivocated.

The moderate case for McCain is simple. He's a compromiser. The "Gang of 14" compromise enrages conservatives, but to me it was a good example of coming up with a good compromise and pushing it through. He can work with both sides of the aisle and govern from the center. Immigration is another good example. He belives in increased border security, but recognizes that we do need a reasonable, workable, humane solution for the illegals already here. I'd personally rather have McCain and his independent streak rather than Romney, the flip-flopping empty suit, who will do or say whatever his current audience wants. If you liked John Kerry, you should love Mitt.

On the economy, nuling out interest rates are not part of McCain's platform, or even something under direct presidential control, so an offhanded comment in a debate is not concerning to me.

Finally, it's best not to accuse McCain of being responsible for hoaxes. It makes you look ill-informed.

DJ, since you did not prese... (Below threshold)

DJ, since you did not present any backup evidence, links or "consensus" on the claims I called you on then you have none.

Good try looser.

Joe, have you cons... (Below threshold)
Joe, have you considered what a brokered convention means?
There are a few potential answers to this question. The first is that a brokered convention is currently your best hope for not being completely irrelevant in the primary cycle. If McCain doesn't win outright, then this is the next most likely possibility, ahead of Romney winning outright or Huckabee winning outright. You previously said my Super Tuesday projections were based on "wish fulfillment," but I think that is more aptly applied to your hope/hype for a brokered convention. Your idea that there is any actual possibility that McCain could get the number of delegates that he needs for the nomination and not be the nominee shows how delusional you are. Yes, it's technically possible, but the party and everyone that voted for McCain would never stand for it. If McCain racks up 1,191 delegates, he will be the Republican nominee. Period. End of Story.

Of course, let's say that I'm wrong and that a brokered convention does come to pass. Then, it will be a scramble for delegates to get the nomination. The most likely scenario is that Huckabee will be the kingmaker here, with enough delegates to push either Romney or McCain over the top. If that happens, given how the race has gone so far, I think it is more likely that Huckabee will back McCain for certain concessions, possibly a VP spot. Of course, it's always possible that McCain or Romney or even Huckabee could be so close that someone like Paul could push them over the top. That would be truly interesting.

It's telling that with everthing I brought up in this thread and the last one, that you choose to respond to me with a single question that addresses none of my previous points. Of course, you've done such a poor job of understanding my points so far, perhaps that's for the best.

correction: loser.... (Below threshold)

correction: loser.

It's pretty bad for Barney.... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

It's pretty bad for Barney. Not only does his every contention get shot down, he mis-spells his own name when trying to sign off.

The reason I am largely ignoring your posts, Joe, is that they have so very little to do with the topic. It's like you would go to a Superbowl party today and try to talk up the Cowboys. Your banal and rather defensive answers to my points suggests your bravado is a bit brittle.

What's odd about that, i... (Below threshold)

What's odd about that, is that discussions with Republicans shows a strong distaste in the party for McCain as the nominee, and many people have insisted they would never vote for McCain. So, how is it that the polls say something which is so different from sentiment among real people?

What's odd is that you live in such an echo chamber that you have no idea what "real people" think.

What are you going to be writing on Wednesday - that Diebold election machines were rigged to give McCain the overwhelming victory, or that the MSM was so biased that Romney never got a fair hearing?

Let's wait for Wednesday, s... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Let's wait for Wednesday, shall we McCainiac?

McCain may be in very good shape, but 'overwhelming' is - I think - a bit much just now.

The reason I am la... (Below threshold)
The reason I am largely ignoring your posts, Joe, is that they have so very little to do with the topic. It's like you would go to a Superbowl party today and try to talk up the Cowboys. Your banal and rather defensive answers to my points suggests your bravado is a bit brittle.

My answers are defensive? Actually, the're just forthright responses to questions you posed. As the most recent example, I give my take on a brokered convention in direct response to your question. Please elborate on how my response was off topic on what you brought up.

The people who usually need to be defensive are those who can't actually address the issues raised. In this case, that's clearly you. When you can take on a punching bag like Barney, your responses are quick and complete. Instead of responding to me, you always find some excuse. Either you're too busy, that issue is not what you want to discuss, I'm too defensive, etc. Excuses come easy to those who have excessive need of them.

Even your analogy is weak. The Cowboys were already eliminated. If I were talking about Giuliani or Thompson, then that would be irrelevant. McCain is not only still in the running, but in the lead. It's more like I'm the only Patriots fan at a Giants party. While the attendees might react badly to me pointing out that my team is undefeated and that they already beat their team once, it's a stretch to say that it's not relevant in discussing the game and likely outcomes.

Finally, I can fully understand your reluctance to respond to me. Looking back on an article like "The Base," which looks to be about as arrogantly wrong as it could possibly be, given the current circumstance, you should be gun shy about taking any further concrete positions. Better to just pretend that what I say isn't relevant than even try to address it.

As for bravado, I still think your proclaiming that McCain "will never gain the GOP nomination, and thank God for that," easily trumps any of my bravado.

CBS Poll 2-3-07 (backs up t... (Below threshold)

CBS Poll 2-3-07 (backs up the ABC poll)
"He (McCain) now has the support of 46 percent of Republican primary voters, compared to only 23 percent who support Romney."

Those are two independent polls that have the same results.

You were saying you looser stool than usual?

By the way, I corrected my error without having it pointed out, unlike your error in #3.

"..more people liekd the idea"

Nice 1st grade education.

ROMNEY is this COUNTRYS BES... (Below threshold)


Read this and become educated!

ROMNEY has been successful in EVERY business venture Do you spend more money that you have at home? Then why should our government do so? Shouldn't we run the country like a business? He is a leader, and he weeded out corrupt politicians in the Olympics and turned it around under budget!

The Security model he had to implement in the 2002 Olympics because of 9/11 is being used in the Super bowl today, did you know that?

He spends his own money therefore he will owe NO ONE in political power or special interest groups. I can go on and on but below is some info on Juan McCain.

McCain is an absolute abysmal imbosol!! He's a RHINO republican and tried to shove amnesty down our throat 2 times with "HIS OWN BILL". HE IS FOR TAXING USA companies only to solve a so called GLOBAL warming problem. Well what about the rest of the WORLD? You people drink the kol-aid of the press and are completely UNINFORMED.

You want to know something else, STUPIDY BREADS ITSELF. You will believe anything someone tells you if you are uninformed and that is what the liberal media is counting on.


John McCain should be renamed as JUAN McCain. Have you noticed who his heading up his HISPANIC outreach group for this race. If not, Google "McCain and Dr. Juan Hernandez.

I WILL NOT, SHALL NOT AND CAN NOT VOTE FOR JUAN McCain, I would rather the Republican Party dissolve, period!

1. John McCain teamed with Ted Kennedy and attempted to give amnesty to every illegal alien in America, and even wished to grant them access retroactively to Social Security benefits accrued under illegally used numbers while here against the current law.

2. John McCain (along with the regular cohort of lefties) removed your right to speak out against political candidates (including him) through advocacy ads in the 30-60 days before a primary or general election. The infamous McCain-Feingold legislation proves he couldn't find an originalist judge if the man was sharing a pair of pants with him.

3. John McCain considered leaving the GOP to become an independent caucusing with the Dems, and only balked when Jeffords beat him to it. Daschle and others swear its true.

4. John McCain proved himself to be a populist anti-capitalist when he called the pharmaceutical companies "the enemy" during the most recent South Carolina debate. George Will is even wondering why John is a Republican and hasn't switched yet.

5. John McCain has swallowed the "Man Made Global Warming" pill whole. He has teamed with Lieberman to offer legislation to create a carbon cap and trade system that the Congressional Budget Office believes will add energy costs to each family of between $560-1800 per year, with the money raked in dispersed out in R&D grants, or government pork barrel goody contracts as I interpret it.

6. John McCain voted against the "Bush" tax cuts more than once, voted for amendments to keep the death tax alive, and along with our faithful Governor Pawlenty calls huge tobacco tax increases "fees".

7. John McCain believes waterboarding for US Servicemen is normal during training for capture situations, but calls it unconscienable torture when applied to important organizational terrorist figures caught plotting to kill Americans. This American serviceman disagrees.

8. John McCain supported gun control measures with rules that would have effectively shut down gun shows and gun sales between private parties. He teamed with Andrew McKelvey's Handgun Control spinoff called Americans For Gun Safety. A real champion of the little guy our McCain. Gun Owner's Of America rating - F

9. John McCain has stated he would vote for the international anti-sovereignty Treaty of The Seas if it was "tweaked" a little. This compact would give an international body the jurisdiction to dictate naval forces movement, oceanic weapons and technology testing, and set and collect fees and divy up rights and royalties to all energy resources found and recovered at sea in current international waters. One country, one vote. How do you think Iran would vote for our rights to traverse the Straits of Hormuz?

10. Midwest Jay really can't stand the guy, and he reminds me too much of a pissed off Huck-a-jerk without the Chuck Norris sidekick. Leading a fighter squadron gives you leadership experience to lead a fighter squadron of 24 guys. Reagan made war bond films. Who cares. American hero or socialist? Probably both.

Now you are educated on the facts, vote ROMNEY!

No Richard - VOTE McCAIN!</... (Below threshold)

No Richard - VOTE McCAIN!

PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH--DO... (Below threshold)


Mr. Drummond,By "s... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

Mr. Drummond,

By "smell test", I still presume you are referring to conservative principles. My strong preference to Huckabee over Romney is actually based upon the same analysis. It is clear, however, that we define "conservatism" differently. I'm willing to look the other way on looser fiscal policy (and Huckabee wasn't way out there on this either) if the man has true authentic credentials on definitive issues such as life, marriage, military and adherence to the Constitution. I am NOT an idealogue, however. I simply cannot trust a candidate to make the right decisions on a myriad other matters if they are not principled conservatives in these character-identifying areas. So yes, Romney's eleventh-hour conversion on abortion does trouble me enough to doubt his overall character. I just cannot reconcile a politician's support of legalized murder with an expectation to trust them. Of course, I would roll the dice and hope for the best with him if he were one-on-one with McCain because we already know what he is about. But until it is over, I will continue working as hard as I can for the Huckabee campaign because he is far and away the most conservative candidate remaining... on the issues that matter the most.

Well Alan, that's why we ge... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Well Alan, that's why we get to vote. Truth be told, I wish Fred was still in it, but he's not, so I fall back to the best available as I see it.

"DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK!"... (Below threshold)


Jeez, Richard! regardless of who you vote for, do your own thinking. Number 10 is not a fact it's the opinion of the blogger you yoinked this list from.

STUPIDY BREADS ITS... (Below threshold)
I hope that Richard has seriously considered this as his permanent signature.
Sheesh -- and such an autho... (Below threshold)

Sheesh -- and such an authoritative source too!

DJ, did you see the latest ... (Below threshold)

DJ, did you see the latest poll results? CNN Poll 44% McCain and 29% Romney.

Now we have three independent polls released in the last two day that all show the results:
ABC 48/24 McCain
CBS 46/23 McCain
CNN 44/29 McCain

But, I'm sure there all bias and over or under sampled and full of left leaning democrats, and run by bunch novices that know chi-test from a t-test.






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