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Gallup and New Coke

The polls are wrong this year, very wrong. I have been saying this for months, and I have backed up my claim with both statistical and anecdotal support. The claims I have made have inspired some, caused others to laugh in derision, and brought others to test their assumptions and revisit the hard data. Along the way, there have been a lot of questions about how and why the polls could be wrong. The most common complaint, is that for all of the polls to be wrong, there would need to be some sort of conspiracy, or else an incredibly stupid decision made across the board. Well, I am not a big believer in conspiracies, but I do think that the polling groups have fallen into a groupthink condition. I wrote earlier about the fact that of the major polling groups handling national and state polls, all of them are based deep in pro-Liberal, anti-Conservative territories.

Here's that list of headquarters again, just to punch in that point again:

Poll Headquarters
ABC News 77 W 66th St, #13, New York City, New York
CBS News 524 W 57th St, New York City, New York
FOX News 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, New York
Gallup 901 F St NW, Washington DC
Hotline 88 Pine St, 32nd floor, New York City, New York
IBD 12655 Beatrice St. Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Times 202 W 1st St, Los Angeles California
Marist Institute 3399 North Rd, Poughkeepsie, New Jersey York
Mason-Dixon 1250 Connecticut Ave #200, Washington DC
Newsweek 251 W 57th St, New York City, New York
The New York Times 1 City Hall, New York City, New York
Pew Research Center 1615 L St NW, #700, Washington DC
Quinnipiac 275 Mount Carmel Ave., Hamden Connecticut
Rasmussen 625 Cookman, #2, Asbury Park, New Jersey
Reuters 3 Times Square, New York City, New York
Survey USA 15 Bloomfield Ave., Verona New Jersey
TIPP 690 Kinderkamack Rd, Oradell, New Jersey
Washington Post 1150 15th St NW, Washington DC
Zogby 901 Broad St, Utica, New York

As I wrote then, it needs noting that all of the major polling organizations are based in locations where liberals are strongest and conservatives weakest, where 'democrat' and 'republican' take on meanings wildly different from the rest of the country. The people making the executive decisions at these polls, most likely including the wording and order of polling questions, whether to focus on urban or suburban areas, the weighting of political affiliation, and the definition of 'likely voter', are most likely in regular contact and association with the most liberal factions of politics. It does not mean that they have deliberately skewed their decisions to support Obama, but it is obvious that there is an apparent conflict of interest in their process modality.

I want to stop here and direct the reader back to the ethics of polling. The National Council on Public Polling is, and I got this from their site's welcome page, "an association of polling organizations established in 1969. Its mission is to set the highest professional standards for public opinion pollsters, and to advance the understanding, among politicians, the media and general public, of how polls are conducted and how to interpret poll results."

NCPP members identified on the front page include ABC News, CBS News, Gallup, Hotline, Ipsos, the Los Angeles Times, Marist, NBC News, Pew, Princeton Survey Associates, and Survey USA, along with many others. This effectively promises that the major polls will abide by NCPP rules, something you should consider when matching the principles against the polls' actual statements.

The NCPP has also posted a list of "20 Questions a Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results", which I strongly recommend every one to read and memorize. Those questions include these very important queries, that I fear most people do not often consider:

2. Who paid for the poll?
In many cases, the poll we see in the papers and on television, was paid for by an agency known to be biased. For example, does anyone really expect CBS News or the New York Times to be even-handed, especially in light of their behavior since 2002?

7. Who should have been interviewed and was not? Or do response rates matter?
This is a sore spot for polling groups, because frankly most people do not have the interest to stop and take an 8-to-10 minute interview, especially from someone they do not know calling them up when they are likely to be busy doing something else. It's been established as well, that democrats in recent years are more willing to take part in polls than republicans, possibly due to perceived bias on the part of the media. But it is quite important to know if the pollsters were getting one person in ten to take the poll, or only one person in fifty, because the people not interviewed matter just as much as those who do participate. Yet I have never yet seen a poll this year that publishes response rates.

14. What questions were asked?
This is a big one that a lot of folks miss. I have noticed in the details, that all of the polls are asking about the public's opinion of the economy, and of their opinion of President Bush, even though he is not running this time. Also, I have noticed that many polls ask a question about John McCain just after asking about the voter's opinion of President Bush, subtly linking the two men. For comparison, no questions have been asked about approval of the specific performance of either Majority Leader Reid or Speaker Pelosi, and no other politician is linked to Barack Obama in the same way that polls link President Bush to John McCain. This is a clear violation of the NCPP's guidelines, yet it is done in absolutely every poll I have seen. Further, polls taken since Labor day have not mentioned foreign policy at all. There are no questions regarding Russia's invasion of Georgia, nor of Iran's nuclear weapons programs, nor about China's intentions viz a viz Taiwan, even though these are current events which have great significance in a presidential race, yet all of the polls are ignoring them. Again, the economy-only focus betrays a bias which violates the principles of the NCPP.

I have already written extensively about polling groups manipulation of demographic weights, so I will only summarize here that in addition to party affiliation, various polling groups this year have produced polls out of demographic balance with Census norms for urban/suburban/rural participation, minority race representation, age, employment status, and income range. It should not be difficult to imagine how these manipulations might invalidate the results published by the polling groups.

When people reach this point in the discussion, an obvious question comes up; surely the polls want to be accurate, and they would have to understand that this fiddling with internal data to create a false image would destroy their credibility? And the answer to that can be phrased in a two-word reminder of just how stupid people can be - "New Coke".

In 1985, the Coca-Cola company dominated the beverage industry around the world, and it's flagship product was its first, the Coca-Cola soft drink, literally an icon of Americana. It would seem to be the most obvious of strategic decisions, to leave the base of the company alone. Instead, in a move never explained let alone justified by the company, Coca-Cola announced that they were eliminating Coca-Cola, and replacing their number 1 product with a new formula, called "New Coke". Everything about the promotion was an unmitigated disaster, and later that year Coca-Cola re-introduced what they claimed was the "original formula", named "Coke Classic". The company tried to push "New Coke" on a public that never wanted it, and eventually gave up the next year. The "New Coke" strategy and promotion have become textbook lessons on the worst possible way to listen to customers and meet their expectations. Pretty much everything was done the wrong way, especially the arrogant way that Coca-Cola assumed their customers would accept the elimination of their favorite drink. Near as I can figure it, the essential problem came down to the fact that the company's marketing people made all the key decisions internally, without once stepping out into the real world to test their assumptions. What seemed a great idea in development, failed miserably in Reality. Obviously, Coca-Cola never wanted to enrage its customers, to drive them to Pepsi, or to put a bullet in their stock value, but that all happened because they made an incalculably stupid strategic decision, and they lacked an effective Deming loop to test assumptions and correct the process.

This is actually not all that uncommon in business. So many people saw Enron as a company made up of crooks, that they failed to notice that Enron did have a Code of Ethics; the problem was similar to Coke, in that too many people never tested their assumptions, and by the time they realized something was wrong, it was too late to repair the damage.

This brings us back to the polls. The thing most folks forget about polls which get published in the media, is that the polls' first need is not to accurately reflect the election progress and report on actual support levels; it's about business. A poll needs clients to survive, and the media - always - wants a good story more than they want facts. So polls sell that story, and what would actually be a gradual development of support, with modest changes brought about as the public learned about candidates' records and positions, is instead sold as an exciting roller-coaster race, careening madly all over the place. If a candidate appears to be popular and charismatic, he might be allowed a strong lead, or the poll might tighten things from time to time just to keep attention on the polls. That's where that whole "bounce" thing after the conventions comes from - do you really think republicans or independents got more excited about Obama because of his convention, or that democrats and independents were more likely to vote for McCain because of the GOP convention? When you think about it, it should be obvious that these bumps are artificial unless there is a clear cause to show a change in support. And when you take apart the polls and drill down to the raw data, what you find is a close race with a gradually declining but still large pool of undecided voters, which is consistent with the known facts and actions we see from both campaigns.

Obviously, though, the polls want to finish as close as possible to the actual results, but this year they have a problem. There has been unprecedented manipulation of demographics, corrupting even the raw data to the point where effective resolution of public opinion is doubtful. This might be described as an honest mistake, if one is willing to accept greed as an honest motive. Gallup, for example, who has more experience than any other polling group and who therefore should have known better more than anyone else to fiddle with the weights. In several past elections, Gallup and other polls have learned from operational blunders.

In 1948, Gallup screwed with the weighting, assuming the republicans would turn out much in much larger numbers than the democrats, but they were wrong, and badly miscalled the election. In 1952 Gallup assumed the other way, that the race would be tight and down to the wire, but they blew that call as well. In 1976, Gallup assumed the opposite, that democrats would overwhelm republicans because of Watergate, but when it became obvious that republicans would vote anyway, Gallup had to change its model to show their participation more accurately. In 1980, Gallup called Carter ahead until the very end, when they grudgingly granted Reagan a small lead, yet another case where Gallup's assumptions were well off the mark. In 1996, Gallup overstated Clinton's support and understated Dole's support throughout the campaign, and in 2004 Gallup called the race too close to call. This year, trying to gauge the effects of Barack Obama's 'rock star' charisma, Gallup decided to abandon historical norms and overweight urban and youth voters, and to over-sample democrats all campaign long. This model, dubbed the "expanded voter", has proven a disaster for Gallup, so much so that the group reintroduced a more historically balanced model, which they call the "traditional" model. The problem for Gallup, however, is that their methodology became so skewed throughout the campaign up to now, that it may be impossible for Gallup to correct its procedures before the final election poll. In the light of past blunders, this year missing the call may not be unreasonable at all to expect.

So OK, Gallup is having a bad year, but what about the rest? Well, there the phrase to consider is follow the leader. Gallup has been doing this stuff for longer than anyone else, and the other polls have often fallen into the habit of chasing what they see Gallup do. But for an objective look at their performance, I direct you to another of my past articles, where I noted the NCPP's record on poll accuracy. From what I see here, if Gallup is having problems, it's likely just as bad or worse for everyone else.

So, could I be wrong? I have to be honest and admit that I could. But in that case, we'd have to ask why the polls do not generally agree with each other, why Gallup is trying to spin three different models at the same time to get a grasp of the picture, why McCain and Obama are both so interested in Pennsylvania, yet neither is working very hard in Ohio right now. We'd have to explain why McCain-Palin rallies are now attracting thousands more people than Obama-Biden rallies, why Letterman suddenly found it cool to have McCain on his show and SNL decided they wanted Palin on theirs. We'd have to explain why there are not a lot of Obama signs visible, but we hear about his army of lawyers getting ready. We'd have to explain why McCain and Palin appear to be so relaxed while Obama and Biden look like they're worried.

What I think is happening, is this - the polls' headquarters were based deep in liberal territory, where the assumption was that Obama's candidacy would actually create a groundswell of pro-democrat voters unseen in the country since 1932. That McCain is more experienced with the key issues than Obama was ignored, that the historical significance of the debates shows that the effects appear several weeks later was also ignored. That the economy could be as reasonably blamed on the democrat-controlled Congress as on the republican President was never considered. That character would be a salient factor in the decisions of voters was rejected out of hand.

The polls are wrong. Make your own mind up, because your vote will matter.

Kevin adds: Given that may people reading this post are first time visitors and have not been following DJ's previous work they really should read through his recent archive. DJ has deconstructed the internals of many of the polls previously. His arguments here build on specific analysis of polls - they are not the sum total of his critiques of the polls.


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Comments (185)

DJ: do you believe that the... (Below threshold)

DJ: do you believe that the polls are wrong enough to wager? If Obama wins, you pay me, and I use the money to put towards the higher taxes I'll have to pay. If McCain wins, I pay you.

The fate of the nation is n... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

The fate of the nation is not enough for you, Steve?

why on earth would america ... (Below threshold)

why on earth would america want mcSame? i can understand a few neocon dead-enders but the majority of USA pulling for him? laughable....

in any case, the "only poll that counts" is coming and you might as well prepare yourself for president obama, and for the chance to stop the national hemorraging that bu$h has created

Interesting read and I hope... (Below threshold)

Interesting read and I hope you're right. Not that I'm a big McCain fan or anything, but I would love to see liberal heads explode when the annointed one is not coronated. I'm not sure why polls are cited as often as they are after so many of them have shown to be useless and wrong.

BTW, Marist is in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Sorry JR, I got that addres... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Sorry JR, I got that address off of Marist's website. I will verify it and correct as needed.

There is no McSame running ... (Below threshold)

There is no McSame running for office. I have no interest in hooking up with a closet muslim who supports ethnic cleansing. McCain has my vote.

If Obama wins, it will be internal hemorraghing that will destroy the U.S. as we knew it and will be up to the American citizens to be their own White Knight. peabody3000, you're just a lap doggy who wants to be on the "winning team" in your Blue State, and you have the catch-phrases to prove it. Otherwise, you would have changed your affiliation. Broken records get tossed.

If nothing else, you have a... (Below threshold)

If nothing else, you have a very well thought-out argument and it'd be great to see some libs show up here with legitimate refutations of your key points (I won't hold my breath waiting for that day to arrive, however.)

DJ: Have you ever looked at... (Below threshold)

DJ: Have you ever looked at a can of coke today? Have you ever looked at the ingredients? One of the reasons for the Coke/New Coke/Classic Coke issue was the recipe. The ingredients are different than that shown on an old can of the original Coke. The original Coke only showed sugar as the sweetening agent. Today, the recipe shows several alternatives for that part of the ingredient list. You cannot call the current version Coke because of the different ingredients. Two years previous, the cost of sugar tripled. And Coke got caught in a squeeze by its vendors. In order to give itself the greatest flexibility to respond to market fluctuations, they had to change the recipe. They endured a marketing hell in order to obscure the fact they had changed the product.

ECM: these organizations do... (Below threshold)

ECM: these organizations dont poll in their back yard. they poll nationally... duh

DJ, you seem to believe tha... (Below threshold)

DJ, you seem to believe that polls are designed to gauge public opinion. No-one would pay the big bucks necessary for that service. Polls are actually designed to form and change public opinion.

Of course all the major polls are headquartered in liberal strongholds. Polling is by definition a social science. In conservative areas, those companies could get no workers because the workers in those areas are under too much peer pressure to get a job that actually produces something worthwhile.

Another home run DJ!... (Below threshold)

Another home run DJ!
The MSM is lazy. If there is not a poll they can use they commission one to use for the panel or talking heads to give even further opinions based on their bias.
I have observed elections since the early sixties and I have never seen both sides so energized at this point in the process.
Don't stay home. We made some bad assumptions that turned out wrong in 06'. I hope we don't make that mistake again.

As is so often said, the on... (Below threshold)

As is so often said, the only poll that matters is coming up in two weeks. Everyone, please vote.

I'm supporting Obama, and I certainly am not going to even begin to explain my reasons here. But I will say this:

If Obama is elected president, I expect all you Republicans and right-wingers to support him. That is what I've been told by you all these last eight years. I've been told by countless Republicans and right-wingers that the President is the President, he is the Commander in Chief, and if I criticize him it is the same thing as being anti-American and harms our troops.

Well -- IF Obama wins -- I expect (demand, actually) that you live by your own philosophy and support President Obama. Anything less means you hate America.

Every election 18 year olds... (Below threshold)
dave y:

Every election 18 year olds are going to turn out
and it hasn't happened yet.

There is a lot of early vot... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

There is a lot of early voting going on now. It's happening now.

There are no more debates or anything that would be out of each candidate's control.

Obama is gonna go on television and make a 1/2 hour speech on the 29th. (He seems to do okay with speeches. Think he's gonna say something hugely controversial?)

Biden's a bore but hardly controversial when it comes to the all important "swing" voter.

McCain's appearance on Imus tomorrow? (Imus? Wasn't he involved in some sort of mini-scandal not too long ago? I forget the nature of it).

A Sarah Palin interview or appearance? (Her interview from yesterday with a small local tv station is being mocked today for a very basic understanding of the office of the VP. She's 110% entertaining, in all likelihood a wonderful person but perhaps not the best candidate at this time in history).

Even if the polls are tied now, Obama has the momentum.

In all honesty, if I were a McCain supporter I'd be saying the polls were wrong whether I believed it or not. It would be more fun.

peabody, you forget who cho... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

peabody, you forget who chosses the questions, their order, etc.

Adriane, your post works against you as well:

Obama has not closed the deal, and there are no more debates where he can try to look better than McCain;

Obama is spending a lot of money on a risky, night-before national advertisement. He is not sure of his victory;

Biden just yesterday said that a President Obama would mean we would get attacked by an enemy. Who knows what else he will say between now and November?

McCain is still getting invites from national personalities;

Sarah Palin rocked SNL, everyone says so who saw the skits, excepting the predictable trolls. She's political gold;

The only momentum McCain needs is what he appears to have, the momentum that makes Obama worry about Pennsylvania;

And I went into great detail about why the polls are wrong. The best you could do is pretend they are worth counting on. That's not gonna be enough for Obama, wait and see.

peabody 3000: Obviously, yo... (Below threshold)

peabody 3000: Obviously, you didn't notice that the "national hemorrhaging" started after the Democrats took over the House and Senate in 2006. Senator Obama should change his campaign slogan from "Change We Can Believe In" to "No Responsibility...No Accountability...Vote Democrat."

DJ...a big fan of yours. He... (Below threshold)

DJ...a big fan of yours. Help me out...why does Pew have him up 14 points? I tried to look for information like you do but couldn't do it...

I put a link the other day how Rasmussen told people 2000 election would be over early...bush's lead was so obvious. We all know how that turned out. You might want to put that link up...

Backlash.So... (Below threshold)


Someone posted a comment that a registered independent in Colorado had over a hundred calls and visits from Obama's campaign.

There are several ways of taking that. For one, sheer numbers overwhelms the voter, insuring he/she will roll over and vote for Obama.

Second way of looking at it; overkill. I dunno how that person responds, but I can guarantee if it were me, there would be no chance I would vote for Obama because getting out the vote turned into pure harassment.

"Well -- IF Obama wins -- I... (Below threshold)

"Well -- IF Obama wins -- I expect (demand, actually) that you live by your own philosophy and support President Obama. Anything less means you hate America.

12. Posted by Len_RI | October 21, 2008"

You are in no position to demand anything. We may just follow the example set by Reid, Palosi, Gore, Kerry, Carter, and various and sundry actors and others et.al.
I don't have room to quote these "Patriots.

question 2: (question one b... (Below threshold)

question 2: (question one being about pew...14 points) GWU Battleground has a one point difference. I can not find their numbers. How credible might they be?

I want everyone to remember... (Below threshold)
t for talk:

I want everyone to remember I said this...The polls are all wrong! McCain is going to win big as in landslide. The media will cry stolen election but it will not work because 1. They say that every time a Dem losses (crying wolf) and 2. Because every one knows that Acorn is pro Dem...and they are the ones trying to steal the election.

If Obama wins, he will be P... (Below threshold)

If Obama wins, he will be President of the United States and deserve the respect the office requires.

I will fight him with everything I have, but yes, he would be our President.

I intend to fight President McCain's boneheaded liberal ideas if he comes up with them (he will) and if he nominates a "Harriet Meiers", we'll come out swinging just like we did at President Bush.

Don't worry, though, we conservatives respect the office. Unlike Democrats, who trash it.

well said frazetta girl:<br... (Below threshold)

well said frazetta girl:
Don't worry, though, we conservatives respect the office. Unlike Democrats, who trash it.

And we could add: supreme court nominees. After Biden trashed Bork and then the dems trashed Clarence Thomas (whose only sin for them was being a BLACK conservative, not a conservative) the republicans were too nice to Clinton's two nominees. They respected the office, though they disagreed with them.

Then it was dirty mud politics again with Bush's nominees.

One doesn't want to lower themselves to that level...but it sure is tempting.

Liberals can say all they want...words are words. Actions are actions.

Outstanding work DJ!... (Below threshold)
Good Captain:

Outstanding work DJ!

Dj,I am really hea... (Below threshold)


I am really heartened to to see that we have managed to get the "liberal" pollsters on our side. At first
i thought it was impressive we managed to sway the entire media (fox news excluded of course)
then followed it up with everyone in the world who contributes to wikipedia (luckily there is conservapedia) then we got the Nobel prize selection committee, the academy (we've had them for years) Science, reality etc...

Really, I mean all hail the vast left wing conspiracy. It is indeed vast. Having said this I highly encourage everyone to vote. We are in a Republic and you should make your voices heard.

Imus and McCain. Imus made ... (Below threshold)

Imus and McCain. Imus made a stupid remark about a girls basketball team. He should have known better and apologized even to the extent of going on Sharpton's radio show. He got support when he was fired from CBS radio and MSNBC TV from McCain and other conservatives. His liberal friends ran for the tall grass.
He had asked McCain a few years ago to go to his ranch for kids with cancer during their summer sessions. McCain kept his word and showed up in Levis and a t-shirt with a duffle bag at the gate one day. He stayed for the week. When Kerry was running for President he said he would stop on the way through on the train. The train didn't even slow down in New Mexico and Imus didn't return his calls for a year.
McCain kept his word.

Len_RI, to reinforce commen... (Below threshold)

Len_RI, to reinforce comments made above, rest assured I also will always respect the office of President. The man or woman who occupies that office will also have my respect if he/she in turn respects that office and abides by the oath to protect and preserve the Constitution. Disagreeing with the office holder on policy does not imply lack of respect, but I'm not just going sit back and acquiesce to liberal policy just because a liberal was elected by majority to the Presidency. That is why the term "loyal opposition" exists. As an aside I can't believe the number of people I have met who are already lobbying for giving Obama a break when he is President before the election is even held. I have never experienced this sort of lobbying with any other candidate - Democrat or Republican and I've been around for alot of elections. I hope this doesn't imply that his learning curve is expected to be much higher than past newly inaugurated Presidents because all of his supporters have told Obama is is more than prepared for this historic moment. I mean you can do this between the beginning of November and the midddle of January AFTER the election is actually held and your certain outcome is confirmed.

why on earth would america ... (Below threshold)

why on earth would america want slobama? i can understand a few communist dead-enders but the majority of USA pulling for him? laughable....

in any case, the "only poll that counts" is coming and you might as well prepare yourself for president mccain, and for the chance to stop the national hemorrhaging that pelosi and dodd have created

If Obama wins it will be fr... (Below threshold)

If Obama wins it will be fraudulent. We will do everything we can to sabotage him and take him down in disgrace. He won't even finish in office after he is impeached for treason. Millions of Americans will likely die due to his inaction. The military will turn against him and the socialists as domestic enemies of the constitution. They have already sworn an oath.

Hey ray,#29If your n... (Below threshold)

Hey ray,#29
If your not joking. You need to talk to someone who can help you.

Len_RII'll support... (Below threshold)


I'll support Obama as much as you liberals have supported the troops in Iraq.

I already have, there are l... (Below threshold)

I already have, there are lots who will be helping. Some are almost looking forward to it. LOL.

A LOT of people early votin... (Below threshold)

A LOT of people early voting here, and I've read the same is happening all over Texas; more that twice as many showing up as expected.

More hopeful than ever that the "Silent Majority" I've mentioned shows up with a vengeance this year. Can only wait and see.

Why not to believe the poll... (Below threshold)
Andrew Byler:

Why not to believe the polls?

They can't get simple verifiable facts correct.

For example, in my native Philadelphia, there are a number of wards that are 90%+ black by the census regarding race of the inhabitants. The vote in 2000 and 2004 was split somewhere along the lines of 1-5% for Bush, 95-99% for Gore and Kerry. In the wealthiest of these wards, where the black middle and upper class of the city lives in nice houses and earns a very respectable living, the vote was 3-5% for Bush and 95-97% for Gore or Kerry.

Okay, now go out in the suburbs. In heavily black precincts in Cheltenham Township, Chester Township, Darby Township, Chester Borough, Darby Borough, and Yeadon Borough where blacks are 90% or more of the population Bush got 4-9% of the vote, and Gore and Kerry got 91-96%.

Pollsters are regularly claiming the Republican is getting 10-13% of the black vote. Where is all this Republican black voting occurring that the pollsters pick up? It sure as heck isn't in northeast and midwest cities, which all have similar voting and demographic patterns in their black neighborhoods.

If the polls can't get something that simple and verifiable right, why trust them on larger matters?

Speaking of Gallup, their l... (Below threshold)

Speaking of Gallup, their latest internals are out. McCain gets 34% of independents, compared to Obama's 27%. There is NO way that adds up to Obama getting 52% of the overall vote, as they state.


Did anyone see McCain on FN... (Below threshold)

Did anyone see McCain on FNS with Chris Wallace? He looked like he was relaxed and said he was very happy with the debate last week and where he was in the race.

I think he knows from internal polling that he is in a far better position than what the media is reporting, especially in PA.

I think he is also resigned to the fact that win or lose, he believes he ran the best campaign he possibly could have. In this, he is just like President Bush.

He also is almost giddy now over the choice of Sara Palin. Who wouldn't be? What a lucky guy to be roaming the country with a beautiful wife AND a drop dead gorgeous running mate. Obama definitely can't say that. LOL.

BTW, is it me or does Alec Baldwin's latest comments make me think he has a crush on Palin? That woman can thaw any heart!!!

Also, we are starting to se... (Below threshold)

Also, we are starting to see the state polls start to tighten. They are usually several days behind so they are obviously responding to the gap closing to 4-5 points last week.

Now that it is down to 1-3 range, by next week I think you will see McCain take the lead in PA, FLA, Ohio, and Va. This will shake up the electoral map again and no doubt be like an earthquake to the Obama campaign.

DJ, were you complaining fo... (Below threshold)

DJ, were you complaining four years ago about where the pollsters have their headquarters? Do you truly think that any major polling company would want to be located in Hicksville, USA? How long do you think pollsters would stay in business if they let their own political biases affect their results?

On November 5th, the worldwide celebrations begin!

Has anyone else noticed tha... (Below threshold)

Has anyone else noticed that as soon as a story comes out and says..."Obama was overpolled by 7% in the primaries" BAMO the polls all jump up and over that amount? The same held true with all the talk of the Bradley Effect being around 5%...bamo all the polls were in that range. It goes to prove the theory that these polls are all meant to dishearten our resolve for McCain. When they attached Joe the Plumber they attacked me.....The "silent majority" will be awakened.

To the gang at Wizbang! TH... (Below threshold)

To the gang at Wizbang! THANK YOU for your research. I do appreciate your thorough research in to debunking all of these polls. Need I remind everyone that Obama's internal poll leaked today shows him with at 2% advantage in PA. 2% in a state that should be his HANDS DOWN! Makes you wonder about all the other states? New Hampshire ring a bell?

DJ, you have touched on a p... (Below threshold)
Lark Angel:

DJ, you have touched on a point I've been trying to resolve for weeks. Assuming one was comfortable with both weighting & methodology, what do polls say about hang-ups & declines?

For example, if everyone was satisfied with a 45/40/15 (D/R/I) weighting of likely (not registered) voters, how many calls would be required to achieve a valid sample size of 1,000 responses?

Now, we already know about the Bradley affect where respondents lie. What I am addressing are those who either refuse to state or simply hang-up. (I put myself in this category - if I actually bother to answer the phone from an unknown caller, I promptly hang-up if they start some sort of pitch/question.)

So, how many of others are out there like myself who gin up the pollsters' attempts to get 1,000 responses? 100, 250, 500, 1,000(!)? That is, are the pollsters actually calling 2,000 people just to get 1,000 to agree to speak to them?

Regardless of this specific number, what, if anything can be ascertained about the voting tendencies of those who simply hang-up? I would assume that hang-ups have got to be 75/25 McC/-0-. If that's the case, just 100 out of 1,000 would add at least a few points to McC; as the number of hang-ups goes up, McC's numbers go up in a corresponding fashion.

How come no one talks about this? Is this why we have such a disconnect between what we see from rallies/posters & what the polls are attempting to reflect?

rndguyTo the gang ... (Below threshold)


To the gang at Wizbang! THANK YOU for your research. I do appreciate your thorough research in to debunking all of these polls. Need I remind everyone that Obama's internal poll leaked today shows him with at 2% advantage in PA. 2% in a state that should be his HANDS DOWN! Makes you wonder about all the other states? New Hampshire ring a bell?

What is the link????????????????????

DJ, I know that for at leas... (Below threshold)
Vinny from NC:

DJ, I know that for at least 20 years, the polls always favored the democrats and I wonder who is the one who pays for the polls? The only thing that I am a little concern is about ACORN and the fraud on voter registrations in Ohio, MI, PA, CO, FL, NV, etc....If there is not massive fraud, Mccain should win.

This was from the ace today... (Below threshold)

This was from the ace today. Someone from the Obama camp has reprimanded the person who 'accidently' let the cat out of the bag.


I don't by the 'motivation' part. He knew the numbers. Notice there is no denial of the number.

Why else would Ed Rendell request that Obama come back into redneck western PA for an appearance.

One question about all thes... (Below threshold)

One question about all these Polls. Why does one poll, battleground have a one point margin and another like Zogby have a ten point margin? Someone is wrong somewhere. How do polls change so quickly, from last Sat. Zogby had a 2.5 margin for Obama and two days later its up to ten. Maybe the Powell endorsement had something to do with this. I know the polls are affecting attitudes just from the people I talk to at work.

Ive got a theory cuz ive he... (Below threshold)

Ive got a theory cuz ive heard this, briefly mentioned, almost as an aside, in several places lately.

We will all know that Obama is the next President by "dinner time".

What this tells me is that they are going to try and keep folks at home on election day by "leaking" exit polls early showing Obama trouncing McCain.

Of course, this might backfire and energize Republicans, or it could create a groundswell for Obama and cause depression in Republicans who will just stay home while Democrats will want to add to the overwhelming victory.

Watch for those "leaked" exit polls on election day.

I think the polls are absol... (Below threshold)

I think the polls are absolutely correct, Obama will win, and all Democrats should just stay home on election day. Everything will be just fine. Really.

May repeat the first questi... (Below threshold)
Berend de Boer:

May repeat the first question? DJ, ready to make a $1,000 or $10,000 bet on intrade? I mean, how much money are you prepared to stake upon this post?

I don't understand why people voted steve down, the question of how much money you are prepared to bet quickly answers how honestly you believe something.

McCain is so cheap that if you put 10,000 on him now, you can earn 85,000. That's serious money guys.

Don't give it to him. Ma... (Below threshold)

Don't give it to him. Make him steal it.

Polling vastly oversamples ... (Below threshold)

Polling vastly oversamples childless adults.

There were two poll takers working the Columbia mall (Maryland) on Saturday, trying to get people to stop to take a 5 minute political poll. They seemed to be making a good faith effort, but they couldn't get anybody with a stroller to pause. And being young men, I speculate they got more young women to stop than men or grandmothers.

The polls don't measure <a ... (Below threshold)

The polls don't measure dead voters. End of story. End of Republic, while we're at it.

"If Obama is elected pre... (Below threshold)
bobby b:

"If Obama is elected president, I expect all you Republicans and right-wingers to support him."
- - -

If Obama wins, the first morning he wakes up, and says "oh, it's Wednesday", we'll be screaming hysterically "Obama Lied!!", and "Obama's Stupid!!", and then we'll start in on the new versions of "chimp", and all the other endearing names you came up with for President Bush.

We'll be sending people out to foreign countries to undercut everything he does. We'll be watching his daughters, photographing them and making up stories about their sexual habits, their drinking and drug use, and their stupidity.

We'll be cheating on our taxes like never before. Let's see you 40%'ers make up the difference.

Some of us will begin shrinking our businesses and cashing out the day after the election results are announced, which should be close to the fourth of July if our lawyers can follow their marching orders. So, quite a few of you will be looking for work. Check in the bushes around your hovel. Isn't that where jobs come from?

The media goes on about the... (Below threshold)

The media goes on about the cell phone issue in polling, but what about caller id? Who in their right mind answers the phone to a pollster knowingly?

I believe in the secret ballot. Why should I tell some one over the telephone what my vote is when I wouldn't want someone looking over my shoulder in the voting booth.

Actually, the New Coke deba... (Below threshold)
Steve Skubinna:

Actually, the New Coke debacle is not difficult to untangle, if you can get the right material (a friend once lent me the case study material he had in business school). And the guy who made Coca-Cola blink was John Scully, who was later recruited by Steve Jobs to run Apple, and who eneded up easing Jobs out due to the young man's instability and apparent incapacity to run a large business (needless to say Jobs appears to have either leanred a lot during his years on the outside, or he is surrounded by sharper advisors now, and pays attention to them).

Scully, who was with PepsiCo, ran a series of blind taste tests in which die hard Coke drinkers discovered, to their surprise, that they liked the taste of Pepsi better - in a blind test. What Scully didn't mention, and what Coke never looked at, was those same testers would invariably go to the shelf and get a six pack of Coke to take home, regardless of what they'd just told the testers.

Their brand loyalty was strong enough to overcome their experience at the blind test. But Scully was beating Coca-Cola up with his ads about "The Pepsi Challenge" and the Coke marekting people panicked. New Coke was an attempt to modify the astringent taste of Coke to a sweeter, more Pepsi-like flavor. And we know how it went... there was no clever scheme behind the scenes regarding... well, I've heard plenty of stories about what Coke "really" was up to.

The fact is, they let the competition's marketing get to them. An analogue to today would be Republicans buying the doom and gloom triumphalism of the DNC and staying home because, well, what's the point? The way I look at it, you don't vote, you have no business complaining about what comes afterwards - even if you throw your vote away on Cynthia McKinney or Mickey Mouse.

If you really want this to be your country, vote.

I'm a member of the Harris ... (Below threshold)

I'm a member of the Harris Poll and answered a political questionaire last night. You're right about the bias in the questions. I was asked for my opinion on the President's performance and not a thing about Congressional leadership. There was one bizarre question about race that was difficult to understand (Is it important that people of different ideas can protect the rights of different ethnic groups? Huh?) I'm sure that one will get twisted six different ways.

At the end of the poll, the final question to indicate agreement or disagreement on was along the lines of "There were errors in this poll" -- I answered that I strongly agreed that there were errors. The obvious thing, then, would be to ask for feedback. Of course, they don't want that.......

fascinating work, sir.... (Below threshold)

fascinating work, sir.

one of the best articles (whether you end up right or wrong, the analysis is very intriguing and well-defended).

my sole quibble is a bit of a non-sequitir and based on a supposition and nothing else--perhaps you can disabuse me of my notion. my theory was always that "new coke" was a ploy to cover the replacement of sugar with corn syrup in "coke"/"classic coke". classic coke and original coke are different in flavor (my grandfather wierdly saved some old coke as a "collectible" but we drank some). if true, then coke was able to bring a relieved market "back" to a 2nd rate knockoff; this makes more sense than a savvy conglomerate shooting itself in the foot for no reason.

anyway, i pray you are right re McCain.


Blisters, re: cell phone ca... (Below threshold)

Blisters, re: cell phone calls, I know that when I see some area code I don't recognize, I don't even bother answering the phone. I know the area codes of my out-of-town friends and relatives, and I don't want to waste my time or minutes on anyone else who is calling my number at random.

Should those who oppose the... (Below threshold)

Should those who oppose the Inflated One give him as much support as the Democrats in Congress gave to President Bush, especially when events in Iraq looked bleak? Should they immediately blame him for every failure? Lie about hiim? Suggest he is obstinate, refuses to admit mistakes and so forth? In other words, give to a President Inflated One the equivalent support and respect given to The Hated One? Though emotionally appealing,it would be wrong to treat the Inflated One with the same vile, visceral hatred and dripping contempt sprayed onto President Hated One. This course would be wrong. I know not what course others will take, but for me, I will be Patriotic. And since "Dissent is the Highest form of Patriotism", I will oppose every word, thwart every initiative, despoil every program, smear every utterance, ridicule every gesture, calumnate every nuance and hope, change and hoop jump of the Guy who, if elected, may be The President, but won't be MY President. Anything else would be unpatriotic. Right?

Very interesting, DJ, and e... (Below threshold)

Very interesting, DJ, and encouraging.

I would also encourage people to read this essay that expounds further on poll-answers versus cast ballots:


Don't let the anti-Obama title scare you off, lefties, this may help you avoid some rage when The One loses.

Personal anecdote: Last wee... (Below threshold)

Personal anecdote: Last week, I received a call from Rasmussen Reports. I am a committed Libertarian who will definitely be voting for Bob Barr two weeks from now. For party affiliation, I pressed the option for "some other party". The survey then said "press 1 for Obama, 2 for McCain, 3 if neither". I pressed 3. Then it asked "If you absolutely had to choose between Obama and McCain, press 1 for Obama, press 2 for McCain". Begrudgingly, I pressed 2. Bob Barr/Ralph Nader weren't even mentioned, even though Barr's on the ballot in virtually every state and both together will make a big statistical difference. After all, they're the only option for voters who want an immediate withdrawal from Iraq and want someone who didn't support the economic bailout plan.

The pollster looking at my vote would probably group me as a political independent undecided voter who will steer towards McCain in the days before the election. That simply isn't the case.

Some additional points:... (Below threshold)

Some additional points:

1. I have been voting since 1980 and have never, ever seen the conservative base so fired up (and that includes the Reagan years). People whose political affiliation I didn't even know are expressing to me that they are "furious", "enraged", and "seething" over a host of issues: mainly the treatment of Palin and Joe the Plumber, and the active campaigning of the press for Obama.

2. Folks who couldn't stand McCain and told me they were going to sit out the election are now his biggest backers due to the Palin pick and the true nature of Obama coming out.

3. The Bradley effect, when first observed was 6% to 8% or so. Over the years, it slowly dissipated to just a point or two. This year it's back baby, and with a vengeance. With the constant drumbeat that anyone who opposes Obama is racist, who's going to admit to that, even to an anonymous pollster?

4. It's a 60/40 conservative nation. When the base is fired up and shows up, a lefty/socialist does not stand a chance, no matter how much wind is at his back. Pelosi and Reid are in power now only because the conservative base did not show up in 2006.

<a href="http://daniel-in-b... (Below threshold)

I said it in 2004, and I say it again today:

Unless we have serious evidence of a stolen election, then the people's choice will be my President, and I will honor that.

I make no commitments about agreeing with his policies. But I have great respect for the choice of the people. That's the way it works in this country -- we hire a Chief Executive for a limited contract of four years, with one option for renewal. Except for extreme cases, he's our leader for the whole four years -- period.

My support in this election is strongly for Sen. McCain. But if Sen. Obama wins -- particularly if he wins strongly -- then I will assume that he's the one the people want. (I will then pray that the majority is right and I am wrong. It's happened before.)

What I will NOT do is to trash a President Obama the way President Bush has been trashed. Unless he actually opens up concentration camps, I will not call him a Nazi. Unless I absolutely have the goods on him, I will not call him a liar -- in particular, I will not call him a liar for making the best decisions he can with information available to him at the time. And just as I don't believe that an F-106 fighter pilot can reasonably be called "stupid", I'd likewise give Harvard Law School graduate Obama the benefit of the doubt.

Tempting though it would be to hit a President Obama with all the vile and hurtful nonsense President Bush has had to deal with, every single day, for almost eight years, I'm not going to do it. Instead, if Obama wins, I'll do my best to show the anti-Bush crowd what loving your country and disagreeing with your President ought to look like.

Daniel in Brookline

You have two interesting co... (Below threshold)

You have two interesting comments on the Coke-New Coke event. Here is a third.

Coka-Cola is an OLD company, founded in the 19th Century. Many of their contracts with bottlers were fixed-price dollar contracts. The company was founded in the days of a gold-standard dollar. After the U.S. was taken off the gold standard and inflation became a deliberate government policy, those contracts became money-losers for the parent company.

They manufactured the push for "New Coke," and required the bottlers to accept contracts with inflation clauses in them to get rights to the new products (ultimately both New and Classic Coke).

This was reported in at least two business magazines in the 1960s, but never reached the mainstream press, to my knowledge. In hindsight, it is clear that the mass media, with a pro-government agenda, did not wish to draw attention to the government's deliberate use of inflation.

I love the line about McCai... (Below threshold)
Bill D.:

I love the line about McCain/Palin rallies being bigger. I mean... we've seen them have so many 100,000 people rallies at this point, why even keep counting?

All hack, no evidence.

I'm going to save this page and spread it arounf after the election just like Cheney telling folks that Iraq would be a cake walk.

I live in a very conservati... (Below threshold)

I live in a very conservative, solidly Republican suburb of Detroit. When I went to apply for my absentee ballot, I asked the Elections Clerk if she was getting many absentee ballot requests. She paused. She smiled. And answered: "Through the roof. I've never seen anything like it."

dave y: "Every election ... (Below threshold)

dave y: "Every election 18 year olds are going to turn out and it hasn't happened yet."

They said the same thing before the primaries, that like Howard Dean, Obama would implode as soon as people actually voted (i.e., in Iowa). But in fact it did happen, Obama won the nomination in significant part because young people turned out.

On the other hand, I believe the underlying thesis here enough that I would bet on McCain, if given 2-to-1 odds. (I think the race is much closer than everyone believes, but that Obama is slightly favored, in at least some small part because the polls have everyone believing in his inevitability.)

12. Posted by Len_RI ... (Below threshold)
John Steele:

12. Posted by Len_RI
You are absolutely right. As a conservative I pledge to show a President Obama exactly the same respect and support that liberals have shown President Bush for the past eight years and that you have shown Senator McCain and especially Governor Palin.

Good enough for you Len?

If you dig into the New Cok... (Below threshold)

If you dig into the New Coke story, you find interestingly enough that it was based on improper polling techniques.

At the time Pepsi was running the 'Pepsi Challenge', where people were offered in a blind taste test to choose which soft drink they prefered. More people chose Pepsi than Coke.

The Coke-Cola people were concerned, so they decided to see if they could replicate the results. To their horror, in their own blind taste tests they found Pepsi was preferred to their product. Internally, this put them in a state of panic. Based on their research, they found that most respondents said they had preferred the sweeter taste of the Pepsi product. Deducing that tastes may be changing over time, the Coke people decided that Pepsi really might be 'the choice of the next generation' and so set out to beat it. The decided based on their polling that consumer tastes were swinging in favor of sweeter more sugary products. After months of research, they developed a product which was beating both Coke and Pepsi in a blind taste tests - New Coke.

But when New Coke was released, it won new fans but it horrified the existing customer base. The companies product polling had suggested otherwise, that the new product would be preferred by the majority of their customers.

The answer is that most people don't drink one ounce of soft drink at a time. Most people drink 12-20 ounces of Coke-Cola at a time. What tastes nice on your tongue for a few seconds becomes cloyingly sweet for many people over a longer period. The blind taste tests where flawed and had lead to very bad predictions of actual consumer behavior.

TheAbstractor: I used to vo... (Below threshold)

TheAbstractor: I used to vote LP every time until I came to the inescapable conclusion that just as a Lefty voting for the Green Party is effectively a vote for the GOP, a vote by a constitutionalist for the LP is effectively a vote for the Dems. Do not let the feel-good vote purity thing cloud the fact that you have two choices and you need to vote against the worst one.

Another factor is all of th... (Below threshold)

Another factor is all of this fraudulent voter registration -- The pollsters are getting bad raw data about actual registered voters. If ACORN reports 5,000 newly-registered voters in an inner city area that polls 90% Democrat, that is going to swing the polls toward Obama. What if those 5,000 votes never show up to vote because they don't exist at all?

The only battleground left in this election is in voter verification. The Republicans should pour every last penny into verifying voters and weeding out the fraudulent registrations.

" Bob Barr/Ralph Nader were... (Below threshold)

" Bob Barr/Ralph Nader weren't even mentioned, even though Barr's on the ballot in virtually every state and both together will make a big statistical difference. After all, they're the only option for voters who want an immediate withdrawal from Iraq and want someone who didn't support the economic bailout plan.

Since neither of them have a ghost of a chance to be elected, neither of them is an actual option.

DJ-Could you please ... (Below threshold)

Could you please comment on the Battleground Poll. It seems like they provide considerable data about their sample, and it has been quite consistent over time. Is it reliable? Thanks.

I'm sympathetic to your vie... (Below threshold)

I'm sympathetic to your view on polls generally. They're not viewed as proper scientific research for a reason.

That said, I think you're reaching a bit due to personal preference. It really makes no difference where the headquarters are located; it may well be easier to find responders in midwestern states. And while the polls may be biased, that's not really that important if the effect size is small.

Response rates help if you can honestly determine who the responders are. I'm not convinced you've made that case here (which isn't to say it's not true -- just that it's not supported particularly well in this post).

The questions asked and their order is a very good point, though I'd like to see more details on what you'd seen.

Some of your other points -- Letterman, SNL, or some look you think you perceive on the candidates' faces -- are pretty specious arguments. I mean, I don't think polls are very good, but they're better than the raw opinion of a single biased judge.

I'm not really a fan of either Obama or McCain. I think both will have serious issues as President. However, I tend more towards Obama.

McSame?Have you ev... (Below threshold)


Have you ever even bothered to take a look at McCain's history? He was on the verge of switching parties a few years ago.

We're stuck with a choice between a pseudo-Democrat and a Marxist.

McSame is the most idiotic nickname I've ever heard.

As is so often sa... (Below threshold)
Cannon Asesrb:
As is so often said, the only poll that matters is coming up in two weeks. Everyone, please vote.

I'm supporting Obama, and I certainly am not going to even begin to explain my reasons here. But I will say this:

If Obama is elected president, I expect all you Republicans and right-wingers to support him. That is what I've been told by you all these last eight years. I've been told by countless Republicans and right-wingers that the President is the President, he is the Commander in Chief, and if I criticize him it is the same thing as being anti-American and harms our troops.

Well -- IF Obama wins -- I expect (demand, actually) that you live by your own philosophy and support President Obama. Anything less means you hate America.

12. Posted by Len_RI | October 21, 2008 2:53 PM | Thanks for voting! Score: -28 (36 votes cast)

Yep Len_RI, I will show a President Barack O'Chimpy the same respect that leftist have shown the "war criminal Chimpy Bush" after all Chimp is the new title of respect for the office of President. (or is referring to The Anointed One as a chimp somehow now racist?)

I promise to call myself ashamed to be an American outside the US. I promise that dissent, not paying taxes ala Biden, is the highest form of patriotism.

I promise to embrace the assassination chic of a president, much like the left has done over the past eight years (see http://michellemalkin.com/category/unhinged/assassination-chic/)

I promise to support the Borking of judicial nominees.

I promise to work for the 2012 GOP candidate by laundering all the $200 or less campaign contributions in order to buy the election.

Yes Len_RI, I promise to show the same respect which the left has defined as proper. After all, if BO (stink that he will) wins after the tactics of the left those tactics win have been shown to acceptable. So be it.

Much like the left during the past 8 years, what do we have to lose? Any disagreement we have with the Messiah will become a charge of racism.

Having said that, even during the grips of CDS, the tactics used by the right paled in comparison to the tactics used by the suffers of BDS. The right, due to its inherent small c conservatism is less likely to show the "Patriotic Dissent" as characterized by the left. (Of course anyone of the right showing such "Patriotic Dissent" indicts the entire right while everyone on the left showing such "Patriotic Dissent" are lone individuals.)

I've had some of the same t... (Below threshold)

I've had some of the same thoughts, but I don't particularly put all the pollsters under the same umbrella. Some of them are professional organizations who do a lot of business outside of politics -- this includes at least Gallup, Rasmussen and Zogby. They have more of an incentive to call it right than, say, CBS/NYT, which exists purely for politics and has no real incentive outside of its agenda.

I suspect that you may be right about Gallup not necessarily being able to correct their errors -- polling isn't an exact science, and anything they do to filter their results totally invalidates the margin of error.

I've been polled exactly once in my life, and it was a tedious, intrusive process. Like most libertarians, I don't readily volunteer information about myself, like race, income, etc. I guess I could just lie, and maybe that's what some people do. Note that a lie about personal information can easily have the same distorting impact as a lie about the main question. One other thing: I have caller ID, and I don't answer the phone if it's a call from an 800 number that doesn't identify itself.

So, I'll watch the polls to see if they move towards McCain as election day approaches, but I'll ignore the percentages, except possibly those from professional firms. My guess is that the media-driven polls will stick with Obama come hell or high water, but there must be at least a few organizations that don't want to call it wrong. Up to now, I suspect that the polls have largely been dominated by the herd instinct, but in the last week before the election, that may change.

It's also worth noting that herds always have a leader, and it only takes a couple of groups who skew the results to agree with their agenda, to get the rest to follow.

The polls don't consider ho... (Below threshold)

The polls don't consider homeless people, who will be bussed by the ACORN folks to the polls over and over again, told what name to use, who to vote for, and given a few bucks for each vote cast.

Fortunately, the polls don't count the military, especially those stationed overseas, who will break overwhelmingly against Obama. Unfortunately, the democrats will do what they do every election, and try to insure that most of the military ballots are lost, not delivered on time, or disqualified on technicalities.

I went to a Palin rally in ... (Below threshold)
Adam Bruneau:

I went to a Palin rally in Maine last week. There were around 1,000 people there at the very most. Yet that night on the local news they said 6,000 people had shown up and it was a resounding success. They showed footage of a Palin speech that was FROM AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT RALLY. I had taken pictures and compared them with what i saw on the TV. What they showed to be a massive crowd was in reality actually kind of small and pathetic.

I dont really care for either of these candidates (voting Barr) but the relentlessly negative tone of McCain's campaign is the only thing making me want to vote Obama.

You make great points about... (Below threshold)

You make great points about the location of the pollsters. If their call centers are located in or close to these same cities, their labor pool is probably heavily weighted towards urban college students and hourly workers, demographics that are right in the Dem's sweet spot. Throw in these groups' intensity of support for Obama and you can reasonably guess that the labor force doing the polling is heavily infiltrated with Obamobots.

While it's not likely that these survey workers would make results up, as a former survey research worker, I know that a number of answers in surveys are open to interpretation by the person recording the results, especially if respondents show hesitation in their answers. If there are a number of survey workers generously interpreting answers in favor of Obama and there aren't enough workers doing the same for McCain to balance things out, survey results can be skewed.

Here's a red flag about the integrity of recent national polls: why is it that none of the recent national polls that show McCain within the margin of error show him with even a slight lead? IMO, statistically this doesn't make sense and could suggest some manipulation to ensure that Obama doesn't show any weakness in the homestretch.

This is BS for several obvi... (Below threshold)
ben g:

This is BS for several obvious reasons:

1. Fox News and Rasmussen are going in the same direction as polls funded by liberal/democrat organizations.

2. If polling organization were indeed greatly biased towards the democrats then they wouldn't have polled the Bush-Kerry race as well as they did (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/bush_vs_kerry.html).

3. He seems to think it's somehow wrong for them to be asking voters what they think about Bush. Polling for presidential approval ratings has been the norm for decades, under both democratic and republican presidents. The fact that the poster doesn't know this pretty much reveals his ignorance on the subject.

4. He lists several methodological criticisms of polls that apply in every race, including say, the Dem primary. There are pollster responses to all the questions that he's raising.. they struggle with these problems (like response rates) and try to address them. And yet he prints none of their responses or attempts for controlling. See pollster.com for a series of essays on how they control for the types of generic methodological problems he's raising.

5. His understanding of the economics of polling is flawed: "polls' first need is not to accurately reflect the election progress and report on actual support levels; it's about business." These needs overlap to a great deal. SurveyUSA went from a no-name to the most respected pollster among bloggers (and, eventually the press) during the dem primaries simply because it more accurately predicted outcomes in the dem primary than anyone else. (They were frequently the outlier from the pack, by the way, set point 7.) As a result they got more web traffic and citations. So there's definitely an economic and social incentive to give accurate polls.

6. He suggests that post-convention bounces are "artificial" and created solely for the media narrative. A simpler hypothesis is that the polling companies are accurately registering a slight increase in support for a given candidate in response to their increased positive media attention.

7. He suggests that polls "follow the leader". I've been following the polls since the primaries, and I can safely say: that hasn't been very true for this election. There have been spreads as great as 10 or even 20 pts (see New Hampshire in Dem Primary) between various pollsters at several points this year and last. So no, it's wrong to say "Gallup has been doing this stuff for longer than anyone else, and the other polls have often fallen into the habit of chasing what they see Gallup do." Both the models and the outcomes have been greatly different. This guy needs to compare SurveyUSA and Gallup then get back to us.

8. Now that I've completely derailed this guy's argument, I'd like to offer an explanation why he makes such a shitty one. 1) he's ignorant about polling, and 2) he's highly partisan. Look how he closes off his blog post: "the historical significance of the debates shows that the effects appear several weeks later was also ignored. That the economy could be as reasonably blamed on the democrat-controlled Congress as on the republican President was never considered. That character would be a salient factor in the decisions of voters was rejected out of hand." The polls are measuring what people actually think, and this partisan Republican is mad because the vast majority of people don't agree with his president or candidate on the issues.

Breathtaking delusion...Sup... (Below threshold)

Breathtaking delusion...Supermodel Sarah becomes the biggest celebrity in the world. It's The Sarah Show (wink).

Joe the Plummer? Piper has duds from Saks costing more than he makes in a month. $4000 for lipstick? You betcha (wink).

I am going to try to conden... (Below threshold)
Thomas F:

I am going to try to condense into the next four years the same respect for the messiah that the democrats have shown in 20 years of Bushes & Reagan.

DJ,Good piece. But... (Below threshold)


Good piece. But I find it interesting that you did not make mention of how different the State level polling is markedly different from the national polls. In the past, State polling tended to track national, with the exceptions of certain States like Iowa and Texas where regional issues take dominance.

This time around the State polling is not in line with the national results. Even in the same polling organization.

Care to comment?

Your description of what ha... (Below threshold)

Your description of what happened with Coke vs. New Coke is totally innacurate. Your claim that:

"Near as I can figure it, the essential problem came down to the fact that the company's marketing people made all the key decisions internally, without once stepping out into the real world to test their assumptions."

Is 100% incorrect. In fact, the opposite is true. New Coke was heavily researched with customers. It's actually a study in marketing today to show the failure of customer research, because it was so heavily tested in focus groups and polling!

The reason that the polling failed to show what would happen when New Coke was released is that many people didn't understand that it was a replacement, and that Classic would go away. They were asked about New Coke in a bubble.

Similar effects can be seen in polling today when people are asked about Nationalized Health Care. The questions are usually asked like "Do you think everyone should be guaranteed health care?" People resoundingly answer yes. After all, why not? But if you ask "Do you think everyone should be guaranteed health care, if it means the federal budget will balloon, taxes will go up, and you might have to wait in line?" ... how do you think people will respond?

That is the lesson of New Coke... the need to ask the right questions.

Post your address so I can ... (Below threshold)

Post your address so I can send you a tin-foil hat.

Ha ha ha. Pretty sad/desper... (Below threshold)

Ha ha ha. Pretty sad/desperate logic here. Is this what you're hanging your hat on?

Probably some of the most c... (Below threshold)

Probably some of the most convoluted logic I have read about this election. So when the polls had McCain up just after the Republican Convention they were right, but now they are wrong? A better judge might be each campaign's internal polling and since we can't see these the only way to judge is by what each campaign is doing. McCain out of Michigan, McCain, spending less and less in Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire and the list goes on. Anecdotally I would say that McCains internals are sending him the same message the public polls are - he's in deep trouble



Is this the same DJ Drummon... (Below threshold)
Man Coulter:

Is this the same DJ Drummond that used to post over at Polipundit?

It has to be, because the absolute lunacy displayed by this post is very reminiscent of the nonsense that used to be posted on that site under the same name.

I wonder if the polls were wrong when McCain was leading in Sept before the economic crisis and Sarah Palin was still a respectable figure, not the cartoon she is now.

Anyway the polls are wrong, they vastly underestimate how deep Obama is going to get in McCain's rear end on Nov 4th.

DJ, we miss you over at Polipundit, it just isn't as fun without you there, the current lunatics aint at your level.

<a href="http://www.amazon.... (Below threshold)
Dav Laurel:
Fox News headquarters: 1211... (Below threshold)

Fox News headquarters: 1211 Avenue of the Americas, NYC

The National Review: 215 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York 10016

The Weekly Standard: 1150 17th Street, NW Suite 505 Washington, DC

We'd have to explain why... (Below threshold)
Man Coulter:

We'd have to explain why McCain-Palin rallies are now attracting thousands more people than Obama-Biden rallies, why Letterman suddenly found it cool to have McCain on his show and SNL decided they wanted Palin on theirs. We'd have to explain why there are not a lot of Obama signs visible, but we hear about his army of lawyers getting ready. We'd have to explain why McCain and Palin appear to be so relaxed while Obama and Biden look like they're worried.

McCain-Palin rallies have more people than Obama/Biden rallies? Oh lord... Delusional aint we?

Why SNL wanted Palin on the show? WHy does the WWE outrank Monday night football? Americans love sick entertainment.

Why no Obama signs? Simple, we don't want the racist morons who still exist in this country and vote Republican every time in droves to vandalize our homes and cars.

I think you're right. Perha... (Below threshold)

I think you're right. Perhaps its because those pro-america parts of the nation, the ones that are more patriotic than the others, are in smaller, more rural areas. It is difficult to house a polling headquarters in Wasilla, AK.

Denial is a valid emotion.<... (Below threshold)

Denial is a valid emotion.

KooKoo talk!... (Below threshold)

KooKoo talk!

Of course, John McCain's in... (Below threshold)

Of course, John McCain's internal polling must have him up by 150 EVs and 10 points nationally, which explains why he comes out and says that he's down by six or eight points.

Attacking polls is the sign... (Below threshold)

Attacking polls is the sign of a political movement that doesn't have anything left but a prayer.

Plus, hoping and wishing for the "Bradley Effect" -- which was oversold at the time, and has been widely debunked since then -- is just gross. Gee I sure hope a million or so racists and/or liars show up to vote this year! What a stupid thing to rest your hopes on, another sign that things are now totally out of McCain's control.

The political fundamentals are tilted hard against the GOP this year. People are sick of the war, can't stand the president, and don't like the GOP brand. The economy is in a severe crisis with energy and food cost climbing sharply.

McCain bungled his response to the downturn, and he lost all three debates (if the polls are to be believed, which I guess they aren't). Palin has been a disaster: her negatives are sky-high for a brand-new politician, with very limited appeal among women or independents (again, polls...) None of the negative framing attempt have stuck to Obama: outside the Republican base, nobody believes he is a Muslim communist who hates America. Now the clock is running out, and McCain is fighting for states deep in the usual GOP comfort zone.

That, my friends, is how you lose an election.

Instead of making yourselves feel better with tenuous conspiracy theories, conservatives should be figuring out what went wrong and trying to rebuild their movement.

But, can the pollsters see ... (Below threshold)

But, can the pollsters see Russia from their front porches? Your analysis makes about as much sense as the porn movie MILF who is running for vp.

Curious, <a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)
DJ: I will bet you $1000 Ob... (Below threshold)
Hieronymus Bosch's Poodle:

DJ: I will bet you $1000 Obama wins. Email me if you want to take the bet.

The use of "libs" and "we c... (Below threshold)

The use of "libs" and "we conservatives" is interesting in light of the fact that GW Bush is the most fiscally liberal president of our generation. Being a social prohibitionist is not what conservatism is about. Go read up on Nixon's time in office pre-scandal if you want a picture of proper conservative leadership in action. I'm a democrat but if a scandal-free version of Nixon were running I'd vote for him. Absent that, it's Obama.

You people who call him a muslim extremist are out of your freakin' gourds.

Gallup is actually based in... (Below threshold)

Gallup is actually based in Nebraska -- Lincoln, to be exact, where their call center is headquartered. And most polls use call centers in smaller Midwest communities to save money; the prevailing wage in Omaha is a lot lower than DC or New York City.

In all the Presidential ele... (Below threshold)

In all the Presidential elections since 1968 the greatest percentage of the vote a Democrat has receieved (keep in mind this counts St. Bill twice) is 50.1% for Jimmy Carter - in the middel of the Watergate scandal against that titan of Repubicalanism Gerald Ford //sarcasm. So now I am supposed to believe that Obama is going to get 53 or 54% of the vote. Really? I see a 51 - 48% race. Obama will do better in the EC. No way is he going to win by more than 5%.

Wow, if this is true then t... (Below threshold)

Wow, if this is true then there is much money to be made on sites like InTrade.

I am a big believer in the accuracy of polls. Tell you what - since aggregating polls gives a highly statistically confident picture, I'll give anyone here 5-1 odds in favor of Obama. In other words, you put up $100. If Obama wins, I get that $100. If McCain wins, I give you $500.

Come on. If you really believe this post, you'll jump at this opportunity.

What's interesting to me is... (Below threshold)

What's interesting to me is that, after decrying alleged bias in polling companies, you proceed to provide anecdotal evidence as your clincher argument; the number of signs seen in yards, the relative size of rallies, etc, with no figures. While these polling companies may have a bias, your bias is already well known.

Hillary Clinton also appeared on SNL, before conceding. So did Mike Huckabee, before conceding. In this season, when people appear on that show, it's not because they are on a rocket to victory.

I can't see a way that you're presenting an intellectually honest appraisal of the current situation in the campaign, so this comes off as a desperate attempt to spin a fairly bleak situation for your candidate. Which amuses me.

good point on intrade - the... (Below threshold)

good point on intrade - the investing there is a clear statement on the validity of your point. Surely it wouldn't only be you that could see through the veil of deception.

I pray that you are right, ... (Below threshold)
Barbara Miles:

I pray that you are right, D.J. I believe that a whole lot more rides on this election than anyone realizes.

Len_Ri,I, and many... (Below threshold)


I, and many others, have taken and oath of allegiance to the US Constitution; to defend it against ALL enemies, both foreign and domestic. If obama is elected, and he continues/does the things he stands for; he will be an enemy to our Constitution, and a sworn enemy of all patriotic Amercians. Period.

If what you say is true, th... (Below threshold)
Brendan D:

If what you say is true, then McCain has done himself, his campaign, and his country a disservice by pulling out of Michigan, ceding New Mexico, and essentially saying bye-bye to Colorado. Camp McCain isn't pulling out of those areas because public polls have told him he has no shot; campaigns go by internal polls. Something in McCain's internal polling data has suggested that they can win in Pennsylvania. And maybe they can, though public polling would suggest differently.

But can you explain, if these polls are so very off, what exactly McCain's strategy is, and why he's focusing on a very narrow victory rather than winning all the Bush states and more?

You possess the convoluted logic of Donald Rumsfeld, DJ.

"I believe that a whole lot... (Below threshold)

"I believe that a whole lot more rides on this election than anyone realizes."

I said that in 2000 and 2004. Unfortunately I was proven absolutely right.

Amusing to see the implication that a country whose standing and reputation have been thoroughly tarnished by a morally bankrupt and stupid President and VP for 8 years is now in danger if we elect Senator Obama.

I'd understand this better ... (Below threshold)

I'd understand this better if you had evidence that the polls are wrong, rather than just ad hominen attacks (or ad corporem, since you're alleging that the companies running the polls are all biased).

Why on earth would some jok... (Below threshold)

Why on earth would some joker use my name?

Unless there's another Rolf. Name stealing is so typical righty-blog.

Keep on drinking the Kool-A... (Below threshold)
M Leonard:

Keep on drinking the Kool-Aid, you pathetic wingnuts! It'll all be over soon and you can recamp to Alaska.

Whatever you need to tell y... (Below threshold)

Whatever you need to tell yourself to get you through the day . . .

Sure, all the polls are systematically wrong, and all are biased. Of course, it makes perfect sense . . .

I am sure that we always see this effect with all polls in all past elections, right ?

I kind of feel bad for you guys.

Another (unreported) bias i... (Below threshold)

Another (unreported) bias is that the order in which questions are asked will have an effect on the response. Therefore a question linking John McCain to George Bush before asking the person to rate John McCain will probably lower McCain's standing vs Obama.

This will happen regardless of the wording in the questions themselves.

So Fox News is part of th... (Below threshold)

So Fox News is part of the problem too? You take PC too far bub. Nobody needs to move to Hellhole Alabama to have bonafides with wingnut nation. Polling is science, no GOP candidate would have use for the partisan product you propose.

I may not be the first one ... (Below threshold)
Matt Groom:

I may not be the first one to mention this, but the failure of New Coke wasn't a failure of marketing, but a scheme to get High Fructose Corn Syrup incorporated into the recipe. Hence, Coca-Cola became "Coca-Cola Classic" not because it was a return to the old formula, but because it was the adoption of a new formula, with the old flavorings. That's why they discontinued old coke before new coke had gained any market share.

Many people can't tell the difference between HFCS and Sucrose, but there is a difference. For one, it (used to) cost dramatically less than sugar, which means the Coke could charge the same price and quadruple their profits. Second, HFCS doesn't interact with the brain in the same way, which means you never get a sensation of satisfaction, which means you drink more and more. That's why we have Super Big Gulps now a days whereas people used to be content with 8oz. bottles.


Has the acid worn off yet?<... (Below threshold)

Has the acid worn off yet?

Forget the rest of the post... (Below threshold)
Michael T. Rose Author Profile Page:

Forget the rest of the post, this is just weird:

"We'd have to explain why McCain-Palin rallies are now attracting thousands more people than Obama-Biden rallies"

No, we wouldn't have to explain it, because it is demonstrably, provably and incontrovertibly untrue. What planet are you on? A single Obama event outdrew a week's worth of McCain rallies.

Well, let's run down the li... (Below threshold)

Well, let's run down the list.

- Why is McCain so interested in Penn? You'll find more cogent analysis from Nate Silver and Al Giordano in this regard.

- Why are McCain-Palin rallies attracting bigger crowds? Uhm. That's an interesting statement that requires proving. The 100K crowd Obama drew in St. Louis would certainly like to know if this is the case.

- Why did Letterman want McCain on the show? Ratings. Which do not correlate to votes.

- Why did SNL have Palin on the show? Because when you tell jokes it is best to have a national joke up front and in person. (See her recent negs, etc.) Also ratings.

- Why do Obama and Biden look worried and McCain and Palin appear cool and calm? That's a bizarrely subjective opinion, and one not voiced by anyone, anywhere, at any time. That you actually believe this sorta puts your entire thesis in the confirmation bias category.

Good luck with that.

Rendell's worried about PA ... (Below threshold)
Bel Aire:

Rendell's worried about PA and the Moonbats are displaying their nervousness on righty blogs.

Maybe it's over. But I'd note that the 'winners' are 'woofing' two weeks ahead of the election. Just. In. Case. They're. Wrong.

The complete refutation of ... (Below threshold)
John from Concord:

The complete refutation of this entire line of argument is actually really simple. No higher math is required.

There are, as you note, quite a few major polling firms. This being America, they compete for business. They live or die by their accuracy records. The most accurate pollsters get the biggest contracts and the most media play. Even if some of these companies chose to skew polls this year, others would have a strong incentive to report the (presumably different) truth. Or, alternatively, to start new companies using objective methodology to report accurately and steal huge chunks of market share next time around.

And yet somehow, there are no polls at all that show McCain with a huge lead at the moment. Remarkably, not even the internal polls commissioned by McCain's own campaign staff show him with a lead.

If everyone around you seems biased, even those who would seem to have the most to gain by being objective, maybe your premise needs rethinking.

(That's an Ivy-educated East Coast elitist way of saying that you're going to look like even more of an idiot than you already do in a couple of weeks. Cheers.)

Brief Reality Check.<... (Below threshold)

Brief Reality Check.

Obama is spending the day in Virginia before leaving for Hawaii.

Palin is attending a solo even in Ohio. McCain will join her for several Ohio events during the day and tonight.

Please advise how this fits your thesis.

The idea that polls are bia... (Below threshold)

The idea that polls are biased because they have an address in New Jersey is just so completely batso, I don't think I've ever heard anything quite so stupid. Are you saying there are no Republicans in New York, New Jersey or California? Giuliani and Arnold would beg to differ. Are you saying that the idea of valid statistics disappears when you cross the Delaware? Rasmussen is a reliably Republican-based pollster but even though I'm a Democrat that doesn't mean I'd think he's got any reason to be wrong. Have you not read this: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/10/tracking-poll-primer.html And what, any pollster would tell you that polls have a margin of error of at least 3 - 4 points so all these polls could be 3 - 4 points above or below the numbers they are reporting.

I suppose though if my candidate were down 10 points 13 days before election day, though, I'd want to disbelieve the polls too. Good luck with that.

Toss all of the polls and u... (Below threshold)

Toss all of the polls and use the 2004 election results as your benchmark, and if the Dems do a little bit better they should win. Bush didn't score blowouts during the past two elections. So what do we know? Bush is very unpopular, the economy is in the crapper, the Dems have nominated a candidate who inspires genuine enthusiasm, and one who has already defeated his party's front runner during the primaries, he's flush with cash, has been organizing a ground game for months, etc.

Give me something real! "Ooooh, but most pollsters live in New York City!" Oh well. Election will be over soon anyway.

Are you really that incapab... (Below threshold)

Are you really that incapable of logical thought, or are you just trying to fire up gullible conservatives? The polls aren't wrong. I guess you won't believe that until you see it with your own eyes on November 4.

Well there's only one solut... (Below threshold)

Well there's only one solution to this conspiracy. Call up some backers of 527 slime groups and get them to pony up money (if they have any left) to establish a polling company in Utah. It stills seems to be bedrock GOP territory. Have them skew their polling as badly to the right as you think the other outfits are skewing them to the left. Then let's see their numbers. We'll all have a good laugh when it's numbers show McCain with a 10 point lead the day before the election and he gets trounced.

It will be fun to watch the... (Below threshold)

It will be fun to watch the results come in on election night and find that, while they may be off by 1-3 points (i.e. the margin of error), they will be dead on right in terms of who is going to win these states. This whole thing about media bias is getting WAY too blown out of proportion. Prepare to be very disappointed on Nov. 5.

I have taken my own poll. ... (Below threshold)
This guy is high on GOP:

I have taken my own poll. Obama wins by a landslide. My cousin that always votes republican is voting Obama, same with his mom my aunt. Voted Bush in 2000, Kerry in 2004, and Obama 2008. My father who votes blindly republican is sitting this one out. I live in a very old school republican hotbed in California. Lots of Farmers, families and churches. Obama signs out number McCain 20 to 1. Same with the bumper stickers. You can fudge the numbers and stats all you want but that will not take away from the reality that the GOP will not hold the Whitehouse for the next 16 years, possibly longer. Bush and the neocon agenda has destroyed the republican party. Whatever you are smoking buddy....can I get some? That must be some good Sh$t if you are coming up with this theory. It's positively out there.

Well -- IF Obama wins --... (Below threshold)

Well -- IF Obama wins -- I expect (demand, actually) that you live by your own philosophy and support President Obama. Anything less means you hate America

Tell you what -- if he wins, I'll do what the left *never* did, which is quietly hope for, and wish him, the best, and learn to *tolerate* him without feeling the need to *support* him, and avoid the Hitler references, chimp comparisons, and jokes about the assassination and imprisonment of him or the members of his cabinet.

Maybe we can show you animals the value of self-examination by leading by example.

I see some comments about h... (Below threshold)

I see some comments about how, if Obama is elected, Republicans have to support him, because they kept saying that Democrats should support Bush.

Wrongo. Not if you elect Obama.

Bipartisanship in foreign affairs is probably over. It never existed on the fringes of each party, but now it has evaporated from the middle, partly because of fools like Jimmy Carter, but mainly because the Democratic liberals allowed the leftists to take over their party.

The only chance for a return to bipartisanism is for the Democrats to reject the leftists - and Obama is a leftist, not a liberal.

So if Obama is elected, fugedaboudit. You want bipartisanism, vote for McCain. Bipartisanism is what his campaign - and his political career - is all about.

And if the polls really are wrong, maybe it will be because the voters understand that.

There are five stages of gr... (Below threshold)

There are five stages of grief, as Kübler-Ross wrote in her 1969 book "On Losing an Election":

1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

It's apparent that you're still at the first stage, Denial. Good luck with the next four.

We should only count the vo... (Below threshold)

We should only count the votes of "Real" Americans like those in small towns and Red States. These librul cesspools like NYC and Wash DC are full of anti-American commies. We should bomb them. Maybe fly some planes into their buildings. Sounds like that's where this line of Conservative argument is headed... City folks are anti-American, country folks are the only "Real" Americans. I never thought I'd see McCarthyism return to the American culture, but I guess Republicans will do ANYTHING and destroy ANYTHING to win an election. The voices that say anything coming out of NYC and DC must be liberal hogwash and the 'real' Americans live in the midwest or in Wassila Alaska.. they're the ones putting "Country First"?

McCain shouldn't win. He doesn't deserve to win running a campaign that's central theme seems to be a message of hating and fearing other Americans.

I agree wtih all the buffoo... (Below threshold)

I agree wtih all the buffoonish trolls on this thread. Obambi's gonna win in a cakewalk. Trolls, hear that--ther is no need for your sorry asses to vote. The messiah does not need you.

The Wall Street Journal, a ... (Below threshold)

The Wall Street Journal, a Rupert Murdoch-owned publication, had a front page article today about its own poll, which the company presumably paid for. The results - Obama 52%, McCain 42%. How does that fit into the conspiracy theory?

DJ, your work is great. Onl... (Below threshold)

DJ, your work is great. Only you can illicit so many "seminar" comments. I have never heard of these idiots. I don't even think they read your post. (Big surprise)

I will say that whomever wins, there will be trouble in many cities. The calls for voter fraud are already happening on both sides, so I guess we can thank Al Gore for that. If we cannot have a fair election, how can one side support the other? It cannot happen. We all know where this is heading, but just do not want to say it or believe it. I will say, we are a very young country going through the usual growing pains. ww

AP Poll now calls the race ... (Below threshold)

AP Poll now calls the race even. Wow! ww

"We'd have to explain why t... (Below threshold)
Tracy Author Profile Page:

"We'd have to explain why there are not a lot of Obama signs visible, but we hear about his army of lawyers getting ready."

Just picking on one of the many stupid things written here:

I live in DuPage County, a very Republican county outside Chicago, yet on my block, there are seven Obama signs to one McCain sign.

This is awesome beyond word... (Below threshold)
Jay B.:

This is awesome beyond words. The big talk from the dead enders -- so far as to preemptively don the "WOLVERINES!!11!!" garb for an Obama presidency -- that is all moronic bluster and whiny self-pity about how mean liberals were to poor old GW. As if they didn't spend the better part of a decade chasing after Wile E. Clinton before finally getting him for a BJ.

I'd like to state for the record that I opposed W. even while he was polling at a 90 percent approval rating after he fell asleep at the switch on the whole "terrorism" business. But now that almost 80% of the country seditiously agrees with my assessment, I'd like to say to the fringe paranoids here, trapped in their digital, fact-free, Tora Borariffic redoubt: Enjoy the wilderness children. Call me if conservatives ever decide to grow up.

The reason the Republicans ... (Below threshold)

The reason the Republicans party is looking up at a landslide is because they've done for free market capitalism what they did for the spread of democracy: set it back a hundred years.

As an American, a capitalist, a democrat and a Democrat I'm mightily pissed about that. So is everybody else. You Republicans just don't want to admit to yourselves that's what you're angry about.

Tracy on my block in Downer... (Below threshold)

Tracy on my block in Downers Grove it's 10 Obama signs to 3 McCain. And BTW DuPage voters took 133,000 Dem ballots to 109,000 Repub on Super Tuesday. It's not red anymore. C'mon on out and help us dump Judy Biggert and elect Scott Harper.

We all know where this i... (Below threshold)

We all know where this is heading, but just do not want to say it or believe it.

Where is that, Willie? Civil war? Quit licking your chops at the thought of it, it's grotesque.

Shorter DJI have m... (Below threshold)
La La:

Shorter DJ


Ha ha, too funny. I guess you cope with your inevitable defeat accordingly.

40% of those surveyed were ... (Below threshold)

40% of those surveyed were Unemployed. Considering the national average is around 5%...what does that tell you?

DJ, your work is great.<... (Below threshold)
Jay B.:

DJ, your work is great. -- WildWillie

You mean the work about the unreliability of the corrupt blue-state polling firms?

AP Poll now calls the race even. Wow! ww -- WildWillie

I used to think Alanis Morisette killed irony. I'm glad the Internets have proved me wrong again!

BTW: From the AP story about the poll: The AP-GfK survey included interviews with a large sample of adults including 800 deemed likely to vote. Among all 1,101 adults interviewed, the survey showed Obama ahead 47 percent to 37 percent. He was up by five points among registered voters.

It's weird. But then, that's statistics for you!

Dude, take off the tinfoil ... (Below threshold)

Dude, take off the tinfoil hat.

Sorry, IBD is probably the... (Below threshold)

Sorry, IBD is probably the most conservative newspaper in the country. They may be in LA, but there isn't a liberal cell in that organization. Bill O'Neil, the publisher did a bus tour of the country he was so anti-Clinton.

I have a question:... (Below threshold)

I have a question:

Will you resign in disgrace and never bother this country again with your pathetic analysis when you are proved wrong when a 300+ electoral victory for Obama is realized?

'Cause that's what we're shooting for, buddy. 300+. When we get it, you can be damned sure we're going to claim it's a mandate. And we'll be right to do it, too.

Oh ye who have already live... (Below threshold)

Oh ye who have already lived and perished by the polls, live by them still?

This is a fine analysis, but I have one minor quibble; you lost me at the Enron example.

So many people saw Enron as a company made up of crooks, that they failed to notice that Enron did have a Code of Ethics; the problem was similar to Coke, in that too many people never tested their assumptions, and by the time they realized something was wrong, it was too late to repair the damage.

What? *reads again* What? *reads again* What? *reads again* What? *posts confusion*

Too many people never tested their assumptions that a code of ethics was sufficient to correct what they already assumed to be corporation of crooks? >>> crackle, spark, arc

But that's OK, I picked up again after the Enron example and everything else in the analysis put forward here works.

Personally, I hang up on all pollers because of their unwillingness to answer MY questions, and if they did I wouldn't trust their answers. And if I were to ever answer polling questions I would purposefully mislead just to goof up their results. Because that's the way I am. Of course the pollsters claim to mathematically account for this, which is patently arrogantly false, so there's no reason, absolutely no reason, to trust their results. They got a job, it's just a job.

As to McSame, oh Jeeze, how original can you get? I'm totally blown away at the wit of reading that for the millionth time. Look, if it was sameness I was worried about, which I'm not, I'd seek to overturn the entire congress -- now there's where you find sameness. If a voter thinks McCain is anything remotely similar to Bush then they're just not paying attention. Either that, or they've forfeited their innately human ability to discriminate between A and B. I see in the comments the name McSame substituted for McCain, and I immediately think, "everything that follows is written by an idiot."

Reading tripe like this che... (Below threshold)

Reading tripe like this cheers me up. After all the years when the neocons had America by the balls, finally we are saying no more. And the very worst people in the Western hemisphere are all here, complaining about it. Using the location of pollsters' offices as a basis for claiming bias is third-grade level logic. Fox News is headquartered in NYC, very blue territory. So . . . Fox News must be liberally biased, then?

And yeah, consumer opinion of New Coke is just like polling models. People buying fizzy drinks is just like people predicting an election. You must know better than people who've dedicated their careers to this.

Yeah, McCain's camp looks relaxed and Obama's camp looks flustered. That's why McCain's constantly on the attack and Obama's all but ignoring him.

There are so many affronts to my intelligence in this article that I'm saving it onto my computer to marvel at later.

Fivethirtyeight.com has an exhaustive, researched analysis of each pollster's lean, democratic or republican, based on actual past performance--rather than sad, wishful conjecture based on nothing other than despair. Go learn from someone who actually does his homework, you shoddy excuse for a writer.

markg8,I'm in Whea... (Below threshold)
Tracy Author Profile Page:


I'm in Wheaton, so Roskam is my representative. That means I'll be voting for Morgenthaler.

Being Illinois, though, I'd be happy to vote in your district as well.

Bad comparison with New Cok... (Below threshold)

Bad comparison with New Coke.
Learn more about the subject, They later found out that New Coke actually increased Coke's revenue and have they continued making New Coke along with the Classic, it would be a success. But the backlash from the truly vocal already destroy any potential for marketing.

This analysis is dead-on. ... (Below threshold)

This analysis is dead-on. Thanks for pointing this out. I'm amazed that the liberal media elite hasn't reported on the odd "coincidence" that all these media/polling organizations moved their headquarters from "Real (Red State) America" (where they clearly were in 2004 when the same polls showed Bush in the lead) to coincide with an Obama candidacy. They thought no one would notice. Well you did. And for that, America should be grateful. You, sir, are a true patriot.

As markg8 said, "The reason... (Below threshold)
JBL in Maine:

As markg8 said, "The reason the Republicans party is looking up at a landslide is because they've done for free market capitalism what they did for the spread of democracy: set it back a hundred years."


But the inability of the GOP to honestly assess its own failures results in wild and desperate accusations fired at Obama without a single fact to back any of them up.

Obama himself is accused of "palling around with terrorists," when all he did was serve on a board with one guy who orchestrated the destruction of physical property forty years ago, and who has turned his life around so commendably that he has been praised by the federal prosecuter of his case. He has been accused of starting his first political campaign in this guy's living room, when the only purpose for the gathering was to honor someone else who was retiring. Yet McCain's long-time associations with Constitution-subverting felons like the unrepentant G. Gordon Liddy are seen as irrelevant, as if terrorism from within can only be accomplished with bombs.

One of the more amusing accusations from the GOP has got to be the charges of Obama's supposed "socialist" leanings, when anyone with even the slightest understanding of the term can see it has nothing to do with Obama's proposed restructuring of the tax code to make it more fair. Even Joe the Plumber, McCain's would-be poster boy against Obama's tax policy, would receive a tax reduction under Obama's plan, as would millions of other Americans, yet we are supposed to believe that it would be more fair (and less socialist) to continue the "welfare for the rich" tax-cutting policies of the Bush administration that even John McCain used to decry as immoral.

Obama has been accused of hiding his "true" religious beliefs, his birth certificate, college friends, etc., along with a host of other ridiculous and false assertions which time and space do not permit me to list, but McCain/Palin supporters try to create a false equivalency between their smears and the fact-based criticisms of the Obama campaign. Interestingly enough, all the things the GOP has accused the Dems of doing are actually the very same things they themselves have been doing, such as voter fraud.

ACORN is villified for supposedly committing voter fraud, when all it is guilty of doing is reporting a few problems with voter registration forms turned in by people who were fired when the false names were discovered. If ACORN took it upon itself to pre-validate (or pre-invalidate) registrations, that would have been a violation of the law in many states. Their honesty has been rewarded with smears and lies, and while McCain has given ACORN great support over the years, it is Obama's support that now draws fire. Yet the GOP's persistent attempts to intimidate student voters with false threats of "loss of health care" as is happening in Virginia, and to invalidate legally registered voters by techniques such as "caging" used against members of the military deployed overseas, or their most recent attempt to remove from the voter rolls the names of people whose homes were in foreclosure (as if property ownership was a prerequisite to vote), not to mention their removal of respected attorneys general who do not pursue trumped-up voter fraud cases, have shown thier utter lack of respect for the most fundamental right in a democratic republic: the right to vote.

And now we are expected to believe that polling favors Obama because of where the pollsters themselves are based, as if it had nothing to do with the American people seeing who the real enemy of democracy in their own back yard has really been.

Well, this blog has provided me with a very interesting foray into the land of the deluded, and I appreciate the insight. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm due back in reality, which as we know has a well-known liberal bias.

Larry, I'm an independent ... (Below threshold)

Larry, I'm an independent voter here in Colorado. I'm getting a 3:1 ratio of Republican versus Democrat calls (exa. Mostly calls trying to scare me into not voting for Obama. I'm not sure you have the backlash thing lashing in the correct direction. I think people here in Colorado aren't scared of Obama, so the brow beating to get our vote isn't going to work. A call telling me how important my vote is to balancing the budget might. But that's not the campaign's tactic. It's a hate-based mantra and we're getting tired of it. Even my pastor is tired up it. I think Obama wins Colorado hands down, and probably because of a backlash against the scare tactics Macain is using.

Oneida County which is home... (Below threshold)

Oneida County which is home to Utica, N. Y. voted for Presdient Bush by :

Bush 52,392 55%
Kerry 40,792 43%

According to the CNN database. Hardly a liberal bastion.


DJ, you are flat-out wrong.... (Below threshold)

DJ, you are flat-out wrong. So wrong, in fact, that I have no idea where to begin.

You are not a pollster, and you have no idea how polling is done. Nate @ 538.com is a pollster, knows how it's done, and runs hundreds of thousands of models, collects hard data as he travels throughout the US, and is reporting exactly opposite of what you- again, someone who is NOT a pollster- are posting here.

ps: McCain/Palin is getting Bigger crowds than Obama? You are absolutely nuts!

Just this weekend Obama drew 100k in St. Lou, then another 75k later that day. McCain drew under 4k, and Palin around 6.

So by your math, 175,000 people is less than 10,000.

No wonder why you're not a pollster!

This is called "magical thi... (Below threshold)

This is called "magical thinking." You don't like the evidence you see, so you dismiss reality itself as flawed.

Here's a little test - very, very simple - to disprove your broadstroke "the polls are wrong/biased/inherently skewed toward Obama" thesis. Look at two polls which are both based in North Carolina, and which both have a strong history of accuracy polling in North Carolina. These are PPP and Civitas. One is a "Democratic" firm, and one is a "Republican" firm.

Throughout this election cycle, these two polls have released results that have echoed each other. Why? Not because they are located in some inherently "liberal" area like New York. These are both North Carolina companies, polling NC. And not because they both have a "leftist agenda." Civitas is an openly, avowedly Republican-leaning institution. They produce similar results because they both use good science. Period.

Empiricism wins. Your gut loses. This election is a long overdue referendum on reality.

Hey, 158. Are you a pollst... (Below threshold)

Hey, 158. Are you a pollster? Are you a statistician? From your post, it is obvious you are not. If you were, you would specifically rebut the points DJ makes.

You cite two NC polls as counter-evidence, but you do not address his arguments. Unless you're an expert in the field, it's probably best to wait until *after* the election to wag your finger.

What bothers me about the t... (Below threshold)

What bothers me about the two major party candidates is that one of them is a socialist who wants the government to take over large sectors of the economy.

And I don't like Obama, either.

If you were, you would s... (Below threshold)

If you were, you would specifically rebut the points DJ makes.

Regnery's headquarters are in Washington DC. Therefore they are pro gay.

Somebody could at least buy commenter #1 a drink for putting a quick end to Drummond's assertion.

Deeeee Nile....... (Below threshold)

Deeeee Nile....

Wow. Like most Republican-... (Below threshold)

Wow. Like most Republican-voting hardliners, you clearly see things the way you want to see them, rather than how they ARE.

For the record, just because you looked up the address of the polling places does not mean they stand outside in their neighborhoods and poll only those close to them. Have you NO IDEA how polling is done?

DJ: I admire you for putti... (Below threshold)

DJ: I admire you for putting this up. It's wrong, but it takes some guts to make a public stand like this.
(For those who have read this far down, a quick recap of best rebuttals might be that pollsters have call centers, and employees, outside of the location of headquarters, that if a location does lead to bias, it's also reasonable that conservative leadership in a polling orgazanation could overcome that bias, that accuracy, which is better thought of as a range than a single number, is what pollsters get paid for but for those who think that polling drives opinion, than surely, conservatives would have polling results to release to drive opinion.)

What people need to remember is that if you can't lose an election, it's not a democracy. Yes, this is going to be a big year for the Democrats. Republicans will regroup, make changes to their message and have the possibility of winning in a few years. It's never pleasant to lose an election, especially when you think the other side is wrong, but the country isn't going to come to an end if Barack Obama wins and the Democrats get 60 Senators. As for the matter of respect for a president that you didn't vote for, I'd simply ask you to think about the example you want to set, and the tone of public discourse that you want in the future.

And now, to recap the New Coke issue. Coke changed the formula because of the blind taste testing. The failure of New Coke was not because people preferred the old formula but rather because Coke ignored why people picked a particular drink. Cola advertising has been for many years about creating an image that people identify with; changing the formula contradicted decades of advertising.
As for the change in sweetners: Coke did want to switch to corn sweetners for cost reasons (both because it was cheaper than the market price of sugar and because some distributors had constracts which required Coke to supply sugar below market price), but those changes
started before the switchover, and continued after the switch back.

I used to think Alanis Morisette killed irony. I'm glad the Internets have proved me wrong again!

No No No. Henry Kissinger winning the Nobel Peace Prize killed irony. Tom Lehrer said so.

Personally, I hang up on all pollers because of their unwillingness to answer MY questions, and if they did I wouldn't trust their answers. And if I were to ever answer polling questions I would purposefully mislead just to goof up their results. Because that's the way I am. Of course the pollsters claim to mathematically account for this, which is patently arrogantly false, so there's no reason, absolutely no reason, to trust their results. They got a job, it's just a job.

If you're hanging up on them, then they've accounted for your attempts to sabotage the poll. Sure polling is just a job, but in order for a company to find paying customers, it needs it's results to have some relation to reality.

more GO Pbs,calls ar... (Below threshold)

more GO Pbs,
calls are only made if voter says not decided

you get 100 calls and arent decided? you are a bloody moron

OK, so the polls are wrong.... (Below threshold)

OK, so the polls are wrong. I think their volotility is good evidence of that. But they still all show Obama winning. Its just a matter of by how much. I'll say this though, if all conservatives came out and actually voted for McCaine, he would win. The most significant issue in the race is control of the courts. After decades of effor we finally, almost, have a conservative court. The next president is going to replace two or three of the liberal justices. McCaine could give us a conservative court. Obama will give a radical one which will not be able to be chagned significantly for decades. Any conservative who fails to vote for McCaine can not object to the assault on the fundamental institutions of the republic and the constitution itself thst is the likely result of an Obama court. The people will have far less to say about their own governence, and unelected judges far more.

Oh come on. The upshot of y... (Below threshold)

Oh come on. The upshot of your hypothesis is that current polling methodologies cannot overcome institutional bias.

By your logic any survey, done by anyone, is unusable due to bias. It's a complete rejection of statistics.

Wow. Epic Fail on your part... (Below threshold)

Wow. Epic Fail on your part. Because you're right-leaning, you tell us the polls are wrong. Anw we should believe you WHY...???

"RIC (Routine Infant Circum... (Below threshold)

"RIC (Routine Infant Circumcision) = MGM (Male Genital Mutilation)!"


I hope President Brack Hussein Obama makes MGM illegal!!! :-)

Hey, bobby b, fugate, AJP &... (Below threshold)
Arrigo Beyle:

Hey, bobby b, fugate, AJP & nikkolia, relax.

Your sheets are back from the laundry, bleached as you requested, and with the eyeholes mended. And, of course, your ropes have been rebraided.

In case Obama is elected--horrible thought!--but you can't use your sheets and your ropes, you can always call your friends to help you burn a cross on a black family's lawn. Afterwards, you'll feel much, much better.

I have seen this sort of me... (Below threshold)

I have seen this sort of mental behavior in my repub dense city of Sacramento where these knuckle-heads gather and huff and puff their silly mantras of right wing radio hate, that is to say, repub talking points and as long as they get enough people agreeing with themselves, they feel smug about their own superiority and significance, despite the glaring logic and facts and all those liberal thingy's that naturally assert otherwise.

Reality is a liberal thing. Conservatives will assert ANYTHING (that suits their needs) as long as they have some support for it. And right now, repugs are curlin' up like babies fetal position, trying to take their minds to a safe place while they get reamed! And if they get what they deserve, its gonna be a brutal, oh soooo brutal. This super-way-the-f__k-out there blog is that false, creative, safe place they need to cope.

Hey, 171..."they feel smug ... (Below threshold)

Hey, 171..."they feel smug about their own superiority and significance, despite the glaring logic and facts and all those liberal thingy's that naturally assert otherwise."

Feeling a little smug about *your* superiority? Typical of you lefties. Why don't you try some real argument?

What a cute thread, I can't... (Below threshold)

What a cute thread, I can't resist a bit of trolling: Understanding Sarah Palin: Or, God Is In The Wattles

So let me get this straight... (Below threshold)
Kat from Pittsburgh:

So let me get this straight-if the polls say Obama's ahead, they're lying and they're biased. But the ones that say McCain is ahead-they're the ones that are totally unbiased and correct, right? The stupidity, it burns.

The McCain campaign this year has been one of the nastiest I've seen in my life-and they still can't figure out why they're losing. Grow up, stop being such a sore loser, and be gracious. Quit accusing the other side of cheating. The Republican party seriously needs to rebuild itself from the bottom up-then, and ONLY then, will this end.

What they call "liberal bias" is only their own immaturity and hate.

Hey, Kat, that's not what D... (Below threshold)

Hey, Kat, that's not what DJ's been saying at all. You're evidently not familiar with what he's been writing.

You tell people to "grow up" and you spout off without even addressing their arguments or taking the time to figure out what he's talking about. Are you the pot or the kettle? People who talk before they know what they're talking about are the ones needing to grow up. Try some of it yourself.

Did you question the integr... (Below threshold)

Did you question the integrity of pollsters when they were predicting Bush victories in 2004?
I live on the Iowa/Nebraska border and I don't need a poll to tell me people think Palin is a light-weight and McCain is Bush 2.0.

Hey, D.J. I was curious. ... (Below threshold)

Hey, D.J. I was curious. Is this the most traffic you have seen on a Poll post? Not the most quality traffic, but an awful lot, none the less.

#171: You really, really, ... (Below threshold)

#171: You really, really, REALLY wanna work the "reality" angle?

Whassamatta? Are moral relativism, New Age platitudes, and "if-it-feels-good-do-it" philosophies not working for you people all of a sudden? Honestly, you're arguing on behalf of a group that exhibits the biggest disconnect from reality I have EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE - doesn't know what it is half the time, and doesn't want to believe it exists the other half of the time.

So spare me any appeals to logic or half-baked insults.

Oh and by the way 171, you ... (Below threshold)

Oh and by the way 171, you people lost any right to talk about hate a LONG time ago.

At Politico.com, they have ... (Below threshold)

At Politico.com, they have topics with titles such as "Democrats more engaged than Republicans!', but there are at least as many MacCain supporters and Obama supporters at politico.com, which makes it hard to believe the "facts" that one is being fed.

In a campaign with such clear and obvious media bias, and fraudulent voter registration, and now even fraudulent voting, it seems totally plausible that the polls are also biased. It fits in with the over all pattern of this election.

As I posted earlier, My gra... (Below threshold)
Danny B:

As I posted earlier, My grandfather was the Broward County Florida Democratic party president on three different occasions, My mother is a Regan Democrat, Regan was the only republican she has ever voted for in her life, My father is "9-11 is an inside job" type left looney, He is writing in Hillary, All of my sisters are democrats and vote solid democrat, I have 23 cousins from various states out of them 3 are republicans, My family are the democratic party. They are bread and butter democrats, Most all of them dis-like Bush to say the least, most all of them supported Hillary, and Now none......I repeat NONE of them are voting for Obama, They all say he does not have the experience. Some of them are even actually helping the McCain camp in Florida. So I dont know where these poll numbers are coming from, I can honestly say I do not know 1 person, close friend or family member that is voting for Obama. My family were not raised racist, nor are they. I just dont know about these polls???? anyone have a similar situation?

Wow. I'd heard of wingnuts ... (Below threshold)

Wow. I'd heard of wingnuts like you guys, but I'd never believed that they really existed. In fact when I started reading the article I thought it was a send-up.

I love the desperation inherent in the idea that all the polls are wrong because they are head-quartered in NY, which as everyone knows, is a hot-bed of liberalism. And pretentious with it! "DJ has deconstructed the internals of many of the polls previously." Gosh. What other interesting beliefs do you have? Alien autopsies at Roswell? Conspiracy theories about the grassy knoll?

A real Right-Wing-Nut site. It's going straight on my favourites list.

I'm amused by the first two... (Below threshold)

I'm amused by the first two paragraphs, where New York, L.A., and DC are all slammed as "pro-liberal, anti-conservative" hothouses. Ummm, you're talking about the very Nerve Centers of our country: economically, politically, and culturally. And a reason why MILLIONS of people live there.

So is Podunk, Kansas "real America" then? Puh-leese...

What were you saying you du... (Below threshold)
Matt W:

What were you saying you dumb schmuck?

post mortem on this analysi... (Below threshold)

post mortem on this analysis?






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