Polls have come to dominate the media's horse race coverage of political campaigns. Pundits and reporters constantly use them to tell us who's hot and who's not -- but skip over the fact that plummeting response rates and variables like undecided voters and margins of error often render these polls useless as anything other than lightweight diversions on par with horoscopes and political betting lines. Below you'll find a slew of polling, astrological, and betting information that will hopefully help the polling junkies in the media keep polls in the proper perspective.
We've also updated HuffPollstrology to bring you regular takes from astrologers on the state of the presidential race. And we've included a section that digs deeper into how polls are conducted. And to make sure we're really investigating, we're going to add various blogs and articles that cast a skeptical eye on polling. Read on for lots of HuffPollstrology:
ASTROLOGER PHILIP SEDGWICK LOOKS AT THE CANDIDATES:
The campaigns say one thing about the candidates. But does astrology say something else? Read my esteemed colleague Philip Sedgwick's take on McCain and Obama's birthchart. Find out who's really winning despite what the polls suggest - Astrologer Phyllis Mitz
Take heed politicians. Do as your predecessors did while leading our ancestral humankind to a better tomorrow. Follow the pole star. That's pole star, not pollster. And keep in mind that over the centuries the pole star changes as does the political landscape between now and November.
This column will follow the horoscopes of the presumptive nominees, John McCain and Barack Obama (listed and interpreted alphabetically), as we eagerly approach November's election.
How odd that both presidential candidates chose to incarnate in the month of August, though of different sign lineage? How odd is it that both candidates have planets at corresponding degrees in the sign of Virgo and right now both candidates reap the benefits/hazards of a megadose of Virgo planets above?
Actually starting a day or so ago and taking the chart through the upcoming weekend news cycle, the feisty, edgy, uppity and impulsive Mars aligns with McCain's planet that deals with economics and matters relating to women. Whatever you do, do not do anything or suggest anything that could be construed as offensive to women. Dang, there was that Sturgis Buffalo Chip Cindy thing, but maybe if you avoid the issue of a woman's right to choose over the next several days, that'll fall away neatly. Fall away if you leave international destinations... like the Paris Hilton... alone. Why not shift the course entirely?
Within days the money planet Venus meets up with your Sun sign. Focus, get serious and get into a valid, viable economic posture if you intend to have a snowball's chance of having people imagine that they might be better off during your administration. Since Virgo is involved, refrain from the nearly irresistible temptation to slam your opponent's ideas or select a nugget of a plan and dis it, especially if that tidbit actually makes a real difference... and sense. The energy of the time demands solutions and a platform that declares such solutions. Criticism and being too silly falls short of the mark. Maybe it's too simple. There is that reputation Virgos have for losing sight of the forest because of the trees. This would be a great time to announce thoughtful and thorough economic reform that can be implemented coinciding with a most favorable pattern falling on September 12th. This pattern, which astrologers call a Jupiter-Saturn trine, renders a nifty balance between income and expenditures, expansion and contraction, and a conservative spirit of adventure that allows the farthest growth possible. During this window, a Senator could launch a program of comprehensive economic reform and have it be well received. Dang again, that's right... nobody's home. I forgot. Just yesterday you chastised Congress for its dog days of summer vacation and leaving the country unattended... as you stumped in the Dakotas well away from the rotunda for how long now?
Here's another one for you. As the Olympics begin and the President makes his mark in China, it would be a great time to establish a clear demarcation line from any policy that could be construed as theologically or culturally exclusive. Fortunately or not, astronomers recently established a new cultural and social archetype with the naming of a new dwarf planet, Makemake, creating an archetype that insists upon bridging across cultural and spiritual differences. Not only is inclusion an insightful policy, it's a lot simpler than the alternative of persistently holding those "different from" at safe distance.
Let's hope you're reading this early on the day of posting. You are on the verge of having what astrologers call a Mars return. This effect sets up a two-year cycle of activity in which you decide what kind of action figure you'd like to be. The first time a person has one of these is age two - the terrible two's or when a little one getting into all kinds of stuff learns the primary four letter words "no-no" and "stop." It's like that for adults every two years, too. For the next five to seven days you're dancing on the sword of truth. You must cut down all deceptive proclamations and set the records straight. However, it's easy to irritate people under this pattern especially if your commentaries sound critical or condescending. Despite the temptation, resist the urge to call silly and stupid ideas silly and stupid. Secure the strap on your holster so there's no shooting from the hip. Offer superior solutions without claiming the superiority of those plans, staying modest and simple.
You just had an eclipse on your Sun as you enjoyed your recent birthday. This gives your charisma and visibility huge injections; the injections can result in the appearance of over the top or a bit much. You'll want to tone that down over the next several days. Between now and the next eclipse (August 16th), why not let the issues unfold around you?
Like your presumed opponent you will be having a transit from Venus over the next several days. Unlike your presumed opponent your Venus transit contacts Pluto. Pluto, lord of the underworld, symbolizes greed and potent energy and is the residence of the formation of oil. How convenient that these factors merge at this crossroad in such a poignant campaign collision. If you establish clearly defined protocols that voters know cannot be stalled or opposed in Congress, which address the Enron loophole, oil company windfall profits and alternate energy strategies, including a well-defined position on nuclear possibilities, you can adjust your rear view mirror to determine your opponent's position. There is a reason for the term Plutocracy. There's a reason for the term Plutocrite as well. Get down with Pluto and be neither.
Finally in the spirit of the planetary patterns, point out to your opponent that an individual who changes her/his mind when presented with better information is open-minded, progressive and evolving. That is not a flip flopper. Why not redefine flip flopper as one who has mind changes in direct relationship to the receipt of recent campaign contributions?
Have fun out there. See you next week.
HuffPost is delving into the gray area of how polls are conducted. Below is an analysis of how pollsters come up with the numbers through response rates. The definition of a response rate is taken from Arianna's 1998 column "Investigating The Pollsters."
The key to polling's accuracy is the principle of "equal probability of selection." But if larger and larger numbers among those randomly selected refuse to participate, this principle no longer applies.
We asked polling companies to please give us the response and refusal rates for their polls listed below. Each polls was released on August 6.
AP/Ipsos Poll Conducted July 31-August 4
Results: Obama 47, McCain 41
Method: Random sample of 1,002 adults across the country over five days. 833 were registered voters.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?":
Ipsos representative: "As far as I know we don't publish response and refusal rates...We conducted the poll for the Associated Press, you'd have to ask them about releasing the response and refusal rates."
Associated Press representative: "We don't have them here from Ipsos. It takes a little while for them to get those to us...I can ask them. It shouldn't take too long, but normally it takes a few days...They're not secret or anything."
Gallup Daily Poll Conducted August 2-August 4
Results: Obama 47, McCain 43
Method:2,674 registered voters polled over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": 14 percent response rate, 26 percent refusal rate.
Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll Conducted August 3-August 5
Results: Obama 45, McCain 43
Method: Sample of 3,000 likely voters over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": Representative has not yet returned email.
CBS News Poll Conducted
July 31-August 5
Results: Obama 45, McCain 39 Method: Polled 1,034 --of that, 906 were registered voters. "Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": Response rate -- 11.51%, refusal rate -- 26.54%. Both are according to the American Association for Public Opinion Research's definition of Response Rate 1 and Refusal Rate 1 (both of which can be found in this PDF).
THE LATEST POLLS, WEATHER, ASTROLOGICAL POSTINGS AND BETTING LINES ON THE CANDIDATES:
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
VIRGO August 29, 1936
A very old friend (someone you studied with?) could effectively throw down the gauntlet. You might balk at proposed changes - yet you might also see that a ground up approach could result in better growth (and increased finance). The entrepreneur in you could surface: enabling you to identify a service that's clearly needed. You may have been under the impression that you don't need any more reminders of how unpredictable people can be. Even so, a colleague's announcement could leave you astounded. The effect on your home life is likely to be great - leaving you by turns amused and annoyed.
LEO August 4, 1961
Your memory could be in over-drive - reminding someone of the way things worked before and how much pleasure was brought in the process. You could inspire a younger friend to go for broke: you might also be tempted to speculate. Whilst shopping you could be drawn to a store specialising in reminiscence. Three issues could vie for full attention. First, there's a financial matter - which might require dealing with someone who's decidedly upset. Secondly, you might be concerned about a health issue. Thirdly, you might be taken by surprise by someone's code of ethics that's just so far from what you expected. By close of day, your thinking in each of these spheres may have been turned upside down.
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General Election Poll: Gallup Daily Tracking
For the Gallup Poll Daily tracking survey, Gallup is interviewing no fewer than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide each day during 2008. The general-election results are based on combined data from Aug. 5-7, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,718 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is +/-2 percentage points.
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets
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