Huffpost Politics

HuffPollstrology: Candidates' Horoscopes, Polls And More For September 5

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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 - **NEW POST 9/4**:

Hurricane Preparation

John, stop being so predictable. That's so un-maverick-like. Last week as planets contacted "soul mate" (and also inexplicable charisma) connections in space and engaged your communication planet you declared frenzy-stimulating Sarah a/your soul mate. I suspect the outbound bare-chested Putin might also see Palin as a soul mate. Maybe she can deal with the Russians. With your patterns, Senator, there's Neptunian delusion rising like the tide. Remember, we all have to keep our Berings Strait.

Here's more disappointing predictability. As the convention launched, the warrior Mars, rising in impact, taunted viewers with disturbing militaristic themes veiled in patriotism, sporting the theme "Country First, People Last." Given the planetary stimulus package to your chart's communication marker, you declare questions regarding Sarah Palin's background and character off limits.* Sure. Your communication planet lands in the portion of the chart that astrologers see as a hidden zone. Your request succeeded in making vetting a verb and a noun and the number one priority of every investigative reporter.

Astrologers usually know when things are going to happen. We don't always know precisely what, especially when the issues are as numerous and all over the map as this year's Atlantic storms. The planets predicted the recent rise of Obama and now suggest you deserve some convention bump and within the Palin rage especially after her speech, respectable gain.

I agree with Obama. We should stay out of the Palin family's life - unless of course it provides a revelation as to Palin's judgment skills. In return, we ask that all Republicans and conservatives stay away from our families and our family's rights. Both McCain and Palin have strong Jupiter placements. Jupiter is belief, religious conviction and when improperly applied, a sense of moral and spiritual superiority. Similarly, Jupiter exposes potential hypocrisy. What if y'all reconcile once and for the contradiction between pro-life and capital punishment and war and God's doctrine of thou shall not kill. Here's a "read and initial" document for all who favor war and capital punishment just in time for 9/11.

This Jupiter thing in McCain's chart is disturbing. It could be reckless. It could be lucky. It could be well-thought. It could be blinded by arrogance. While in the Navy, three planes he flew crashed. True, the planes made back in the olden days were crap; probably mechanical stuff. At Annapolis, he did not perform as the brightest academic bulb in the string. He competed for the all time demerit record. His rival in the Army would have George Armstrong Custer, one of the top West Point demerit record holders. Custer led many successful, but reckless charges in the Civil War and well...

What disappoints me most this week and no doubt part of the McCain poll flattening of the past days, I was expecting a speech from the hurricane zone, with McCain declaring he would not err as did his predecessor, confirming his Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune combo that states, "The hell with Article II in the Constitution, I'm your President now. Look how I scared those Russians! I can scare off hurricanes too."

Here's a debate question for your judgment/belief system planet: "Senator McCain, being from Arizona, do you believe that God created the Grand Canyon in one lazy afternoon?" If he answers no, he is not a creationist. If he answers yes, he confirms that like Bush he is willing to overlook history and rock solid scientific fact. His dance through that answer would be stiffer than a candidate without a leg to stand on during an American Idol audition.

If you want to embellish your convention bump, why not give your acceptance speech remotely from a hurricane zone? Don't do Ike. He's too far away and too much of the Ike Turner not so kind to your wife vibe. Then there's that warning from the other Ike that we should be wary of the military-industrial complex. How about Hanna from say... Fort Sumter? Charleston should be affected by Hanna and that's where the Civil War started. Y'all love Lincoln.

From Charleston if you look out to sea and peer into the mists of Neptune, you'll see the formation of Hurricane Sarah.

* Unrelated I'm sure, but I remember a video clip one of the hostages freed on the leading cusp of the Iran-Contra scandal appealing to the press to dig no deeper.


POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 9/5

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.

American Research Group Poll, Conducted August 30-September 1

Results: Obama 49%, McCain 43%
Method: 1,200 likely voters polled
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?":
A representative for ARG sent this email in response to our request:

Total adults contacted: 5,317

Total adults screened: 1,968*

Total failing screen or dropping out: 768

Total sample size: 1,200

* Some adults screened themselves out prior to the actual screen (e.g., not registered to vote, not planning to vote).

Quinnipiac University Poll, Conducted August 12-17

Results: Obama 47%, McCain 42%
Method: 1,547 likely voters polled over 6 days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": Quinnipiac representative estimated a 10% to 15%, consistent with other Quinnipiac polls. The refusal rate was not known.

Zogby Internet Poll, Conducted August 29-August 30

Results: Obama 43%, McCain 40%
Method: 2,020 likely voters polled over two days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A Zogby representative said, "11% of the people who were sent an invitation completed the survey."

Gallup Daily Poll Conducted August 30-September 1

Results: Obama 50%, McCain 42%
Method: 2,772 registered voters polled over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": 14% response rate, 26% refusal rate. This is an average rate for this particular series of polls, technically defined as the CASRO rate which is similar to the AAPOR-III response rate (these definitions can be found here).

The Economist/YouGov Poll Full Conducted August 4-August 6

Results: Obama 42%, McCain 39%
Method:Emailed panel of 1,000 adults.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative for YouGov wrote, "A reasonable approximation for the response rate on the Economist wave of August 4-6 would be 43%. The opt-out rate from our mailings was .4% (my best guess at a comparable statistic to refusal)." Another representative noted that due to the unique method of collecting data for this poll, the response rate is not comparable to those of other phone-based polls.

Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll Conducted August 31-September 2

Results: Obama 50%, McCain 45%
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?": A representative for Rasmussen told us, "We don't give out that information".

CBS News Poll Conducted September 1-September 3

Results: Obama 42%, McCain 42% Method: Polled 734 registered voters. "Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": Response rate -- 17.12%, refusal rate -- 27.56%. 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).












 
Polls

Stars

Betting
Mccain vs obama in the General election
McCain
mccain
42%
Gallup Daily
scorpioVIRGO
August 29, 1936

Not for the first time a domestic repair could cause a headache. Disruption to your schedule seems likely: worse, you could be kept hanging around waiting for a repair-person to arrive. You might be left hanging on for news of another kind too. What's happening in an Air sign (Gemini, Libra or Aquarius) friend's romantic life could have implications for you. You might need to hear the next instalment.

41.5%

chance of
winning

Obama
obama
49%
Gallup Daily
scorpioLEO
August 4, 1961

rue, you might not realise just how wounded someone really is. Hints could be dropped though - giving you the opportunity to weave a little magic. News of a curve in someone's romantic life (or, perhaps, a little dalliance) might not come entirely as a surprise - though you might wonder why this information is surfacing now and what you're supposed to do about it.

59.0%

chance of
winning




















weather report
East Chance of Rain Washington, DC

High 89F. Winds SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain is 30%.
south Chance of Rain

Miami, FL

High 90F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain is 10%.

midwest Chance of Rain Minneapolis, MN


High 71F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain is 30%.
west Chance of Rain

Los Angeles, CA

High 87F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain is 0%.


Sources:

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 Sept. 1-3, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,771 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is +/-2 percentage points.

Horoscopes: horoscopes.co.uk

Weather: Weather.com

Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets