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 9/8**:
Sarah Palin Swirl is not the offering at the Wasilla Dairy Freeze; it's rock star buzz. Neptune, is so strong in Palin's chart. It refers to rock stars and meteoric rises to fame and embellishes her with celebrity. Anytime Sarah speaks, I can't write about her that day. The collective buzz and giddiness feels like champagne intoxication. Then, come post ecstatic let down and the realization that people listen to her foppish outpouring of shallow insults. Her smug, righteous superiority comes off as adolescent. Saturn, known for fatherly guidance, is in Virgo. Virgo demands for each criticism you render, you are obliged to submit three viable solutions.
This week ahead Jupiter and Saturn seek a solid, material compact with one another as the balancing act of Mars in Libra juggles the manic responses of voters. Those who get it's about money, make hay. Those who miss this point, become an unfound needle in a haystack of polling.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 9/9
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.
Results: McCain 50%, McCain 46%
Method: 2,312 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, "12% of the people who received an invitation completed the Sept. 5-6 Zogby Interactive survey."
Results: McCain 49%, Obama 44%
Method: 2,733 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).
Results: Obama 48%, McCain 48%
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".
Results: McCain 46%, Obama 44% Method: 655 registered voters polled over three days. "Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative for CBS told us, "This CBS News Poll was a re-interview of registered voters we originally talked with August 15-19. We reached and interviewed 75% of the 8/15-19 sample."
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
46% American Research Group
VIRGO August 29, 1936
Someone you thought was ready to enter into partnership, may be having second thoughts. They may feel you're being overly idealistic. They're probably right to identify that presently you're 'into' presentation and media. What they might not realise is that you're under financial pressure to get a plan in place. Taking action and feeling you're in control of the future could be important to you. At the same time a commercial deadline could be reached. Another possibility is that papers have to be submitted before the end of the day. Positive assistance could come in the form of help from someone who rides a bike or who owns two vehicles. This person might literally 'ride to the rescue' and save you a journey. However, on the other hand, you could choose to travel on 'wings of song' over the next few days. By listening more to your iPod than to the demands of others, you might feel considerably happier. However, it might not be possible to avoid intense negotiations of some kind. In the short term, you might still be very concerned about finances and whether or not recent developments will eventually prove costly.
47% American Research Group
LEO August 4, 1961
A heartfelt apology or simple change of heart may be on the horizon. The art for you will be to 'hear' this coming and to give someone space to say what they feel. Complex financial negotiations may have strained this relationship. It might also be that the state of your finances generally is confusing. Taking on more debt would be unwise until this is done. On another level you might make someone late for an appointment. Another possibility is that you're the one who's delayed in traffic. The net result of this could be that a meeting doesn't go to plan and that you then have to go into charm over-drive as you try to put things right. This might make you feel as though you're being pulled in different directions. Someone who lives locally may be vying for attention with someone some distance away. A power struggle could be taking place between them. On a much nicer note, your bargaining skills could be to the fore. Indeed, you could strike an unusually good deal and find exactly the right item to be worn at a special event. Surfing the Internet might be involved.
Mainly sunny. High 73F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.
Rain showers in the morning becoming more intermittent in the afternoon. High 69F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Partly cloudy and windy. High 81F. Winds SSE at 25 to 35 mph.
A mainly sunny sky. High 81F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.
General Election Poll: American Research Group
Sample size: 1200 likely voters
Sample dates: September 6-8, 2008
Margin of error: ± 3 percentage points
Question wording: If the general election were being held today between John McCain for president and Sarah Palin for vice president, the Republicans, and Barack Obama for president and Joe Biden for vice president, the Democrats, for whom would you vote - McCain and Palin or Obama and Biden? (names rotated)
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets