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 9/11**:
With the election only weeks away, let’s go for the nuts and bolts of the candidates’ horoscopes.
Such fire in the belly. Who would have thunk it? The Sun. The largest body in the solar system engages the instinctive, fired up reflexes of Mars, coming to an apex on the 14th. Now Obama shoots back. Riding a recent pattern to the planet of discord, he’s decided to shake it up. The value of the shake up comes from the sign involved in the pattern: Virgo. This sign demands facts. Real facts. Not embellishments. Not lies. How interesting both sides called the “truth squads” to the front lines. Obama applies his diplomacy, resisting the temptation say “lie.” Instead he counters with “it’s just not true.” However, he’s a bit tangled in a web of the pot calling the kettle lipstick red when it comes to fabrications. That sorts out. Come the 17th, a karma pattern lines up with his rising sign, raising his stock as a good guy on a mission that is about the people. In the window between the 14th and 17th, he’ll bait McCain to a fight. If McCain takes the bait, Mars in Libra evens the polls.
As promised, Mars in Libra continues to swing the scales and now he’s got help. The message-talking point planet, Mercury, and the planet of women, Venus, join the impulse energy of Mars, properly positioned on/near McCain’s suspected rising sign. There are two chart times floating for McCain. Given the surge of favor per the polls, it makes sense that this planetary trio lies on the point astrologers see as the persona rendered to the world. Until the 15th, the red lines continue to rise in the polls. Then, it’s up to McCain. Mars is edgy. It refers to impetuousness, recklessness, display of anger. On the upside, it indicates drive, the fuel of momentum, courageousness under fire and the charge up San Juan Hill. The directness of this pattern results in a jump ball. If McCain stays cool and eases up on militaristic throttles with the 9/11 anniversary behind us, he maintains a slight advantage. If he’s not so cool, a backslide begins.
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|
VIRGO August 29, 1936
True, you might need to make a decision. It could be far, far easier than you think though. New-found confidence could result in others asking you to help them reach decisions too. In the interests of someone who has clearly been dealt an unfair hand, reaching a quick conclusion is probable. Better than all this though could be developments in your love-life that are what you've been waiting for. You may be forced to make changes both to your home environment and in your business arrangements. Normally the idea of change wouldn't faze you at all. It's slightly different today though when it seems that change will be thrust upon you. You might also have to answer questions quickly - giving you no room to ask 'just one more thing'.
LEO August 4, 1961
You could feel torn in two. Though you know someone close is right and that you should stand up for yourself, you might be taking action that is alien. (The answer may be to rehearse!). The intensity of attraction could be irresistible too. Whether this is a person or an event, 'moving a mountain' to make things happen could be imperative. The dramatic in you could be stirred - especially when you're asked to play a part in someone's romantic affairs. You might have a few pranks up your own sleeve. More than all that though, the speculator in you could surface. You might then decide to invest in something that you know to be a bargain at the quoted price and which could make a difference to your long-term financial situation.
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Little Rock, AR
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General Election Poll: Gallup Tracking Poll
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. 8-10, 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