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 9/22**:
With the election only weeks away, let’s go for the nuts and bolts of the candidates’ horoscopes.
Obama's general demeanor continues to capture interest. The approach he's demonstrated toward the onslaught of ongoing crises soothes and establishes an approach of not experience per se, but certainly judgment. Favorable patterns of the communicator, Mercury, and the doer, Mars, impact Obama over the next days. Curiously, while McCain touts the maverick card, Obama conjures the high road application of what a maverick does. He establishes creative alternatives, innovative programs and weaves the best of past generations with current trends and with an eye on what kind of country our children's children stand in line to inherit. Venus moves into a water sign, Scorpio, neatly inspiring his Venus - the planet of money, appeal and women. The ground recently lost in the polls regarding the women demographic is recovered. This pattern benefits from simultaneous, intensifying trends in Sarah Palin's chart that arouse questions if not concerns.
The point stimulated when McCain observed that Palin was a soul mate, takes an even stronger hit in the next days. This could suggest that McCain is challenged during interviews about this line of thinking; how can someone so different on many key platform points be aligned in consciousness as a soul-soul connection is supposed to be? Oh by the way, is this how you make important decisions? Added with the increasing pressure of the perception of his failing sense of reality, fact checks, connection to the "average person," Saturn persists in maintaining hard line. Uranus, planetary maverick, aligns smack dab with McCain's Saturn. His voting record, previous statements and radical proposals dog McCain like a shadow. Arizonans do not readily observe shadows. Since Arizonans try to stay in the shade, an Arizonan can conclude there is no shadow. This implication moves from metaphor into hard core challenges and slippage. Saturn, keeper of the archives, the old returns for yet another pass. Previous financial affiliations rise into the light of day much like a western high noon showdown at the not so OK Corral.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 9/22
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 43%, Obama 49%
Method: 1,100 likely voters polled over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A Research 2000 representative explained the methodology of the poll, saying that it was a rolling poll with a baseline of 1,100 likely voters, taking approximately 355 to 365 calls per night and throwing out the oldest numbers. "I would say that [we take] one in every eight calls on average," he said, attributing this rate to a combination of callers "telling us to go to hell" and callers not meeting their standard of a "likely voter" through a name recognition test.
Results: McCain 48%, Obama 45%
Method: 1200 likely voters polled over two days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": An ARG representative said," For the nationwide survey conducted September 13-15: Total adults contacted: 5,431 -- Total adults screened: 2,019* --Total failing screen or dropping out: 819 -- 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).
Results: McCain 44%, Obama 4%
Method: 2,740 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 47%
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: Obama 43%, McCain 45%
Method: Emailed panel of 1,000 adults.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A YouGov/Polimetrix representative told The Huffington Post that the response rate was 41%, but also noted that because of the unique method for polling this number is not comparable to other, telephone-based polls and that no refusal rate was available .
Results: McCain 44%, Obama 49% Method: 712 likely voters polled over five days. "Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative for CBS told us, "As usual, using the AAPOR Standard Definitions: Response Rate 1 - 11.37%, Refusal Rate 1 - 23.23%." Those definitions can be found in this PDF.
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
45% Gallup Daily
VIRGO August 29, 1936
Unlike other days, when you may have blown a fuse through irritation with others, you could enjoy a day of great industry. Your practical skills may be put to the test. You could even find a way of resolving a problem that involves doors or cupboards and the way these open. You might also choose to spend time sorting out facts ready for a meeting tomorrow. A neighbour may be willing to help move certain items that could allow a DIY job to take place with ease.
49% Gallup Daily
LEO August 4, 1961
Double check credit card and bank statements: an error may have occurred. This could put you in righteous mood ready to take action tomorrow. Today is also the Equinox, when the new season gets underway. This year, this could cause you some anguish: it may be that you don't feel you have sufficient funds to acquire the image you'd like. Accessories, belts, buckles, shoes and banks could be overdue a clear out though. You could have fun getting rid of some of these on eBay.
Sunny skies. High 79F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.
Sunny skies. High 82F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.
Generally sunny. High 74F. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph.
Santa Barbara, CA
Areas of patchy fog early. Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 73F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
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. 18-20, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,720 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more