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 9/25**:
Mercury, the planet of communication, presently appears to move backward. This trend is most inconvenient for facts, figures and communication. We need to cut a little slack on misstated facts, gaffs in memory or when a candidate treks off on a tangent toward destinations unknown. This trend does not excuse intentional fabrications. Nor does it tolerate canceling a debate. Mercury might ask, “Dude, shouldn’t our President be able to multi-task?” Mercury redirects the questioning toward the immediate pressing economic issue. Mercury wants no hurried patch. With critical dates of clarity on October 6th and 15th, says Mercury, “Hold your horses. Calm down. We’re doing a bailout. Let’s get it right. Let us not forget, Pakistan, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Georgia, Russia and Iraq also demand perceptive attention in the moment.” Yes, and Mercury is the trickster.
So, how will our favorite candidates perform in the scheduled debate and resulting polling?
If McCain shows, both candidates get a boost from the discerning eye of the Virgo Moon. If Obama addresses distortions in power structures and reveals plans that seem good for all, though lofty, he gains. McCain needs to ensure that his plan doesn’t sound like “his” plan. Persisting in the maverick brand and fierce independence, his approach sounds rather “My way,” illogical and off putting.
Since the edge of Mars squares Obama’s Saturn, the sage, wisdom, experience planet, McCain will hammer on his inexperience. Obama, with clear, concise alternatives can undo that spin. With the support of Venus, he creates a sense of trust such that you want him holding the key to the arms locker. Given Obama stresses the need to reach out to understand other countries and their beliefs, realizing we all want to be safe and well fed, and that if pushed, he cannot be shoved, he wins. Big.
Jupiter, the make everything bigger guy, hits McCain’s Mars - the energy, action, assertion-aggression planet, through a most unpleasant angle. He enters the debate defensive given the last week. If baited into anger, an uncontrollable campaign ending skid begins. If he can keep a lid on it, realizing that Americans are weary of bravado and the country wants some diplomacy with that instinctive boldness, he’ll regain some ground. Impeccable recall of his voting record is a must. If he stays cool, he can slow but not abate the arc of his downward polling slide.
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|
VIRGO August 29, 1936
Contact with relatives you don't see often is likely. You might also need to spend some of the day preparing for domestic disruption. Money matters could be a little confusing - probably because you're flexing a credit card or dealing with foreign currency. A friend of someone close could intrude on your day - and cause you a little disquiet with questions which you hear as 'demands'.
LEO August 4, 1961
Home and creature comforts move up your priority scale. You might decide it's time to treat yourself. (You could also put a health diet under pressure!). You could use food as the language of love - and might have particular success with someone who's been in prickly mode lately. The child in you might not be too far from the surface either - which could have benefits for romance.
Areas of dense morning fog. Cloudy with a few showers. High 72F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. High near 80F. Winds light and variable.
Areas of patchy fog early. Morning clouds will give way to sunshine for the afternoon. High 73F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.
Santa Barbara, CA
Areas of patchy fog early. A mainly sunny sky. High 78F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.
General Election Poll: Rasmussen Daily Tracking
Like all polling firms, Rasmussen Reports weights its data to reflect the population at large. Among other targets, Rasmussen Reports weights data by political party affiliation using a dynamic weighting process. Our baseline targets are established based upon survey interviews with a sample of adults nationwide completed during the preceding three months (a total of 45,000 interviews). For the month of August, the targets are 40.6% Democrat, 31.6% Republican, and 27.8% unaffiliated. For July, the targets were 41.4% Democrat, 31.5% Republican, and 27.1% unaffiliated (see party trends and analysis).
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets