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 10/13**:
The media pants for red meat pending the final Presidential Debate. Citizens on Main Street want facts. The rest of the world wants a cool cucumber who knows how to make economic gardens peacefully grow. About five hours before the debate commences, Mercury, planet of communication, stock market pick-pockets, and lining up facts all in a row, resumes "direct" motion. While Mercury no longer bears the appearance of backing up, the annoying beeping sound ceases and Mercury stands still, preparing to march forward and straighten things out. Such pivot days are big. Announcements held back often sneak out. Declarations reverse current courses - flip flopping as it's called in this arena - and the stutter/stammer syndrome increases. Ignoring the ongoing, sure to get juicier Palin saga, here's the debate forecast.
As in the last debate, the Moon in Taurus, a methodical Earth sign, generally favors McCain. There's no reason to expect he converts this trend to his benefit, especially since the Moon and Mars stand off in the horoscope of the debate, applying tension to his anger/action planet Mars. The agitation in McCain's face builds immeasurably over the next week to ten days. This debate is only the precursor. Unless McCain conjures economically sound plans to restore the economy that do not support corporate/Wall Street raiders, the torpedoes head straight at his ship and it=s too late for evasive maneuvering given the target angle. With the Saturn-Neptune patterns, pundits can only wonder, does he want to lose? Is this like the recent Boston Legal where Denny Crane wanted to lose his concealed weapon case so he could petition the Supreme Court? Too bad Arizona allows concealed weapons, but given certain cries of election fraud to come with Jupiter-Eris patterns, what will the Supreme Court do if there's a McCain v. Voters of Florida?
Like McCain, Obama picks up an emotionally evocative edge from the Moon-Mars pattern overhead. Now, he's pissed. With his Mars to Neptune - the masking, framing, and present-it-as-you-will magic maker - his throttle should be even and constant in forcefulness. Likely his demeanor comes off as powerful and solidifies his position as one who cannot be pushed. People will expect him to know where the bottom of the market is, which according to astrological signatures could be today, Halloween or Election Day. He doesn't know, but if he reveals a series of strategies of "what if" economic recovery scenarios, the election will be locked in, and just in time for basketball season - a slam dunk.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 10/13
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 44%, Obama 48%
Method: 1,206 likely voters
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A Zogby representative told us, "22.7 response rate phone, 77.3 refusal rate."
Results: McCain 40%, Obama 52%
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 41%, Obama 51%
Method: 2,783 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 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".
Results: Obama 51%, McCain 43%
Method: Sample of 800 likely voters.
"Will it be possible for us to get the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": After a few calls, a representative for Tarrance told us, "It's not going to be. Write what you need to write, but it's not going to be. We're four weeks out from a campaign and quite frankly this is not anywhere near my priority list. Okay?"
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
45% Rasmussen Daily
VIRGO August 29, 1936
You could ride the crest of a financial wave - possibly through good news or perhaps because you've found a bargain. Someone who's lived their four score years and more could give you a valuable tip. Curiously, this person might simply appear in a photograph or newspaper article. The train of thought prompted could lead you to asking questions of someone born under the sign of Aquarius who might have access to valuable data.
|50% Rasmussen Daily||
LEO August 4, 1961
You could allow someone close to think they've come up with an idea - the seed of which you planted some time back. Sure, it could be the other way around. Either way, you and someone close could be playing mind games as you work out a way to celebrate a special event. Love could be in the air in other ways, with news from neighbours or close friends that show they too are into future planning.
Cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. High 61F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph.
A few passing clouds, otherwise generally sunny. High around 85F. Winds E at 10 to 20 mph.
|midwest||Kansas City, KS
A few showers in the morning, becoming a steady light rain in the afternoon. High 57F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
Mostly cloudy skies early will become partly cloudy later in the day. High 56F. Winds NE 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