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 10/16**:
Happy Mercury Direct. Now everyone, candidates included, can review all verbal and written missteps of the past three weeks and get it sorted.
The debates are over and Obama is 3 - 0. While McCain promised to kick his butt, the rise of Venus to the top of Obama's chart assures his growing poll numbers and general popularity. Here the polls track an accurate representation of Obama's appeal. During the next week the edge of Mars makes a tense angle to Obama's Sun - basically who he is and what he's all about. Given a parallel transit in McCain's chart the nastiness is likely to increase in McCain's character attacks. Expect Obama to come back with dramatically sharp responses in the tone of "Enough! Stop the nonsense!" Despite the confrontational energy the Mars transit applies to Obama, like Venus Mars rises higher in Obama's chart, taking with it voter confidence regarding his decisiveness, leadership and ability to react favorably to international matters.
Dang it. Just when most astrologers were settling on a birth time of 8:28 to 9 A. M. for McCain, blurry documents appear on the Internet suggesting an "afternoon" birth with an unverifiable birth certificate bearing a time of 6:25 P. M. Most of the planet patterns noted thus far remain relatively constant and the projections of his continued skid are not abated. However, the new time suggests McCain's Moon is in Aquarius. While the cantankerous side of Aquarius is evident as is the insistence upon being a maverick - an Aquarian proclivity. However, the natural altruism and dedication to humanitarianism do not reveal themselves with equal fervor. The previously used birth times give McCain a Capricorn Moon, which would lend his instincts to respond favorably to business, big money, investors, stock folks and the like. A newspaper article suggested the afternoon birth; personally I doubt the accuracy of 6:25 P. M. Often birth times are entered much later and typically rounded to the nearest five minute tick, especially back in those days.
Regardless, during the next week Mars above squares off against McCain's Mars. A person can use this for a surge of wildly wonderful sexual activity or if it has no place to go, it comes out as anger and an extra critical edge. It would seem the negative ads and dangerous rallies conducted by the McCain-Palin camp continue... until October 22nd. On that date, both McCain and Obama feel the impact of Mars through a virtually identical tense angle. It must stop or there will be a showdown at Noon between the candidates. With the strength of the wise disciplinarian, Saturn, to McCain's chart, it appears he's going to be taken down a peg. And in the polls, contentious actions receive negative favor.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 10/15
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 41%, 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 44%, Obama 52%
Method: 2,319 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?"
Results: McCain 39%, Obama 53% Method: 699 likely voters polled over four days. "Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative for CBS told us, "As you know, we calculate them according to the AAPOR Standard Definitions for Response Rates, and you have linked to the document in our response. Please continue to do that. Response Rate 1= 10 %, Refusal Rate [1=] 19%." Those definitions can be found in this PDF.
Results: Obama 50%, McCain 45%
Method: Sample of 1200 likely voters.
"Will it be possible for us to get the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative for ARG told us, " For the nationwide survey conducted October 11-13:
Total adults contacted: 4,271
Total adults screened: 2,106*
Total failing screen or dropping out: 906
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)."
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
VIRGO August 29, 1936
If you've been economical with the facts you could get caught out. A financial deal may be about to come off the rails. Even if things appear to be going well it might be wise to check the small print. Someone's forgetfulness - or incomplete documentation could cause you to raise your voice - and perhaps even threaten legal action.
LEO August 4, 1961
You might wish you could stand still or stop the clock. Awareness that financial considerations could form a weighty load in the coming months could leave you feeling slightly depressed. You might need to actively switch your mind to the present: in particular images (or photographs) that require attention to detail.
Cloudy with occasional showers. Thunder possible. High 66F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Cloudy with occasional rain showers. Thunder possible. High 67F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Partly cloudy skies. High around 65F. Winds light and variable.
Las Vegas, NV
Mainly sunny. High 86F. Winds light and variable.
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