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 10/23**:
From now on you can disregard all polling. The Sun pressed into the ultra-secretive sign of Scorpio last night. Now you can apply the Bradley Effect to both parties. In Obama's case the Effect stands clear. In McCain's case, imagine the difficulty now experienced by wavering Republicans. I know a bunch of them declaring they simply cannot, in good conscience, vote for McCain. They feel the extreme peer pressure of hard line Republicans, seeking to extract a commitment from their former friend and fishing companion. So, they'll lie. A lot of people aren't going to tell you what for these days. No siree, not with the Sun and Mars in Scorpio. The standard reply, "You can't Gitmo an accurate response out of me."
Last week's poll rise was a fluke. It was based on the nothing Neptune mirage that all the variations like these have been based upon all along: media fluff. Many expect the polls to close, promising McCain's narrow margin agenda. Saturn and Uranus still work over McCain pretty good and retort, "Not so fast on the poll closing thing." These planets demand reality, clarity, solidity and insight in the process of invoking change. So far, not so good. To be polite, on Election Day, McCain's chart gets hammered by Saturn. If a failure to convince voters on practical matters persists, the consolation points out that November in Arizona is lovely.
Over the next days, both candidates continue to feel Mars pressure, culminating yesterday. It sticks around through the weekend news cycle. Amazingly, earlier in the campaign when under a tense Mars pattern, Obama took vacation in Hawaii. This is no vacation he leaves to enjoy today, but it is interesting that a natural deflection shield wraps around him during these potentially trying times. Now, if Palin, wannabe VP, head of Senate and Congressional dictator, goes after Obama as she did Biden when he was dealing with family crisis, there should be some needed hell to pay upon his return. Since Scorpio, the sign keeping watch on Mars and the Sun refers to healing, resurrection and insurance, Obama's return to the campaign seems as though it will echo the need for health care and what a chord that strikes.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 10/22
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 44%, Obama 50%
Method: 1,211 likely voters polled over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A Zogby representative told us that the response and refusal rates were 24.5% and 75.5%, respectively.
Results: McCain 41%, Obama 51%
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: 2,331 likely 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 51%, 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 49%, McCain 47%
Method: Sample of 1000 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
Sticking to a schedule might be difficult. It's probable though that through all this, a 'window of opportunity' could be flung wide open. True, there might be a high level of risk, even so, you might be more than a little attracted to a proposition. Your more cautious side could pull you back at the last moment though. Take your time to think things through thoroughly so you make the right decision.
52% Rasmussen Daily
LEO August 4, 1961
You could get caught in a small financial downpour. Colleagues may be less than happy with a proposal. Though this might not affect you too directly, it could cause you to reflect on paying off a long term debt or how best to save. Good news could come from a 'second' revenue stream. An opportunity to make a little extra could come your way - though it might mean working overtime and not being able to attend a social event.
High 64F. Winds SE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
High 67F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 10%.
High 54F. Winds WSW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
San Francisco, CA
High 77F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 0%.
General Election Poll: Rasmussen Daily Tracking
Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 1,000 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. The margin of sampling error--for the full sample of 3,000 Likely Voters--is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets