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.
Reuters/ C-SPAN/ Zogby Poll, Conducted October 17-October 19
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|
August 29, 1936
You may be asked to help someone who's clearly not going to make a deadline without assistance. It may be that they either have to write instructions or adhere to some. Either way it seems likely that they'll be floundering. You might have quite separate anxieties as to whether someone younger has all the information they'll need ready for a trip early next week. The more someone prompts you to talk about health issues the more determined you may be not to speak until you know more facts. Dietary concerns could be prominent. Disruptions at work might have a root 'health' cause also. At a slightly different level, contact with natural products could result in you parting with hard-earned cash for something you're sure will alleviate a problem.
August 4, 1961
You are more than capable of exercising a logical brain when needed. So, today, you could help those who can't see eye to eye to focus on the desired outcome and arrive at consensus. It won't be surprising if your professionalism is remarked on. It's likely too that your actions will save money: possibly bringing a bonus your way? Someone very close is either clearly not telling you what you need to know or is asking you to keep a secret that just doesn't feel right. Torn between honouring a promise and doing what you feel to be right, you could experience several tetchy moments. A side effect of this is that you may be shorter on the phone with someone than is usual - prompting them to query what's wrong with you.
Sun and a few clouds with gusty winds. High 59F. Winds SW at 20 to 30 mph.
A few showers in the morning then thundershowers developing in the afternoon. Windy. High 58F. Winds SW at 25 to 35 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Winds could occasionally gust over 50 mph.
Santa Barbara, CA
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 Oct. 22-24, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,793 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
For results based on the sample of 2,413 "traditional" likely voters (based on the model taking into account current voting intentions and self-reported past voting behavior), the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. The traditional likely voter model assumes a turnout of 60% of national adults. The likely voter sample is weighted to match this assumption, so the weighted sample size is 1,819.
For results based on the sample of 2,358 "expanded" likely voters (based on the model taking into account current voting intentions only), the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points. The expanded likely voter model does not make any assumptions about turnout level.
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