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 10/27**:
Value-oriented driven Venus, advancing through the mindful, philosophical, once a mind is made up it's hard to change Sagittarius, conspires with the dog with a bone tenaciousness of Mars and the ego-driven Sun in not so flexible, intensely passionate Scorpio, combine to make one non revokable point: Minds are mostly made up. The only variations might be if one candidate's choo-choo jumps the tracks and he (or she) spins out with a verbal meltdown and show those voters how make a last second impulse vote. Likely it's close to being completely carved in stone. The robo-call money could be better spent elsewhere - like more shoes. After all, do not shoes reveal the soul?
Venus approaching McCain's personal planet of philosophy, Jupiter, in tense relationship with the reality and non-ordinary reality planets, Saturn and Neptune, comes to a crisp focus. This focus asks, "Tell me again what the hell you were thinking?" This question plays in a number of permutations, for instance, "I think differently than Bush." As Mars and the Inuit goddess planet Sedna, assume opposite sides of the sky, the prevailing theme deals with the choice of Palin as running mate. Believe it or not, that scenario gets worse. Neptune implies closed door conversations discussing alternate realities that wonder if there's any means for replacement. Certainly there's justification for an October surprise, the likes of which have not been seen in a long time. Think of the delicious chaos that could be created with such a radical move this close to the election! The Scorpio planets caution that those who play with fire better know how to wear asbestos gloves.
Out of sight, out of mind. Leave the contiguous U. S. for two days and take a slight poll drop. Jeez, can the people of this country be more media-sensitive? No matter, Mars now well past the invisibility of Neptune, climbs to the top of Obama's chart. Given fire in the belly, passion for cause and purpose, and smack downs against all assaults, he gets stronger and stronger in the last days up to the election. Mars, making an angle to a relationship sensitive point in his chart, encourages cooperative campaigning. Keeping Michelle near his side, stumping with the Clintons and as the week develops, creating a sense of togetherness with Biden, all work to secure voter confidence. Well endorsed already, a few more statements of support thicken his electoral pudding.
RENOWNED COSMIC NAVIGATOR GAHL SASSON LOOKS AT THE SYMBOLIC ASPECTS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES **NEW POST 10/27**
My name is Gahl Eden Sasson and I teach and write about Astrology, Symbolism, Kabbalah, and Mythology. I am very happy to have this great platform to share my thoughts and ideas with you. As an Astrologer I have seen how the Zodiac can change people's lives. Again and again I have witnessed the connection between the Above and the Below. It's time to take Astrology out of its fortunetelling context and bring it back to its original form as a tool that helps us shape our own destiny. If you want to learn more about your own sign you can go to CosmicNavigator where you will find a great deal of free downloads including lectures on all 12 Zodiac signs and Part I of my new book Cosmic Navigator - Design Your Destiny with Astrology and Kabbalah. If you want to learn more about the connection between Astrology and the Financial Situation please go to my blog.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 10/27
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 45%, Obama 50%
Method: 1,203 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 said, "26% Response, 74% Refuse."
Results: McCain 42%, Obama 50%
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 43%, 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 46%
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 46%
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?"
Sparks could fly. True, these could be of the romantic kind. You might also be aware of the laws of attraction at work in a relationship though. You might as easily be repelled as compelled to get to know someone better. Challenged to defend an argument you could either get really hot under the collar or laugh uproariously and release tension. A witty text or email might take you just a minute to compose but leave others talking for hours.
Striking an unusual bond seems likely today. Unsettling information may arrive concerning a mortgage or loan. Or perhaps it's unexpected news concerning a different financial situation. You might, however, manage to arrange terms in an agreement that are peculiar to your situation but helps in the long run. Doing things differently - after lively debate – does seem likely.
Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. High 56F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Plentiful sunshine. Cooler. High 51F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.
Mainly sunny. High 51F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph.
Generally sunny. High 64F. 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