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?"
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
VIRGO August 29, 1936
Though there might be moments when you think you've forgotten your thinking cap, others could be relying on your memory. A surprise may be planned. You might also be involved in the purchase of something unique (jewellery or an item that's expected to be an investment). Domestic news could bring a flutter of excitement too. A visit may be planned.
LEO August 4, 1961
News that a neighbour can't leave home (probably for security reasons) could result in you making an extra journey and talking to others who might be able to help. You might also experience outrage - possible enough to drive you to contact with someone more interested in politics. Energy requires fuel: a food or drink craving is possible.
Rain likely. High 49F. NNE winds shifting to SSE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall around a half an inch.
A mainly sunny sky. High 63F. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph.
Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. High near 70F. Winds light and variable.
San Clemente, CA
Areas of dense morning fog. Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 89F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
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. 24-26, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,797 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
Results based on "traditional" likely voters (based on the model taking into account current voting intention and past voting behavior) include interviews with 2,446 voters, and assume a turnout of 60% of national adults. The likely voter sample is weighted to match this turnout assumption, so the weighted sample size is 1,819. The associated maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
For results based on the sample of 2,343 "expanded" likely voters (based on the model taking into account current voting intention 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