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 10/30**:
Three patterns deemed by astrologers as inspirational form throughout the next few days. One promotes lofty idealism, innovation and inspired solutions. Another demands strategic planning, methods that make sense and solutions that fix problems, not symptoms. The final pattern declares that compassion, sensitivity and concern for all people need to be part of change. The candidate that nails all three in the weekend preceding the election captures any remaining undecided voters. Funny, a few months ago the polls held McCain with overall leads and distinct advantages in many states. Now, as voters sync up with the planetary pulses of now, the prophecies of post polls fail, while the read of the planets for November remains the same. On Monday, look for the final assessment of the planetary promise for the election.
Saturn now closes in on McCain's Venus, who represents women, money and social cause when considered politically. Women's choice issues, equal pay, federally sanctioned benefit plans and a solid economic platform must be presented. Actually if not evident by now, a disappointed Saturn assures popularity wanes further. In addition to these matters, given a female running mate and the track she takes, Palin remains a huge concern/liability/asset. Really at this point consensus catches up with what has been seeded. While some are quick to point to the polls that indicate McCain's rise in appeal, Saturn shrugs. It's too little, too late. Saturn in Virgo, McCain's birth sign, does not favor negative criticism. Saturn insists that person state one's own case irrespective of another's position. Since McCain's camp has not followed this protocol, it stands as a task impossible to offset the decline of the last weeks. Watch Sunday and Monday. The intense Sun in strongly emotional Scorpio forms a crisp, tense angle to McCain's planet of assertion/anger/aggression, Mars. There's still a remaining day or two to display that rumored anger instinct.
Riding the momentum of an uninterrupted half hour infomercial and given Saturn's approach to his Mars as the Sun presses his Sun, Obama says with confidence, "The time is now and I am the man for the job." While undergoing very similar patterns to McCain, Obama's spin takes the higher road. While energized to the point of sharpness in speech, Obama's message seems more lucid, easier to grasp and more likely to make a positive difference. His optimism and can-do confidence shadows the negative spewing of his opponent. Even if McCain closes in some polls, there's no need for panic. Keep doing what you're doing and give other undoing ample space to work itself out.
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 10/29
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, "28.2% Response, 71.8% Refuse."
Results: McCain 44%, 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 44%, Obama 51%
Method: 2,396 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 50%, McCain 47%
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|
August 29, 1936
The accent is on romance, - but if that's not your scene presently, then perhaps you'll experience a move towards art, film and music. It is just possible that a neighbour who's presently unwell will require some assistance. Given your probable good humour, acts of charity could feel exactly right. A friend could have the urge to spoil you. Another possibility is that you are both celebrating recent anniversaries. It seems likely that you'll both be in excitable humour and have much to share: not least developments in your respective romantic worlds. At some stage, discussion about a major event due to take place in a few weeks could dominate - with you agreeing to oversee arrangements.
August 4, 1961
Today you could be particularly touched by a place that is super-artistic and where it seems you shine and sparkle. Thoughts are likely to turn to romance. If that's not your scene, then you could spend an uncommonly long time surfing the Internet. The point in all this is that it seems you'll want to get involved in ideas and projects that are 'otherworldly'. A relative or very close friend may have something to celebrate. So, you might need to take yourself in hand and talk yourself into making an appearance. Special, vitamin-rich food might help. It's likely too that someone really wants to thank you for effort you've made on their behalf.
Mainly sunny. High 49F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.
A mainly sunny sky. Warm. High 74F. Winds NW 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 October 26-28, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,789 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
For results based on the sample of 2,435 "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 1,812.
For results based on the sample of 2,409 "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