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**:
The campaigns say one thing about the candidates. But does astrology say something else? Read my esteemed colleague Philip Sedgwick's take on McCain and Obama's birthchart. Find out who's really winning despite what the polls suggest - Astrologer Phyllis Mitz
As I stated in my last post, I was wrong about the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. To cherry pick conclusions and conspiracies, I was right about the popular vote. Yet neither of my picks were inaugurated. So I was wrong, right? I'm not sure about the astrological signatures for the electoral vote. I'll leave that prediction to the boys at Five-Thirty-Eight (www.fivethirtyeight.com). What I can accurately predict is a heap of election controversy ahead, following upon the heels of an impetuous, sloppy primary season and two presidential elections where we couldn't get it right.
Indulge a brief backtrack into the world of mythology. Long ago in the land of Mycenae after the death of their leader, the people received counsel to hold an election. The election occurred. Atreus won the post. His opponent, Thyestes, through some clever and true accusations managed to unseat Atreus. The problem: Jupiter/Zeus, lord of the gods and justice arbitrator/dictator of the heavens, favored Atreus. He summoned Mercury to approach Thyestes with a hypothetical deal, "If the Sun and stars rose in the west, would he rescind his post?" Forgetting that Mercury was the expert trickster, Thyestes took the bait. The next day Jupiter enlisted the help of Eris, the goddess of discord and the latest "planetary" member of our solar system, for disruptive assistance. With sweat and elbow grease, sure as Shinola, the Sun, Moon and stars rose in the west. Atreus resumed his "elected" position much to the glee of the self-serving and often hypocritical Jupiter.
Yeah, and? Four times this year we witness a tense, disruptive overturning pattern between Jupiter and Eris in the sky: April 9th, May 31st, August 22nd and November 23rd.
Let's review. By April 9th, during the first of the Jupiter-Eris patterns, Obama's campaign kicked in the after burners, leaving behind the discordance of having the assumed nominee buffeting in his wake. What to do? Go after the votes of the states whose votes were disqualified because they didn't play by DNC rules: Florida and Michigan. Hillary claimed she has more votes than Obama. Duh. He wasn't even on the Michigan ballot and both you guys agreed not to campaign there! Hillary claimed Florida's vote should count because she kicked butt there and certainly this confirms her elect-ability. It got heated. It got absurd. Finally the Democratic National Committee had to play Jupiter's arbitration card and Saturn's firm hand for rule setting.
The DNC met and debated in a cat-fight style evidently located outside some third grade classroom. On May 31st, the ruling came down dividing the votes and assigning a half vote count to delegates of Florida and Michigan.
Wait a minute! May 31st! Isn't that the exact day of the second Jupiter-Eris pattern? Yes. Wait, Obama set convention momentum? Yes. On August 3rd Obama requested that the Credentials Committee, when meeting on August 24th two days after the next Jupiter-Eris pattern, overturn the May 31st ruling, restoring full vote status to Florida and Michigan delegates. In astrological "orb of influence" standards, two days in time gets a convention cigar for being spot on. See where this is going?
On November 23rd, nineteen days after the presidential and congressional election, Jupiter and Eris square off for one last disruptive pattern in this cycle. Election déjà vu? Probably. Will it involve the presidency? Most likely. A gamut of claims of voter fraud, crap machines and all that plays out yet again. This time if Ohio, Florida or any other state gets it wrong, expect a court ruling for recount, a new count and likely reversal. Wouldn't it just be a hoot, within the theme of "kick in the head" upsets offered by Eris and Jupiter if a Republican issued a recount demand and the results got overturned and reversed again on a subsequent Democratic appeal?
If that happens, since life imitates art, I have two suggestions. Rent Bob Roberts and see Swing Vote. Then we establish a five person election-solving panel: Kevin Costner, Kevin Spacey, Laura Linney, Arianna and me. It's fixin' to get discordant and interesting. Let's get it right.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: ***New Polls Added, 8/15 4:30 PM***
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.
Zogby Internet Poll, Conducted August 12-14
Results: Obama 43%, McCain 40%
Method: 3,339 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, "The response rate is 10% and we do not calculate refusal rates for Zogby Interactive polls."
AP/Ipsos Poll Conducted July 31-August 4
Results: Obama 47%, McCain 41%
Method: Random sample of 1,002 adults across the country over five days. 833 were registered voters.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?":
Ipsos representative: "As far as I know we don't publish response and refusal rates...We conducted the poll for the Associated Press, you'd have to ask them about releasing the response and refusal rates."
Associated Press representative: "We don't have them here from Ipsos. It takes a little while for them to get those to us...I can ask them. It shouldn't take too long, but normally it takes a few days...They're not secret or anything."
Gallup Daily Poll Conducted August 12-August 14
Results: Obama 44%, McCain 44%
Method: 2,690 registered 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).
The Economist/YouGov Poll Full Conducted August 4-August 6
Results: Obama 42%, McCain 39%
Method:Emailed panel of 1,000 adults.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative for YouGov wrote, "A reasonable approximation for the response rate on the Economist wave of August 4-6 would be 43%. The opt-out rate from our mailings was .4% (my best guess at a comparable statistic to refusal)." Another representative noted that due to the unique method of collecting data for this poll, the response rate is not comparable to those of other phone-based polls.
Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll Conducted August 11-August 13
Results: Obama 43%, McCain 42%
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".
CBS News Poll Conducted
July 31-August 5
Results: Obama 45%, McCain 39% Method: Polled 1,034 --of that, 906 were registered voters. "Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": Response rate -- 11.51%, refusal rate -- 26.54%. Both are according to the American Association for Public Opinion Research's definition of Response Rate 1 and Refusal Rate 1 (both of which can be found in this PDF).
THE LATEST POLLS, WEATHER, ASTROLOGICAL POSTINGS AND BETTING LINES ON THE CANDIDATES:
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
44% Gallup Daily
VIRGO August 29, 1936
It's not essential that you should experience a technical crisis - but it's probable. Maybe you need to check virus protection too. You could find yourself feeling a little under the weather too – perhaps you need to recharge your batteries. There is an upside to the day though: you could see a fashion style that you know will be perfect for you in the coming weeks.
44% Gallup Daily
LEO August 4, 1961
It won't be surprising if you're over-emotional - or go to the other extreme and switch off altogether. Today's lunar eclipse marks a 'full stop' of some kind. A relationship could come to an end or a partnership experience turbulence. Locating your sense of humour might not be easy - but a funny film could offer excellent therapy.
|East||New York, NY
High 81F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 20%.
High 86F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.
|midwest||St. Louis, MO
High 90F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 0%.
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 Aug. 12-14, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,690 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is +/-2 percentage points.
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets