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 9/1**:
Senator Saguaro & Sedna
It's official. While many politicians employ the counsel of astrologers, now there's no doubt in my mind that John McCain does not. I could not fathom that any astrologer of sanity, given upcoming patterns, would recommend Sarah Palin as Vice Presidential running mate.
Funny, last night (written Friday) while watching McCain's "Job Well Done," commercial, my sensors detected a flicker in his McCain's eyes and a Bushian smirk that said even louder, "Got you, you bastard." Truly, McCain stole the coffee station conversations on Friday with his pick and per Neptune, successfully distilled the impact of Obama's powerful acceptance speech. McCain also made it clear he's never read the Inuit myth of Sedna, a planetary body coming into our awareness in 2003, a notable player in his chart and the tale of a father who threw his daughter out of the boat.
Let's start with the obvious woman as VP choice thing. Back in 1984, Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate one day removed from a superior conjunction/occultation of Venus, the planet representing women. This happens every eight years in June and this year we had one on June 9th. Yes, one understanding the astronomy might say, but in June Venus was invisible and now she can clearly be seen just after sunset. Therein, lies the problem: visibility.
Governor Palin's horoscope sports a notable alignment of the Sun (identity and ego) and Mars (assertion/aggression axis) virtually aligned. Neptune, the planet that once again stole Obama's wave (see the last post), refers to image, spin, illusion and scandal. With these patterns, why would anyone select a candidate under investigation for wrongdoing? Granted, no wrongdoing has been proved. She is being legally scrutinized and brings with her yet to unfold scandal baggage. Under Neptune, scandal magnifies.
Palin is an Aquarian, a sign astrologers associate with an androgynous nature. With the blurry Neptune on her Sun, I'm not sure if I should think of her as man or a woman. She won beauty pageants and did the family thing well, but now she's going on the campaign trail with a child at home under one year of age and special needs. She hunts. She fishes. A former sports caster, she played basketball and she can kick butt in Alaskan style competitions. She doesn't believe polar bears are endangered; she governs a state in which aerial hunting of wolves is permitted. All that sounds kind of masculine. I'm not sure if I perceive her as a female candidate or male. Miss Congeniality is also Sarah Barracuda? Her policy actions contain a proportionate flummox factor - something astrologers expect from Aquarians who brandish the "maverick-you-can't-control-me-I-am-so-independent" label as a merit badge.
Here's what should concern the McCain camp. There are three sets of patterns to Palin's horoscope between now and the end of October that promise controversy, disruption and turbulence for the tandem ticket. As the Republican Convention concludes - if not Gustav delayed - Palin begins to show her true colors. Her edge - evidenced from her jaw line to her tough as nails reputation - comes front and center. The question under the surface of the ice: Are you really an altruistic maverick or infatuated with discord?
On the 12th of September, her planet of beliefs and philosophy - Jupiter - experiences a direct assault from three planets. Her experience, credibility, philosophical consistency and decision making ability come under siege. No doubt, she's an intelligent woman. The question is: Are her opinions and judgments blinded by allegiance to party line or insistence upon being unpredictable. No matter what the answer, is this a good fit for one with her finger a few heartbeats away from the button? Is a polar bear green?
October 26th, Jupiter the planet of belief, truth and/or hypocrisy, who amplifies everything it touches, makes a most inhospitable pattern to her own Jupiter. If she's rock solid and her ice completely frozen, she's unshakeable. If in a house of cards, regardless of how high the glass ceiling, the cracking sound might be the Chinook weakened ice under one's feet.
McCain, prickly like a cactus, fabricated a stunning mirage - the kind one sees in the Arizona desert when gazing through the heat waves at the tall Saguaro cacti. Two mavericks, from rough and rowdy territorial states whose names begin and end in A, who could ask for anything more? Forget the hype. The polls soon speak. Everyone wants more.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 9/2
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.
Quinnipiac University Poll, Conducted August 12-17
Results: Obama 47%, McCain 42%
Method: 1,547 likely voters polled over 6 days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": Quinnipiac representative estimated a 10% to 15%, consistent with other Quinnipiac polls. The refusal rate was not known.
Zogby Internet Poll, Conducted August 29-August 30
Results: Obama 43%, McCain 40%
Method: 2,020 likely voters polled over two days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A Zogby representative said, "11% of the people who were sent an invitation completed the survey."
Gallup Daily Poll Conducted August 30-September 1
Results: Obama 50%, McCain 42%
Method: 2,772 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 30-September 1
Results: Obama 48%, McCain 43%
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).
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
42% Gallup Daily
VIRGO August 29, 1936
You may feel as though the buck is well and truly stopping with you. An expert's opinion could be expensive yet increase your authority. The needs of people from other generations may need to be taken into account. It's also possible that you'll be ready to take a big step in the relationship stakes.
50% Gallup Daily
LEO August 4, 1961
It might feel as though a ton of financial bricks have tumbled to your doorstep. It could also be that you're offered a promotion that doesn't feel as though it will bring financial reward (yet). On top of all that, a property issue could demand attention. The good news in all this is that a Capricorn friend may be more than happy to help share the load.
|East||New York, NY
High 85F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain is 10%.
High of 86F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain is 10%.
San Diego, CA
High 78F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of Rain is 10%.
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. 30-Sept. 1, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,772 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is +/-2 percentage points.).
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets