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 9/11**:
With the election only weeks away, let’s go for the nuts and bolts of the candidates’ horoscopes.
Such fire in the belly. Who would have thunk it? The Sun. The largest body in the solar system engages the instinctive, fired up reflexes of Mars, coming to an apex on the 14th. Now Obama shoots back. Riding a recent pattern to the planet of discord, he’s decided to shake it up. The value of the shake up comes from the sign involved in the pattern: Virgo. This sign demands facts. Real facts. Not embellishments. Not lies. How interesting both sides called the “truth squads” to the front lines. Obama applies his diplomacy, resisting the temptation to say “lie.” Instead he counters with “it’s just not true.” However, he’s a bit tangled in a web of the pot calling the kettle lipstick red when it comes to fabrications. That sorts out. Come the 17th, a karma pattern lines up with his rising sign, raising his stock as a good guy on a mission that is about the people. In the window between the 14th and 17th, he’ll bait McCain to a fight. If McCain takes the bait, Mars in Libra evens the polls.
As promised, Mars in Libra continues to swing the scales and now he’s got help. The message-talking point planet, Mercury, and the planet of women, Venus, join the impulse energy of Mars, properly positioned on/near McCain’s suspected rising sign. There are two chart times floating for McCain. Given the surge of favor per the polls, it makes sense that this planetary trio lies on the point astrologers see as the persona rendered to the world. Until the 15th, the red lines continue to rise in the polls. Then, it’s up to McCain. Mars is edgy. It refers to impetuousness, recklessness, display of anger. On the upside, it indicates drive, the fuel of momentum, courageousness under fire and the charge up San Juan Hill. The directness of this pattern results in a jump ball. If McCain stays cool and eases up on militaristic throttles with the 9/11 anniversary behind us, he maintains a slight advantage. If he’s not so cool, a backslide begins.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 9/11
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 46%, Obama 44%
Method: 918 registered voters polled over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative from the polling organization said, "Our response rate is at 13%."
Results: McCain 50%, Obama 46%
Method: 2,312 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, "12% of the people who received an invitation completed the Sept. 5-6 Zogby Interactive survey."
Results: McCain 48%, Obama 44%
Method: 2,718 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).
Results: Obama 48%, McCain 48%
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: McCain 46%, Obama 44% Method: 655 registered voters polled over three days. "Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative for CBS told us, "This CBS News Poll was a re-interview of registered voters we originally talked with August 15-19. We reached and interviewed 75% of the 8/15-19 sample."
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
48% Gallup Daily
VIRGO August 29, 1936
Overcoming a slightly prickly mood may be essential if you are to make the most of opportunities. It may be that others are concerned about what you are going to say. They might even need reassurance. Renewed contact with a group you have had difficulty with in the past is possible and might require a charm offensive. In this you could be spectacularly successful however. If your love life has experienced turbulence in recent times, it too could benefit from this approach.
43% Gallup Daily
LEO August 4, 1961
The potential for something falling around you like a pack of cards might seem great. On the other hand, this could be that precarious moment when the final piece of the jigsaw is put in. The next day or two could be critical. Most important could be your ability to maintain your cool and not to let your emotions get the better of you. This might be easier said than done. Once again, you might benefit from support from those born under one of the Fixed signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or Aquarius.
|East||New York, NY
High 74F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 10%.
High 74F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
High 80F. Winds SSE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 20%.
High 76F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 0%.
General Election Poll: Gallup Tracking Poll
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 Sept. 7-9, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,714 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is +/-2 percentage points.
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets