10/17/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

HuffPollstrology: Candidates' Horoscopes, Polls And More For September 17

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:


With the election only weeks away, let’s go for the nuts and bolts of the candidates’ horoscopes.


Obama applied last week's transits and mounted a significantly more vocal protest against McCain's advertising campaign. With Virgo energy still applicable, the push for impeccable facts works efficiently. Did Sarah ask for earmarks or not? Did she stop in Iraq or no? What policies of Bush's has McCain opposed? Those are the questions. The Obama camp needs to know they can push back a heap harder and still maintain decorum, tact and eloquence. Over the next days, Obama's message must equal the fact checking push, given a push from the lunar nodes. Otherwise, the campaign becomes too much about the other guys. All of Obama's policies need clear articulation. All of these policies and fact check assertions need to be communicated three times over the next weeks given Mercury the messenger's motion. The debate schedule correlates with these passages to Obama's planets quite neatly. Given these efforts on Obama's part, his position in the polls restores a slowly rising wave. The gap between himself and McCain slowly closes and lost ground - not the result of mudslinging - can be regained.


Over the next days the most edgy, irritated Mars assumes a defensive posture in a hard angle to the Inuit (Alaskan) female deity Sedna. The defense of matters related to Palin rises in importance. With this mythic signature, the camp has not more than three opportunities to get it right. Should facts not be perfect by the third iteration, a sinking sensation slowly over powers the campaign. It's more than polls we're talking. Also in the next few days, McCain likely goes after his favorite underprivileged cause, bringing it to the forefront of his polices. When challenged, he must stay cool, issue no threats and deny no media exposure. Ceres to Mars brings a bit of the cut off your nose to spite your face archetype, interfering with rational sensibilities. McCain and his camp must realize Saturn, the reality guy, now is in "orb" to his Neptune, the story telling, make up fiction guy. Due to documented liberally applied embellishments, pundits and media pull out the microscopes. Can you say no slack? Impeccably accurate assertions? If so, you still slip a little, but hold a lead. If fact checks reveal fiction or the appearance of disconnection from reality, a backslide begins.


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.

American Research Group Poll, Conducted September 13-September 15

Results: McCain 48%, Obama 45%
Method: 1200 likely voters polled over two days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": An ARG representative said," For the nationwide survey conducted September 13-15: Total adults contacted: 5,431 -- Total adults screened: 2,019* --Total failing screen or dropping out: 819 -- Total sample size: 1,200 -- * Some adults screened themselves out prior to the actual screen (e.g., not registered to vote, not planning to vote).

Zogby Internet Poll, Conducted September 5-September 6

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."

Gallup Daily Poll Conducted September 11-September 13

Results: McCain 47%, Obama 445%
Method: 2,733 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).

Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll Conducted September 12-September 14

Results: Obama 47%, McCain 49%
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 September 5-September 7

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




scorpioVIRGO August 29, 1936

Shock tactics and an ultimatum might work. You are likely to be most successful in persuading someone that a plan was their idea in the first place. Urgent action may be needed in a property matter. However, it's probable that you've rehearsed this situation in your head many times over. As a result, you could appear calm at the eye of this storm. Your reaction could impress someone born under one of the cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra, or Capricorn. There could be some preoccupation with a younger person's meal plans - perhaps because you're concerned about their health generally. It may be that you're looking for something to worry about though. With your brain-cells craving excitement, anything's possible. Feeding these cells first could reduce other concerns. In particular you might enjoy greater involvement in a community project or getting to know new neighbours.


chance of





scorpioLEO August 4, 1961

You may find yourself surrounded by people who are behaving in an overly dramatic manner. This could be disquieting on several levels. It could be abundantly clear to you, that they've lost sight of practicalities. Though this not might not be your scene either, you could perhaps identify someone who would act well as Project Manager. Effecting this introduction could gain you useful points. Property and nesting matters seem likely to dominate. In renovating an area, you could rediscover items long-hidden. A close friend's mood could change quickly - and often, leaving you first amused - and then bewildered. Though your romantic life might have its turbulent moments, today's incidents could become tomorrow's magical memories.


chance of


weather report
East Chance of Rain Saratoga Springs, NY

Mainly sunny. High around 75F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

south Chance of Rain

Raleigh, WV

Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 71F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph.

midwest Chance of Rain Bismarck, ND

A mainly sunny sky. Warm. High 81F. Winds ESE at 10 to 20 mph.

west Chance of Rain

Las Vegas, NV

Mostly sunny skies. A stray afternoon thunderstorm is possible. High 93F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.


General Election Poll: American Research Group

Sample size: 1200 likely voters

Sample dates: September 13-15, 2008

Margin of error: ± 3 percentage points

Question wording: If the general election were being held today between John McCain for president and Sarah Palin for vice president, the Republicans, and Barack Obama for president and Joe Biden for vice president, the Democrats, for whom would you vote - McCain and Palin or Obama and Biden? (names rotated)



Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets