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 9/29**:
Mercury retrograde played its hand last week. McCain held potential debate viewers hostage with his on-again-off again drama; Congress ping-ponged on the bailout that isn't a bailout technically. Up to the 6th, expect slinky-like waves from the country's amber grain to pending policy decisions and which side of the line is best for a stand. What a time for revisionistic speaking. Can words and policies successfully be eaten and regurgitated into a new incarnation? We'll find out.
As the Biden-Palin debate approaches, a thin fog - courtesy of Venus to Obama's Neptune appears. Whatever he didn't do right in the debate fades as soon as we're sure money matters clear with bailout passage. This week is about the upcoming veep debate on Thursday. While this offers no poll surge, the modulation can be used to reset his focus as Jupiter insists upon modifications to his debate dynamics - just like everyone is insisting he apply. True to Leo, Obama doesn't take anyone's ideas unless they fit and work, regardless of how many pundit merit badges or blogs posted a person has. He is the figurehead. He'll sharpen the ad bite and maintain his nature. Unless Mercury induces someone to blunder verbally, his current lead maintains.
Mercury retrogrades opposite McCain's Sedna (the Alaskan goddess thrown from the boat) on his relationship axis, returning to where it was shortly after his biggest poll surge and the days following the Gibson interview with Palin. What to do about Sarah? This three-part pattern finishes on 10/28. Palin's horoscope promises more public revelation that will be hard to take and her reviews are dropping like a bank stock. So why was Rudy in Oxford? Why was Sarah prohibited from post debate commentary? Mercury, crossing McCain's public persona point, requires communication damage control. Why did he fib to Letterman? Why did he make a drama of the debate and bailout only to have his barking fade in the wind? You know how they say you can't kid a trickster? Well, Mercury is the trickster. He's the only deity with a free pass in and out of the underworld. Despite passport travel stamps, given the hard line Saturn to fuzzy-reality Neptune and the maverick planet Uranus to reality-rich Saturn, expect Mercury to issue a talking point question: What in Hades are you thinking?
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 9/29
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 46%, Obama 47%
Method: 2,102 likely voters polled using an online panel.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A Zogby representative told us, "17.4% of those invited completed the Zogby Interactive survey Sept. 26-27."
Results: McCain 42%, Obama 51%
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 42%, Obama 50%
Method: 2,732 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 50%, McCain 45%
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 46%, McCain 48%
Method: Sample of 1,000 likely voters.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative for Tarrance told us, "It would take me about a half an hour of phone calls to dig all that stuff up and I don't have the time to do that." The representative has said that he will email us those figures once he has them
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
42% DailyKos/Research 2000
VIRGO August 29, 1936
News could at last reach you - or you could receive a copy of a 'finished product'. There might be little time to celebrate though: your next task may be to handle enquiries or arrange the next stage. Involvement in a marketing scheme is likely: another possibility is issuing invitations to a family gathering. A Libra-born friend may need 'talking down from the ceiling'.
|51% DailyKos/Research 2000||
LEO August 4, 1961
Whilst your heart knows exactly how to answer a question, your brain might need more time to consider options. It might also be influenced by a good friend who thinks you could improve on a deal still further. Meanwhile, news from home could set you thinking too, and could be reason to celebrate.
Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of an afternoon shower. High 69F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.
Mainly sunny. High 87F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
|midwest||Des Moines, IA
Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 64F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.
Partly cloudy skies. Near record high temperatures. High 79F. Winds light and variable.
General Election Poll: DailyKos/Research 2000
The Daily Kos tracking poll is conducted by the experienced and professional pollsters at Research 2000, and like all media polls, are not influenced by the sponsor. It’s not a liberal poll or a conservative poll, it’s a poll – a snapshot over a three-day period.
The tracking poll has a baseline of 1100 likely voters nationwide.
Results are based on a three day rolling average.
The margin for error is 3% for the overall tracking.
The margin for error is 5.1% for individual day tracking.
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets