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 11/03**:
Actually the astrological prognosis for the election now is the same as it was last week, a month ago and when the candidates entered the race. Astrologically, no up and down hoopla existed. What fun is that? It's far more fun to ride the tides of the polls a la public opinion that follows media fanned drama and scandalous histrionics. But now we want no more of that nonsense.
This is an interesting call to make, especially with recent doubt cast upon McCain's correct - or reasonably correct birth time. To forecast the results of an event, we typically look to the horoscope for the end of the event. Here, assuming the polls close on time in Hawaii, the chart is erected for 6:00 P.M. AHST, November 4, 2008 set for the Hawaiian Capital of Honolulu. The high point of the chart, culmination, represents career drive, purpose and professional result. The low point of the chart, anti-culmination, signifies the end of the matter - in this case the result of the election.
This culmination-based vertical chart axis aligns with the Moon in Aquarius whose support suggests sanctioning the collective good of all and support for all souls despite religious or philosophical leaning. This altruistic axis neatly aligns with the philosophical mission statement planet, Jupiter - also the grand benefic - in Obama's chart. This indicates a grand winner. Now, if it is true that McCain was born late in the afternoon or early evening, he would have a Moon in Aquarius that aligns with the potent election ending signature. While favorable, Jupiter out trumps the Moon by a factor of at least a thousand to one.
Obama and McCain share a Mars (Obama) - Venus (McCain) alignment between their charts. We've seen throughout the campaign how hot an aspect this can be. Regardless, both these planets are approached by Saturn in method-mad Virgo. Saturn is the task master and represents assumption of responsibility and dog gone hard work. Both candidates receive equal stimulation from Saturn. Given the nature of the decision at hand, Mars, the action figure, hard-charging hero planet, out weighs Venus, who is more receptive in nature. Venus wants to go on vacation, spend money and hang with the hot chicks. She'd say to Saturn, "I worked hard. I deserve it. And, I can afford it." Point to Obama.
Participating with Saturn is Venus, who-has-the-better-economic-plan-and-concept-for-social-services, travels in I-need-good-thought-applied-here-thank-you philosophically savvy Sagittarius. Venus squares the Mars of Obama and the Venus of McCain. Again, equal emphasis in the pattern but Mars takes a better edge. Point to Obama.
Mars, the edge planet, acts as a whet stone to Obama's Hygeia - the planet of hygiene that astrologically translates to matters of preventive health. McCain's health care package planet signatures receive no such boost. Mars impacts McCain's Ceres. Ceres, goddess of grain sought to protect those that could not fend off evil doers - according to her assessments, that is. If her desire was not met, she'd quickly anger even going so far as to cut off her nose to spite her face; more on that in a minute.
I could go on with signatures, but this is a blog. Barring fraud, the signatures indicate that Barack Obama wins the popular and electoral vote. Given the similarities in patterns it is hard to say what margin of victory Obama enjoys. Conservative estimates prophesize a close election and that Obama wins by 3 to 5 percent. Liberal estimates suggest this is a landslide ass-kicking the likes of which have not been seen since Johnson creamed Goldwater. I'd reckon it's in between but decisive.
Jupiter, the celestial arbitrator, and Eris, goddess of discord, now merge into a critical alignment, which comes to precise focus in the third week of November. Jupiter and Eris, according to the mythology, conspired to right an election wrong. The possibility of smoothly putting this election behind us is slim. Given a McCain loss and the aspect to his Ceres, the odds of protest run high. Accusations of voter fraud, defective machines and the like ironically stand poised to launch. Per the myth, Ceres was a sore loser. With Pluto approaching McCain's destiny-driven node, he feels this is his and he should win. It should be fun in the days following the results. In the BTW category, the Eris-Jupiter pattern applies to every seat or ballot initiative up for grabs this year.
No matter what I think, vote. If you don't vote, you surrender your right to blog or bitch after the election about any matter political.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 10/31
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 44%, Obama 51%
Method: 1,201 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, "26.1% Response, 73.9% Refuse."
Results: McCain 45%, 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 44%, Obama 55%
Method: 2,472 likely 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 52%, McCain 46%
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 50%, McCain 44%
Method: Sample of 800 likely voters.
"Will it be possible for us to get the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": After a few calls, a representative for Tarrance told us, "It's not going to be. Write what you need to write, but it's not going to be. We're four weeks out from a campaign and quite frankly this is not anywhere near my priority list. Okay?"
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
43% Gallup Daily
VIRGO August 29, 1936
The desire of someone close to whisk you off to far distant places or to embark on a grand adventure is likely to dictate your day: and you might not mind one bit! It's a day for high romance - or adventure on the high seas. At a different level a block-buster movie could have your rapt attention. In whatever way it seems your outlook on the world will be changed - though the array of options now open could be overwhelming.
|51% Gallup Daily||
LEO August 4, 1961
It may feel as though you've arrived in Cupid City - arrows could be flying haphazardly and making a significant mark. You could run into as many wounded people as those who're high on love's dreams. This then is probably not the time to make serious decisions (or to spend big money) but to consider what could be. In short, it's a day for drama and theatre. Take a Pisces with you – for a memorable time.
Cloudy. High 62F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
A mainly sunny sky. High 76F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph.
|midwest||Kansas City, KS
Mainly sunny. Warm. High 77F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph.
Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. High 49F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%.
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 Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,855 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
Results based on "traditional" likely voters (based on the model taking into account current voting intention and past voting behavior) include interviews with 2,503 voters, and assume a turnout of 64% of national adults. The likely voter sample is weighted to match this turnout assumption, so the weighted sample size is 1,968. The associated maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
For results based on the sample of 2,475 "expanded" likely voters (based on the model taking into account current voting intention only), the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points. The expanded likely voter model does not make any assumptions about turnout level.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets