Oct 23 2008

More Poll Volatility

Published by at 1:45 am under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions

Clearly this year the pollsters don’t have a consensus. Some show a growing lead for Obama, others his lead shrinking to a tie. I still think by the time election day rolls by there will be a clear trend one way or the other. But for those looking for optimistic news there are polls out there to meet your need.

The AP Poll shows a dead heat nationally, down from a 7 point lead 3 weeks ago. The IBD/TIPP Poll shows a tightening race as well, going from an Obama lead of 7.4% lead to 3.7% in the span of less than a week.

And the RPC EC lead Obama has been enjoying for the last few weeks has been receding as well, going from a 155 EC lead down to 126 with more states to follow. WV has moved back to the McCain column and FL is not far from moving itself. And if NC goes back to McCain then Obama’s lead drops to 65. There are even a couple of polls out of VA showing a tightening race as well as the rumors about PA. 

Still, would like to see a lot more tightening before this weekend.

In case I forgot to link to it yesterday, here is Michael Barone on the state of the polls, and a tidbit I found interesting:

In most primaries Mr. Obama tended to receive higher percentages in exit polls than he did from the voters. What accounts for this discrepancy?

While there is no definitive answer, it’s worth noting that only about half of Americans approached to take the exit poll agree to do so (compared to 90% in Mexico and Russia). Thus it seems likely that Obama voters — more enthusiastic about their candidate than Clinton voters by most measures (like strength of support in poll questions) — were more willing to fill out the exit poll forms and drop them in the box.

I still think this may be the case. There is an anti-DC ground swell out here in the country. And pollsters are just another class of telemarketers in many households. The Messiah’s followers are clearly more outgoing in their support, on the verge of ridiculous at times. I find almost all McCain-Palin supporters are quiet and hard to uncover. They are out there in droves, but they will not engage in the public debate. If this causes so much as a 5% polling error Obama is in trouble.

But if, as I wish I could say is true, there is a backlash coming because of the 90% dissatisfied with the direction of the country and its Political Industrial Class, then a 5% poll error would be the low end of what might come out on election day.

Update: Stop by Stolen Thunder and watch DJ Drummond destroy some polls. Here’s some interesting data he pulled out, look at the number of undecideds in some of these polls:

Pew: 08% 07% 08% 07%
Battleground: 15% 15% 15% 14%
Gallup: 16% 16% 15% 14% 14%

Battleground and Gallup agree that there is a lot of the population still waiting to be won over. The election is certainly well within any reasonable boundaries of doubt.

14-16% undecided is huge. That means this race could flip the other way quite easily.

17 responses so far

17 Responses to “More Poll Volatility”

  1. gwood says:

    I’m Joe the car dealer, and I pay attention to who drives what. Though surely there are a few out there who drive Toyota Priuses who are conservative and will vote McCain, I’ve not seen a McCain-Palin bumper sticker on a Prius. Statiistically, show me a Prius in the driveway, and I’ll show you an Obama-Biden sign on the lawn.

    What does this say? The hybrid Prius makes a statement, and has much more to do with the identity one wishes to convey than practicality. I believe the open display of evidence of Obama allegience has to do with identity also. Apparently it relieves white guilt, just like the purchase of a Prius is believed by its buyer to elevate one socially.

    I cannot put a McCain Palin sticker on my vehicle, or a sign in my yard, as most of my customers are libs, and not in the least understanding that I would camp with the enemy. I have no doubt I’d be boycotted by some. I’m not sure the reverse is true for liberals who own businesses (libs owning businesses SHOULD be an oxymoron).

    What I am getting at here is that I believe the open display of support for McCain-Palin is suppressed by these social factors, a sad reality, but a reality none the less. On the one hand you have people who see their allegiance to a black candidate as socially elevating, and on the other you have a fear of social demotion. If you go by the number of bumper stickers and yard signs favoring Obama in this town, then he’ll take the election here by a landslide. I happen to know that won’t happen. Not in this town. This phenomenon makes it easier for the MSM to scare us with engineered polls, because what we see corroborates what they say. I think the 5% AJ alludes to above is there, and will put McCain in the White House.

    On a side note. My business is losing a lot of money. I feel that if I can keep it alive until Spring, I’ll be OK. I have applied for a loan with two different banks, attempting to borrow less than one-tenth of the equity I have in my property. I don’t think I’m going to get it, and if I don’t, I go down, along with 90 employees. Every day is a battle for survival, I’ve already cut as much as I can cut. Prayers accepted.

  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    I have not had a chance to look at the internals for the AP poll but at least one left side blog is saying that there was a massive (about 44%) of the poll respondents who self identified as Evangelical Christians up from about 20% in prior polls.

    Still that classification covers a vast number if different religious denominations so anything is possible.

  3. MerlinOS2 says:

    As I have said before the polls are all over the map on this.

    If you look you can find polls with undecideds ranging from 14 or even more percent down to one per cent.

  4. MerlinOS2 says:

    I just checked and the evangelical identification if 45% of total respondents and 44% of likely voters in the sample….I would have to go back to earlier polls for comparisons in those.


    Question DM 14 in the poll

    I won’t copy to the clip board so you have to go look

  5. kittymyers says:

    I’m Joe the homemaker/hockey grandmother. I wear a Sarah Palin (for veep) button which is an enormous 3.5″ in diameter.

    The size alone gets attention, and the big red word CHANGE seems to fake some people out. I’ve actually had a couple of people look, smile (thinking CHANGE referred to BO), then walk away in a huff.

    However, more and more women are whispering kudos, telling me that they love Sarah Palin, too. One woman said that Sarah was the only one of the four who has any brains. The fact that they feel the need to whisper these pro-Palin comments tells me that people are worried about backlash. Once we engage in conversation about how wonderful Sarah is, the women seem to ease up a bit, but they still keep their voices rather low.

  6. kathie says:

    Someone said, watch the polls the week before the election, notice the trend, because they want to be right, rather then to sway an election.

  7. kathie says:

    Someone said, watch the polls the week before the election, notice the trend, because they want to be right, rather then to sway an election.

  8. OLDPUPPYMAX says:

    Given the extraordinary criminality on the part of the left, polls have become just as useless when it comes to the spread of information as the MSM. Nothing can be believed. Everything must not only be questioned, but assumed to exist for some nefarious purpose. A radio guy winds up with Obamessiah internals in Pa? And everyone runs to believe it! PLEASE. There are no accidents. At least, not of this kind. Were I the criminal in charge of the Obama campaign, I would send such nonsense to gullible fools, hoping that McCain would waste time and money in Pa. And the AP shows a 1 point Obama lead? Figure it out youselves.

  9. BarbaraS says:

    People are not puting McCain/Palin bumper stickers on their cars because they don’t want their cars damaged. They are not puting signs in their yards because they don’t want either their cars or property damaged. The least that would happen is the signs will be taken down. Democrats have done this for years but this year it is even worse. It is like the dems have lost their minds.

    Dems can put Obama/Biden signs on both their car bumpers and their yards because republicans won’t touch them. Republicans by and large have respect for other people’s property and opinions. Too bad I can’t say the same for the dems.

    kittymyers is right. McCain/Palin voters speak in low voices. I know when I go to a restaurant I either refrain from talking politics or speak in a low tone so others will not hear me. The scenario of some disgruntled Obama fan approaching me and causing a scene is very alive in mind. When I went to vote I talked to the woman next to me and neither of us said what party we supported and who we were voting for. I know I didn’t want to get into an argument in public. This whole thing is deplorable.

  10. crosspatch says:

    I don’t believe those undecided numbers matter much and I will tell you why. In 2000 only 51.3% of the people of voting age actually voted in this country. In 2004 it was 55.3%. In the off-year 2006 Congressional election, it was 43.6%. What that means is that in a random calling sample of people, half the people you poll are not going to cast a ballot in the actual election. This means that the opinion of a random calling sample is useless as far as predicting the outcome of an election is concerned.

    People who vote regularly and are very likely to cast a ballot have probably made their minds up long ago. Rasmussen polls are showing only around 4% undecided which I believe is more accurate for people who are very likely to vote.

    What is more important than getting good numbers in media random sample polls is to get your voters energized and getting them to the polling place and have them actually cast a ballot. You can be behind by 20 points in opinion polls but if half of your opponents supporters in opinion polls don’t cast a vote at the ballot box and all of yours do, you win.

    I will give you an example. Our US armed services members overwhelmingly support McCain but it probably doesn’t matter much. Why? Because they don’t cast ballots. In 2006 only about 5% of our military actually voted. I will go out on a limb and say that maybe 10% might vote in a presidential election. The difference between what opinion polls report and what ballots actually get cast is huge. Getting people to actually vote is the key. And for our service members, if you haven’t already voted, it is probably already too late.

  11. archtop says:

    “People who vote regularly and are very likely to cast a ballot have probably made their minds up long ago.”

    I agree 100% crosspatch. I have always been suspicious of most of the national polls – why would 10 – 20% of the fraction of people who actually vote wildly swing their choice between two candidates? It makes no sense at all.

    My theory about why the republicans took a drubbing in 2006 is that many of their voters stayed home (as you show above, a lot of voters stayed home in 2006). This year, the energy level and enthusiasm is **much ** higher, and I think we’ll see nearly equal numbers of each major party at the polls. If that is the case on Nov. 4, then I believe McCain wins…

    By the way, I am Joe the computational fluid dynamicist. I’m just like a plumber except I do my plumbing on the computer :^)

  12. Terrye says:

    The polls are just bizarre. Quinnipiac came out with a 14 point lead for Obama in Ohio, but just a couple of days Rasmussen came out with a poll that gave McCain a lead. There is no way to reconcile these polls.

  13. Terrye says:

    BTW, there is a new poll over at Hot Air in the headlines putting the race at 42-44. Obama with a two point lead.

  14. crosspatch says:

    The only poll that matters is the one on election day. Please go to the poll and cast a vote.

  15. MarkN says:

    CP: DJ does a good job in his analysis. What I found from the Battleground poll site is that the race is back where it was Ocotber 2nd. The day the bailout plan passed the Senate. The bulge that Obama produce because of the Wall Steet meltdown from that point until October 10th added to Obama’s lead.

    Now if McCain can get the poll numbers back to pre-September 15th levels then the election can go McCain’s way.

  16. jwb says:

    I stopped viewing the alphabet media and ignore polls–too corrupted politically to really be valid. Somehow, I got on a national poll and due to disgust with them, try to lie as convincingly as I can. No real value, but does provide a certain sense of satisfaction knowing I added to the corruption of data.

    Came across this unscientific poll. Like most, its value just depends…


    Should he win, McCain will be known as brilliant due to his selection of Palin as running mate. The disaffection with politicians on a whole make her so attractive to those of us who are so fed up with the actions of the Washington crowd. Think the “one of us” resounds with many.

  17. swimbikerun says:

    I’ve been reading these posts a lot lately, but this is my first post. After reading the comments about how McCain-Palin supporters speak in low voices, I had to share a story that happened yesterday about 2 miles from where I live in Pittsburgh. I don’t know how much media coverage this is getting nationally. (Hmm, maybe this is where BHO’s $ is going – to pay the MSM to keep quiet?!) A girl was robbed at knifepoint at an ATM, which is bad enough in itself, but when the attacker saw the McCain bumper sticker in her car, he beat her and used his knife to carve a “B” onto her face.


    This has to be the sickest, most horrifying thing I have heard in awhile. I live in a 50/50 black/white neighborhood that has many visible BHO supporters, and have refrained from putting a McCain-Palin sticker on my car or in my yard for fear I might get my house egged or car keyed… now I realize there are things much worse to fear!

    What is this world coming to??? :'(

    Very scared.